My Baked Feta Cheese with Olives is an appetiser that everyone will love! This Mediterranean dish has feta cheese, baked to perfection with fresh herbs, chilli and aromatic citrus peels, all doused in extra virgin olive oil. What’s more, it is quickly and easily prepared – it can be on your table and ready to enjoy in just 30 minutes!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
This easily made vegetarian feta appetiser has bright, vibrant flavours of the Mediterranean.
The ingredients are simple and easily obtained at your supermarket, but the result is delicious. It is a starter that is impressive and yet, it is quick and simple to make.
You will love this Baked Feta Cheese because:
- It is the perfect dish for entertaining. There is very little hands-on work, and you can easily scale it up for larger numbers.
- The oven baked feta undergoes a transformation, changing from a crumbly cheese to one which is deliciously creamy, soft and spreadable.
- This recipe is really three appetisers in one. There’s the rich, creamy, cheese, the fragrant, warm olives and the flavour-infused oil that is perfect for enjoying with crusty bread.
- The roasted olives are a revelation. Heating the herbs and spices in olive oil releases their flavours, and the olives become tender and juicy, absorbing the flavours of their aromatic companions.
- This is a great recipe to customise to suit your taste. The ingredients and quantities can be used as guidelines and varied as required. And if you require a gluten-free option, serve it with gluten-free crackers or pita.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Feta Cheese – we use Greek feta, a white cheese stored in brine. Choose a feta that you enjoy; a creamy feta is preferred as it will be more spreadable when heated.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – as the oil is an integral part of this appetiser, I recommend that you use the best olive oil that you have. As the juices are delicious mopped up with crusty bread, my preference is for extra virgin olive oil, an essential element of the Mediterranean diet.
Orange and Lemon Rind – I use a few strips of rind from an orange and a lemon to create some bright flavours. Citrus rinds contain fragrant, flavoursome essential oils. However, you need to take care that you remove just the coloured rind and not any of the bitter, white pith.
Lemon Juice – a small amount of lemon juice boosts the flavour of the ingredients and adds balance to the extra virgin olive oil.
Mixed Olives – for general use, I think that olives with pits have better flavour. However, in this dish you may prefer to use pitted olives – it will save you warning your guests of the pits!
Rosemary – this woody, aromatic herb works so well with the other flavours in the Baked Feta Cheese.
Chilli – a few strips of red chilli added to the dish while it bakes will add a lovely flavour and gentle warmth.
How to Make Baked Feta Cheese:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
1 – Prepare the flavourings:
Slice the chilli, strip the rosemary leaves from the sprig and remove the rind from the orange and lemon.
2 – Place the feta in a baking dish:
Place the feta in a small oven-proof dish, then pour the olive oil over the feta.
3 – Add the olives:
Add the citrus rind, pour over the lemon juice and distribute the olives around the feta.
4 – Bake the feta:
Add the chilli strips to the feta and sprinkle the feta with the rosemary leaves.
Place the feta into the oven and bake about 20 minutes, until hot and bubbling.
Serve the Baked Feta Cheese with Olives, with crusty bread, warmed pita or toasted ciabatta.
Tips for success and FAQs:
My Baked Feta Cheese is such a simple, easily made appetiser, that you really can’t go wrong with this recipe. Even if you are a complete novice in the kitchen, you will be able to make this and serve it with pride to grateful recipients.
This simple dish depends on the quality of the ingredients. For the best flavour, use extra virgin olive oil. One of the pleasures of this recipe is dipping crusty bread into the flavour-filled juices.
This dish is best when served just after baking in the oven. However, you can prepare it, ready to go into the oven shortly before you want to serve it.
If by chance you haven’t used all the warm feta, (this is highly unlikely) store it in the fridge in a dish covered with clingwrap. You will find that once it has cooled it will again become firm, but it will now be more fragrant and flavoursome. Use it as it is, to top a Greek salad, crumble over sliced tomato, in an omelette or crumbled over roasted vegetables. You can also use it as before by reheating it in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C (350 F) for 6–8 minutes until warm.
Variations and substitutions:
Mixed Olives – I have used a combination, but if you prefer, you could use just one type.
Fresh rosemary – You could use fresh thyme or dried oregano if you prefer. In general, I prefer fresh herbs as they provide brighter flavour, but when it comes to oregano, my preference is for the dried herb. A few fresh mint leaves added just before serving would add bright flavour.
Optional additions – sliced red onion, red capsicum/bell pepper, quartered marinated artichokes or cherry tomatoes.
Serve this flavour-filled appetiser family-style. Place it on the table with crusty bread for people to help themselves. This style of entertaining encourages a convivial, relaxed atmosphere and as a result, a relaxed host.
Alternatively, serve it as a light, meat-free meal, accompanied by Homemade Pita Chips and a refreshing Kale and Apple Salad or Rocket and Pear Salad.
A cheese based appetiser is ideal for entertaining and can be the perfect start to a dinner party or casual meal.
Baked Feta with Olives and Rosemary is easy to make and even easier to enjoy. Take a little trip to the Mediterranean with this vibrant appetiser. It is perfect to serve to guests or a quickly prepared appetiser to enjoy with a relaxing glass of wine.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
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Baked Feta Cheese with Olives
- 200 g (7 oz) Greek feta cheese
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 3 strips orange rind
- 3 strips lemon rind
- 1 tablespoon (20 ml) lemon juice See Note 1
- 1 cup mixed olives See Note 2
- 3 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves See Note 3
- 1 long red chilli – or to taste See Note 4
For accuracy, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
- Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C (355 F).Cut chilli into thin strips. Remove the rosemary leaves from the sprig and prepare the citrus rind.
- Place the feta in a small oven-proof dish – See Note 5.Pour the olive oil over the feta.
- Add the strips of lemon and orange rind, then pour over the lemon juice.Distribute the olives around the feta. Sprinkle with the rosemary leaves and chilli.
- Place the feta into the oven and bake about 20 minutes, until hot and bubbling.You will know it’s ready when the edges of the feta become slightly browned. If you want a little more colour, place it briefly under the grill/broiler.
- Remove from the oven and serve with hot crusty bread, warmed pita or toasted ciabatta.
- Tablespoon: we use a standard Australian tablespoon which is 20 ml (4 teaspoons).
- Olives: for this recipe, I prefer to use olives that have been pitted.
- Rosemary: you could also use fresh thyme or dried oregano.
- Chilli: use chilli flakes if you prefer, or omit them and use freshly ground black pepper.
- Baking dish: you will serve the baked feta in the same dish.
- Gluten-free option: if you require a dish that’s gluten-free, serve the feta with some gluten-free crackers or bread.
- Feta is packed in salt brine so there’s no need to add any extra.
The nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
This post was originally published in December 2018. It has been updated with new photos and more information. The recipe remains the same.
This is astoundingly simple to make, wonderful results and ‘huge’ score on visual impact. My guests raved. I made two side by side in a baking dish and the big win was using the genuine Greek sheep and goats feta. We used crusty breads to soak up every last drop if it. Thank you Alex once again.
Hi Kate, thank you for your fantastic feedback on the Baked Feta with Olives. I am delighted to hear that it was popular with your guests, and crusty bread is essential to enjoy those delicious juices! I appreciate that you took the time to contact me. 🙂
A stunning and super easy crowd pleaser. I put two whole Greek sheet/goat feta blocks sided by side in an oven proof dish and increase the recipe accordingly I served this with crusty bread Everyone wanted to soak up the remaining juices once they had devoured the feta. It LOOKS fantastic, and equalled only by the awesome flavours. Thanks Alex.
Hi Kate, thank you for your fantastic feedback on the Baked Feta Cheese. I am delighted to hear that it was a hit for you. 🙂
Just made this for company this evening and it was a major hit! Looked fancy but was super easy to prepare. This is my new favorite when I need an easy appetizer to impress!
Hi Renee, thank you for your fantastic feedback on the Baked Feta Cheese with Olives. I am delighted to hear that it was a hit with your guests! 🙂
I brought this to a potluck and everyone loved it! I added a bit of crushed red pepper flakes to the olive oil for a bit of heat. The baked feta was fantastic with crackers and we finished off the olive oil by dipping some fresh baked bread into it. It was so good!
Hi Michelle, thank you for your fantastic feedback on the Baked Feta Cheese. I am delighted to hear that it was popular at your potluck and appreciate that you took the time to let me know. 🙂
Aya | Science & Crumbs
This is probably the best feta recipe I have seen. I love the use of orange and lemon zest to bring out the flavor. Very creative!
Hello Aya, thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed the Baked Feta. I agree with you, the citrus zests really heighten the flavour. 🙂
Good quality large olives (not salty) and good quality olive oil essential. Excellent recipe!
Thank you so much, Nikki!
I am not a feta fan. Can you substitute with another cheese?
Hi Mariann, you could try baking some fresh goat cheese – I haven’t tried this myself but it should work. I hope this helps. 🙂
I made this for my in-laws that were visiting and they LOVED IT!! I can’t believe how much flavor this has for being such simple, easy recipe. We served this as part of a cheese platter with toast points and it was so delicious! We’re definitely making this again. Thank you!
Thanks for letting me know, Miranda! Glad you all enjoyed it.
Toast points is a great serving choice! Many thanks, Alex
I love this! Absolutely delicious!
Thank you, Taleen!
So good!!!!!! We devoured this with some crusty bread and a bottle of red.
That sounds like an evening well spent, Jackie 🙂
I love this recipe! it’s so flavorful and tasty. Thanks for sharing
I am so glad you enjoyed it, Angela – thank you for letting me know!