Marinated feta cheese is incredibly easy to make for an appetizer or a delicious mezze platter. Make this recipe with only 4 ingredients!
A mezze platter is the Greek equivalent of an Italian charcuterie board, and it may be one of the most delicious ways to nosh without preparing a full meal.
Feta cheese is a major player in many Greek dishes, but especially appetizers. From whipped feta dip to Greek feta salad, and stuffed olives to spanakopita triangles, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the salty brined cheese.
Honestly, my favorite feta cheese appetizer is just simple marinated cheese cubes. Let me show you how beyond easy it is to make!
Marinated Feta Cheese
This particular recipe is a favorite because there are just 4 ingredients needed to make it! It’s marinated feta with a feisty flavor from chile peppers and fresh rosemary.
- Feta cheese block- Crumbled feta is available almost everywhere but for this recipe, you’ll need a solid block of feta cheese. I get mine from a local Greek deli but you can usually find them at specialty markets and even warehouse stores like Costco are known to carry it during holiday seasons.
- Olive oil- Get the best quality extra virgin olive oil your budget can afford. Some of the lesser quality oils can give the cheese a bitter flavor. Keep in mind that after it marinates overnight, the cheese could be packed in the oil for a couple of weeks.
- Fresh rosemary- If you don’t grow your own herbs, look for sprigs of fresh rosemary in the produce section of the grocery store. You’ll need 8 or so sprigs.
If you can’t find rosemary sold in a package by itself, look for a package of fresh poultry seasonings; there are typically 3 to 4 rosemary sprigs in those packets.
- Chile peppers- I use Fresno chili peppers to add a nice little bite to marinated feta cheese. It doesn’t make the cheese overly spicy but it is noticeable. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can omit the peppers completely or use a milder pepper like jalapeno.
Of course, if you want the cheese cubes to be spicier, you can use birdseye chiles, or something even hotter than that!
How to Marinate Feta
- Prepare the jars, peppers, and herbs.
We’re not pickling or canning, so any wide mouth jar with a tight fitting lid will be fine. If you’d like to give these as hostess gifts, there are pretty glass jars at stores like Williams-Sonoma, World Market, and even Marshalls or Home Goods.
You don’t need to sterilize them, but be sure to wash and dry the jars thoroughly, inside and out.
You’ll also need to rinse and dry the chili peppers and sprigs of rosemary. Then, slice each chili pepper in half from top to bottom. You can keep the seeds intact, or remove them for a milder flavor.
- Slice the feta cheese and add it to the jars.
Cut your block of cheese into 1-inch sized cubes. I find this to be the perfect size for spreading onto a cracker or piece of baguette.
After cutting, divide the cheese cubes evenly between the jars.
- Add herbs and chiles, then cover with oil.
Tuck the rosemary and chiles into the jar, then pour the olive oil over everything in the jars and place the lids on.
- Store in a cool, dry location overnight.
The marinated feta cheese will be ready to enjoy in 24 hours. That’s all there is to it! After it marinates, you’ll need to serve it right away, or store the marinated cheese in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
Aside from adding it to a Greek mezze platter or noshing on them as-is for a snack, here are a few uses for marinated feta cheese:
- Salad topping
- Spread onto crackers or flatbread
- Add to an omelet or stuff into naan
- Wrap in phyllo or puff pastry and bake for an easy warm appetizer
To prepare for serving: Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving, as the oil will solidify and needs to return to a liquid. Otherwise you won’t be able to remove the cheese from the jar.
Do not store at room temperature. Keep the cheese covered in oil and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
Adding garlic: If you’d like to add garlic, be aware that it must be eaten within 3-4 days. This is because garlic has low acidity and it's possible for spores of botulism to develop.
Marinated Feta Cheese with Chiles and Herbs
- 16 oz feta cheese
- 6 Red Chiles See Note 1
- 8 sprigs of herbs of choice
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil to cover See Note 2
- Make sure to clean the glass jar and dry it completely and set aside. Wash and clean herbs. Dry with paper towel.
- Cut the feta cheese into 1 inch cubes. Layer the jar with herbs, cheese and peppers. Cover with olive oil to the top and seal.
- Store in a cool, dry place to marinate overnight. Use immediately or refrigerate (see Note 2).
- Spread on crostini, crumble in salads, over eggs or to top pizza.
- This will keep refrigerated for 3 weeks, bring to room temp before eating as the oil will thicken from the cold (See Note 3).
- Typically I use a thinly sliced red Fresno chile, but for more heat, Birds Eye peppers sliced lengthwise work as well. Feel free to experiment with other chiles.
- Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving as oil has solidified and needs to return to a liquid.
- This will keep if covered in oil and refrigerated for 3 weeks. If adding garlic, be aware this must be eaten within 3-4 days due to the risk of garlic's low-acidity and it's possible for spores causing botulism to develop. If no garlic is added (like in this recipe) this will keep refrigerated up to 3 weeks. Do not store at room temperature.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.