This baked fontina (aka garlic cheese dip) is the best holiday-friendly cheese dip out there! For 60+ other Thanksgiving recipes, check out the Recipe Index.
Baked FontinaBrace yourselves for possibly the easiest appetizer you’ll ever come across.

I’d say this recipe is even easier than putting together a cheese platter because there is no agonizing over what cheeses to buy. Wait.

Am I the only on who agonizes over things like this?

Anyway, for this baked fontina, you’ll cube some Italian fontina, chop some garlic and herbs, throw everything in a cast iron pan, and pop it under the broiler for 6 minutes. That’s it!!

The result is a baked fondue of cheesy goodness that you can scoop up with hunks of bread, toasted sliced bread, or even crackers or Wheat Thins.  The garlic and herbs permeate throughout the cheese when it bakes and every bite has a blast of herby flavor.  It’s heaven…melted cheese heaven.

Baked Fontina

I made this for a Christmas Day appetizer last year, have made it a couple times since (a halved recipe in an 8″ cast iron pan), and I’ll be making it again for a Thanksgiving appetizer this year. Needless to say, it’s always a huge hit wherever I bring it.

Whether you’re hosting turkey day and want to work this into your menu or you plan to bring this to someone’s house, cube the cheese and chop the garlic and herbs in advance and keep them in airtight containers until you’re ready to bake.

Bring your cast iron pan with you – doesn’t everyone travel with kitchen equipment? – just in case your host doesn’t have one for you to use.

Since the recipe only needs 6 minutes under the broiler, you can even take the turkey out of the oven for a few minutes (cover it tightly with foil) and slip the pan in to bake.  Hot appetizers really don’t get any easier than this one and I can already anticipate how quickly this baked fontina will go on the appetizer table this year.

60+ more Thanksgiving recipes on Smells Like Home are right here!

Baked Fontina

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 6
  • Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs Italian fontina, rind removed and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • 01

    Adjust top rack of the oven so that it sits about 5 inches under the broiler unit. Preheat broiler.

  • 02

    Spread cheese out in the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron pan. Drizzle olive oil over the cheese. Mix together the garlic and herbs in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of the cheese.

  • 03

    Bake for 6 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and melted through. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and set it on a heatproof surface – the pan will be hot! Serve immediately.

adapted from How Easy is That? by Ina Garten

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  • tanya1234
    November 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yummy

  • November 21, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    This is one amazing recipe, I make baked brie ALL THE TIME and I’m Italian, what a grand idea this was!

  • November 21, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    I made this awhile back and it is absolutely wonderful. You are so right describing it as melted cheese heaven!

    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving 🙂

  • November 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM

    Oh my goodness….this looks ridiculously good. I love the simplicity with the melted herbs, garlic and olive oil. Of course it’s an Ina recipe. Might have to squeeze this in on Thanksgiving.

  • November 21, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    I just had to wipe a pool of drool off of the keyboard. Totally making this for football this weekend!

  • November 22, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    You’re right! How easy is this?! Love it.

  • November 22, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    It looks amazing!

  • November 23, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    I love appetizers and could this one get any easier? Looks fantastic!

  • November 24, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    That looks so…..cheesy in an extremely yummy way! Drool…

  • November 25, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    Wow, this looks remarkable. I must make this, soon!

  • November 28, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Made this for an impromptu Thanksgiving party. They raved! It was ridiculous how easy it was. This is going in the cookbook. And I can’t stress enough, do NOT forget how hot the pan is!

  • Kim Q
    November 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Is it weird that I just licked my monitor? I didn’t think so.

  • dlyte2
    December 1, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Does it have to be a cast iron skillet?

    • December 1, 2011 at 9:17 PM

      dlyte2: No, but a cast iron pan will hold the heat really well when you take it out of the oven and will help to keep the cheese melted for a longer period of time.

  • cara
    December 2, 2011 at 7:30 AM

    Would a sourdough bread bowl work, you think? Im trying to think of another way to serve this besides an iron pan or skillet. I guess I could use a baking dish also. Any other ideas? Cant wait to serve this at my party this Sat! 😀

    • December 2, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      Cara: You could transfer the cheese to a bread bowl after baking/broiling it but the cheese won’t stay hot for too long – the cast iron retains heat really well and helps to keep the cheese hot. Alternatively, if you have a fondue pot with a low flame (or an electric one), that would work really well too. Let me know how you decide to serve it – this will help others who may not have cast iron pans.

  • NiteHawk
    December 3, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    Hmmmm. I’m going to make this over the holidays using either my mini-crock or full-size crockpot!

    • October 14, 2012 at 4:59 PM

      how long and what temp do you keep it in the crock-pot for? thats such a good idea!

  • Laurie
    December 11, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Yummy

  • Jennifer Jarman Stephens
    December 11, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    Is Brie the same as this cheese? I only have Walmart to shop and have never seen this cheese. It looks and sounds divine!

    • December 12, 2011 at 5:31 AM

      Jennifer: Brie is not the same but since it melts so awesomely, I think it would still be great used in place of the fontina. It won’t be as stringy when it’s melted but I still think you’ll love it. Let me know how it goes!

  • December 14, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    I think I’m gonna pass out. This is too good!

  • Nicole
    December 22, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Can this be done in a small Crockpot? I don’t have a cast iron pan, and I think the crockpot would keep it warmed up just like a cast iron pan. Looks delicious and I plan on making it for Christmas Eve!

  • Amanda
    December 31, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    This is AMAZING! I made it for our family Christmas get together as an appetizer and it was a huge hit. I filled up on it and could hardly eat my dinner! Thanks for the recipe, I’m making it for New Years too! Delicious!! 🙂

  • February 3, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    So simple and so addictively good!

  • February 5, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Is there another kind of cheese that can be used. We’ve checked our local Safeway and can’t seem to find Fontina cheese. I’d hate to substitute with anything substandard and feel like the recipe isn’t amazing!

  • KatieR
    February 14, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    I made this tonight and it was FABULOUS!!! We only made 1/2 a recipe but my husband and I ate it all. We didn’t have any time so we used sage instead and it was delicious. @Jolene, our local grocery stores don’t have Fontina either so I stocked up when we went out of town on Saturday.

  • February 16, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    OMG, it’s a sin :))

  • March 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    This makes my mouth water just looking at it! Can’t wait to try it

  • Jennifer Rinehart
    March 5, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Well, I have everything but the fresh thyme (gonna try it with fresh oregano). I also do not have a cast iron pan (it’s on my wishlist), so I’ll have to make it in a small’ish copper bottomed pan, I think it will be amazing (fingers crossed). Also, and seriously, this will be my last ‘also’, I’m making a half batch, because my kiddo said he would NOT eat this, it has too much green stuff in it.

  • March 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    just saw this on pinterest – it looks absolutely mouthwatering and seems to be so easy to make! great stuff!

  • Danielle
    March 22, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    I don’t have a cast iron pan, do you thing corningware or glass cookware/ anchor hocking would be ok to cook in?

    • March 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      Danielle: As long as the dish is broiler-safe, it’s ok to use. Don’t use glass!

  • Ally
    April 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    6 thinly sliced garlic cloves…it’s not to garlicy is it?

  • Keeley
    May 13, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    I made This tonight with Danish Fontina & in a terra cotta bakeware dish. I was very DISSAPOINTED b/c the cheese was melted, but very hard to dip the baguette in there without only soaking up the olive oil. I think the key here is ITALIAN Fontina. Terra cotta holds heat just as well as cast iron, so I’m sure that wasn’t the problem since the cheese was clumpy and hard right out of the oven. It still tasted good but was to hard to eat 🙁

    • May 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      Keeley: Yes, that’s why the recipe is written with “Italian fontina” and not just “fontina” or “Danish fontina.” I hope it works out better for you next time!

  • jbueno
    May 16, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Can you use minced garlic and if so… how much?

    • May 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      jbueno: You may risk it burning under the broiler but if you want to go that route, use as many cloves as the recipe states. If it’s preminced (jarred), check the jar for the conversion.

      • jbueno
        May 17, 2012 at 11:10 AM

        Roughly how many people is this be good for? I’m Trying to judge if I’ll need to double the recipe. Can’t wait to try it!!!!

  • Michelle
    June 9, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    OMG yummy! I can’t wait to make this.

  • becki
    June 25, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    I can’t find Italian fontina – all I can find is Swedish fontina!!

  • July 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I saw this on pinterest and my mouth started watering uncontrollably! I’m a major melted cheese freak and will literally melt string cheese just so I can have the melts gooey cheese texture. I can’t handle this. I need it now

  • Kmugsy
    July 18, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    since I live in a VERY rural part of WI, I was unable to find Italian Fontina (and me, here in the cheese state! sheesh) however I got some at cheesesupply.com and absolutely loved the recipe! I did try some as well in a crock-pot, if you have a small one it works well, but at the lowest setting/Auto. This is an amazing dish for get togethers and parties. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    • July 18, 2012 at 6:41 AM

      Kmugsy: I’m so excited that you took an extra step to find Italian Fontina – it really does make all the difference in this recipe (as you can tell by some of the other comments here). Great to know about the crockpot too!

  • Kim
    July 28, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    This sounds heavenly! Fontina is sooo good when melted. Cast iron skillets retain heat so well. I think I’m going to preheat the skillet a bit before adding the ingredients. That would keep the dip warm longer.

  • Ana
    August 30, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    About how people does this particular recipe serve?

    • August 30, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      Ana: It really depends on how hungry they are – it’s difficult to judge appetites. If I had to guess though, for an appetizer, maybe 10-12. Don’t quote me though!

  • Katie
    September 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    This is AMAZING! Cozy comfort food and so easy to make! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kate
    September 11, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    How many does this serve? Thanks!

  • lelel
    September 19, 2012 at 5:44 AM

    it’s hard to find an italian fontina here in the philippines..what substitute will i use? thank you..

    • September 19, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      If you can find provolone, I think that would work well.

  • Sheri
    October 6, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I’m eating this right now…..sorry, had to take another bite, Umm to say its easy and delicious is an understatement! I made it in about 12 minutes and my family is ooo-ing and ahh-ing as I type. I have kids ages 11-2, they are gobbling it up!!! Mr. Hubs is in cheesy heaven! Definately a holiday appetizer or an anytime appetizer. Absolutely delectable!!

  • Rebecca Hill
    October 13, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    This would be a great cob loaf dip. Just cut the topp off a cob loaf and scoop out the inside and chuck the mixed ingredients in, put it on a tray with the bread from the inside scattered around it and cook it in the oven. Mmmm!

  • Casey
    October 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    All I could find was Swedish Fontina, do you think that will work, and taste the same or close to Italian Fontina?

    • October 16, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      You can try it but others have commented that Swedish/Danish fontina doesn’t melt well and it’s not known to have a great amount of flavor either, so I wouldn’t recommend it. See if you can hunt down some Italian fontina at another store. Whole Foods will definitely have it and I’m sure Trader Joe’s will as well.

  • kshah
    November 3, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    has anyone tried this with gouda? it melts in a stringy way. I couldn’t remember what kind of cheese the recipe called for when I was at Trader Joe’s so I guess I’ll give it a whirl with the gouda.

  • kristina kulyabina
    November 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    this is bomb. simply bomb. the most amazing homemade appetizer.

  • AM
    November 26, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I saw it on pinterest and made it for Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit. I made it exactly according to the recipe and it was perfect. THANK YOU!!!

    • November 27, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      It’s always a huge hit with my family too – glad you all loved it!!

  • Sarah
    November 29, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    How much bread do you usually serve this with for an appetizer?

    • November 30, 2012 at 5:57 AM

      One loaf of French or ciabatta bread should do it. Just slice it really thin.

  • Linda
    November 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I’m wondering would a mozzarella work?

    • November 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      Eh. Mozzarella would work but the Italian fontina has so much more flavor than mozzarella. It will be also be suuuper stringy so be prepared.

  • Linda
    November 30, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Thanks for the QUICK reply!!! The recipe sounds delicious ~I can’t wait to try it!

  • December 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    I just saw this on Pinterest. Love this easy recipe, and I’m going to repin it, and then check out more of your blog!

  • Burgundy
    December 23, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    If I use brie do I need to cut the rind (or whatever that outer stuff on it is) off?

  • Rose
    January 1, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Made this for New Year’s Eve and it was a hit!! I didn’t have a good cast iron skillet so I made it in a heavy duty pie pan and threw it back in the oven for a few minutes when it started to cool off. No leftovers to worry about!! I think I’ll try it with different cheeses, maybe a mixture of fontina and brie?? THANKS! 🙂

  • Sarah
    January 4, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Where can you find fontina? I have looked at Walmart, piggly wiggly & Winn Dixie without any luck!

    • January 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      My regular grocery store has it but I’ve seen it BJs (I’m sure Costco would have it too). I don’t know what stores you have where you live so it’s hard for me to respond. If you can’t find Italian fontina, try brie (without the rind).

      • Tammy
        June 30, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        Our Costco doesn’t have the Italian Fontina. Kennewick, WA. Will try the Brie. Thanks.

    • Char
      December 8, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      Did you try Publix?

  • Sue lynch
    January 12, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Yum

  • Ginny Showman
    January 18, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    I made this for our family at Christmas and let me tell you…SUPERB!

    My grown boys are definite foodies and they said it may have been the best thing I’ve ever made for them! (not sure how I feel about that, since this was so easy – but the results were undeniable!)

    And you’re right – the cast iron pan is really a must. Although since this was devoured by 5 men in about 12 seconds, it didn’t have a chance to cool down!
    Thanks for posting this. Found it on Pinterest.

    • January 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      Thanks so much for coming back to let me know! It’s such an awesome recipe and I’m so glad your family loved it as much as mine did. 🙂

  • February 12, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Can’t wait to try this! My hubby would LOVE it!

  • Tara
    February 16, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I saw this on pinterest, this looks amazing! I was just wondering about how long will this stay nice and melty for? – Though I’m sure it will be gone before that happens!

    • February 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      It stays melty for about 15-20 minutes but it can easily be reheated under the broiler.

  • March 1, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Love this recipe! I included a link to it in a round-up of quick and easy appetizers on my blog at http://thecozyabode.com/?p=667.

  • Patti
    March 8, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    I just made this and it’s truly delicious. The fresh herbs make all the difference and the aroma is beyond intoxicating. I had one problem. The cheese melted beautifully and was relatively creamy when I first took it out of the oven but not nearly as creamy looking as your photos. It seemed to harden up very quickly once it started to cool off. I didn’t read the comments before I went shopping and I noticed that you recommend Italian Fontina. I just checked and the one I used was French. I’ll try to find the Italian cheese next time. Still, it had a wonderful flavor and I will definitely make it again.

  • March 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    This recipe does not have any YIAH Herb and Garlic dip mix in it like it is advertising on pinterest. Was it left out on accident?

  • Margaret
    March 13, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Found the Italian fontina at Sprouts (grocery store) and the herbs were from my garden. We absolutely loved this dish! So simple and delicious!

    • March 13, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      Yay! I know – SO simple, right?!

  • Laura
    March 14, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    This looks amazing! Do you think if I baked it first I could microwave it back to melty goodness? I have a work party I’d like to bring it to.

    • March 15, 2013 at 6:01 AM

      Sure – that should work fine.

  • melesha
    March 15, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    I can not find this cheese in our stores here in Alabama. Is their a substitute?

    • March 16, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      I’m sure brie would be amazing here instead of the fontina.

  • Wendy
    March 17, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    I know you might loose a little smokiness, but I’m wondering if this could be done in a small crock pot for traveling as well?

    • March 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      Sure – I don’t see why not!

  • Kay
    March 20, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    I just saw this on Pintrest and was wondering… If I cooked it in the oven on broil for the 6 minutes, could I just transfer it into a crock,pot to keep it warm? My one daughter would love this at her Graduation Open House the first of June. Don’t you think that would work? Thanks for any help or opinion you could give.

    • March 20, 2013 at 6:17 AM

      I don’t really know since I’ve never used a crockpot for this recipe. I’d say give it a trial run and see how it turns out.

  • Ariel
    March 25, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    This. This is amazing. The herbs and garlic are to die for. And what did I do before I owned a cast iron pan? I will now have a cheese conundrum on holidays, deciding between this and my go-to Baked Brie and Onion Puff!!

    • March 26, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      I know – isn’t cast iron the most versatile and amazing pan ever??

  • E. C. Dabis
    March 27, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    We are fortunate enough to have a woodstove. As directed, I used our cast iron skillet and after I made this DELICIOUS recipe, and then I put the cast iron skillet on top of our woodstove. The fire had dwindled down and it kept the cheese soft for a bit longer. Great recipe! It will be prepared in this house many times in the future.

  • April 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Question: I don’t have a broiler, just a toaster oven that we’ve been using to cook everything in (newly wed). If i set it on the highest temperature, will this recipe still work for me??

    • taraliptak
      April 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      It should definitely work and if there is a “broil” setting, use that. Otherwise, bake it first then turn on the toast setting – that should do the trick of really getting the top melted. Be sure to let me know how this turns out for you – it could be a great alternative cooking method for lots of people!

  • Nikki
    April 29, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Do I have to you a cast iron pan? If not what kind of pan can I use

  • Kim
    May 1, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I have made this recipe several times for my Bunko group. They LOVE it!! It is so easy and really yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kathleen
    May 29, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    should the garlic be roasted or raw?

    • taraliptak
      May 30, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      Raw garlic, though roasted garlic (if you have it already made) might be really good too!

  • Doretha
    June 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    This is totally awesome, have made it to share with friends & family, my boys 1st year adoption anniversary dinner, always, always a HIT!

  • Jen
    June 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    I have a convection oven without a broiler. Will it still work? Would I need to adjust the cooking time?

  • Loves2cook
    September 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I’ve made this….it’s a MUST try….It’s delicious and easy to make. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, a Corelle dish works just fine.

    • taraliptak
      September 14, 2013 at 8:15 AM

      Good to know about the Corelle dish working well!

  • Frank Lucas
    September 15, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Nikki, Any type of oven proof casserole dish will work in place of a cast iron pan. Make sure it is big enough so the cheese dip will cook in the amount of time the recipe calls for.

  • Kerry Hancock
    September 16, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    Oh I think I died & went to food heaven…wow is this good & fontina has always been a favorite of mine. Thank you for this sensational recipe….I’m off to finish the last bit in the pan lol

  • Mello
    September 16, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Has anyone tried adding spinach to this recipe?

  • Rose
    September 17, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    What store in california can I find this italian fontina cheese?? Please help

  • Beth
    October 1, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    You believe using Brie would be better than the Danish fontina? Have you made it with Brie before?

  • Hannah
    November 9, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    May I ask what kind of bread is pictured?

    • taraliptak
      November 11, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      I’m pretty sure it is just a loaf of French bread. Any kind of crusty bread or even hefty crackers like wheat thins or triscuits would work as well. Hope you like it!

  • Maryam Khattab
    November 15, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Where do I get

  • mays
    November 18, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    this looks like heaven and so easy to make!!

    • taraliptak
      November 21, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      Yep – SOOO easy!

  • guest90
    December 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Any cheese substitutions that won’t make me spend $10 on cheese?

    • taraliptak
      December 6, 2013 at 5:50 AM

      It depends on what kind of cheese you like. Other commenters have suggested that brie is a great substitute.

  • Denise
    December 12, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Made this and everyone loved it,next time I am going to put my cast iron over a sterno to keep the cheese melted !!

  • taraliptak
    December 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    It’s not recommended to use Danish fontina for this dish so I have not made it without Italian fontina. I’m sorry I don’t have any suggestions for you.

  • taraliptak
    June 12, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    It takes a whole lot of willpower not to devour this whole pan by yourself. 🙂 Hope you love it! Let me know how it turns out for you.

  • Melinda Z.
    December 16, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    So I was agonizing about what to bring to my family’s house for Christmas Eve dinner since I have to work during the day and won’t have much time… and then I spotted this gem. Totally doable at the last minute! Woohoo!

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