The mere presence of cheese makes every dish it’s a part of that much richer and more exciting, whether it’s sprinkled on top or incorporated as a central ingredient—and there’s such a wide world of cheeses out there that there are always more varieties to discover. At The Takeout, cheese is an animating force, one that’s always inspiring us to get creative. So here is a collection of our cheesiest recipes, guaranteed to satisfy a range of cravings.
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Let’s begin with the crowdpleaser to end all crowdpleasers: pimento cheese, a staple of the American South. You’re going to want to seek out Duke’s Mayonnaise for this recipe; it has a higher egg yolk ratio, which gives it a “homemade” richness—plus it’s also the officially sanctioned mayo of the South. Get the recipe for Pimento Cheese here.
Classic Cheese Ball
Making a cheese ball is so easy and yields so much wow factor. This recipe, which involves cheddar, Brie, and cream cheese studded with toasted pecans, comes to us from Dena Rayess, author of Cheese Balls: 40 Celebratory And Cheese-licious Recipes. Be warned: you’ll need a sturdy dipping apparatus, like a pita chip or celery, because this is one dense serving of cheese. Get the recipe for a Classic Cheese Ball here.
Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce
Smoked Gouda cheese sauce may sound like an elevated affair, but the only effort is picking smoked Gouda over plain cheddar at your grocery store. It can be applied to just about any preparation of broccoli and cauliflower, as well as cooked carrots, cabbage, burgers, hot dogs, meatloaf, and more—plus, it can be prepared ahead of time and chilled. Get the recipe for Smoked Gouda cheese sauce here.
Cheese Hand Pies with Cheese Crust
The pastry crust in this recipe is made mostly with cheese—just a tiny bit of butter to add some flakiness—so it is a terrific way of using up the remnants of a cheese board. These hand pies can be made large enough to make a nice lunch, or small enough for a two-bite, cocktail-hour snack. They are delicious hot out of the oven and at room temperature. And they freeze beautifully pre-baking, so that you can make a batch and stash them. Get the recipe for Cheese Hand Pies with Cheese Crust here.
Ultimate Stuffed Shells
When you hear the term “stuffed shells,” you probably think of the classic pasta dish in which shells are stuffed with cheese and baked in sauce. This recipe, though, consists of shells stuffed with sauce and baked in cheese, for a melty, gooey, inside-out dinner experience that will please any crowd. Use the biggest baking dish you own for this, and don’t be surprised if there aren’t many leftovers at the end. Get the recipe for Ultimate Stuffed Shells here.
Super Duper Stuffed Crust Pizza
Twelve sticks of mozzarella string cheese—that’s all you need to change your life. This is a recipe for the cheesiest pizza you’ll ever eat, a “stuffed crust” pizza whose entire base consists of a coil of cheese-stuffed crust. Surprisingly, it’s easier and less fussy than a lot of other homemade pizza recipes, and even if you mess up the technique, you’ll come away with a delicious quantity of cheesy bread. Get the recipe for Super Duper Stuffed Crust Pizza here.
Brie En Croute With Apricot Jam
For the breathtaking simplicity of this appetizer, you only need three things: a wheel of Brie, a tube of crescent rolls, and the jam of your choice. Pillsbury even has crescent roll in sheet form now, but if you have the regular rolls, just pull it in two sections and use your fingers to get rid of those little perforations. Once it’s baked, serve with crackers and fruit of your choice, and we’ll just keep the ease of this dish a secret between the two of us, okay? Get the recipe for Brie En Croute With Apricot Jam here.
Welsh Rarebit Toasty
Consider this an open-faced grilled cheese but more sophisticated. Or, better yet, think of it this way: it’s like someone plucked the melty cheese and crouton out of a crock of French onion soup and just ate that. The best part. Shredded Gruyere or sharp white cheddar both work great in this recipe, and the mustard adds oomph—mustard powder will lend the biggest kick. Get the recipe for Welsh Rarebit Toasty here.
Broccoli Cheddar Mini Tacos
In this recipe, the mini taco shells are made of crispy cheddar cheese and the filling consists of seasoned broccoli and onions. The end result is low-carb and Keto-friendly—but much more importantly, they look adorable and taste great. Do not worry about exact measurements here; just use roughly the amount of vegetables called for, season as you go, and you’ll have a fantastic appetizer on your hands. Get the recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Mini Tacos here.
Cheesy Hash Elegante
This cheesy potato casserole is a perfect wingman to a spiral ham or the anchor of a well-appointed brunch spread. It’s also a prototypical Midwestern comfort food, in that it combines cream-based soup (in this case, cream of chicken) with oodles of cheese, the latter of which serves as a smooth, tangy binder. It’s rich, it’s filling, and it highlights everything you love about dairy. Get the recipe for Cheesy Hash Elegante here.
Manicotti are cheese-filled tanks drowned in red sauce. You’ve probably had this decidedly Italian American dish as a microwave dinner or oven-baked from a frozen package. Store-bought pasta is great, but truly there is no substitute for homemade manicotti. Tender, eggy pasta crepes with cheese filling and your own style of red sauce is worth taking the extra time to put together. Get the recipe for Homemade Manicotti here.