There’s never a wrong time for cheese appetizers, likely because there’s never a wrong time for cheese. Whereas some foods have seasons, and peaks, and moments when they seem to be on literally every menu in town, cheese endures. It’s there for you—and me, and all of us—no matter what time of year it is. Not to mention, cheese is as delicious as it is reliable—and it’s basically always on offer at an affordable price point.
Given its myriad strengths, cheese is a no-fail addition to any party appetizer spread. Whether you’re crafting a full-on feast for your guests or merely bringing a dish as a gesture of goodwill toward your host, you really can’t go wrong with something cheesy. Thaw a box of puff pastry, and bake some brie inside of it. Throw together a cheesy spinach-artichoke dip in your slow cooker. Or whip up a decadent batch of macaroni and cheese in your oven. Honestly, you could even slice cheese, put it on a plate, and bring that, and you’d still be sure to delight. (Just remember to bring some crackers, too.)
The hardest thing about enchanting party guests with a truly decadent cheese-filled appetizer? Deciding which of the many delicious options you’re going to whip up. Enticing cheese appetizer recipes abound, and none of them are very hard to throw together.
Just about every cheese-filled appetizer on offer is convenient, budget-friendly, and sure to be heavenly in flavor. Pick one, or dedicate your party’s entire menu to cheesy goodness. Your guests will surely thank you. (Just be sure to send us an invite too, please?)
Ham & Cheese Mini Quiches
The Recipe: Easy Ham and Cheese Mini Quiches
The Hero Ingredient: Thyme adds a dose of can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it flavor that leaves these mini quiches tasting dynamic and delightful.
Pro Tip: The recipe calls for garlic powder, but try swapping that with fresh garlic to get an even stronger, more impactful flavor.
Why We Love It: These quiches are easy to whip up using ingredients you already have on hand (save the phyllo dough), making them an excellent appetizer to throw together last-minute. Plus, they reheat super well. So if you end up with leftovers, you’re in for a treat.
Cheddar Crust Honeycrisp Galette
The Recipe: Cheddar Crust Honeycrisp Galette
The Hero Ingredient: Homemade salted thyme better takes this dish from delightful to extraordinary. Plus, you’ll feel so gourmet whipping up the speciality butter that you’ll be tempted to put it on everything.
Pro Tip: This recipe calls for cheddar, but other cheeses promise to play just as well with apples and sugar. Once you’ve mastered this recipe, try trading cheddar for brie or goat cheese, and see what happens.
Why We Love It: Apples are a treat during any season, and they’ve even better covered in butter, sugar, and cheese. This appetizer mixes sweet and salty to create an incredibly flavorful experience—one sure to invite party guests to come back for seconds.
Asparagus & Harissa Goat Cheese Dip
The Recipe: Spring Asparagus and Harissa Goat Cheese Dip
The Hero Ingredient: Who said vegetables and cheese were mutually exclusive? Help your party guests feel a little healthier by combining your divine goat cheese dip with delicious fresh asparagus.
Pro Tip: Don’t stop at asparagus. Make the cheese dip for yourself, and see what else it plays well with. Broccoli? Carrots? Roasted onions? Cucumbers? Experiment until you’ve found a few matches made in flavor heaven, and throw those on your party platter, too.
Why We Love It: Since indulgent ingredients abound in appetizers, it’s nice to break things up with fresh vegetables where you can. (And when you can pair those fresh vegetables with a spice-filled cheese dip, why not?)
Bacon-Wrapped Figs with Herb Goat Cheese
The Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Figs with Herb Goat Cheese
The Hero Ingredient: Bacon makes everything better. And it juxtaposes beautifully with this recipe’s richest ingredients: dried figs and goat cheese.
Pro Tip: Not into figs? Swap them for dates or another sweet fruit of your choosing—the result will still be magical.
Why We Love It: This appetizer is equal parts delicious and easy to throw together. Sure to be a crowdpleaser, these bacon-wrapped figs look more gourmet than they are—and they take less than an hour to make.
Pumpkin Queso Fundido
The Recipe: Pumpkin Queso Fundido
The Hero Ingredient: Not only does pumpkin add a ton of dynamic flavor to this queso fundido, but it also gives the dip somewhere to live. A secret ingredient that doubles as a dish? Yes, please.
Pro Tip: If pumpkin isn’t in season when you’re hoping to whip this up, don’t worry—the recipe is veritably delicious without it. Because really, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong with chorizo, jalapenos, and three kinds of cheese.
Why We Love It: Queso dip is one of life’s greatest joys, but it rarely makes its way into party appetizer spreads. This flavor-filled recipe feels more gourmet than Super Bowl, so you can rest assured knowing it’ll delight at an event of any caliber.
Herb Cream Cheese Cucumber Bites
The Recipe: Herb Cream Cheese Cucumber Bites
The Hero Ingredient: Piquillo peppers give these cucumber bites an unexpected kick that leaves them tasting even more delightful than they otherwise would.
Pro Tip: If you want to pack even more flavor into this delicious dish, up the chives, basil, and garlic the recipe calls for. Just be sure to taste what you’re whipping up as you go along.
Why We Love It: No party spread is complete without a fresh change of pace or two, and this 15-minute appetizer promises to offer just that.
Ham & Cheese Popovers
The Recipe: Ham and Cheese Popovers
The Hero Ingredient: Brown-sugar-glazed ham adds a little dynamic sweetness to otherwise-salty dish, rendering it incredibly indulgent.
Pro Tip: Ham and Swiss cheese are a tried-and-true combination, but sometimes you want to experiment with something a little less expected. If you opt to swap Swiss with another cheese, be sure to opt for something subdued enough to mellow out the ham’s super-salty flavor.
Why We Love It: By calling for ham that’s covered in brown sugar, this recipe takes the classic ham-and-cheese combination to new levels of dynamic, enticing flavor. Put simply: It raises the bar.
Crockpot Beer Cheese Dip
The Recipe: Crockpot Beer Cheese Dip
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe puts your slow-cooker to work, so you can kick back and relax while your dish makes itself. Now that is party planning at its most efficient.
Pro Tip: Don’t stop at cream cheese and cheddar. If your favorite cheese isn’t represented in this recipe, experiment with tossing it in the pot. It’s cheese we’re talking about, so odds are, you’ll end up with something seriously delicious.
Why We Love It: This beer cheese dip is super easy to throw together, and it’s delicious enough to take to any event. Sure, it’s more bar food than cocktail party. But people care more about flavor than fanciness.
Cherry & Goat Cheese Crostini
The Recipe: Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini
The Hero Ingredient: A just-toasted baguette offers texture and fresh flavor in equal measure. You may be tempted to swap the baguette for crackers—or something else already lurking in your pantry—but it’s worth the extra effort.
Pro Tip: This recipe calls for dried Montmorency cherries, but dried plums, dates, or apricots will just as easily do the trick. Look for something rich in sweet-sour flavor, and you’re sure to end up with a delightful dish.
Why We Love It: This recipe combines everything you love about charcuterie platters into one, bite-sized dish. (And it calls for far fewer ingredients than your average cheese-and-fruit spread.)
Baked Goat Cheese Appetizer
The Recipe: Baked Goat Cheese Appetizer
The Hero Ingredient: Fire-roasted tomatoes bring out the brightest flavors in your favorite goat cheese, creating a dish that’s as dynamic as it is heart.
Pro Tip: Whip up big batches of this appetizer—it’s sure to go quick. Plus, if you end up with leftovers, you can pop it in the microwave and enjoy it during any time of day.
Why We Love It: This appetizer is warm, hearty, and flavorful—basically everything you crave during the calendar’s coldest months. While this dish is sure to delight during any time of year, it really comes into its own during the winter. Plus, it only takes 25 minutes to throw together.
Ham & Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits
The Recipe: Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits
The Hero Ingredient: The flour you use to whip this dish up will either make or break your biscuits. Opt for something that creates seriously fluffy pastries every time you use it. You—and your tastebuds—will thank yourself later.
Pro Tip: Cheddar and ham combine to create a classic foundation for these flavored biscuits, but there’s plenty of room for experimentation. Swap the cheddar with bleu cheese. Swap the ham with bacon. Add garlic. The options are endless, and decadent biscuits await.
Why We Love It: Biscuits aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “party appetizer,” but they’re classic enough to warrant consideration.
Paprika Goat Cheese Spread
The Recipe: Paprika Goat Cheese Spread
The Hero Ingredient: Dijon mustard adds a spicy kick to the rich, salty goat cheese, rounding out the flavor profile of this dish and lending the appetizer a little je ne sais quoi.
Pro Tip: This goat cheese spread plays well with everything—bread, cucumbers, carrot sticks, everything. So if you’re actually throwing this together at the last-minute and all you have in your pantry is a box of crackers, you can rest assured knowing you’re absolutely set.
Why We Love It: This appetizer takes a mere 5 minutes to whip up, but it looks so gourmet your friends will think it took you all day (or at least, like, an hour).
Whipped Bleu Cheese Bites
The Hero Ingredient: Balsamic vinegar is a flavor many of us know and love, but this recipe calls for white vinegar, too. This combination will lend your appetizer a little intensity, and it’ll leave your guests guessing at the ingredients you’ve used.
Pro Tip: If you appreciate bleu cheese—but only in small doses—add a little more cream cheese to mellow out the flavor. If you appreciate bleu cheese in incredibly large doses, go lighter on the cream and cheese and heavier on the bleu.
Why We Love It: This appetizer is so delicious you won’t even realize you’re eating vegetables. The asparagus and onions blend so beautifully with the other ingredients that you’ve basically snuck them right in.