Have you tried the baked feta pasta that took the internet by storm earlier this year? That simple recipe inspired this delicious summer dip, which features some of my very favorite flavors—creamy feta, tangy cherry tomatoes, olives and plenty of fresh basil.
Baking these ingredients together near the heat source yields maximal flavor. The feta softens and turns golden, the cherry tomatoes burst and naturally sweeten, and the olives become even more intensely olive-y. Swirled together and finished with a generous sprinkle of basil, the combination is sublime.
This dish also bears a resemblance to a classic Greek dish called feta fournou, or baked feta. That dish typically features feta with bell pepper, tomato and oregano.
The flavors in today’s dip are also delicious raw, as you’ve seen in my Mediterranean Tomato & Feta Dip—make that one if you don’t want to turn on the oven! Either one will be a perfect light meal or summer evening appetizer.
Baked Feta Dip Ingredients
You’ll need four key ingredients to make this simple dip:
This recipe is designed for a block of feta, not pre-crumbled feta. As a plus, blocks of feta are more affordable per ounce. Blocks of feta vary in size by brand—anywhere between 5 to 8 ounces will suffice. The block used for these photos was 5 ounces. If your block is on the upper end, your dip will be more cheesy, creamy and substantial than shown here.
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Either one will do. These little tomatoes typically offer nice, ripe flavor even when tomatoes aren’t in season. Under high heat, they burst in the oven and release their juices. The end result is just delicious.
We’ll simply peel the garlic cloves and leave them whole. They’ll soften and mellow as the tomato juice bubbles around them. Before serving, we’ll find each of the cloves and smash it against the side of the dish with a fork before stirring it all together. This method is the easiest way to incorporate the garlic and yields the nicest flavor.
Kalamata Olives (optional)
I love Kalamata olives in this dish, but olives aren’t for everyone, so you can certainly skip them to suit your taste buds. The olives shrivel up a bit as they bake, which yields extra-delicious, condensed flavor.
After baking, we’ll sprinkle the dish all over with fresh basil to bring it to life. Enjoy!
More Summertime Appetizers to Enjoy
Here are a few more delicious dips and appetizers featuring ripe summer produce:
- Epic Baba Ganoush
- Classic Pico de Gallo
- Fresh Corn Salsa
- Spicy Red Pepper & Feta Dip
- Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Balsamic Drizzle
Baked Feta Dip with Cherry Tomatoes
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Dip
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Diet: Vegetarian
This baked feta dip recipe is the perfect summer appetizer! This easy dip features creamy feta, burst cherry tomatoes, optional olives and basil. Recipe yields about 4 servings.
- 1 block (5 to 8 ounces) feta cheese*
- 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
- 1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
- ⅓ cup Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise and pitted (optional)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
- For serving: Crostini or baked pita wedges or crackers
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven.
- Place the feta in the center of a two-quart baking dish. Place the garlic, tomatoes, and optional olives around the feta, in that order. Then drizzle the olive oil all over the mixture. Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes, if using, and several twists of pepper.
- Bake for 20 minutes on the upper third, then place the dish on a heat-safe surface. Gently stir the tomatoes around the feta and tuck the garlic cloves back down to the bottom of the dish.
- Return the dish to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes, until the tomatoes are juicy and shriveling and the feta is turning somewhat golden.
- Remove the dish from the oven. Carefully, using a fork, find each of the four garlic cloves and smash each one against the side of the pan. Gently swirl the feta and tomatoes together—not enough to make the dish completely uniform, but to more evenly distribute the ingredients. Taste, and add a pinch salt if desired (the dish is usually plenty salty for me when made with olives, without them you may prefer a bit of additional salt).
- Sprinkle all over with fresh basil. Serve warm, with crostini or pita wedges on the side. Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days. Gently reheat before serving.
Recipe inspired by the famous baked feta pasta dish.
*Feta note: Using a block of feta is key to this dish’s success. If it’s packed in water, drain it well before using. Blocks of feta vary in weight depending on the brand—any size between about 5 to 8 ounces will work. If your block is on the upper end of the spectrum, your dish will be more cheesy and creamy than shown here (nothing wrong with that!).
Make it gluten free: The dip itself is gluten free. Simply serve it with gluten-free accompaniments, like your favorite gluten-free crackers.