These goat cheese pops are like your own personal cheese ball. Each bite is the perfect balance of soft cheese, crumbled bacon, and crushed nuts.
I’ve made these goat cheese lollipops for many different occasions over the years, from holiday gatherings to cocktail parties. Each time, people ask for the recipe.
It's one of those appetizers that people always remember and request again and again. For me, that’s a sign of success.
The "recipe" couldn't be easier. Just blend fresh goat cheese and cream cheese with a little bit of honey (for a touch of sweetness). Then roll the cheese into balls and coat each one with a crunchy, wildly flavorful mix of bacon, pecans, dried cherries, and herbs.
The dried cherries can easily be replaced with dried cranberries or blueberries – heck, you could even do dried apricots or figs, if you like! Pistachios are also a fabulous alternative to the pecans, and they look beautiful too.
You can cook the bacon several days in advance and mix the cheese up to two days in advance. Be sure to keep everything cold until you’re ready to assemble. Then store the assembled pops in the fridge until the moment before you serve them. This recipe is easily doubled for a crowd.
These goat cheese bacon bites are fun and festive – the very definition of entertaining made easy.
Goat Cheese Bacon Pops
Regular sliced bacon is better than thick-cut bacon for this recipe since it crumbles more easily, but thick-cut is also fine if that's what you normally buy.
Packages of goat cheese sometimes go by the name "chevre" in the store. Either is fine.
You might need to look for appetizer skewers, or you can use toothpicks.
- 6 slices bacon
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese (lower fat is fine here, if you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon mild honey
- Pinch dried chili flakes (optional)
- 1/3 cup dried cherries (cranberries, blueberries, or other tart dried fruit works well, too)
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh herbs (I used parsley and chives)
- 1/2 cup unsalted pecan halves
- Food processor
- Appetizer skewers
Cook the bacon:
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel. This can be done several days in advance; store in the fridge until needed.
Make the cheese mix:
In a food processor, combine goat cheese, cream cheese, honey, chili flakes (if using), a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Blitz for about 30 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few more times to fully combine. Transfer to a small bowl and freeze for 10 to 20 minutes, until firm but not frozen solid. (The cheese can be mixed up to 2 days in advance; store in the fridge.)
Make the bacon topping:
While the cheese mix is chilling, clean your food processor to make your filling. Place the dried cherries in the food processor and blend in 1-second pulses until they’re chopped into tiny bits. Add herbs and pulse another 5 or so times. Add bacon and pecans and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly. Do not over-mix or you will end up with bacony nut butter. Transfer coating to a bowl.
Roll the cheese into balls:
Remove the cheese mixture from the freezer and roll into twelve little balls (a scant tablespoon each). Wetting your hands in cool water helps to cut down on the mess.
Roll the cheese balls in the bacon topping:
Gently press the coating into the cheese to make it stick.
Stick a small stick or skewer into your cheese balls and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve:
The pops are best the day they are made, but will keep just fine in the fridge for several hours before serving.