Baked fontina garlic cheese dip: THE BEST and most simple cheese dip for game day, parties, and holidays! Under 10 minutes and made in a cast iron pan!
Brace 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, meats, olives, crackers, etc. to buy.
Wait a minute. 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 for the cheese dip in a cast iron pan, add a drizzle of olive oil, and pop it under the broiler for 6 minutes.
THAT’S IT!! Seriously, it takes like 10 minutes to make this cheesy appetizer dip!
The result is a baked fondue of garlicky, cheesy goodness that you can scoop up with hunks of bread, toasted sliced bread, crackers or wheat thins, or even sliced veggies for our gluten-free friends out there. The garlic and herbs permeate throughout the cheese when it bakes and every bite has a blast of herby flavor.
It’s pure heaven…melted cheese heaven!
You Can Prep This Whole Garlic Cheese Dip in Advance!
I made this baked fontina for a Christmas Day appetizer last year, have made it a couple times since, and I’ll be making it again for a Thanksgiving appetizer this year.
Needless to say, it’s always a huge hit whenever I make it. Aside from holidays, I’ve made it for baby showers, summer bbqs, family weekend dinners, game day activities, and work parties (we have an oven in our office kitchen!).
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 the dip off.
Cheese Dip in Cast Iron – The Only Way to Go!
Bring your cast iron pan with you to make this baked fontina – doesn’t everyone travel with kitchen equipment? – just in case your host doesn’t have one for you to use. Because a cheese dip in a cast iron pan is the best! The pan keeps the dip hot forevvvver.
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.
- 1 ½ lbs Italian fontina, rind removed and cubed into 1-inch pieces (see note below)
- 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
- Adjust top rack of the oven so that it sits about 5 inches under the broiler unit. Preheat broiler.
- 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.
- Broil 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.
For this recipe, you're going to want to use Italian fontina, not Danish fontina that has a red rind. Italian fontina usually has a light gold rind or is packaged in a small block without a rind (like by Bel Giosio). Danish fontina won't melt the same as Italian fontina and your recipe won't turn out the same as is pictured here.
adapted from How Easy is That? by Ina Garten
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