Warm & Cheesy Appetizers

From tender pastries filled with creamy goat cheese to pesto-laced cheddar fondue, these recipes are just right for a cold-weather get-together.

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Gorgonzola & Pear Focaccia

    Creamy blue cheese mingles with walnuts and sweet pear slices on warm wedges of homemade focaccia.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   45 mins 
Rise  1 hr 
Bake   10 mins  425°F 
Shrimp-and-Bacon-Stuffed Baby Potatoes

    Gouda and cream cheeses hold together the bubbly, flavorful potato filling in a bite-size version of this reinvented favorite.

Makes: 28 servings
Serving size: 28 appetizers
Prep   35 mins 
Bake   42 mins  425°F 
Cheese Wafers with Pepper Jelly

    Sharp cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper flavor these golden and toasty wafers. Spicy-sweet pepper jelly adds extra zip.

Serving size: about 80 wafers
Prep   15 mins 
Chill  2 hrs  to 24 hrs 
Bake   8 mins  400°F per batch
Tuscan Cheesecake Bites

    For a warm and savory twist on cheesecake, top a crust of panko bread crumbs, ground olives, and basil with a creamy feta filling. Sprinkle with olives and fresh oregano.

Serving size: 24 appetizers
Prep   25 mins 
Cool   10 mins 
Bake   12 mins  350°F 
Rosemary Bruschetta Stacks

    Skewer mini sandwiches of French bread, provolone, and tomatoes with a sprig of rosemary for an appealing appetizer.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   4 mins  425°F 
Goat Cheese-Olive Bites

    Spoon leeks, fennel, goat cheese, olives, and thyme into refrigerated pie crust and bake for a warm appetizer your crowd will love.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   30 mins  375°F 
Baked Mozzarella and Tomato-Basil Antipasti

    With only 15 minutes of prep time, this rich spread for toasted baguette slices is easy to make and hard to resist.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep   15 mins 
Bake   20 mins  350°F 
Cheese Triangles

    These little pastries are rich and cheesy, with sharp cheddar cheese baked in the dough and sprinkled on top.

Makes: 32 servings
Serving size: 32 triangles
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   12 mins  400°F 
Herb and Cheese Mini Quiches

    Accented with a hint of tarragon and adorned with a garnish of roasted red pepper and snipped chives, these quiches make a colorful flavor extravaganza.

Makes: 48 servings
Serving size: 48 mini quiches
Prep  1 hr 
Bake   25 mins  325°F 

    A gougere is a French puff pastry flavored with Gruyere cheese. Pipe the little morsels with a pastry bag or dollop the dough from a spoon.

Makes: 60 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Cool   10 mins 
Bake   20 mins  400°F 
Brie with Chutney

    Lightly baked brie and sweet mango chutney top crisp crackers, creating a quick and easy treat your guests will adore.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep   5 mins 
Bake   15 mins  325°F 
Feta Custard in Phyllo Cups

    A creamy blend of feta cheese, cream cheese, lemon juice, and flour fills store-bought or homemade pastry cups.

Makes: 30 servings
Serving size: 30 appetizers
Prep   30 mins 
Bake   15 mins  325°F 
Hot Fennel Dip

    Chock-full of fennel, this super-thick and chunky hot dip is reminiscent of hot artichoke dips, but with a mild anise flavor.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   15 mins  400°F 
Cook   10 mins 
Bruschetta with Goat Cheese

    Red pepper strips, chopped olives, and sage leaves top a creamy goat cheese spread and toasted Italian bread.

Makes: 24 servings
Prep   45 mins 
Bake   13 mins  425°F 
Provencale Tarts

    For a fast, fancy edge, use a fluted pastry wheel to cut the puff pastry for these cheesy, first-course appetizers.

Makes: 16 servings
Prep   20 mins 
Bake   12 mins 
Artichoke and Pepper Toasts

    Toasted baguette slices perfectly complement this garlicky cheese spread. Have plenty of slices on hand, your guests won't be able to stop with just one.

Makes: 8 servings
Serving size: about 4 cups
Prep   20 mins 
Bake   25 mins  350°F 
Mini Puffs with Goat Cheese and Herbs

    You can bake and freeze the pastry for these little puffs in advance -- but wait to add the filling until just before serving.

Makes: 20 servings
Prep   35 mins 
Bake   20 mins  375°F 
Ricotta Puffs

    Using puff pastry makes it easy to prepare these flaky appetizers oozing with creamy Italian ricotta cheese.

Serving size: 18 puffs
Prep   30 mins 
Bake   20 mins 
Cheddar Cornmeal Sticks

    Cayenne pepper adds a spicy kick to these cheesy sticks. You'll find it hard to stop with just one.

Makes: 48 servings
Prep   20 mins 
Bake   15 mins  350°F 
Stand  1 hr 
Pecan-Crusted Artichoke Spread

    Chopped nuts add heartiness to this proven crowd-pleaser, while fresh spinach brightens it up.

Makes: 64 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   40 mins  to  50 mins  350°F 
Pesto-Cheese Fondue

    A swirl of homemade pesto puts a festive spin on indulgent three-cheese fondue. For dippers, try herbed breadsticks, cherry tomato halves, fresh snow peas, Belgian endive leaves, or French-fried potatoes.

Makes: 16 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Bake   10 mins  450°F 
Feta Cheese Appetizers

    A lively spread made with two cheeses, Kalamata olives, roasted sweet peppers, and a touch of dill makes these pita bread triangles a surefire party pleaser.

Makes: 36 servings
Serving size: 36 appetizers
Prep   15 mins 
Cook   4 mins 
Broil   2 mins 
Hot Artichoke and Asiago Cheese Dip

    A blend of cream cheese and Asiago makes this dip rich and creamy; artichokes, red sweet peppers, mushrooms, and onion add a touch of texture.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   20 mins 
Bake   45 mins  350°F 
Baked Brie

    It's hard to go wrong with a wheel of baked brie and crackers. A topping of tomato preserves and rosemary punches up the flavor.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   10 mins 
Beer and Cheddar Fondue

    Looking for a simple, yet special, starter? Try this savory blend of cheddar and American cheeses, garlic, and light beer.

Makes: 6 servings
Start to Finish   20 mins 
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