THE Baked Feta Appetizer For Every Occasion!
Appetizers are probably my favorite food group. (Yes, they’re totally a food group in my book. 😉) Nothing beats fun, festive, & delicious bites of goodness that bring everyone together at the start of a meal! And of all the delicious apps we’ve shared over the years, this Heavenly Baked Feta appetizer may just be one of my all-time favorites.
This baked feta with olives was born last year at Christmas. Chris & I called dibs on making appetizers for a family gathering. As a born-&-raised Wisconsinite, cheese is my go-to for snacking (exhibit A). With a block of feta in my fridge, baked feta cheese felt like the perfect place to start. The rest of this recipe just came together with what we had in the kitchen – some fresh herbs, a jar of olives, & a little honey.
Our entire house smelled absolutely heavenly as we made this baked feta recipe (hence the name – Heavenly Baked Feta! 😉). We knew we created something worth making again & again.
What I love most about this baked feta is its dreamy creamy texture. The whole softened block of cheese is perfumed with the flavors of fresh thyme, garlic, & honey, with briny olives & bright lemon adding the perfect finishing touch. Super simple, yet so delicious.
Baked Feta Recipe Highlights
You’re going to be obsessed with this baked feta with olives because it’s…
- SERIOUSLY HEAVENLY. Everything about baked feta – from its creamy dreamy texture to its beautifully fragrant aromatics – is an absolute dream.
- SO SIMPLE. This baked feta recipe only requires 10 simple ingredients & 10 minutes of active prep. The oven does the rest of the work!
- THE PERFECT SHARABLE. Baked feta with olives is a great appetizer for girl’s night, date night, or any gathering calling for an epic snack.
I don’t know about you, but my version of heaven is definitely filled with warm & creamy baked feta cheese. 😉 ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make this Heavenly Baked Feta with Olives, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
Baked Feta with Olives Key Ingredients
One of the things I love most about this baked feta appetizer is its simplicity. You need just 10 simple ingredients to throw it together, & many of them are probably already on hand in your kitchen!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
You will need…
- Feta cheese – This recipe requires a whole block or brick of feta, so do not crumble! The beauty of baked feta is making it whole. See below for more detail on All Things Feta.
- Olive oil – The olive oil soaks into every nook & cranny of the feta cheese as it bakes, flavoring it from all angles. If you’re looking for an extra-nice olive oil, we always recommend DeLallo Extra Virgin Olive Oil!
- Honey – Just a little bit, to provide the perfect balance & mellow out the salty tang of the feta cheese.
- Aromatics – Fragrant ingredients like fresh thyme, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, & lemon infuse the feta with amazing aromatic flavor as it bakes.
- Castelvetrano olives – These bright green beauties are awesome gateway olives. Castelvetranos are meaty, briny, & mild. You can use another type of olive if you prefer, or even an olive medley – have fun with it!
Since you only need a few ingredients to make a stunning baked feta appetizer, this is an instance when I recommend splurging on high-quality options if possible. The flavors really come to life as the feta bakes, so you’ll taste the difference of using top-notch feta cheese, olive oil, & olives.
All About Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is an AMAZINGLY versatile cheese with beautiful flavor & texture. Here’s everything you need to know…
What is feta cheese? ⇢ Feta is a soft & crumbly Greek cheese that’s traditionally made from sheep’s milk. The extra fat in sheep’s milk makes the cheese super creamy. As the block of cheese firms in a salty brine, it becomes much sharper & saltier in flavor. Feta is the perfect blend of creamy yet firm, which also makes it ideal for crumbling.
Where to find feta cheese? ⇢ Feta is easy to find at most grocery stores, but its presentation & quality vary. Greek feta is the most iconic & well-known variety, but you can also enjoy French feta (which is typically mild & creamy) or Bulgarian feta (which has a creamier texture but varies in saltiness). American feta tends to be less creamy & more crumbly with a strong tangy flavor. Read the labels as you shop & you’ll notice there are several different styles of feta out there!
You can identify feta by its creamy white color, small holes, & crumbly texture. Feta is often found packaged in square blocks both with & without the brine, or pre-crumbled in airtight containers. I highly recommend buying a block of brined feta & crumbling it as you need it. This will give you the absolute best flavor & texture.
What can I do with a block of feta cheese? ⇢ SO much! Feta is such a versatile cheese that pairs well with classic Mediterranean flavors & many other dishes. I love it crumbled in a salad, sprinkled on pizza, or whipped into an epic dip. But making baked feta with olives is definitely my favorite way to eat feta cheese!
How to make baked feta cheese ⇢ The most important thing about making baked feta is choosing the best quality feta you can find. It’s the star of the show, after all! If you can find it, buy a block of feta that is packaged in brine. This feta will have super-rich flavor & a creamier texture that’s the perfect starting point for baked feta. It’s ok if you can’t find feta in the brine – it will work equally well. Brined feta just has the best salty, tangy flavor & delightfully creamy texture, so get it if you can!
Keep reading for a more detailed step-by-step guide to making baked feta with olives.
How to Bake Feta Cheese with Olives
This baked feta recipe is super simple & comes together with only 10 minutes of active prep. The rest of the time is spent waiting for the feta to bake into soft & creamy goodness while your kitchen smells heavenly!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Assembly. Take your block of high-quality feta cheese & pat it dry, then drizzle with a beautiful coating of olive oil & honey. Nestle garlic & fresh thyme alongside & sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes. These aromatics perfume the baked feta cheese with incredible flavor. Recipe Tip! ⇢ Use a small baking dish to keep all the ingredients close together. As their amazing flavors release, the aromatics are more likely to infuse into a block of feta in a small dish than if everything is too spread out!
Bake the feta with olives. The feta will bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F, at which point you’ll spoon the beautiful garlic & herb-infused olive oil all over the baked feta cheese. This step is similar to how you would baste a roast or a steak, but a vegetarian version! Add the castelvetrano olives to the baking dish, sprinkle everything with lemon zest, & continue baking until the cheese is totally softened & creamy.
Serve. Once the baked feta comes out of the oven, finish it with a spritz of fresh lemon juice & allow it to cool slightly before enjoying your little taste of heaven! 😊 That’s all it takes to make an absolutely perfect baked feta appetizer – so simple!
How to Serve Baked Feta with Olives
Baked feta is best served warm out of the oven, when it’s still creamy, softened & spreadable. Hearty & creamy baked feta pairs best with sturdy crackers, toasted bread, or crostini. Use a knife to spread the baked feta or feel free to dip right into it – & don’t forget to scoop up those olives too!
* Bonus Recipe! Homemade Crostini.
Homemade crostini is perfect alongside baked feta with olives (& it’s super make-ahead friendly!). To make crostini, slice a French baguette into ¼ inch pieces, brush each with a little olive oil & sprinkle with garlic powder & kosher salt. I also love to pop a few sprigs of fresh herbs like thyme & rosemary over the bread for some aromatic flavor. Bake the bread on a large baking sheet until each slice is crisp & brown. More crostini-making details are in the Recipe Notes!
Tips for Storing & Reheating Baked Feta
Baked feta with olives is one of those dishes best enjoyed fresh out of the oven when it’s perfectly soft & the flavors are shining. Leftovers just aren’t the same – but if you do have any, I suggest enjoying them cold or at room temperature, more like a marinated feta. You can reheat baked feta in the oven as well, even if it’s not quite as good as day one. It’s totally up to you!
My recommendation is to scale the baked feta recipe to the size of the crowd you’re serving instead of planning on leftovers. Buy a larger block of feta for a big crowd or cut your block of feta in half if you’re serving only a few people. Adjusting the portion size is a super simple way to make sure no feta goes to waste!
I can’t wait for you to try this Heavenly Baked Feta recipe! It’s such a showstopper & no one will guess how easy it was to throw together – the best combination! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
More Recipes Like This:
Easy Party Appetizers
This Heavenly Baked Feta with Olives & Thyme is seriously easy to throw together & made with simple yet flavor-filled ingredients that always impress – an easy entertaining must-try!
A block of feta cheese bakes with fresh thyme, garlic, & a little bit of honey, until it is completely warm, fragrant, soft, & creamy. Finish with meaty-yet-mild castelvetrano olives & lemon & serve with crackers or crostini. The perfect snack or appetizer for any gathering, girl’s night, or date night in!
- 6–8 ounces good-quality feta cheese block or brick, patted dry (do not crumble – see Recipe Notes)
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 4–6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 4–6 sprigs fresh thyme
- optional: up to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces castelvetrano olives, drained & torn in half or roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, zested & juiced
- for serving, as desired: crostini, toasted bread, or crackers of choice
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Gather & prep ingredients according to Ingredients List, above.
- Assemble & bake the feta: Place the feta in the center of a small baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil & honey over top & nestle the garlic & thyme around the sides of the feta. If using, sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes over top. Transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Add the olives to the baked feta: Once it has been baking for 20 minutes, remove the feta from the oven. Use a spoon to carefully baste some of the garlic & herb-infused olive oil over the feta, then add the castelvetrano olives to the baking dish & sprinkle the lemon zest over top. Return to the oven & bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the feta is softened as desired & the olives are warmed through.
- Serve: Finish the baked feta with a spritz of fresh lemon juice. The amount of lemon juice you may want will depend on how tangy your feta is – I add the juice of half a lemon to start, adding more to taste as needed. Allow the baked feta with olives to cool slightly, then serve immediately with crostini, toasted bread, or crackers as desired. Enjoy!
- Best feta cheese for baked feta recipes: Since it’s the star of the show, it’s important to use the best quality feta you can find for this baked feta recipe. I suggest looking for feta that’s packaged in brine, which has much richer flavor & creamier texture. If you can only find a brick of feta, it will work just fine. If your block or brick of feta is especially thick, I suggest slicing it into 1/2 – 1-inch planks to ensure the feta bakes up quickly. You could even break it into large chunks, but avoid crumbling it into small pieces.
- Storage & Reheating: This baked feta recipe is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven, so rather than planning for leftovers I suggest scaling the recipe up or down to be suitable for the size of crowd you’re serving. If you do have leftovers, transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy cold or at room temperature as marinated feta, or reheat in the oven until warm & softened – up to you!
Keywords: baked feta
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.