Are Cheese and Bacon Balls Vegetarian?

Cheese and bacon balls have become a popular appetizer and snack in recent years. Their rich savory flavor combination makes them hard to resist. But an important question arises – are cheese and bacon balls actually vegetarian? Let’s take a closer look.

What are Cheese and Bacon Balls?

Cheese and bacon balls, also sometimes called bacon cheddar cheese balls, are a mixture of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, and other flavorings formed into bite-sized balls and rolled in extra bacon or cheese. They have a soft, creamy interior with a delightful crunch from the coating.

Traditional cheese and bacon balls contain real bacon made from pork. The bacon provides a smoky, salty flavor that perfectly complements the rich creaminess of the cheese. While delicious, this means that classic cheese balls containing bacon are not vegetarian.

Vegetarian Status of Common Ingredients

To understand if a cheese and bacon ball recipe is vegetarian, we need to examine the ingredients individually:

  • Cream cheese – Vegetarian. Cream cheese is made from milk and cream, so it is lacto-vegetarian.

  • Cheddar cheese – Vegetarian. Cheddar and most other cheeses are made from milk and are lacto-vegetarian.

  • Bacon – Not vegetarian. Bacon comes from pork, which is meat.

  • Eggs – Vegetarian. Eggs are considered lacto-ovo-vegetarian.

  • Onions, garlic, spices – Vegetarian. Common produce and seasonings are almost always vegetarian.

So the bacon is the only non-vegetarian ingredient in a classic cheese and bacon ball. This means that traditionally, these appetizers are not vegetarian.

Vegetarian Substitutes for Bacon

The good news is that there are several vegetarian and even vegan substitutes for bacon that can be used to make vegetarian cheese and bacon bites. Here are some options:

  • Coconut bacon – Made from coconut flakes, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and spices. Tastes remarkably similar to real bacon.

  • Tempeh bacon – Thin slices of fermented soy tempeh marinated in a smoky flavoring. Provides a meaty texture.

  • Eggplant bacon – Slices of eggplant smoked and seasoned to mimic bacon. Low carb and low calorie.

  • Shiitake mushroom bacon – Sautéed shiitake mushrooms flavored with soy sauce, maple, and spices

  • Tofu bacon – Tofu slices or crumbles flavored with liquid smoke, paprika, salt and other seasonings.

Using one of these substitutes in place of real bacon allows you to make vegetarian and even vegan cheese balls with a similar smoky, salty flavor. Coconut bacon and eggplant bacon are especially realistic alternatives.

How to Make Vegetarian Cheese and Bacon Balls

Making vegetarian cheese and bacon balls is easy with just a few simple swaps.

Here is a sample recipe:


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices tempeh bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1⁄4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1⁄4 tsp garlic powder
  • Coconut bacon or shredded cheese for coating


  1. Mix together cream cheese, cheddar cheese, crumbled tempeh bacon, onions, paprika, and garlic powder until well combined.
  2. Form mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange on a baking sheet or plate.
  3. Coat balls evenly in coconut bacon pieces or shredded cheese.
  4. Chill cheese balls for at least 30 minutes before serving to firm up.
  5. Serve with crackers, bread, or vegetables.

With a few simple ingredient swaps like tempeh bacon, you can easily make vegetarian or vegan cheese balls with the same addictive flavor.

Buying Pre-Made Vegetarian Cheese Balls

If you don’t have time to make cheese and bacon bites from scratch, several companies now offer pre-made vegetarian and vegan cheese balls. Here are some popular options:

Outstanding Foods Cheese Balls – These 100% plant-based cheese balls mimic the taste of dairy cheese balls. They contain no dairy, meat, eggs, or animal products. The bacon cheddar flavor provides a smoky taste.

GreenVie Cheeze Balls – GreenVie makes vegan cheese balls in fun flavors like chive and smoky provolone. They use fermented tree nuts to replicate the taste and texture of dairy cheese.

Treeline Cheeze Balls – Treeline offers classic flavors like smoked cheddar in vegan form. Their cheese balls are made from fermented cashews.

Miyoko’s Creamery Cheese Wheels – These dairy-free cheese wheels from Miyoko’s can be sliced and served like a cheese ball. Flavors include sundried tomato garlic and French-style garlic herb.

So if you want the experience of cheese and bacon bites without the bacon, you have many convenient options in today’s market. Pre-made varieties allow you to skip the kitchen work.

Nutrition Profile of Vegetarian Cheese Balls

Transitioning from standard to vegetarian cheese and bacon balls impacts the nutrition profile. Here is a comparison:

  • Protein – Vegetarian options will be lower in protein since they lack bacon. But cheese still provides a good amount of protein. Beans or other veggies can boost the protein.

  • Fat – The fat content is similar with both standard and vegetarian cheese balls, since the creaminess comes mostly from the cream cheese and cheese. Vegetarian cheese balls may be slightly lower in saturated fat without bacon.

  • Sodium – Bacon bumps up the sodium level substantially, so vegetarian cheese balls will typically be lower in sodium. But they still contain some from the cheese.

  • Fiber – Meat-based cheese balls contain minimal fiber. Choosing a veggie-based bacon substitute like eggplant or coconut will add fiber.

  • Cholesterol – Dairy-based cheese balls are high in cholesterol. Going vegetarian slashes the cholesterol significantly.

Overall, vegetarian cheese balls are lower in sodium, cholesterol, and protein compared to traditional versions. Fat content remains similar.

Tips for Making Amazing Vegetarian Cheese Balls

Here are some useful tips to make irresistible vegetarian cheese and bacon bites every time:

  • Grate cheese fresh instead of using pre-shredded cheese for better flavor. The cell walls get broken in fresh grated cheese.

  • Chill the mix before forming into balls so it holds its shape better. The balls will be less mushy after chilling.

  • Make sure bacon substitute is well flavored to provide that smoky, salty taste people expect from bacon. Marinate tempeh or tofu strips in sauce overnight.

  • Coat generously in shredded cheese, coconut bacon, or chopped nuts. The coating provides crunch to contrast the smooth filling.

  • Experiment with flavors! Try adding roasted garlic, jalapeños, Italian seasoning, horseradish, or fresh herbs to the filling.

With the right techniques and a flavorful bacon substitute, vegetarian cheese balls can satisfy any bacon cheese ball craving.

Are Cheese and Bacon Balls Keto or P

Easy Cheese Ball Recipe With Cream Cheese, Bacon & Green Onion (Low Carb, Gluten-Free)


What are cheese and bacon balls made of?

Corn, Canola Oil Whey Powder (Milk), Wheat Flour, Cheese Powder (Milk), Salt, Flavour Enhancer (621), Mineral Salt (Potassium Chloride), Maltodextrin, Flavours Natural Colours (Paprika Extract, Turmeric), Food Acid (Lactic Acid).

Can Muslims eat cheese and bacon balls?

The presence of pig-derived ingredients made them haram (forbidden) for Muslims, not kosher for Jews, and not vegetarian .

Are Cheetos Cheese balls halal?

Cheetos Cheese & Bacon Balls – Snacks is not halal | Halal Check.

Are cheese and bacon balls gluten free?

Flavour: Cheese & Bacon. Deliciously cheesy. Best Before: 07/07/2024. Please note: Contains gluten, milk, soybean, wheat, whey.

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