This is the perfect vegetarian appetizer – it’s festive, easy to make, and the colors are so beautiful, making it super impressive! Of course, it’s always super delicious with a mixture of sweet and savory, with hints of warm cinnamon and bright scallion.
In the Midwest, we know a lot about cheese balls, and this goat cheese log version basically takes a cheese ball and elevates it. The contrast of chewy dried cranberries, crunchy pecans, and creamy, soft cheese is a wonderful combination of textures.
And the flavor just exudes cozy winter comfort.
Make it ahead of time to have a simple appetizer ready for your next holiday party or friend gathering.
Guests can enjoy it with a baguette, crostini, or your favorite crackers (gluten-free, if needed!). It’s also gorgeous on a fall charcuterie board or as part of an appetizer spread.
Ingredients & Substitutions
You’ll need just 6 simple ingredients to make this cheese appetizer, and you can easily adapt, swap, and adjust them as needed.
- Goat Cheese Log: depending on how many people you’ll be serving, you can use either a 4 or 8-ounce log of goat cheese.
- Dried Cranberries: a classic combination, however, dried cherries would also be delicious if you need a substitution.
- Pecans: something feels so cozy about pecans. Feel free to also use walnuts or pistachios (you know cranberries and pistachios are one of my favorite combos!). Truly, most nuts will work as subs, too.
- Fresh Rosemary: bright, woodsy, and totally festive! This herb is perfect for fall and winter.
- Green Onions: a.k.a. scallions, the combination of the mildly oniony vegetable paired with the sweetness of the cranberries and tang of the goat cheese is such a winning combination.
- Ground Cinnamon: a little to add warmth.
- Ground Ginger: there’s just a pinch, and you can omit it if needed, but a little bit just adds the tiniest amount of spice.
How to DIY a Cranberry Goat Cheese Log
Here’s the deal, to make this recipe even easier, I throw all of the topping ingredients into a food processor. That includes cranberries, pecans, green onions, and spices. Pulse them together until a coarse mixture forms, then it’s time to roll!
Using the food processor (a mini one is great for this!) also helps the mixture become almost sticky from the chopping of the cranberries, and helps the mixture become a cohesive mix.
You don’t have to use a food processor though. You can just as easily finely chop the ingredients and combine them together in a bowl.
To roll, place the cranberry mixture in a shallow dish or on a plate.
Place the entire goat cheese log, place on the chopped dried cranberry mix, and begin to roll it. You will likely need to press in the mixture with your hands, as needed. Don’t forget the ends of the log, too!
Another method, with less mess, is to place the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap, then roll it around the goat cheese log to help it stick. This is helpful if you plan on making it ahead of time and storing it, because it’s already wrapped up.
Once it’s rolled, place it on a serving tray and garnish it with fresh rosemary and cranberries, as desired. To feel even fancier, add some sugar-coated cranberries! A drizzle of honey is also delicious if you like a little extra sweetness.
Goat cheese should be served at room temperature, which also makes it easier to spread on crackers or your serving vehicle of choice.
Once it’s rolled, feel free to let it sit out or serve immediately with your favorite carbs like crackers, crostini, or baguette slices. It’s also great with pretzels, apple slices, or pears.
This cheese appetizer recipe is definitely hearty enough to enjoy on its own as the perfect party appetizer for the holiday season, as a pre-dinner snack. It’s especially fitting for Thanksgiving and Christmas thanks to the rich red and green colors.
You can easily serve it on a charcuterie board or pair it with a light appetizer like marinated olives, a roasted garlic olive oil bread dip, or an artichoke tapenade.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Homemade Cranberry Goat Cheese Log
- ½ Tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 green onion, end removed
- ½ cup pecans
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger, optional
- Pinch sea salt, to taste
- 8 ounce goat cheese log
- Crackers or baguette, for serving
- In the bowl of a food processor, add rosemary, green onion, pecans, dried cranberries, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt. Pulse until finely chopped together.
- Place the cranberry pecan mixture on a plate or in a shallow dish. Roll the goat cheese log in the mixture, pressing the mixture on as needed.
- Place the covered log on a serving tray. Serve at room temperature with crackers, baguette, or crostini.