This baked feta with olives and honey is truly the easiest and most impressive appetizer you could make. The combination of tangy, salty, sweet, and spicy is just perfect. It sounds like there is a lot going on, and it is a lot - a lot of delicious flavors. But it's beyond quick and easy to prepare, and everyone will love it. Just pair it with some crusty bread to mop up the delicious, infused oil.
I first made a different version of this appetizer several years ago. All my guests loved it and were so impressed by it. I wanted to dress it up even more and add a little bit of heat and sweetness to balance out the flavors, so here we are!
Although I would consider this an appetizer, I see nothing wrong with topping a toasted slice of sourdough with the feta and olives and calling it breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Sometimes it hits the spot more than a full blown meal, you know?
If you love feta cheese and easy, quick recipes, you need to also try my asparagus puff pastry tart with eggs and feta. If you're looking for other super easy and impressive appetizers, my blistered shishito peppers with burrata are always a hit.
- Feta cheese: You need a whole block of feta in brine, not crumbled feta cheese. My favorite type of feta is Bulgarian for its flavor and creaminess. But you could use Greek or French feta as well.
- Olives: Choose a mix of your favorite olives, but make sure they're pitted. I love using a combo of green Castelvetrano and Nyon black olives. Have fun and mix it up!
- Garlic: I like to smash whole cloves and add them in to infuse the oil. As a bonus, they get soft and sweet like garlic confit.
- Lemons: The rind adds a zesty burst of flavor and the flesh becomes sweet, soft, and scoopable on the toast.
- Olive oil: Use a good extra virgin olive oil to marinate the olives and feta in.
- Fresh thyme: It adds a nice, herby flavor that pairs perfectly with everything else.
- Spices: Zaatar, aleppo pepper, and black pepper add the perfect amount of tang and heat.
- Honey: The sweetness complements the saltiness and tanginess of the feta and olives.
Smash and peel the garlic cloves, then place them in a small baking dish with the pitted olives and lemon wedges.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, fresh thyme, zaatar, aleppo pepper, and black pepper. Pour it into the baking dish and mix everything together.
Pat dry the block of feta, then spoon the oil mixture on all of its sides or dunk it in until oiled on all sides.
Place it in the center between the olives, and spoon a little extra marinade on top of it.
Bake it in a 375°F oven until the oil is bubbling and the cheese looks softened, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove it from the oven and drizzle honey all over the feta and olives. Broil it for about 3 minutes, until golden and a little charred.
Serve the baked feta with olives and honey warm with a side of toasted slices of crusty bread. You can drizzle a little more honey on top and some flakey salt.
Personally, I like to spread some warm feta on the bread, top with some olives, a piece of garlic, some of the soft lemon flesh, and spoon the delicious, infused oil all over. It truly makes for the most flavorful bite. Your taste buds will sing.
Substitutions and Variations
This recipe is naturally vegetarian and gluten-free.
- Cheese - If you're not a huge fan of feta, you can make this with brie, camembert, or goat cheese. Baking times will vary.
- Add-ins - You can add cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes, and other herbs such as basil or rosemary.
- Vegan - You can substitute a plant-based feta cheese in this recipe.
- Dip - After baking, you can break up the feta and mix it with all the other ingredients to make it an easy to scoop warm feta dip.
Tips for Making the Best Baked Feta with Olives and Honey
- Buy a block of feta in brine: Pre-crumbled feta has anti-caking agents and will not get soft and creamy like a whole block. Feta in its brine is much more flavorful and fresher.
- Use high quality ingredients: This appetizer is simple and calls for just a few ingredients, so use good quality olives and olive oil to let the flavors shine through.
- Marinate in advance: You don't have to do this, but to infuse all the delicious flavors into the feta and olives, prepare this appetizer several hours or even a day in advance, then bake it just before you're ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Feta cheese doesn't melt like other cheeses, but it gets softer and creamier when heated. In my experience, Bulgarian and French feta cheese get more gooey and creamy than Greek feta.
This appetizer is best served immediately while it's warm to enjoy the soft, creamy feta. Once it cools, it firms up. But leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge up to four days.
You can reheat it in the oven but it will be drier and not as creamy as the day of. Instead, you can just break up the feta, mix it with the olives and marinade, and throw it into a salad!
See My Latest Recipes for More Delicious Ideas
- One-Minute Homemade Mayonnaise (Immersion Blender)
- Cucumber Mint Yogurt Salad (Cacik)
- Smoked Tomato Confit
- Lebanese Mint Lemonade (Limonana)
- The Best Lebanese Lemonade
If you’ve tried making this Baked Feta with Olives and Honey or any other recipe on Forks & Foliage, then please don't forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! I would be so happy to hear how it turned out for you. And if you took any photos or videos, please share them with me on Instagram @forksandfoliage so I can see the deliciousness you made!
Baked Feta with Olives and Honey
- 8 ounces feta cheese, block
- 6 ounces pitted olives, about 1 heaping cup
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- ½ lemon, cut into wedges
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 fresh thyme springs, tough stems removed and chopped
- 1 teaspoon zaatar
- 1 teaspoon aleppo pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
- 1 pinch flakey salt, optional
- Crusty bread or crackers, for serving
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together the olive oil, fresh thyme, zaatar, aleppo pepper, and fresh cracked pepper.
- Place the olives, smashed garlic, and lemon wedges in a small oven-proof baking dish and pour the marinade over. Mix together until evenly coated.
- Pat dry the block of feta, then cover all sides with the marinade either by spooning it over or by dunking all sides in the baking dish. Make room in the center of the baking dish and place the block of feta in there. Spoon some marinade on top.
- Bake until the feta is softened and the sauce is bubbling. Carefully pull it out of the oven and drizzle the feta and olives with honey. Broil for about 3 minutes, or until the feta is golden and charred on the edges.
- Drizzle a little more honey to taste over the feta, sprinkle some flakey salt, and serve immediately with crusty bread or crackers.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary.