Tirokafteri, sometimes called htipiti, is a spicy, creamy, tangy, and super bold mezze from northern Greece. This spicy feta dip takes only 10 minutes and is made to share. Heap this easy appetizer on grilled bread, pita chips, or lettuce cups for a gluten-free delight.
Tirokafteri is what happens if Southern pimento dip takes a Mediterranean vacation and returns with a healthier take on life. It’s lighter, with no mayo, but packs the same punchy kick and comforting creaminess.
The beloved Greek mezze combines so many layers of flavor. Like with my Creamy Whipped Feta Dip or Herby Feta Dip, the sheep’s milk cheese instantly brings a depth of flavor and tang. Roasted peppers add a sweet, slightly smoky, and velvety quality. And garlic and spicy chili pepper bring the perfect amount of heat.
Tirokafteri is a dip that’s sure to stand out at a party! Like Fatteh, the Middle East’s version of nachos, I love it as a twist on the classic game day fare. Game or not, it’s a total crowdpleaser. Make for your next party, perhaps with a Simple Crudités Platter on the side.
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Ingredients for Tirokafteri
Using just a handful of easy to source ingredients, this spicy feta dip recipe can be made year round. Tweak this adaptable recipe according to your taste and diet. Love super spicy? Throw more pepper in there. Avoiding gluten? Grab some fresh veggies!
- Feta cheese: Use a high-quality Greek feta preserved in brine for the creamiest, most flavorful dip.
- Roasted red peppers: Adds a layer of sweet meets smoky flavor. Make your own with just red bell peppers, olive oil, and garlic. Or, use a high quality fire-roasted jar from the store.
- Flavor makers: Garlic and red chili pepper or jalapeno bring a kick. Red wine vinegar adds brightness and balance to the creamy, salty feta.
- Extra virgin olive oil: A few tablespoons of EVOO adds velvety richness, and a final drizzle finishes the dip. A peppery and flavorful Greek olive oil like our Early Harvest variety works best.
- Garnishes: Fresh parsley and kalamata olives give this dish a final pop of color and flavor.
- French baguette: Crusty French baguette is grilled and served on the side for dipping. Use lettuce cups or veggies for a gluten-free version. Grab a bag of storebought pita chips or go the extra mile with homemade.
How to Make Tirokafteri
This feta dip recipe is an easy appetizer with very little actual cooking involved. Grilling bread and roasting red bell peppers are the most time-consuming steps, and each takes just a few minutes. If you’re short on time serve this spicy dip with chips, and grab a jar of roasted red peppers. From there, you only need to blend!
Get ready: Roast 2 small red peppers according to this roasted peppers recipe. Or, drain a 12-ounce jar of fire roasted peppers. Roughly chop one red chili pepper or jalapeno. Chop one garlic clove. Set up a large food processor with the blade attachment.
Make the dip: Crumble 10 ounces of feta cheese into the food processor. Add the chili pepper and its seeds, roasted peppers, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Close the lid and blend until the ingredients are broken down a bit. With the speed on low, drizzle in olive oil until the mixture is smooth, about 2 tablespoons oil.
Toast the bread: Slice a French baguette on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces. Heat a griddle or grill pan over medium heat. Brush the bread with olive oil on one side with olive oil. Arrange the bread slices in one single layer so that the oiled side touches the hot griddle. Brush the top side facing you with olive oil. Grill, flipping until charred marks form on each side, 2 to 5 minutes in total.
Serve: Spread the dip on a serving plate or bowl. Finely chop a handful of parsley leaves. Chop 4-5 kalamata olives. Drizzle the dip with a little olive oil and crumble on a bit more feta. Finish with the olives and parsley sprinkled on top. Serve with the grilled bread on the side.
Tips and Tweaks for this Tirokafteri Recipe
This recipe is super simple and fail-proof. Here are some extra tips to make it your own.
- Always season to taste. Most feta cheeses will be salty enough on their own, so I didn’t include any additional salt. Take a taste before serving. If it tastes flat, add a pinch of salt.
- Use a high-quality feta. Pre-crumbled feta tends to be dry and heavily processed. Since feta is the main ingredient, grab a nice sheep’s milk variety that’s whole and packed in brine. It’s worth the crumble!
- Seeds are fiery. While a peppers’ flesh adds flavor, seeds carry all the spice. I like to be brave and add the seeds for this spicy dip! But, if you’re serving for a timid group, go easy on the seeds.
- Make ahead. This dip is just as good the next day. If you’re planning a dinner, simply hold off on the garnish. Cover and store in your fridge so it’s all ready to go.
- Tweak the garnish. I love a simple olive and herb garnish here, but you can get creative and add your own twist. Layer with fresh veggies, top with more roasted peppers, or add fried lemon rings for visual flair. A final drizzle of chili oil adds even more spice for the extra brave chefs out there! Or, top with capers and lemon zest for a brighter take. You can even turn this dip into full a meal by topping with grilled meat.
What to Serve with Greek Feta Dip
Toasty grilled bread is a special treat, but this dip is also delicious with raw veggies in its place. Check out my guide to building a crudité board for ideas on which veggies are best for dipping.
From there, serve this spicy feta dip with more Mediterranean appetizers and mezze. Look for something light and delicate that won’t try to compete with Tirokafteri’s punchiness. Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Salad) or Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves) would both bring a perfect balance.
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Tirokafteri (Spicy Greek Feta Dip)
- 10 ounce block Greek feta cheese, broken into chunks, plus more for garnish
- 1 red chili pepper or jalapeno, trimmed and roughly chopped (leave the seeds for extra spice)
- 2 small roasted red bell peppers, torn (homemade or 12-ounce jar fire-roasted red peppers, drained)
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
- 4-5 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped, for garnish
- ½ French baguette, for serving (optional, or substitute with lettuce cups or pita chips)
- Make the dip: Add the feta, chili pepper, roasted bell peppers, garlic, and red wine vinegar to the bowl of a large food processor with the blade attachment. Close the lid and blend until the ingredient break down a bit. With the speed on low, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth, about 2 tablespoons oil.
- Toast the bread: If you’re serving with baguette, slice on the diagonal into ½-inch pieces. Heat a griddle or grill pan over medium heat. Brush the bread on one side with olive oil. Arrange the bread slices in one single layer so that the oiled side touches the hot griddle. Brush the top side with olive oil. Grill, flipping until charred marks form on each side, 2 to 5 minutes in total.
- Serve: Spread the dip on a serving plate or bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with a few crumbles of feta cheese, and the parsley and kalamata olives. Serve with the grilled bread on the side.
- You can make Tirokafteri ahead of time. Hold the garnish, and transfer the dip to a sealed container. Store in your fridge for 2 to 3 days. Garnish the dip and grill the bread just before serving.
- Remove the seeds from the chili pepper for a milder spice.
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