The Best Cheesy Appetizers | culture: the word on cheese
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The Best Cheesy Appetizers

For culture’s Cooking with Cheese issue we combed through our extensive archives to select noteworthy cheese-filled recipes for every meal of the day. Of course, snacks and starters are a favorite way to enjoy cheese, and the following recipes range from the comfort foods you crave on game day to elevated bites for aperitivo hour.

Gouda Beer Cheese Dip

A smooth and smoky dip best accompanied with salty soft pretzels, grilled kielbasa, pickles and fresh cut vegetables.

Cheese-Stuffed Figs with Balsamic Glaze

Use the best Parmigiano Reggiano you can find for this easy, elegant appetizer. While stuffed figs are great on their own, they also make a novel sweet-savory salad topping.

Creamy bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls), pickled sour cherries, herbacious basil, and salty prosciutto alternated on bamboo skewers

Bocconcini & Pickled Cherry Skewers

Bite-size bocconcini (mozzarella balls) and quick-pickled fruit make perfect hors d’oeuvres to serve with cocktails. You’ll need about two dozen 4- or 5-inch bamboo skewers for this recipe. Plan ahead to make the pickled cherries, as they’ll need to sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before use.

Manchego Croquettes

Cheesy, silky potatoes are encased in a crunchy, golden shell in this humble dish. Don’t cut chilling time short or you’ll have difficulty shaping and frying the croquettes.

Whipped Feta with Spring Onion and Za’atar

Whipped Feta with Spring Onion and Za’atar

A classic of the Greek meze table, this quick-to-concoct savory dip tastes best if made a day ahead and refrigerated.

Halloumi Crostini with Kalamata Olive Paste, Prosciutto, Frisée, and Lemon Zest

Halloumi Crostini with Kalamata Olive Paste, Prosciutto, Frisée, and Lemon Zest

Crostini recipes are abundant and diverse, but they all have one thing in common: bread. This variation, which swaps in crispy halloumi for traditional baguette slices, is perfect for gluten-intolerant partygoers, but all your guests will delight in the tasty, unexpected preparation.

Grilled Halloumi with Shiitake Mushroom Marinade and Truffle Honey Drizzle

Grilled Halloumi with Shiitake Mushroom Marinade and Truffle Honey Drizzle

This preparation elevates the summer treat that is grilled halloumi. Sherry vinegar and mushroom powder add a meaty umami element, while the honey imparts a bit of earthy sweetness.

Parmesan-and Fennel Seed-Crusted Chicken Fritters

For these flavorful fritters, we cut white meat into dipping morsels, but whole chicken breasts may be coated with this crispy crust as well (just double or triple the crust mixture as needed).


Inspired by the Indo-Dutch traditional Kaasstengel, these “cheese stems” can be customized with spices of your choosing. Enjoy as a snack or as a part of a charcuterie board.

Provolone Dip

Dead simple and delicious, this ooey-gooey dip is a crowd-pleaser come game day.

toast with cherry tomatoes and burrata

Burrata with Cherry Tomato Confit

Stick with cherry, grape, or other bite-size tomato varieties to ensure proper cooking. To serve, top bread slices with tomato confit and a scoop of burrata, then season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

Asiago and Sausage Potato Skins

Cheesy and comforting, these party snacks are always a hit. Italian flavors abound in this version, from fruity asiago to fennel-flecked sausage, savory sun-dried tomatoes, and rich mascarpone cheese.

Old-Fashioned Southern Pimento Cheese

It’s tempting to use pre-grated cheese, but sometimes it contains additives that prevent clumping. It’s better to freshly grate your own so the pimento cheese will be creamy–and additive-free.

Pimento Cheese Straws

Southern-style cheese straws are savory shortbread, made of butter, flour, and cheese. This recipe gets pimento cheese added to the mix, and the result is so incredibly Southern they ought to have an accent.

Hot Baked Pimento Cheese Dip

This is decadence—pure, unadulterated, middle-American decadence. Just in case there’s not enough cheese in pimento cheese, some P-cheese recipes call for cream cheese. And, we all know cream cheese is the lodestar of hot cheesy dippy things.

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs

The secret to these deviled eggs is butter, a culinary school tip that takes this Southern staple from delicious to sublime.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers Stuffed with Pimento Cheese

Lightly salted Ritz crackers topped with P-cheese are a time-honored Southern snacking tradition. In this recipe, buttery bits of cracker are mashed-up with shredded cheddar, piquant pimentos, sharp green onions, and crispy celery, in homage to another favorite pimento cheese concoction.

Whipped Queso Fresco with Spring Vegetables

This easy dip can be served with your favorite vegetables, breads, or crackers. Alternatively, use it as a spread on a sandwich.

Muenster and Chorizo Quesadilla

Spicy, smoky chorizo marries nicely with muenster cheese in this tasty quesadilla. Garnish with tomato salsa, a dollop of sour cream, or just eat it straight up.

French Onion Meatballs

These chicken meatballs contain all the flavors of a classic French onion soup in every bite. They can be baked and frozen then reheated for delightful hors d’oeuvres.

Whipped Preserved Lemon Chèvre Toast with Pickled Radish and Sumac

Preserved lemon and pickled radish pack a lot of bright flavors. If more salt is desired, garnish each toast with a sprinkle of flaked salt or a touch more chopped preserved lemon.


Stilton and Walnut Tartlets

The walnuts are incorporated into the pastry of these savory tartlets. You can blind bake the pastry shells up to three days in advance, and store them in an airtight container.

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