There's one thing everybody at any party can agree upon: cheese. But it's time to go beyond a basic cheese plate, people (yawn). Instead, serve one (or several) of these drool-worthy cheese appetizers. We're talking decadent baked Brie, savory goat cheese dip and more.
1. Baked Brie with Figs, Pistachios and Orange
We've tasted many baked Bries in our day, but none compares to this recipe. And despite how fancy it looks, it only takes 30 minutes to cook to melty perfection.
2. Skillet Mushroom and Gouda Fondue
3. Honey Ricotta Dip
Orange zest gives this simple dish a touch of citrusy brightness. Serve it warm with plenty of French bread or crackers or dipping (natch).
4. Boursin Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
All you have to do here is buy the cheese at the store and whip up the easy topping: zingy balsamic onions and shatteringly crisp bacon.
5. Cranberry-Brie Puff Pastry Pops
It's basically the grown-up version of a lollipop. There's no better time to dole them out than at the start of Christmas dinner.
6. French Onion Cups
7. Bacon-Wrapped Cheese Straws
We abide by a golden rule: Everything tastes better with bacon. The recipe calls for frozen puff pastry dough, so you'll only need three ingredients total to pull these off.
8. Rodney Scott’s Pimento Cheese
A quintessential Southern dish that will blow your guests away. The key to its silky texture is shredding the cheese yourself, since pre-shredded cheese contains additives to prevent clumping.
9. Baked Brie with Cranberries and Pomegranate
Proof that a flourish of pomegranate arils can make any dish look sophisticated (even one that only takes a few minutes to bake).
10. Apple Focaccia with Blue Cheese and Herbs
Want to up the charcuterie-inspired ante? Crown the bread with delicately placed slices of prosciutto.
11. Bacon, Onion and Asiago Fondue
This simple one-pan fondue doesn't require any special burners or equipment to come together. It might tempt you to eat a skillet full of cheese for dinner every night.
12. Baked Goat Cheese Marinara Dip
Trading mild mozzarella for earthy, funky goat cheese is a substitute you never knew you needed. Think of this appetizer as baked ziti minus the pasta...but equally satisfying.
13. Cheddar Biscuits with Caramelized Onion Gravy
Skip the gravy or serve a little on the side for dipping to make this dish less filling. (BTW, the gravy is sausage-free, so even your vegetarian guests can get in on it.)
14. Brie-Stuffed Pretzel Bites
This dangerously poppable snack has game day written all over it. Not only are they filled with melted Brie, but we're betting they'd taste even better dunked in nacho cheese.
15. Pimento Cheese Stuffed Shishito Peppers
Aka the fanciest jalapeño poppers you'll ever eat. Creamy, rich pimento cheese is just the cooling match for smoky, spicy shishitos.
16. Baked Gorgonzola Bites
Store-bought pizza dough does it again. It's basically a savory version of monkey bread that you won't be able to stop snacking on.
17. Cheesy Polenta Bites with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
You know how the crispy corners on cornbread are the best part? That's what every polenta bite tastes like, only with the added bonus of grated Parmesan cheese.
18. Julia Turshen’s Skillet Cornbread with Cheddar and Scallions
19. Goat Cheese, Apple and Honey Tarts
They're as pretty as they are damn delicious. Use a sweet type of apple—like Royal Galas or Braeburns—to best complement the salty, tangy cheese.
20. Holiday Baked Brie Bread Wreath
Looks like you're on the nice list this year. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, olives and pickled peppers for a festive finish.
21. Pull-Apart Bread with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
It's just the conversation starter for your next alfresco dinner party. Use store-bought pizza dough if you want to save time—it'll be our little secret.
22. Vegan Chili ‘Cheese’ Dip
Almond milk, raw cashews and vegan chorizo make this plant-based party dip possible.
23. Two-Cheese Guacamole
The only thing better than homemade guacamole? Homemade guac topped with both shredded jack and goat cheese crumbles, of course.
24. Easy Skillet Beer and Cheddar Fondue
Beer + heavy cream + cheese = a pot (or skillet) of pure magic. Use your favorite Pilsner, IPA or witbier.
25. Cranberry, Brussels Sprouts and Brie Skillet Nachos
Ground beef and queso sit this round out for an autumnal spin on nachos. Think roasted sweet potatoes, charred Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce and a generous amount of both white cheddar and Brie cheeses.
26. Kale and Cheddar Cheese Galette
Store-bought pie crust makes this stunning starter a total breeze. (And all that Parmesan and white cheddar make us actually *want* to eat our greens.)
27. The Classiest Cheese Balls in the Universe
Behold, the most gorgeous no-cook appetizer of all time. Choose from everything bagel seasoning and goat cheese, lemon-dill topping and cheddar or pomegranate arils and blue cheese.
28. Dairy-Free Butternut Squash ‘Fondue’
29. Ultimate Cheese Plate with Roasted Grapes
A charcuterie board doesn't need to be piled high with meat to be epic. This one stars herb-kissed roasted grapes, smoked almonds and fresh figs instead.
30. Cheesy Pesto Chips
These macadamia-encrusted zucchini chips should honestly come with a warning for being so poppable. We dare you to stop at one handful.
31. Grilled Cheese Crostini
32. Homemade Cheese Crackers
Flaky, buttery cheddar-Parm crackers > bar nuts. It's just a fact. You just might never look at the store-bought kind the same way again.
33. Roasted Garlic and Gruyère Fondue
If you've never roasted a whole head of garlic at home for pasta, sauce or fondue, you're seriously missing out. Its sharp flavor turns mellow, buttery and caramelized after a stint in the oven.
34. Mini Peach Tarts with Goat Cheese and Honey
35. Cranberry-Brie Pie Crust Bites
All you need to pull off this party appetizer is store-bought pie dough, cranberry sauce and Brie. Oh, and 15 minutes.
36. Pan Con Tomate and Mozzarella Bake
37. Skillet Kale and Fontina Fondue
Who ever said eating your veggies couldn't involve dousing them in nutty, silky fontina cheese?
38. Baked Mac-and-Cheese Bites
The fastest route to becoming the coolest mom on the block? Whip up a batch of these handhelds for your kid's next playdate.
39. Mozzarella Bites
On that note, these toothpicked cuties are also a major hit with the kids. Of course, breaded balls of fried bocconcini will be right up your alley, too.
40. Fruicuterie Board
For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.