What Is a Chipped Beef Cheese Ball?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

A chipped beef cheese ball is an hors d’oeuvre popular in North America, particularly parts of the US. As its name suggests, one of its primary ingredients is chipped beef, a dried meat product. A chipped beef cheese ball also contains cream cheese and onions, as well as other ingredients which can vary according to the cook’s preferences. This dish is often served at parties, and is usually eaten atop crackers or some other crunchy, bite-sized base.

The chipped beef cheese ball takes its name from chipped beef, a meat product which consists of very thin slices of beef that have been salted and partially dried. This beef is usually sold either in a jar, or in a vacuum-sealed plastic pouch. In the mid-20th century, chipped beef was a common ingredient in a number of breakfast and dinner items, and was also widely used in military cooking. As of the early 21st century, its popularity has waned, perhaps due in part to concerns over its high sodium content as well as a growing emphasis on fresh, unprocessed foods. Still, chipped beef can be found in many supermarkets.

Generally, a chipped beef cheese ball contains three main ingredients: chopped chipped beef, softened cream cheese, and diced regular or green onions. It usually also contains several other ingredients, which can vary based on the preferences of the cook. Many people opt to enhance a chipped beef ball’s flavor by adding Worcestershire sauce, shredded cheese, fresh parsley, and spices like pepper and garlic powder. In most cases, all of these ingredients are thoroughly mixed together and then rolled into a ball shape. Once shaped, the chipped beef cheese ball is usually chilled in the refrigerator for several hours so it becomes firmer and the flavors of its individual ingredients have time to combine.

Often, a chipped beef cheese ball is served as an hors d’oeuvre at a social gathering, such as a family celebration or a sporting event viewing party. Usually, a chipped beef cheese ball is centered on a plate or platter and then surrounded by crackers, toast points, slices of raw vegetables, or other firm, bite-size foods. Some people eat these cheese balls by using a knife to spread a portion of the ball onto the bite-sized food with which it is served. Others dip crackers, vegetable slices, or other crunchy foods directly into the chipped beef cheese ball.

Discussion Comments


I love chipped beef cheese balls. They're one of my favorite holiday type snacks.

If someone is very concerned about sodium content, then thinly sliced low sodium roast beef is a good substitute for chipped beef.

Cheese balls can also be improved for appearances' sake by rolling the ball in something to coat the outside. This might be chopped nuts, finely chopped chives or parsley, caraway seeds, or a number of other aromatics or herbs that are not overpowering by themselves.

This is one of those snacks that almost always disappears at a gathering. The cook will usually take home an empty container.

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