Warm, creamy, and luscious baked feta recipe with bell peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. One of the simplest and most satisfying mezze you'll make! All you need is some crusty bread or homemade pita chips to serve.
When it comes to baked cheese, most people imagine something gooey like baked brie (which I love with a spread of jam and some nuts), or the top layer of melty mozzarella on your eggplant parmesan or baked ziti. But today, we get to explore a new baked cheese goodness: baked feta!
This Mediterranean baked feta recipe is a simple appetizer that takes inspiration from my earlier trip to Greece, where tangy, rich feta is as imperative as olive oil and is used in cooking; or served with seasonal veggies (especially on top of village Greek Salad); or as a simple appetizer maybe next to other small plates like sokrdalia (garlic and potato dip) or melitzanosalata (eggplant dip).
In this Greek-inspired baked feta recipe, a block of quality feta cheese is baked to tender perfection with bell peppers, red onions, and cherry tomatoes. A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek EVOO), plus a few pinches of oregano and fresh thyme, bring it together.
While a blast of heat from your oven will not fully melt your feta cheese, it will transform it into a warm and luscious, creamy spread. Absolutely addictive! To serve it, all you need is some crusty bread, or better yet, some homemade pita chips!
Is it ok to cook feta cheese?
One of the most frequently asked questions is whether you can actually heat feta cheese. And the answer is YES! Quality feta can be baked in a high-heated oven until tender and perfectly creamy, like in today's appetizer. Or you can use it in other ways. Here are a few feta recipes:
- Spinach Frittata
- Savory pies such as spanakopita
- In saucy dishes like Greek shrimp with tomatoes
- Greek red lentil soup
A few tips for this recipe
- Use a high-heated oven. I set mine on 400 degrees F. If the cheese needs some more color after it's been baked for about 25 to 30 minutes, you can put it under the broiler briefly.
- Make sure you have an oven-safe little dish for this recipe (a small cast iron skillet will work as well). Place the dish or skillet on a small baking sheet for ease of use.
- Use quality feta. Find creamy Greek feta. French or Bulgarian white cheese will work great too (which are like feta but can not be given the term because Greece has the PDO for the term "feta"). Do not use crumbled feta, which is too dry and will not work as well in this recipe.
- Use a good tasting olive oil. You don't need a ton of extra virgin olive oil here, just a few drizzles. It will make a difference to use a good tasting olive oil, which can add flavor and richness to this dish. (here are the olive oils I always use).
- Serve right away. The idea of this dish is to serve it while the feta is still warm and extra creamy and easily spreadable (obviously, make sure it is not too hot to eat).
- Serve with pita chips or toasted Italian bread like I do in the video. To toast the bread slices, just give them a brush and arrange them on a sheet pan, bake briefly until lightly golden brown in the same oven while the feta is cooking.
Tools used in this recipe
- Small oven-safe dish such as terra cotta cazuela, a ramekin, or a small well-seasoned cast iron skillet
- A small baking sheet to put the dish on for ease of use (like I did in the video below)
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Baked Feta Recipe
- ½ red onion sliced
- ½ green bell pepper sliced into rounds
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes about 3 ounces, halved
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes optional
- 3 to 4 fresh thyme sprigs optional
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 oz Block of quality feta cheese do not crumble
- Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
- Crusty bread or pita chips to serve
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and adjust a rack in the middle.
- Arrange the onions, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes at the bottom of a ramekin or oven-safe dish. Sprinkle with 1 tsp oregano, pinch red pepper flakes, and add some of the fresh thyme. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the feta on top of the arranged veggies. Season the feta block with the remaining dried oregano, pinch of red pepper flakes and whatever remains of the fresh thyme. Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil on the feta and make sure to brush the sides with some of the oil.
- Place the baking dish on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes (and if you like, you can stick it under the broiler very briefly to add color).
- Serve with pita chips or toasted Italian bread.
- Make sure you are using an oven-safe dish for this recipe. Add a baking sheet below it for easy tranfer in and out of the oven.
- If serving with sliced bread, give the bread slices a brush of extra virign olive oil, spread them on a sheet pan, and toast in the oven briefly, turning over partway through, while the feta is baking!
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