Nine years ago, I first posted this marinated cheese recipe and it’s been a fan favorite ever since. While it presents like a gourmet crowd pleaser, it’s easy enough for all of us to make. Since I first posted this, stores have started selling cheese cut up in perfect squares for us. Yes, food hospitality keeps getting easier, but no, I still haven’t updated these old phone pictures. 🙂
Growing up in the good ‘ole dairy state of Wisconsin, I assumed I had sampled every version of cheese appetizer known to munchers like myself. Obviously not because this unbelievably delicious make ahead marinated cheese appetizer is TO DIE FOR and I am not even a huge cold sliced cheese fan. (Ducking now. Blasphemy to my home state.)
My friend introduced this unique make ahead appetizer recipe to me and she mentioned it is her “Go to” appetizer for every event. For years, people have requested it and I know why. Do NOT by pass this recipe. It’s so easy (although you do have to think ahead a bit) and 100% gourmet tasting without all the work. It’s a great appetizer to make ahead and have ready the day of your party. One less thing to cause worry.
Make Ahead Easy Cheese Appetizer Recipe: Marinated Cheese
- 1 envelope of Good Seasons Italian Dressing
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 TB water
- 2 TB minced green onions
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 12 oz package Monterrey Jack
- 12 oz package Sharp Cheddar
- 8 oz package cream cheese (not softened)
- 4 oz jar diced pimentos, drained
Mix 1st six ingredients together.
Cut cheeses into small squares and arrange in an alternate pattern.
Pour pimentos over cheeses then pour dressing mix over all.
Marinate overnight in fridge.
Drain excess dressing (optional). For optimum presentation, draining the dressing “may” be recommended, but for the most delicious factor, excess dressing is yummy. 😉
Serve with crackers. (Since the layers are cheese, cream cheese, cheese, it’s easy to get on the cracker, but keep a fork near by to assist if necessary.)
It’s so good, it’s hard not to eat the whole thing before the party.
Do you need some more quick and easy appetizer ideas?
Don’t miss out on my easiest ever Cheese ball Appetizer and a few more ideas. We make the cheese ball “just because”…it’s so good.
I love cheese and I have never heard of it served this way. It looks so good.
Jens – How do you eat this? Doesn’t the creem cheese make it hard to get on crackers? It looks awesome, I’m just having a hard time figuring out if I’d need a fork with this rather than a cracker! 🙂 Thanks!!!
@Shannon K., Ok, maybe I need to go add some more directions. Since they are kind of layered sandwiches (cheese, cream cheese, cheese), it’s not hard to get on the cracker since the outsides are the sliced cheese, but it needs a fork in it to be “proper.” lol I don’t think we use it. 🙂 haha
Looks fantastic! Thanks for the recipe. I was looking for something for our Christmas Eve appetizer meal and this will be it 🙂
Oh absolutely YUM!! I cant wait to make this.. Im thinking I might have to make it for our Christmas menu and then again to take to my girlfriends New Years Eve party.. That is beautious and I know its gonna taste divine!
Thanks so much!
So how exactly did you put the litte cheese sandwiches together? And what size did you cut them – 1″ x 1″? Did you buy block or deli sliced Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheeses? If deli sliced how thick do we ask for them to be sliced? I can’t imagine that you put the cream cheese on each little sandwich – there has to be an easier way. Is it just a thin layer of cream cheese? I’m guessing softening the CC is a good idea? I am always looking for easy and yummy 🙂 And this does look yummy.
@Kathy, Here is what my friend said after I had this for the first time. It is easy, but a bit more time consuming this way with each individual block. I spread more at once, and you could buy pre-sliced, it will just be more expensive.
“I did not buy precut anything. I bought 12 oz blocks of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. I set each block of the hard cheese on its edge so that if you were looking at it straight on from the side you are looking at a rectangle. I sliced each block with a cheese slicer, from the top edge down and then stacked several slices together at a time and cut them down the middle. That is what makes the squares. I just lay the cream cheese flat after it has been unwrapped and cut it down the middle and then cut each square as I need it.
You alternate the cheeses, with the cream cheese in the middle. You do not want any of the cheeses softened, especially not the cream. If your cream cheese is very cold, you can get a nice slice out of it to put in between the other two. If not, then you do have to spread it and yes, you have to put the cream cheese on each little sandwich! As far as thickness of the layer, you can put just enough to make the two hard cheeses stick together or you can make that layer of cream cheese as thick as the two hard cheeses. It is a matter of personal preference. I am a creature of habit I guess and I always start with cheddar, cream, monterey jack and put it on my dish. Then I start that pattern all over again. I always end up extra cream cheese and one of the hard cheeses so that the last couple of sandwiches has one type of hard cheese and cream cheese in the middle. I marinate these with the rest and then let my fam have them before I take the dish to whatever function.
This is not a precise thing!”
@Jens, Thanks! It never occurred to me to slice the cream cheese. It does sound easier that way.
Ummm! YUM!!!! That looks delicious!!!!
It may seem a bit late to be deciding on a appetizer for Christmas but this is it! I too hail from the home state of Wisconsin – Madison, so I am big on cheese too. This is fabulous and I can’t wait to serve it.
Thank you for introducing this WI girl to another cheese appetizer. This will be served on Christmas Eve in Milwaukee. Have a wonderful holiday! Looking forward to more of your great suggestions in 2011.
I made this last year & took it to my sister in laws house for a Christmas Eve get together.. It was absolutely DIVINE!! Now that I’ve seen it again, I think I must make it again this year! 🙂 Thanks!
I used to make this for all my parties/get togethers with rave reviews every time. I will make it again for the first time since my recipe book was destroyed and I kinda forgot about it! Thanks!
wow! its amazing , thank you .
I am so going to try this with feta!
oh, let me know how that goes. I bet that would be amazing! 🙂
Yum! This looks delicious Jen. Can’t wait to make it for the holidays!
What is a good cracker to serve with it? How far in advance can this be made?
???????Looks to me it might be easier to eat if you stack them rather than side by side. What do you think???? Thanx
I’m working on a gluten free version and it seems that Good Seasons dressing now has gluten. Do you think I should try to find a copy cat recipe for the dressing, or do you think a gluten free Italian dressing would work ok?
I tried this for a Christmas family gathering and it was a hit!!! Everyone loved the cheese and asked for the recipe. Thank you!!
I can’t wait to try this!! Is this served @ room temp. or served cold?
So sorry I ‘m just seeing this now! You can really serve at your preference. No one turns it away. 🙂