Pistachio “Pickle Ball” Appetizer Recipe

Once you start pickling, you can never have enough recipe ideas to use with your delicious pickles. This one plays homage to two unique and quite addictive hobbies: pickling and Pickleball (the sport).

Pickles and cheese naturally go great together. You only have to look as far as many sandwich combinations and accompaniments, including our own recipe for the decadent, Ooey Gooey Grilled Cheese & Pickle Sandwich.

Recipe notes:

  • This recipe uses two cheeses
    • The first is cream cheese, which is the binding ingredient that is essential to hold all the ingredients together when you create your cheese ball.
    • The second cheese is one you can switch up, depending on your tastes. For a more robust cheese flavor, go for a sharp cheddar shredded cheese. For something less “cheesy”, which will allow your pickle flavors to “shine”, choose a Monterey jack/cheddar cheese blend or a 4 cheese Mexican cheese blend. should be shredded. Either option should be shredded.
  • Another tip for the cheese is the shredding itself. If possible, shred the cheese yourself, just before making the pickle ball. Freshly shredded cheese has a better binding moisture than the store-bought kind. If you DO buy the convenient pre-shredded cheese, choose the feather shred rather that a coarse shred. Again, it’s all about the binding.
  • Typically, cheese balls are covered with nuts. If you do so, the nuts should be chopped into more of a granulated form. This will allow them to stick to your cheese ball much better than nuts that are, let’s say, ¼” or greater in size. They will also make your finished creation much easier to spread, and to eat.
  • Popular nut choices are pecans and walnuts but we prefer chopped pistachios. Not only are they delicious, but their green color accentuates the theme.
  • Herbs and spices. Our recipe contains parsley, garlic, and oregano; but feel free to substitute other dried (or fresh) herbs and spices to your tastes. If using one of the spicier Great Lakes Pickling Company Pouches, such as our Heatstroke or Sweet & Smoky Habanero, you may choose to eliminate most, if not all of the herbs and spices in the recipe.
  • Refrigerating or freezing? If all of your ingredients are fresh, you should be able to keep the finished “Pickle Ball” in your fridge for about 10-14 days; but you can freeze it successfully. To do so, we suggest two things. 1). Omit the nut covering until you choose to eventually thaw it. The nuts will taste better that way. 2). Wrap the ball well in plastic film, THEN, place it into a zip-lock freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. You should plan to use your ball within 3 months or so.
  • One of the more common issues when serving a cheese-based ball, is its firmness. To avoid as many issues as possible, cover it with plastic film and allow it to come to room temperature over a couple of hours (minimum). Then, serve it with a small knife (for cutting and spreading), as well as a firm cracker of your choice. Vegetables, such as cucumbers and celery, or slices of artisan salami or sausage work well as a cracker substitute.

Pistachio “Pickle Ball” Appetizer

Makes 1 (Approximately 4” diameter cheeseball)


  • 16 ounces         Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 2 ½ cups           Cheddar Cheese or Milder Cheese, Finely Shredded, then Chopped
  • ½ cup                Great Lakes Pickling Company Pickles, Pouch of Choice, Drained Well and Chopped Finely
  • ¼ cup                Green Onions, Finely Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon        Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon        TABASCO® 
  • 2 teaspoon        Parsley Flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon     Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon     Crushed Oregano
  • ½ teaspoon       Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
  • ¾ cup                Pistachio Nuts, Shelled and Finely Chopped


  1. Place the room temperature cream cheese in a mixing bowl and mix until well softened with a sturdy spatula.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the nuts, and fold together until well combined.
  3. Place your chopped pistachios into a medium size, round bowl. lightly oil your hands, form the cheese mixture into a ball and roll it in the nuts to thoroughly coat it using your hand to press them onto the side of the ball as necessary.
  4. Place your finished “Pickle Ball” in the center of a serving platter and surround with your chosen crackers, vegetable, and/or slices of summer sausage or salami.

Share this recipe: