Pineapple Cheese Ball
This Pineapple Cheese Ball is bursting with the flavors of Hawaii, takes just minutes to whip up, and is the ideal make ahead appetizer! It is is loaded with crushed pineapple, sweetened coconut, smoked ham, green onions and COATED in more cheese, macadamia nuts, green onions and coconut for a taste of Hawaii that is tropically delicious but EASY too!
Servings Prep Time
50servings 10minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
50servings 10minutes
Cook Time
Pineapple Cheese Ball with some cheese spread missing
Cheese Ball
  • 2(8 oz.) bricks cream cheeseat room temperature
  • 1/4cup sour cream
  • 2 8 oz. cans crushed pineapplevery well drained
  • 1cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2cup finely grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 3/4cup sweetened shredded coconut toasted
  • 1/2cup chopped hamthick cut then chopped
  • 1/4cup chopped green onions
  • 1 jalapenoseeded, deveined, minced
  • 1/4tsp EACH ground ginger, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • 2/3cup unsalted toasted macadamia nutschopped
  • 1/3cup sweetened shredded coconut toasted
  • 2tablespoons finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4cup chopped green onions
Cheese Ball
  1. Add all of the Cheese Ball ingredients to a large bowl and mix until well combined.
  2. Drop mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap, cover tightly, and shape into a ball. Don’t worry about the shape being perfect – you can refine it later when you coat the cheese ball.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours to firm but best if allowed to chill 24 hours so the flavors can meld. Roll in coating as close to serving as possible.
  1. Add all of the Coating ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Spread Coating in an even layer on cutting board/parchment lined counter. Remove cheese ball from refrigerator and roll in Coating mixture, pressing to adhere, until evenly coated. At this point you can refrigerate for 1-2 hours until ready to serve. Serve with crackers and/or bell peppers.
Recipe Notes
  • Cream Cheese.   You want cream cheese that is slightly softened and will soften further as you blend it with your wooden spoon.  If it is too soft then it will not hold its shape very well and will take longer to firm up in the refrigerator.   To prevent your cream cheese from being too soft, let it sit at room temperature to soften and never microwave it.
  • Crushed Pineapple.  Crushed pineapple is the pineapple in Pineapple Cheese Ball!  Take care that you drain your crushed pineapple very well.  To do this, add it to a fine mesh sieve and press down on it with the back of a spoon several times until no juices are released.
  • Ham.  Use thick cut ham from the deli counter and not thinly sliced sandwich ham.  I ask the deli counter to cut my ham into 1/4″ thick slices which I then cut in the other direction at home to create cubes.  I prefer smoked ham but you can use your favorite cut.
  • Pepper Jack Cheese.  This cheese does not make the Hawaiian Cheese Ball hot, just flavorful.  You can substitute with Monterrey if that’s what you have on hand, but I highly recommend the pepper jack.
  • Coconut.  To toast coconut,  spread it out in an even layer on a large baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.  Watch closely towards the end because it can go from toasted to burnt very quickly.
  • Jalapeno.  The jalapeno gives a little kick but not enough to make the Pineapple Cheese Ball “spicy.”  Its gentle heat cuts through the sweetness of the pineapple and coconut.
  • Macadamia Nuts.   I love the tropical crunch of Macadamia Nuts for the coating but because they are more expensive, feel free to substitute with pecans.  You can even use half pecans and half macadamia nuts.  I get my macadamia nuts at the bulk bins at sprouts.
  • Refrigerate!  This Pineapple Cheese ball tastes WAY better if allowed to chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours before rolling in the coating.   The flavors develop and meld into something truly paradisaical.
  • Coating.  You can mix all your Pineapple Cheese Ball Coating ingredients together (cheese, green onions, coconut) except the macadamia nuts ahead of time and refrigerate.  I like to do this while I make the cheese ball because then I don’t have to get out the same ingredients twice and all that’s left to do is to roll the cheese ball in the coating.  We wait to add the macadamia nuts until ready to coat the cheese ball so they don’t loose any of their crunch.