Fried feta is one of those appetizers that once you have it you wonder why you’ve never thought to make it before.
Feta is of course yummy on its own, crumbled in salads and such. But its deliciousness and decadence is truly elevated when you warm it up, create a crispy, rich exterior and a warm, gooey middle.
Why You’ll Love this Fried Feta Recipe
Unreal Flavors and Textures! The combination of pan-fried feta, toasty pine nuts, and sweet honey creates a delicious symphony of flavors. The saltiness of the feta cheese balances well with the sweetness of the honey, while the toasty pine nuts add a pleasant nutty flavor. The contrasting tastes and textures can be very appealing and satisfying to the palate.
Simple preparation. Pan-fried feta requires minimal preparation. You’ll need to coat the feta and pre-heat the pan but this process usually takes just a few minutes, making it convenient for a last-minute appetizer.
Quick cooking time. Feta cheese doesn’t need much time to cook. The goal is to achieve a golden-brown crust on the outside while keeping the inside creamy and soft. With a hot pan and a few minutes of frying on each side, you can achieve the desired texture and color without the need for lengthy cooking or complex techniques.
Crowd-pleasing appetizer! Feta cheese itself is a popular ingredient loved by many due to its unique flavor profile. When fried to perfection, it transforms into a warm, melty, and slightly crispy delight. The combination of creamy feta with a crispy crust is appealing to a wide range of palates, making it an ideal appetizer to serve at gatherings or parties.
Ingredients for Fried Feta
Feta cheese is known for its tangy and salty flavor. It has a crumbly texture and a rich, creamy taste. Feta adds a savory element to the dish and serves as the main show that brings the yummy noises.
The egg is used to coat the feta before applying the pine nut crust. It helps the pine nuts stick to the cheese and creates a crispy texture when cooked.
Pine nuts have a delicate and buttery flavor. They provide a nuttiness and crunchiness that enhances the overall toasty taste of the crust of the feta. Pine nuts also complement the creaminess of the feta and add depth to the flavor profile.
Rosemary is an aromatic herb with a distinct earthy and pine-like flavor. It adds a fragrant and savory note to the dish, frying in the pan right alongside the feta.
Avocado oil is a good choice for frying due to its high smoke point and mild flavor. It can withstand high heat without breaking down or imparting a strong taste to the dish. Frying the feta in avocado oil helps achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the cheese soft and creamy inside.
Grapes provide a refreshing and juicy element to the dish. They offer a burst of sweetness and a contrasting texture to the savory and crunchy components. The combination of grapes with the other ingredients add a touch of freshness and balance to the overall flavor profile.
Honey contributes a natural sweetness to the dish, which complements the saltiness of the feta and the nutty flavors of the pine nuts. It adds a luscious and sticky glaze when drizzled on top, creating a harmonious blend of sweet and savory flavors.
How to Make Fried Feta
Prepare the feta and coating
Blot the feta cheese with paper towels or a clean, thin dish towel to remove any excess liquid from the surface.
In a shallow bowl, beat an egg until well-combined and set aside.
Add the pine nuts to a plastic baggie and use a rolling pin or wooden spoon to coarsely crush the pine nuts. It’s ok if some pine nuts are whole and some are crushed. They don’t need to be uniform. Add the pine nuts to a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
Coat the feta
Dip the block of feta into the beaten egg, ensuring it is well-coated on all sides.
Then, dip the feta block in the crushed pine nuts, pressing gently to adhere the coating to the cheese.
Heat the pan and add avocado oil
Place a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.
Add the avocado oil to the pan.
Fry the feta
Once the oil is hot, carefully place the coated feta in the pan. Add the rosemary sprig, grapes, and any extra pine nut pieces.
Turn the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook the feta for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the coating turns golden brown and crispy, while the cheese remains soft and creamy on the inside.
Use a spatula to gently flip the feta to fry the other side.
Remove from heat and serve
Once the feta is evenly fried and has a crispy pine nut crust, transfer it to a serving plate.
Garnish with fried rosemary sprig, blistered grapes, and the pine nuts that have toasted in the pan.
Drizzle the fried feta with honey:
Just before serving, generously drizzle the pan-fried feta with honey to add a touch of sweetness and enjoy.
Tips for the Best Fried Feta
Use a non-stick pan or skillet: To prevent the feta from sticking to the pan and ensure an even cooking surface, use a non-stick pan or skillet. This will make flipping and removing the feta easier and help maintain the shape and texture of the cheese.
Turn down that the heat: Avoid using high heat, as it can quickly burn the coating and leave the inside of the cheese cold. Keep the heat moderate to allow the cheese to heat through and develop a golden crust.
Be gentle when flipping: When flipping the feta, use a thin, wide spatula to carefully lift and turn the block. Feta can be delicate, especially when warm and partially melted, so handle it gently to maintain its shape.
Serve immediately: Pan-fried feta is best enjoyed when served immediately after cooking. The contrast between the warm, crispy exterior and the creamy, melted interior is most pronounced when the dish is freshly made. Delayed serving may cause the coating to lose its crispness and the cheese to cool down and solidify.
Fried Feta Variations to Try
Herb variations: Experiment with different herbs to enhance the flavor of the feta. Instead of rosemary, you can use fresh thyme, oregano, basil, or a combination of herbs. Each herb will bring its unique aroma and taste to the dish.
Spiced crust: Add a pinch of spice to the coating mixture for an extra kick. Ground spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, or cumin can add depth and a subtle heat to the dish.
Citrus zest: Incorporate some citrus zest, such as lemon or orange zest, into the coating mixture for a burst of fresh and tangy flavor. The citrus aroma can beautifully complement the creamy feta.
Balsamic reduction: Instead of honey, drizzle a balsamic reduction over the pan-fried feta. The rich, sweet-tart flavor of the reduction can provide a wonderful contrast to the savory cheese.
Serving variations: Instead of grapes, try serving the pan-fried feta with other fruits like sliced figs, pears, or apples. Savory options like caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, or olives are fun options too!
How to Store Leftover Fried Feta
Allow the fried feta to cool down at room temperature for a short while before storing. This will prevent excess condensation and help maintain its crispness.
Transfer the cooled fried feta to an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Properly stored, fried feta can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to enjoy the leftover fried feta, it’s best to reheat it in an oven rather than a microwave. Preheat the oven to around 325°F (or 160°C), place the fried feta on a baking sheet, and warm it for about 5-8 minutes until it is heated through. This method helps retain the crispness of the crust and ensures the cheese stays soft and creamy.
It’s worth noting that while reheating can help revive some of the flavors and textures, the fried feta may not be as crispy as when it was freshly made. However, it can still be enjoyable.
- 1 block (10 oz) feta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 cup grapes
- honey for drizzling
Prepare the Feta & Pine Nut Crust
- Add the pine nuts to a plastic baggie and use a rolling pin or wooden spoon to coarsely crush the pine nuts. It’s ok if some pine nuts are whole and some are crushed. They don’t need to be uniform. Add the pine nuts to a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
- Blot the feta cheese with paper towels or a clean, thin dish towel to remove any excess liquid from the surface.
- In a shallow bowl, beat an egg until well-combined and set aside.
Coat the feta
- Dip the block of feta into the beaten egg, ensuring it is well-coated on all sides.
- Then, dip the feta block in the crushed pine nuts, pressing gently to adhere the coating to the cheese.
Fry the feta
- Place a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat and add the avocado oil to the pan.
- Once the oil is hot, carefully place the coated feta in the pan. Add the rosemary sprig, grapes, and any extra pine nut pieces.
- Turn the heat to medium and cover with a lid. Cook the feta for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the coating turns golden brown and crispy, while the cheese remains soft and creamy on the inside.
- Use a spatula to gently flip the feta to fry the other side.
- Once the feta is evenly fried and has a crispy pine nut crust, transfer it to a serving plate.
- Garnish with fried rosemary sprig, blistered grapes, and the pine nuts that have toasted in the pan.
- Just before serving, generously drizzle the pan-fried feta with honey to add a touch of sweetness and enjoy.
- Serving Size: 1/8
- Calories: 193
- Sugar: 7.8g
- Sodium: 413mg
- Fat: 14.2g
- Saturated Fat: 5.7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 8.9g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Protein: 8.3g
- Cholesterol: 46mg