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.

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 dozen pops

Ingredients

  • 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

Special equipment:

Method

1 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.

2 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.)

Goat Cheese Bacon Pops

3 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.

Goat Cheese Bacon Pops Goat Cheese Bacon Pops

4 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.

Goat Cheese Bacon Pops

5 Roll the cheese balls in the bacon topping: Gently press the coating into the cheese to make it stick.

Goat Cheese Bacon Pops

6 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.

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Comments

  • Dorit

    I made it for a party and unfortunately no one liked it . It was kind of embarrassing especially since everyone is always expecting the best from me.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Adele Aiken

    You have several tips for making ahead – cook the bacon, mix the cheeses. Are there any other parts of the recipe that can be made the day before?

    • Sabrina Modelle

      Hi Adele,
      I would not recommend making the coating a day ahead because it will become soggy. In my opinion, the texture contrast is one of the most pleasing parts of the recipe. The only thing I can think of is that you could chop the cherries, but that would only save you a few seconds and then you’d have to wash your food processor twice. Good luck, and if you find any short cuts, please share them with us!

  • Rosie

    I made this yesterday for a cookie exchange I was hosting. They were a hit and I would definitely make them again. I couldn’t find appetizer forks and didn’t think even the sturdier toothpicks would hold them so I just served them with the intent being for guests to pick them up with their hands. Love this recipe-thank you for a new party favorite.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Cathy Jenrette

    Thank you all for the nut-allergy responses–can’t wait to try these!
    Cathy

  • Peter

    Had some cherries left over from making maraschino cherries so I dried the rest and used them here. Made the pops yesterday for bunch of guests. They were very good but too sweet for my palate. I’d skip the honey next time, and maybe kick up the heat.

  • Brian Kaneb

    Are there any cheeses that you would recommend as a substitute for the goat cheese? I made the recipe and really liked it except goat cheese just isn’t my thing. I’d like to make it again with something like feta, or any other suggestions you have. Thanks!

    • Sabrina Modelle

      Hi Brian,
      You could try mostly cream cheese with a bit of feta or blue cheese, but you might have to play with the ratios a bit to get it just right. We’d love to hear what you come up with if you try it!

  • Alyssa @ A Bite of Inspiration

    This recipe is amazing! The perfect balance of sweet, salty, and tart. Goat cheese and dried fruit are an excellent combo– I happened to have dried cranberries on hand instead of cherries so I used those instead and they turned out well! I will definitely be making these again. Thanks for sharing!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Dawn

    I made these the other day, and they were delicious. However, despite following the recipe to the letter, I found that the balls were a little too large to stay comfortably on cocktail sticks. My guests had them sliding off – fortunately none of the cheese hit the floor! I think next time I will make each ball with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cheese mix, or find some small popsicle sticks to use instead.

  • Mary Furness

    With regard to the severe nut allergy question–my son has had a nut allergy in the past (which he seems to have mostly grown out of), and I have substituted ground sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in things like pesto. It’s worked really well for me! Good luck!

  • Michelle Galluzzo

    These look delicious and so perfect for holiday entertaining! I would love to make them but my son has a severe nut allergy. Aside from omitting the nuts altogether, would there be a good substitute?

    • Sabrina Modelle

      Hi Michelle,
      If your son can eat seeds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds would be totally delicious here and would be a perfect 1:1 substitutions. Other creative ideas might be to experiment with crushed crackers or pretzels, or even toasted panko. If you try these, please let us know, we’d love to hear how they turn out!
      -Sabrina

  • Larry Duncan

    If you don’t happen to have any skewers handy, pretzel sticks make a good substitute.

  • Cathy

    Sounds SO good! If someone is allergic to nuts, however, would anything else work to roll them in?? Thanjs!

    • Sabrina Modelle

      Hi Cathy,
      If you can do seeds, I think pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds would be amazing here– and a 1:1 substitution. You can also double the bacon and omit the nuts.
      Sabrina

  • Dianne

    Lovely! I make a similar cheeseball bites on occasion but skip the sweet additions like cherries and honey (we’re low-carbers in our household).

    To make cleaning up between making the cheese mix and the toppings easier, just make the topping first and then make the cheese filling. Making the cheese mixture first requires one to stop the process to go hand wash the processor bowl so that you can move on to making the topping. Just reverse the process to save precious time during the holidays!

    • Sabrina Modelle

      In this recipe, the cheese has to chill for at least 20 minutes, so I like to do the cheese first. But whichever one works best for you, go for it! Happy holidays.