This Baked Goat Cheese dip is a special sort of appetizer. It’s not exactly your standard game-day cheese dip recipe, but I would absolutely be thrilled to watch a football game with it on the table.
It’s more versatile than that though and can be used for a fancy holiday appetizer as well!
I’ll dig into to some topping options for the dip, but for a standard base, I like to use crispy bacon and dates which gives some saltiness and sweetness to the dip that makes it super addictive.
Need a dip recipe? Look no further!
Ingredients for Baked Goat Cheese Dip
You need a good amount of goat cheese for the baked appetizer. Since goat cheese has great flavor but can be a bit on the dry side, I recommend adding some cream cheese as well. You could add parmesan cheese if you wanted to amp up the umami flavors or a little gouda if you wanted it to be creamier.
You do need a lot of goat cheese for this dip, which can be a little expensive, but it’s an easy appetizer to make and fits on any table.
Beyond the cheeses, I like to whip some honey and lemon into the base of the dip. This makes the dip more interesting than just plain goat cheese.
Honestly, it’s good as-is and you could stop there. But, to kick it up a notch, I top mine after it comes out of the oven.
Making the Goat Cheese Base
The base of this appetizer is pretty straightforward, but each piece is important. Don’t skimp on the lemon zest!
Mix that all together really well and transfer it to a small baking dish. While you don’t need to mix it with an electric mixer, you absolutely can if you want it super creamy. Personally, I like to just mash the ingredients together with a fork to keep the dirty dishes to a minimum.
I like to use a 1 1/2 quart baking dish but you could use a 2 quart or 8×8 baking dish without too much trouble. Spread out the goat cheese mixture in an even layer in the baking dish and bake it at 350 degrees F. until it’s browned around the edges and maybe even bubbling a bit (although it’s too thick to bubble like queso).
Topping the Goat Cheese Dip
If you are using my bacon/date combo for the topping, crisp some bacon in a small skillet over medium-low heat.
Once the bacon comes out, pour off the bacon grease but leave about a tablespoon of it. Then add the chopped dates plus a splash of water to help it come together. Let it cook for a few minutes until it forms a jam.
Stir in about half of the reserved bacon.
Here’s my baked cheese. It’s great like this, but we can do better.
Spread on the date topping and then sprinkle on extra bacon!
Garnish the baked goat cheese heavily with red pepper flakes and fresh chives!
Here are a few other ideas for alternative topping options for this baked goat cheese dip.
- Blistered Cherry Tomatoes. Roast the cherry tomatoes and then lightly mash them with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Add that to the top of the baked goat cheese dip when it comes out of the oven.
- Fresh Herbs. You could sprinkle an assortment of fresh herbs like fresh basil, fresh thyme, or fresh rosemary with some pistachios.
- Honey Garlic.Roast some cloves of garlic with separately while the goat cheese bakes and then top the dip with a spread of roasted garlic and a drizzle of honey.
What to serve with the dip
You need something sturdy to serve with this dip. While crackers are fine, I prefer a sturdier vessel like baguette slices or crunchy crostini slices.
If you are looking for a low-carb option, the dip is actually delicious with super crunchy veggies like carrot sticks and celery sticks!
Load it up and CHOMP!
Make it in advance
This is an easy appetizer to make in advance, but just be mindful of the toppings you use. If you are reheating the dip in the oven before serving, make sure to not add any fresh herbs until right before serving.
Happy December everybody! Lots of dipping opportunities this month!
Baked Goat Cheese with Bacon and Dates
- 10 ounces goat cheese
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 lemon, zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 strips bacon, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped dates
- Red pepper flakes, garnish
- Fresh chives, garnish
- Crusty Bread, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mash together goat cheese, cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey. Transfer to baking dish.
- Bake cheese at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until browned around the edges.
- Meanwhile, make topping. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, add chopped bacon and cook until bacon is crispy, maybe 6-7 minutes. Remove bacon and drain off all grease except for 1 tablespoon.
- Add dates to the skillet along with 1 tablespoon water and simmer until dates break down a bit and form jelly. Stir in half of the bacon.
- When cheese is hot out of the oven, scoop on date topping and sprinkle on the rest of the crispy bacon. Also garnish with red pepper flakes and fresh chives.
- Serve immediately with a good crusty baguette.