25 Cheesy Recipes For Holiday Entertaining

Comfort yourself with these recipes for pizza, pasta, dips, soup, and more.

The days are growing colder and darker, so why not make them cozier, too? For that, we must take full advantage of the versatility of cheese.

At The Takeout, cheese is more than a central ingredient. It's an animating force, one that's always inspiring us to get creative. So here is a collection of our all-time cheesiest recipes, guaranteed to satisfy a range of cravings and help you feel at home this holiday season.

Kimcheese (Korean-inspired pimiento cheese)

Korean kimchi, with its peppery range of fermented flavors, is the ideal partner for a classic pimiento cheese, since its vinegar cuts through the creamy richness of the spread and adds layers of spice to an already delicious appetizer. Best of all, you can ratchet the heat up or down simply by adding some hot sauce or letting the kimchi stand on its own. And yes, Saltines are still the ideal pairing. Get the recipe for "Kimcheese" here.

Advertisement

Green Chili Cheeseburger Queso

What better way to celebrate cheese than by making a recipe that calls for a whopping 32 ounces of Velveeta? This Green Chili Cheeseburger Queso is a mashup of two Southwestern staples, and while you can (and should!) serve it at a party with tortilla chips, it's also great when served with crusty bread or as a topping on burgers or meatloaf. Get the recipe for Green Chili Cheeseburger Queso here.

Advertisement

Simple Blue Cheese Dressing

This recipe for Blue Cheese Dressing will improve every snack in your party spread, from crudites to chicken wings to pretzel nuggets. It's remarkably easy, and the results are a lot more tangy and complex than the bottled store-bought stuff. You can use this on salads, too, of course, but we figured mentioning chicken wings first would get your attention. Get the recipe for Homemade Blue Dheese Dressing here.

Advertisement

Smoked Cream Cheese

This is so simple that you could call it a method rather than a recipe. Smoked Cream Cheese is the oddly irresistible result of tossing whole bricks of cream cheese on your backyard smoker and letting the transformative power of smoke do its work. Try coating the exterior of each cream cheese brick in something delicious—barbecue rub, Everything But the Bagel seasoning, cinnamon sugar, you name it—then place the bricks in a nest of aluminum foil and let 'em go low and slow on the smoker for a few hours. The results can't be replicated, nor can they be beat. Get the recipe for Smoked Cream Cheese here.

Advertisement

Smoked Onion Dip

Once you've mastered the technique of smoking cream cheese on a smoker, you can graduate to this Smoked Onion Dip, which kicks everything up a notch with spices, vinegar, and alliums. The smokiness, while detectable, isn't overwhelming, and it adds a complex flavor that makes this dip downright irresistible. Adding a tiny pinch of MSG will keep everyone coming back for more. Get the recipe for Smoked Onion Dip here.

Advertisement

Bulgogi Queso

This recipe for Bulgogi Queso dip was inspired by Super Bowl LVI's venue of Los Angeles, California. Because the city is known for its rich variety of Korean fusion cuisine, we decided to fuse Korean Bulgogi with queso, a hearty Super Bowl party staple that you can enjoy year-round. Best of all, there's no Velveeta involved; instead, "real" cheese is shredded and melted to provide a rich, cheesy backdrop to the sweet soy flavors of the beef. You never have to wait until NFL season to make this. Get the recipe for Bulgogi Queso here.

Advertisement

Parmesan Cheese Broth

As you make cold-weather soups this season, try making broth from leftover Parmesan cheese rinds, which, when steeped and simmered in water, infuse the liquid with delicious, concentrated flavor. Treat this Parmesan Broth almost like a cacio e pepe; the main flavors you're looking for here are pepper and cheese. There's no garlic, but if you add it in, there's no way that it wouldn't taste good. Get the recipe for Parmesan Broth here.

Advertisement

Parmesan Broth Mac & Cheese

Now that you have the fundamentals for making Parmesan Broth, you can easily build on that skill by making a sultry, sexy, complex bowl of Parmesan Broth Mac & Cheese. This recipe cooks up the macaroni noodles in cheese broth instead of water, then adds both American slices and shredded cheddar to the mix, plus Dijon and spices, to create a bowl of delicious, all-encompassing cheese flavor. It's a dish worthy of date night. Get the recipe for Parmesan Broth Mac & Cheese here.

Advertisement

Doritos Powder

Surely you've wondered before, with your hand halfway in the Doritos bag, which foods the cheesy flavoring might pair well with beyond tortilla chips. This Homemade Doritos Powder exists to answer that question. This cheese-boosted spice rub can be used as a topper for popcorn, pork chops, and baked potatoes; mixed into batter for biscuits, popovers, or cornbread; or even stirred into softened, unsalted butter for your toast. Give out jars of this blend as gifts and be the hero we need. Get the recipe for Homemade Doritos Powder here.

Advertisement

3-Ingredient Chili Cheese Dip

When a three-ingredient recipe is 66% cheese, you know you're in for a treat. This easy 3-ingredient Chili Cheese Dip was showcased in The Takeout's Cheese Week lineup thanks to its generous proportions of cream cheese and shredded cheddar. A can of Hormel rounds out the affair, offering a flavorful slop that isn't pretty, but won't leave a speck of leftovers after your guests are through with it. Get the recipe for Chili Cheese Dip here.

Advertisement

Homemade Ricotta

Imagine being able to tell your party guests that you actually made the cheese in the appetizers they're eating. That's the sense of pride and power that awaits you with this recipe for Homemade Ricotta, which only requires four ingredients and lets you adjust the moisture level so that the final product is exactly as creamy as you want. That flexibility makes it equally enjoyable in both sweet and savory dishes, so pair it with everything from tomatoes to raspberries and let your culinary prowess be known far and wide. Get the recipe for Homemade Ricotta here.

Advertisement

Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups

Maybe you knew these as "pinwheels" growing up. Or maybe they had no name at all, because it's hard for a name to stick when plates of this cheesy, bite-sized appetizer disappear from the snack table so fast at each and every family party and social function. This recipe makes a huge batch—which you will not want to scale down—and it's fun to make again and again so as to perfect your tortilla rolling technique. Get the recipe for Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups here.

Advertisement

Pimento Cheese

It's the crowdpleaser to end all crowdpleasers: pimento cheese, a staple of the American South. You're going to want to seek out Duke's Mayonnaise for this recipe; it has a higher egg yolk ratio, which gives it a "homemade" richness—plus it's also the officially sanctioned mayo of the South. Get the recipe for Pimento Cheese here.

Advertisement

Classic Cheese Ball

Making a cheese ball is so easy and yields so much wow factor that everyone should try making at least one. This recipe, which involves cheddar, Brie, and cream cheese studded with toasted pecans, comes to us from Dena Rayess, author of Cheese Balls: 40 Celebratory And Cheese-licious Recipes. Be warned: you'll need a sturdy dipping apparatus, like a pita chip or celery, because this is one dense serving of cheese. Get the recipe for a Classic Cheese Ball here.

Advertisement

Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Smoked Gouda cheese sauce may sound like an elevated affair, but the only effort is picking smoked Gouda over plain cheddar at your grocery store. It can be applied to just about any preparation of broccoli and cauliflower, as well as cooked carrots, cabbage, burgers, hot dogs, meatloaf, and more—plus, it can be prepared ahead of time and chilled. Get the recipe for Smoked Gouda cheese sauce here.

Advertisement

Cheese Hand Pies with Cheese Crust

The pastry crust in this recipe is made mostly with cheese—just a tiny bit of butter to add some flakiness—so it is a terrific way of using up the remnants of a cheese board. These hand pies can be made large enough to make a nice lunch, or small enough for a two-bite, cocktail-hour snack. They are delicious hot out of the oven and at room temperature. And they freeze beautifully pre-baking, so that you can make a batch and stash them. Get the recipe for Cheese Hand Pies with Cheese Crust here.

Advertisement

Ultimate Stuffed Shells

When you hear the term "stuffed shells," you probably think of the classic pasta dish in which shells are stuffed with cheese and baked in sauce. This recipe, though, consists of shells stuffed with sauce and baked in cheese, for a melty, gooey, inside-out dinner experience that will please any crowd. Use the biggest baking dish you own for this, and don't be surprised if there aren't many leftovers at the end. Get the recipe for Ultimate Stuffed Shells here.

Advertisement

Super Duper Stuffed Crust Pizza

Twelve sticks of mozzarella string cheese—that's all you need to change your life. This is a recipe for the cheesiest pizza you'll ever eat, a "stuffed crust" pizza whose entire base consists of a coil of cheese-stuffed crust. Surprisingly, it's easier and less fussy than a lot of other homemade pizza recipes, and even if you mess up the technique, you'll come away with a delicious quantity of cheesy bread. Get the recipe for Super Duper Stuffed Crust Pizza here.

Advertisement

Brie En Croute With Apricot Jam

For the breathtaking simplicity of this appetizer, you only need three things: a wheel of Brie, a tube of crescent rolls, and the jam of your choice. Pillsbury even has crescent roll in sheet form now, but if you have the regular rolls, just pull it in two sections and use your fingers to get rid of those little perforations. Once it's baked, serve with crackers and fruit of your choice, and we'll just keep the ease of this dish a secret between the two of us, okay? Get the recipe for Brie En Croute With Apricot Jam here.

Advertisement

Welsh Rarebit Toasty

Consider this an open-faced grilled cheese but more sophisticated. Or, better yet, think of it this way: it's like someone plucked the melty cheese and crouton out of a crock of French onion soup and just ate that. The best part. Shredded Gruyere or sharp white cheddar both work great in this recipe, and the mustard adds oomph—mustard powder will lend the biggest kick. This one technically can't feed a crowd, but even if it could, you'd want it all for yourself. Get the recipe for Welsh Rarebit Toasty here.

Advertisement

Broccoli Cheddar Mini Tacos

In this recipe, the mini taco shells are made of crispy cheddar cheese and the filling consists of seasoned broccoli and onions. The end result is low-carb and Keto-friendly—but much more importantly, they look adorable and taste great. Do not worry about exact measurements here; just use roughly the amount of vegetables called for, season as you go, and you'll have a fantastic appetizer on your hands. Get the recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Mini Tacos here.

Advertisement

Cheese-Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin

We'll be honest—this Whole Roasted Pumpkin With Wild Mushrooms and Gruyere from Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez isn't exactly a weeknight recipe. Still, it's a showstopper that's easier than it looks, thanks to the fact that all of its components are naturally delicious and need very little coaxing to form a memorable dish. All that's required is layering bread, cream, aromatics, and plenty of cheese inside a cleaned-out gourd, then baking for 2-3 hours until you've got a centerpiece that doubles as an entree. Get the recipe for this Cheese-Stuffed Pumpkin here.

Advertisement

Cheesy Hash Elegante

This cheesy potato casserole is a perfect wingman to a spiral ham or the anchor of a well-appointed brunch spread. It's also a prototypical Midwestern comfort food, in that it combines cream-based soup (in this case, cream of chicken) with oodles of cheese, the latter of which serves as a smooth, tangy binder. It's rich, it's filling, and it highlights everything you love about dairy. Get the recipe for Cheesy Hash Elegante here.

Advertisement

Homemade Manicotti

Manicotti are cheese-filled tanks drowned in red sauce. You've probably had this decidedly Italian American dish as a microwave dinner or oven-baked from a frozen package. Store-bought pasta is great, but truly there is no substitute for homemade manicotti. Tender, eggy pasta crepes with cheese filling and your own style of red sauce is worth taking the extra time to put together. Get the recipe for Homemade Manicotti here.

Advertisement

French Toast Grilled Cheese

Don't let any dairy snobs tell you that Kraft Singles are less than "real" cheese. This French Toast Grilled Cheese sandwich is the perfect example of how process cheeses, such as American cheese, can create the ultimate comfort food. With six ingredients and 10 minutes of total cooking time from start to finish, this sandwich will satisfy your hunger, ease any feelings of general malaise, and allow you to get back to doing what you love sooner, without having to wash a dozen pots and pans. Is there anything cheese can't do? Get the recipe here.

Advertisement

Recommended

Advertisement