Marinated Cheese

Marinated Cheese will be the star of any party. Two kinds of cheese are marinated with herbs and pimento peppers for a colorful and flavorful appetizer.

A light green baking dish contains cheese slices, pimentos and marinade

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Marinated Cheese recipe

Party appetizers can be really daunting, especially if there are much bigger, more complicated dishes on the menu.

An easy, make-ahead appetizer that you can whip up for any gathering is Marinated Cheese. It only takes 30 minutes to assemble, then it rests in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. It may sound weird but it always gets rave reviews, I promise!

Marinated cheese is just what it sounds like: Two kinds of cheese that are rested in a simple marinade of herbs and peppers. Guests can scoop it onto crackers and bread.

I’ve been making this easy recipe for years and I know it’s one you are going to love making, too!

Why you’ll love this recipe

You may have marinated chicken, steak or veggies before, but have you ever marinated cheese? This recipe will surprise you!

  • This appetizer is best made ahead, ideally a day before. Though it only takes 30 minutes to make, it tastes better the longer it marinates.
  • Party guests love cheese, but this is a whole new way to present it and they will love it!
  • It’s quick and easy and doesn’t require any cooking.

Marinated cheese is a great recipe for the holiday season, football games or any kind of party. It can really be enjoyed any time of year.

Marinated Cheese sits atop crackers on a white marble surface

What is marinated cheese?

Marinated cheese is an easy appetizer made with alternating cuts of cheese that are soaked in an oil and vinegar marinade with herbs and pimento peppers.

While this presentation is a popular appetizer in America, marinated cheeses are beloved around the world.

Preserving cheese in olive oil is an ancient practice in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Today, it’s also popular in Australia and is gaining ground in the U.S. as well.

An overhead view shows ingredients for marinated cheese on a white marble surface including cream cheese, cheddar cheese, basil, garlic, olive oil, spices and other greens

Ingredients

Marinated cheese requires quite a few ingredients to make the marinade. Here’s what to add to your shopping list:

  • cream cheese (light or Neufchatel okay)
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red wine vinegar (white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar works too)
  • granulated sugar
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • fresh basil
  • fresh parsley
  • green onions
  • minced garlic
  • jar of diced pimientos

And don’t forget to stock up on crackers or bread to serve with the finished product.

You’ll need a spreader or spoon too for people to scoop slices of the cheese onto their crackers.

Variations and substitutions

You can adjust this recipe as you need to! It works really well with other types of cheese.

Instead of cream cheese, use another soft cheese like goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella cheese or Boursin cheese. Or replace the sharp cheddar cheese with white cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese or mild cheddar.

You can also use other fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. If you need to use dried herbs, use ¾ tablespoon dried for every 3 tablespoons fresh.

Instead of pimentos, you can use diced pickled red peppers. You can also throw in some green olives for flavor or a smattering of red pepper flakes for spice.

A hand holds a cracker with marinated cheese with the rest of the cheese in a dish in the background

How to make Marinated Cheese

Making marinated cheese is so easy! It seems complicated, but it really doesn’t require much skill.

First, freeze the cream cheese for 1 hour prior to slicing. This will make it easier to slice and handle.

A glass pyrex measuring cup contains a green marinade

Then get out a food processor. Add olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, basil, parsley, spring onion and garlic. Pulse together until combined and the herbs are roughly chopped.

Next, cut the cheddar cheese into ¼-inch square slices. Cut the cream cheese in half, then cut into ¼-inch slices.

Slices of cheddar cheese are placed in a line with cream cheese in between each in a light green baking dish

Arrange the cheese slices in an alternating fashion in a shallow baking dish (or another dish with a lip to hold in the marinade). The cheeses will resemble dominoes.

A hand pours chopped red pimentos over cheddar cheese slices and cream cheese

Top the cheese with drained pimientos.

A green marinade with chopped herbs is poured over cheese slices and pimentos

Then pour the marinade over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serve with a spreader and crackers, bread or toasted baguettes.

A green baking dish contains cheddar cheese slices and cream cheese covered in a leafy green marinade with pimentos

What to serve with it

Serve Marinated Cheese with your favorite bread, like a sliced baguette, or your favorite crackers. You can even make homemade ones such as these sourdough crackers.

This delicious appetizer works well with other cheese appetizers like a cheese platter or a sweet baked brie.

These bruschetta pinwheels are always a hit at parties.

Something hearty like cocktail meatballs will go well with this appetizer.

A non-cheesy dip like Tuscan White Bean Dip is great for anyone who is dairy-free.

A close up shot of marinated cheese on a cracker with other crackers out of focus surrounding

FAQ

Do you cook marinated cheese?

No, marinated cheese is served cold along with the herb marinade it is rested in.

Can you make marinated cheese with cheese cubes?

Yes! Place cheese cubes or mozzarella balls in a single layer in a dish with a lid, then top with the marinade. Toss to coat, then refrigerate for 8 hours.

How long does marinated cheese last?

Marinated cheese can be stored in an airtight, food-safe container for up to 2 weeks.
Once served, cheese should be left out at room temperature for no more than 2 hours.

More cheese appetizer recipes

A light green baking dish contains cheese slices, pimentos and marinade

Marinated Cheese

Yield: 24 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

Marinated Cheese is a great make-ahead appetizer for parties.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil (about 20 leaves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 whole spring onions, white ends cut off, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
  • crackers or bread, for serving

Instructions

  1. Freeze cream cheese for 1 hour prior to slicing.
  2. Add olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, basil, parsley, spring onion and garlic to a food processor. Pulse together until combined and the herbs are roughly chopped.
  3. Cut cheddar cheese into ¼-inch square slices. Cut cream cheese in half, then cut into ¼-inch slices.
  4. Arrange cheddar cheese and cream cheese in a baking dish to look like dominoes.
  5. Top the cheese with pimientos. Pour marinade over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Serve with a spreader and crackers or bread.

Notes

Substitutions

Try it with other types of cheeses. Instead of cream cheese, use another soft cheese like goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella cheese or Boursin cheese. Or replace the sharp cheddar cheese with white cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese or mild cheddar.

You can also use other fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. If you need to use dried herbs, use ¾ tablespoon dried for every 3 tablespoons fresh.

Instead of pimentos, you can use diced pickled red peppers. You can also throw in some green olives for flavor or a smattering of red pepper flakes for spice.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 6 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 304Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 362mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g

Did you make this recipe?

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