Smoked Gouda Cheese Ball with Pistachios and Zaatar

Looking for a quick and easy appetizer for your upcoming holiday gathering?  This Smoked Gouda Cheese Ball with Pistachios and Zaatar is guaranteed to be crowd pleaser!  With just 5 ingredients and about 15 minutes of your time, you’ll have an elegant appetizer that’s creamy, smoky, zesty, and downright delicious. 

We created this recipe using some of our favorite, simple yet flavorful ingredients: smoked Gouda, zaatar, and pistachios.  If you're wondering what is zaatar, and you’ve never worked with zaatar before, this recipe is a wonderful way to try it out!  Zaatar is a staple in Middle-Eastern kitchens that has become increasingly popular in the U.S. over the last several years.  The mainstay ingredients of a quality zaatar blend are the zaatar herb (native to the Middle East and also called Hyssop), sumac, roasted sesame seeds, and little to no sea salt. We stress however, that because there are no standards on what may be called a zaatar spice mix, , it’s important to choose a reputable zaatar brand that is honest about its ingredients with no unknown fillers and substitutes

This combination of herbs and spices add an unexpected exoticness to any dish you include it in.   We don’t want to sound cheesy, but this recipe is so “grate” it’s almost too “gouda” to be true!

 Smoked Gouda Cheese Ball with Pistachios and Zaatar served with crackers

Smoked Gouda Cheese Ball with Pistachios and Zaatar  

Servings: 10-12
Prep Time: 15 mins,Cook Time: 0 mins,Total Time: 15 mins   
Serving Size: About ¼ cup
Calories: 157, Fat: 13g, Protein: 6g, Carbs: 3g, Fiber: 1g


1 (8-ounce package) cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Zaatar, divided
1/3 cup raw, shelled pistachios

Smoked Gouda Cheese Ball with Pistachios and Zaatar-COLLAGE step one to seven



  1. Begin by toasting the pistachios in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese, shredded gouda, parsley, and 1 teaspoon zaatar to the bowl of a stand mixer and blend, using the paddle attachment, until smooth. (Alternatively, blend everything together until smooth using a wooden spoon.)
  3. Transfer the cooled pistachios to a cutting board and chop finely.
  4. Place the chopped pistachios onto a large plate and mix in the remaining tablespoon of zaatar.
  5. Scrape all of the cheese mixture out of the bowl using a rubber spatula and shape into a ball using your hands.
  6. Roll the cheese ball in the pistachio-zataar mixture until fully coated.
  7. Wrap the cheese ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to several days.
  8. Serve with a variety of crackers and watch it disappear!


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