17 Cheese Appetizer Recipes
Add instant sophistication to any gathering with a delectable cheese appetizer. Whether you're looking for a recipe to make crostinis, dip, or tarts, we've got a cheese-based appetizer that's just right for you!
Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
This luscious appetizer skips the traditional puff pastry shell and gets right to the good stuff: beautifully melted Brie cheese. Dried cranberries add texture and a tart pop to offset the creaminess. Walnuts add crunch. The result is a riff on a popular holiday appetizer that’s free of trans fats. Be sure to remove the top layer of thick rind from the cheese before baking, otherwise it will be hard to spoon onto crackers. Readers warn that you may want other snacks at the ready; this crowd-pleasing favorite tends to get devoured first.
Blue Cheese-Bacon-Spinach Dip
The bold flavor of blue cheese and saltiness of the bacon give a creative punch to your average spinach dip. Serve with celery sticks for an added crunch.
Adobo Chips with Warm Goat Cheese and Cilantro Salsa
When you're tired of the same ol' queso and chips, try these smoky adobo chips with some warm goat cheese and a zesty cilantro salsa.
Radish and Arugula Crostini with Brie
The cheese on these vegetable crostinis will spread easily and taste even better at room temperature.
Date, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Ball
Prepare this retro-chic snack up to two days ahead, and serve with crackers, bread, or veggies. Rolled in minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, this cheese ball is festive enough for even the most discerning party guests.
Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Fresh squash blossoms are a lovely seasonal treat. Enjoy the contrast of crisp, fresh flowers with rich, creamy cheese spread. Be sure to use the best bacon you can find–brands that smoke with real wood offer the best flavor. And roast your own pepper; jarred versions may taste tinny. Use plain cheddar cheese for a mild flavor, or choose extra-sharp for more tang.
Phyllo Cups with Ricotta, Chèvre, and Thyme
Start making the phyllo stacks about 30 minutes after you put the cheese mixture in the refrigerator. Or make the cheese mixture a day ahead, and assemble before guests arrive.
Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip
This artichoke cheese dip is just the thing when you hanker for a creamy, cheesy snack. And because you are likely to have the ingredients on hand in the fridge and freezer, it's also great for impromptu entertaining.
Creamy Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Cups
The filling can be made and refrigerated up to a day in advance, then brought to room temperature before filling the cups. Phyllo shells come conveniently prebaked, so they're ready to fill once thawed.
Caramelized Onion, Gruyère, and Bacon Spread
Serve this savory caramelized onion, Gruyère, and bacon spread with crackers or bread slices. If you can't find Gruyère, substitute raclette, fontina, or Swiss cheese.
Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
This easy, impressive party app highlights a versatile fig jam that can be made up to three days in advance. On the day of your party, top bread slices with fig jam, goat cheese, and a sprinkling of walnuts, and broil for about 2 minutes. (Leftover jam is great on toast or sandwiches.)
Creamy Spinach and Feta Dip
Bright and tangy non-fat Greek yogurt helps save 100 calories and 3g sat fat in this delicious, creamy dip. Sharp feta cheese adds a punch that complements beautifully with the fresh herbs. Perfect for game day, this appetizer is a surefire crowd pleaser that serves well with vegetables, pita chips, or tortilla chips. It requires almost no preparation, and is ready to serve immediately.
Lemon-Caper Parmesan Potato Salad Bites
Turn “jacket potatoes” into irresistible potato salad bites. Capers offer a twist on traditional relish; they’re actually pickled flower buds and add bright, briny flavor to this appetizer.
Pimiento Cheese Deviled Eggs
Dress up your deviled eggs with a little "Caviar of the South," also known as pimiento cheese.
Mini Tomato-Parmesan Tarts
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
If you don't have a pastry cutter, use the rim of a drinking glass to cut rounds from the puff pastry.
Baked Feta with Romesco and Olive Tapenade
Make the romesco sauce and tapenade up to three days ahead, and keep them chilled separately.
Endive Spears with Spicy Goat Cheese
When you need an elegant starter but you have little time to devote to one, Endive Spears with Spicy Goat Cheese is the recipe for you. Pungent goat cheese gets combined with tangy Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, garlic, and sweet paprika, and the mixture is mashed together with a fork—you don't even need to pull out the food processor! Belgian endive leaves are the perfect vessel for the cheese combo, with their pleasantly bitter flavor and superior crunch. They're also way less caloric than crackers; each serving of six filled endive leaves sets you back only 105 calories. One other selling point: You can make the cheese mixture a day or two ahead.