Tyrokafteri is a deliciously creamy blend of tangy cheese and spicy peppers. Make this recipe for a quick snack or party appetizer.
Cheese dip with bread or crackers is a classic comfort food snack, but American versions can be too heavy and greasy sometimes.
This Greek spread is just as satisfying but is a lighter, fresher option.
Plus, it’s easy to adjust the spiciness and make it just how you’d like it.
What is tyrokafteri?
It’s a spicy feta cheese spread that literally translates to “hot cheese.” Depending on the ingredients and preparation method, this spread may also be known as kopanisti or htipiti.
The texture of the spread ranges from smooth and creamy to a little more rustic, and will just depend on your personal preference.
Also, this particular recipe is for the classic white variety called aspri. There’s also a red version called kokkini which adds sweet red peppers, strained Greek yogurt, and paprika for a more complex but milder flavor.
How to make Tyrokafteri
This spicy cheese dip couldn’t be easier to make. Just blend everything together and serve!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Feta cheese - Use a really good quality cheese, preferably Greek feta. Different countries make their own versions and they can vary in flavor and texture. If you can’t find Greek feta, choose one that is mostly sheep’s milk with American being a last resort since it’s not as creamy.
- Olive oil - This lends a little bit of flavor to the dip, but any neutral oil can be used. Avocado or sunflower oil would be good substitutes.
- Bell pepper - Green peppers are more bitter because they haven’t had as long to ripen. Feel free to use a different color, but the flavor will be a little more sweet.
- Banana pepper - For more heat, replace this with a Pepperoncini pepper. Or try a red Fresno chile, but remove the seeds first. You can also roast the pepper over a gas flame to bring out more flavor if you’d like.
- Chop the peppers: Remove the seeds from the bell pepper, then chop it along with the banana pepper. Don’t worry about how it looks - the pieces just need to be small enough to blend easier.
- Blend: Add everything to a food processor and blend until smooth. If you’d prefer a coarser texture, blend for less time and then pulse until it looks right. It might also help to drizzle in the oil as it blends instead of adding it at the beginning.
- Serve: Scrape into a bowl and add more oil over the top if you’d like. Serve immediately at room temperature.
- Storage - Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It will harden in the cool air, so let it sit on the counter for about half an hour to soften before eating.
- Handling peppers - It’s always wise to wear gloves when handling spicy peppers, especially when chopping or seeding them. The oils can burn when transferred to the skin or eyes, and it’s easy to miss some spots when washing with soap and water.
- Blending - You can also use a high-speed blender if you don’t have a food processor. However, you’ll want to pulse it a few times first, then start at a lower speed and increase as you go so that everything incorporates well.
- Less salt - Soak the feta in just enough water to cover the top for about 15 minutes, then drain and proceed with the recipe. This will get rid of the saltiness if that’s something you need to look out for.
How to use spicy feta cheese spread
Try it on just about anything you can think of! Here are the most popular ways to enjoy it:
- Dip for pita or crackers
- Spread on sandwiches
- Paired with meat and vegetables
- Sauce for flatbread or Georgian Cheese Bread - Khachapuri
Tyrokafteri - Feta Cheese Spread
- 16 oz feta cheese (See Note 1)
- 4 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ cups green bell pepper (See Note 2)
- 1 banana pepper (See Note 3)
- Add the feta cheese, yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, and both peppers to a food processor. Process until the ingredients are almost smooth and combined, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer to a bowl and serve at room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil. Store covered and refrigerated up to 1 week.
- Preferably Greek feta cheese. Crumbled, this will be 2 ½ to 3 cups total.
- Typically 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped.
- 1 banana pepper, roughly chopped, about a ⅓ cup total. A Pepperoncini pepper can be substituted, with the heat factor rising just a bit. I also use a red Fresno chile (as pictured), seeded sometimes.
*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.