Here’s an easy Cream Cheese Appetizer recipe that is the ultimate make-ahead option. This marinated cheese recipe is perfectly seasoned into an herb cream cheese with herbs, oil and spices.
Marinated Cheese Recipe
Cream cheese is one of my favorite ingredients to keep in my fridge – it truly has endless uses, both sweet and savory. It is long-lasting when tightly packaged, and it’s great to keep on hand, especially during the holidays. (by the way, have you seen my new printable list of baking essentials? So handy!)
For this holiday season I have already brought you a cute reindeer cheese ball, my pretty pesto cheese wreath, and a homemade Boursin cheese that I want to slather on everything. Don’t miss my best tricks for how to soften cream cheese, too! This delicious marinated cream cheese recipe is just another addition to an already incredible line-up of easy appetizers for all your entertaining needs.
I like to give a lot of detail in my recipe posts to guide readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, feel free to click “jump to recipe” under the title of this post and you’ll head straight there!
Ingredients in this Easy Cream Cheese Appetizer
It’s such an easy list! And if you decide to use dried herbs, it’s very likely that you’ll have all the ingredients you need for this herb cream cheese right in your refrigerator and pantry.
- Cream cheese (yes you can use reduced fat cream cheese. It’s not quite as delicious, but it will certainly work!)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Don’t skimp on the quality of your olive oil. When you’re creating a super simple recipe like this one, every ingredient will shine!
- Fresh Thyme – You can use dried thyme as well, but it won’t be quite as colorful.
- Fresh Basil – Same here. If you’re going to sub dried herbs in place of the fresh in this recipe, you’ll want to use 2-3 times dried as much as you would fresh. (speaking of recipe conversions, don’t miss my printable measurement conversion chart!)
- Red Pepper Flakes – a little spice never hurt anybody! Adjust this with more or less to your taste.
- Sea Salt – not too much, as the garlic and herbs should be the standout flavors here.
- Freshly Cracked Pepper – again, you can adjust this to taste.
- Minced Garlic – you can take a shortcut here and buy pre-minced garlic, but when it’s clearly visible (and raw) in a recipe such as this one, it’s really nice to use fragrant fresh garlic.
- Pine Nuts (optional) – they add a nice little crunch and are a good addition to this marinated cream cheese, but totally optional.
How to Make this Delicious Herb Cream Cheese
There are a couple different ways to make this delicious chevre goat cheese appetizer!
- Allow your log of goat cheese to rest on the serving platter.
- Slice the cheese halfway through, every inch or so along the distance of the log. This allows the marinade to immerse into the goat cheese!
- Next, you’ll begin by finely chopping the fresh thyme and basil.
- In a small mixing bowl, add your finely chopped herbs along with the red pepper flakes, sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, minced garlic and olive oil.
- If you’d like to add pine nuts, you’re welcome to do so! Simply chop them finely or run them through your food processor for an added touch of texture.
- Just before serving, pour olive oil and herb mixture directly over your cream cheese.
QUICK TIP: You can also combine all the above listed ingredients directly into your food processor. Save the oil for last and pulse to combine.
Tips to Make this Marinated Cheese Recipe Ahead
One of the many reasons that I love serving dips and spreads is that they can often be made ahead. I really appreciate any opportunity to check an item off my list when entertaining!
To prepare this cheese marinade ahead of time, you’ll simply chop and combine your ingredients and store, sealed, in your refrigerator. Don’t cover the cream cheese with the marinade just yet- save that step until just before serving!
This herb cream cheese is delicious whether served cold or room temperature, but it’s definitely easier to spread as it warms, so keep that in mind.
It’s always a good idea to keep goat cheese and cream cheese on hand during the holidays, because you can almost always come up with a way to serve them at the very last second when you have unexpected guests!
Quick tip: I receive a lot of questions about my octagonal serving platter that I use for so many of my appetizer recipes! The one I have is no longer available, but this one is so similar and it comes in two great sizes!
What to Serve with Marinated Cheese
Another reason I frequently create cheese-based appetizers is because they work with a variety of diets. If a guest is restricting carbs, they can generally still enjoy a high-protein cheese simply by dipping or spreading onto a veggie option instead of bread or crackers.
- Carrots, bell pepper strips, cucumbers and celery are the perfect low-carb alternatives to serve with a this marinated cheese recipe.
- Crostini – it’s always my favorite pairing! Crunchy crostini is the best way to enjoy a cheese spread, especially when drizzled in olive oil.
- Pita chips are a great crunchy addition.
- Buttery crackers are always a kid (and adult!) favorite when served with any kind of cream cheese appetizer.
More of the Best Cheese Appetizers
Do you love cheesy appetizers as much as I do? You’ll enjoy the following options too!
- This bacon cheese dip is one of my most popular recipes ever!
- Try this Chevre cheese spread for a light and creamy option.
- This baked goat cheese is embellished with puff pastry…so good!
- This adorable reindeer cheddar cheese ball is so perfect for the holidays!
- My wreath-shaped pesto cheeseball is delicious too, and so beautiful.
Well, what do you think? Are you excited about this easy marinated cheese recipe? I know I am!
If you try this marinated cream cheese recipe, please come back to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too! For more easy recipes and simple living ideas, subscribe to my newsletter!
Marinated Cream Cheese Appetizer
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 6 sprigs thyme fresh
- 6 leaves basil fresh
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper fresh cracked
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- Allow your cream cheese to rest on the serving platter.
- Slice the cheese halfway through, every inch or so along the distance of the log. This allows the marinade to immerse into the cream cheese!
- Next, you'll begin by finely chopping the fresh thyme and basil.
- In a small bowl, combine herbs, salt and pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil.
- If you'd like to add pine nuts, you're welcome to do so! Simply chop them finely or run them through your food processor for an added touch of texture.
- Just before serving, pour olive oil mixture directly over your cream cheese.
- This marinated cheese is delicious whether served chilled or room temperature.
- Don't forget to slice your cream cheese log throughout! This allows your marinade to seep into all the crevices.
- To prepared this appetizer ahead of time, simply blend all herbs, spices and oil and refrigerate until ready to use. Pour over cream cheese immediately before serving.
If you liked this you’ll love my Marinated Chèvre Cheese Appetizer!