I can assure you, there is no other appetizer out there as easy and delicious as our Baked Goat Cheese Dip. This hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark starter is cozy, light and sure to fool your guests into thinking you’re a rockstar in the kitchen.
Baked Goat Cheese Dip
I’d love nothing more than to brag and tell you Baked Goat Cheese was my novel idea but it’s actually a riff on one of my favorite Spanish tapas from a local restaurant here in KC. It’s always something my girlfriends and I order when we go and I had a sneaking suspicion it would be relatively easy to recreate at home.
Spoiler: it is.
Fortunately it turned out almost identical to the restaurant version and unfortunately it turned out almost identical to the restaurant version, and now I cannot stop eating it.
Here’s the gist: Crushed tomatoes are barely cooked with a little bit of olive oil, garlic and spices. We transfer the easy tomato sauce to a baking dish and top it with big slices of creamy goat cheese and broil until the cheese blackens a touch and slowly melts into the tomato sauce. You can leave it as is but sometimes I like to take a knife a swirl the goat cheese into the tomato sauce before serving.
Of course you’re going to need something to sop up that tomato goat cheese nirvana and for us, that’s a crispy homemade crostini, or if you’re feeling lazy, store-bought crostini. No one will know, I guarantee it.
Ingredients in Baked Goat Cheese
Olive oil. Always our go-to when making a red tomato sauce (spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni vodka and creamy tomato pasta are some of our favs), olive oil is light and perfectly sautés garlic. I try to steer clear of extra virgin when cooking but if that’s what you have. great.
Garlic. This is a super simple tomato sauce so we want to make sure to add plenty of garlic for flavor. I like to use two really large cloves or three smaller ones. You can either mince them very finely or grate them on a microplane.
Crushed tomatoes. I love to use crushed tomatoes here, any brand. Unlike diced tomatoes or tomato sauce it already has a sauce-like consistency that’s quite sturdy.
Sugar. Every tomato sauce needs a little bit of sugar to balance out the acidity and salt. Just a pinch will do.
Italian seasoning. We always add a little dried Italian seasoning to our tomato sauces, if all you have is basil or dried oregano that works too.
Goat Cheese. You can use any brand of goat cheese you like, just make sure to pick up something in a log form. I use plain goat cheese but an herbed goat cheese would also be great.
Baguette. Any sturdy bread will work for dipping but I like to make crostini with a classic baguette. Even though the bread is ultra crusty, the tomato and goat cheese soften it so it’s not difficult to eat.
Let’s make Baked Goat Cheese
Make the sauce. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium-low heat. Once the oil is hot add the garlic. Cook it for no longer than a minute, just until it’s fragrant. Garlic burns VERY easily so you want to be careful. Immediately add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt and Italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook while you prep the crostini.
Bake the crostini. Slice the baguette into 1/2-inch pieces. Line them up on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a GENEROUS amount of salt and a little bit of cracked black pepper. Pop them into the oven for about 10 minutes until they’re crusty and starting to brown.
Assemble. After the tomato sauce has simmered, transfer it to a small baking dish. (Mine is about five inches by seven inches. A small cast iron skillet could also work nicely. Slice the goat cheese into 1/4 inch pieces and nestle them on top of the tomato sauce.
Broil. Pop the baked goat cheese dip into the oven. Let it cook until the goat cheese begins to brown and becomes super melty and creamy. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Can I make Baked Goat Cheese in Advance?
Yes! Make everything up until the broiling point. Let the tomato sauce cool completely and then add it to your baking dish. Top with goat cheese and then cover with plastic wrap. When you’re ready to serve, let it sit out at room temp for 10 minutes. Pop it into a 400 degree oven until the sauce is hot and then turn the broiler on. Broil until the goat cheese is golden brown and melty.
Can goat cheese be heated?
Yes. I think most people associate goat cheese with a cheeseboard or something that’s served cold with crackers but it’s actually even more delicious served warm. We love to add it to pastas, pizza and more.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Swap our dried basil or oregano for Italian seasoning.
- Use store-bought marinara for an even easier shortcut.
- Don’t burn the garlic! You only need to cook it until it’s fragrant.
- If you don’t like garlic pieces in your baked goat cheese dip, grate it on a microplane.
- Don’t forget about the baked goat cheese under the broiler. Broilers are notorious from taking your food to perfectly browned to burnt to a crisp.
Other easy apps you’ll love!
- These Puff Pastry Pinwheels are always one of the first things to go at a party.
- This Burrata Appetizer with Calabrian Chili is just as easy and delicious as baked goat cheese but it’s served cold.
- I’m obsessed with these Polenta Fries! They’re such a fun spin on French fries and pretty heathy too!
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 3 large garlic cloves (2 grated or finely minced and 1 whole for the crostini)
- 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- Small skillet
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place crostini on baking sheet and drizzle evenly with two tablespoons olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Baked until golden brown and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the crostini from the oven, and switch oven to broil. While the crostini are still hot, take the whole garlic clove and rub the top with the garlic.
- While the crostini bake, heat a small saucepan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add remaining oil and garlic. Cook garlic until slightly softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.Keep an eye on it as garlic burns easily. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt and Italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour into a small oven safe baking dish (we use a 5x8 rectangle baking dish but anything similar in size will work great, even a small oven-proof cast iron or sauté pan) and lay goat cheese slices on top.Place under the broil until the cheese is golden brown, about four to five minutes.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve with crostini.