Port wine cheese ball on board with crackers.

Port Wine Cheese Ball

Impress your guests and serve a Port Wine Cheese Ball at your next party. A refined version of the retro cheeseball made with a port wine reduction and cheese, then rolled with toasted almonds. Requires at least 2 hours of refrigeration for the cheese to firm up.
Course Appetizer
Keyword Cheese, Cheese Ball, Spread
Prep Time 15 minutes
Refrigeration 2 hours
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 softball sized ball
Author Natalie



  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Cheese Ball:

  • ¼ cup port wine
  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper optional


Make the coating:

  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and salt. Shake skillet to spread out almonds in a single layer. Just when the almonds become fragrant, toss the almonds to continue toasting. As soon as they are mostly golden, remove from heat onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Spread them out to cool.

For the cheeseball:

  • In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer port until reduced by half - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.
  • Pulse cream cheese, cheddar, heavy cream, salt, and cayenne in a food processor until smooth. Transfer ¾ of the mixture into a bowl. Pulse remaining cheese mixture with the reduced port until smooth.
  • Gently fold the port mixture into cheddar mixture to create large swirls. Be careful not to over mix or you won't have the swirling effect.
  • Transfer the cheese mixture onto the center of a large sheet of plastic wrap. Gather the wrap around the cheese to create a softball sized ball. Twist to close. The mixture will be soft.
  • Refrigerate until firm, about 1 - 2 hours.
  • Once the cheese ball is firm, shape into a smooth ball while still wrapped in plastic. Unwrap and roll in the toasted sliced almonds, pressing with your hands to create an even coating.
  • Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving for best texture. Serve and enjoy with your favorite crackers.


Can't have nuts? Make a spread. Just eliminate the toasted almonds and serve the cheese in bowl along with your favorite crackers.