Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemon

Baked feta cheese with olives, lemon, and rosemary with toasted bread on a tray with toasted bread

Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemon is an easy baked cheese appetizer that shows off the spectacular sun drenched  flavors of the Mediterranean. Serve it with some toasted bread and watch it disappear!

overhead shot of baked feta cheese with olives, lemon, and rosemary

baked feta cheese is an unexpectedly delicious appetizer

I have a feeling once you try this unusual baked cheese appetizer you’ll return to it again and again. You’ll get lots of appreciation from your friends, that’s for sure, and nobody will be expecting it. When it’s baked, the feta takes on an entirely different personality ~ the cheese not only gets warm, it softens and becomes less crumbly, more spreadable. And if you haven’t tried imported sheep’s milk feta, you’re in for a treat, the flavor is so much better.

This baked feta isn’t non-caloric, but it tastes heavenly, and those are relatively healthy calories from lower fat sheep’s milk cheese and extra virgin olive oil.

Baked feta cheese with olives, lemon, and rosemary with toasted bread

baking transforms the 3 main ingredients in magical ways

  • the cheese, as I said above, mellows and softens. Note, it doesn’t actually become spreadable like a cream cheese, but it does soften.
  • the olives undergo a similar transformation to the cheese, and they become soft and juicy. They’re so good you can serve them all by themselves as a super easy appetizer, see my roasted olives recipe for details.
  • even the lemons become pliable and release their juice into the warm olive oil ‘sauce’.

making baked feta cheese with olives, lemon, and rosemary

what is feta cheese?

  • Feta is a Greek cheese made with sheep’s milk, or sheep’s milk and goat’s milk.
  • Feta is made in blocks, and stored in brine. Its texture is crumbly and its flavor is sharp and salty.
  • Legally, feta cheese is only made in certain areas of Greece, but other feta-type cheeses are made in other parts of Europe, and in the US.
  • Here in the US feta is made with cow’s milk, and it has a sharper flavor profile.

is feta cheese healthy?

  • Feta cheese is lower in fat and calories than most other cheeses, and is healthy if you don’t gorge on it!
  • The flavor is sharp and a little goes a long way…it makes a big impact in recipes and salads, etc., without adding a lot of fat.
  • Feta is somewhat salty, so stick to about an ounce serving size if you’re watching your sodium.

how to use feta cheese

Baked feta cheese with olives, lemon, and rosemary with toasted bread on a tray with toasted bread

what you’ll need

The Mediterranean flavors really shine in this simple dish. Notice there’s no salt on this list, the feta is plenty salty.

  • a block of feta cheese ~ look for sheep’s milk feta, the flavor is superior.
  • mixed olives ~ I like to gather a mix of types for this dish, and ideally they should not be pitted, again for best flavor. If you’ve got a local market with an olive bar, that’s ideal, just grab what you need. Note: warn diners that you are serving olives with the pits inside, and provide a discreet dish for the discarded pits.
  • olive oil ~ normally I don’t cook with extra virgin olive oil, I save it for raw uses like drizzling and salad dressings, etc., but I make an exception in this case.
  • fresh lemons ~ regular or Meyer lemons will work.
  • fresh rosemary ~ it’s beautiful and the piney flavor is perfect here.
  • fresh cracked black pepper ~ start with whole peppercorns, the difference is amazing.
  • hot pepper flakes ~ adds the finishing touch.


overhead shot of baked feta cheese with olives, lemon, and rosemary
3.4 from 386 votes

Baked Feta Cheese with Olives, Lemon and Rosemary

Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemon ~ an easy baked cheese appetizer that shows off the spectacular sun drenched flavors of the Mediterranean.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 10 servings
Calories 201kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 10 ounce block of sheep's milk feta Note: the amount of cheese can vary, that's fine. If your block is very thick you may want to slice it in half through the middle so you have 2 thinner slabs.
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed olives
  • 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • a few coarse grindings of black pepper


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Put the feta in a gratin dish or other small ovenproof dish that you will also use for serving.
  • Pour the olive oil into the dish, followed by the lemon juice. Arrange the olives around the cheese, with the rosemary. I quarter the squeezed lemon half and throw that in as well. Sprinkle the red and black pepper over all.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. I loosely laid a sheet of foil over mine. You can finish under the broiler if you like for a little charring effect.
  • Serve hot with toasted bread.


Cook's notes

  • Add a handful of shrimp and make this a meal!
  • Try fresh thyme instead of rosemary.
  • You might try cutting the feta in large cubes instead of baking it brick style.
  • I'm dying to try this baked feta with my Romesco Sauce.
  • As with just about any cheese, you can actually make your own feta at home, here's a recipe.


Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 633mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 246IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 153mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2021 at 9:32 am

    5 stars
    This is a family favorite!! So quick and simple. I made it as part of our mezze platter last week. My daughter teaches cooking classes and has added this to her tapas menu. Thanks for so many great recipes!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 8, 2021 at 5:17 pm

      You’re welcome Linda, I appreciate the support!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2021 at 8:40 am

    5 stars
    Made this for NYE appetizer…..delicious! Hubby and I almost finished it off ourselves!
    Thanks Sue for another great recipe ?

  • Reply
    November 18, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipes now. Comes together in just minutes, and is soooo beautiful as well as satisfying! Thanks so much for sharing it 🙂

    • Reply
      November 18, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks Miranda, it really works well for the holidays, I think. Glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    Billie Szumiak
    August 27, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    5 stars
    Loved this! Didn’t have feta, but goat cheese was a great substitution!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2020 at 12:04 am

    5 stars
    Thanks Sue, another Keeper Recipe! Lovely subtle olive flavours with the Feta and Lemon, all soaked up into a delicious fresh baguette. Great textures between the olives, feta and bread. I loved the ‘spreadable’ nature of the Feta, almost like a dip but not quite! I splurged and glad that I did and got some good quality olives (Green olives stuffed with garlic, Kalamata olives stuffed with Jalapeño and Sicilian olives stuffed with an attitude and a gun), but the individual flavours of each olive made every mouthful totally different! Everything was magnificent! Thanks again.

  • Reply
    Mobasir hassan
    November 23, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe , my little boy lived it very much. Though it was my first try we enjoyed lots with olive and feta cheese.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2019 at 10:56 am

    I made this and thought the feta and olives were very tasty but I couldn’t get the feta to get soft and bubbly. I left it way longer in the oven then the time listed and even under the broiler but nothing happened. I used sheep’s milk feta in brine from Trader Joes. The cheese tasted good just didn’t really melt in the way I expected it to based on the recipe picture. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Reply
      June 26, 2019 at 11:29 am

      The cheese doesn’t melt Janna, it just gets warm and softens. Feta doesn’t melt or get bubbly, that’s just its nature.

      • Reply
        June 26, 2019 at 12:07 pm

        I guess I was confused that it said in the recipe “Bake for about 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling”

    • Reply
      July 22, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      The picture does not show the cheese soft and bubbly. Feta doesn’t melt like that.

      • Reply
        July 22, 2019 at 5:11 pm

        Pictures are sometimes difficult to interpret, that’s for sure. The hot and bubbling refers to the juices around it.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 1:27 am

    5 stars
    Sue, congratulations for this amazing website and of course for this post! Did you know that Feta as we know it today has its origins in Greece? I wanted to let your large audience know about Feta PDO, an initiative financed by the EU, that has as a mission to inform people about the origins of Feta. As Feta PDO is a cause, i am not providing you with any link as that in our eyes would look spam. If however you want to join our cause we would be more than happy to share more information!

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  • Reply
    nicole bachman
    November 20, 2018 at 11:23 am

    What is ghe best commercial extra v olive oil for ghis recipe?

    • Reply
      November 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Honestly Nicole when I’m in the grocery store I usually grab a medium priced oil, and I like to vary my brand just for variety’s sake. My favorite specialty olive oil is a company called O Olive Oil, and I did a post all about them here.

  • Reply
    Jackie Sammartino
    September 21, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    5 stars
    So good. This was dinner! With wine

    • Reply
      September 21, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      My kind of dinner 🙂

  • Reply
    September 4, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Great Island in Narragansett?

    • Reply
      September 4, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      Great Island aka New Castle, New Hampshire!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Will this be just as good at room temperature? I’d like to take it to a party this weekend if it would be good when it’s not hot. It looks divine and I adore roasted olives!

    • Reply
      August 29, 2018 at 8:17 am

      Well, I can’t really say because I haven’t tried it, but I do think it would be best at least warm, Nancu, because the cheese gets nice and soft when it’s heated. If you were to serve it at room temp the cheese would just be firmer, I guess. You might arrive at the party a little early and pop it in the oven!

  • Reply
    April 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    This sounds awsome, I will definitely make this.

    • Reply
      April 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Let me know how you like it Bob 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    April 4, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    I love these Mediterranean flavors, such a perfect appetizer idea!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2018 at 5:42 am

    I always believed in giving your products to another country and with a fresh kind of thinking is cooked better than ever! This is you, Sue!
    By the way, a lazy dinner is exactly as per recipe, plus a couple of tomato slices and a hot pepper. Now you have your veggies, and the dish is called bouyourdi . Put under the microwave’s grill for a few minutes and ready for the night movie!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 8, 2021 at 5:54 am

      I can’ t wait to try that, thanks Alexandra!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Uhhhh…I can’t wait to try this! You make amazing dishes. apps and desserts. Also, your photos are incredible. Thanks so much for spending the time doing all of this! Such a treat for us. I was wondering if you might have an olive oil brand that you can recommend.

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      When I’m in the supermarket I generally buy a medium priced extra virgin, and I make a point to change brands just to try everything, but my favorite olive oil is a company that I’ve teamed up with in the past, O Olive Oil. They make incredible stuff, here’s a link to one of the features I did about them a while back ~

  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 11:11 am

    What a fantastic idea! Taking this to my next Womens’ group! Yum! Pinning!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 9:03 am

    God Gracious ! Feta prepared the best way possible ¨!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Hi Sue,
    I was wondering what kind of feta did you use? Greek? Was it sold in a brine?

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 8:31 am

      Yes Eleanor, it was Bulgarian sheep’s milk feta, sold in brine. I just updated the recipe to add that, thanks.

      • Reply
        March 26, 2018 at 8:38 am

        although you can use any feta you like 🙂

        • Reply
          Cathy A Marlow
          April 30, 2018 at 3:15 pm

          Sue, is the Bulagarian Feta less salty than the Greek? I love feta and I love salt but it’s pretty salty, even for me.

          • Sue
            April 30, 2018 at 3:33 pm

            The Bulgarian feta is pretty salty, too, Cathy. I usually treat it like a condiment for that reason. This dish does use a big chunk of it, I know, but I found that the baking in oil and then spreading on toasted bread really cut the impact of the salt for me.

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    March 26, 2018 at 7:57 am

    This is totally my kind of appetizer Sue! I love the Mediterranean flavors! Bet it disappears fast!

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 8:32 am

      In the blink of an eye 😉

  • Reply
    Tina Dawson | Love is in my Tummy
    March 26, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I can almost hear the gasp of guests as you set something so stunningly beautiful on the table for them to enjoy!

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 8:21 am

      Love that, thanks Tina!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Oh my goodness! That baked feta cheese looks absolutely fantastic! So good. I can imagine dunking garlic bread in the olive oil mix and baked feta slathered on the bread! Perfect Sunday brunch recipe!

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    March 26, 2018 at 7:07 am

    I have got to try this! This is right up my alley for Friday night eats! This, crusty bread and wine and I’m set 🙂

  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 7:03 am

    Yes please! Baked cheese, crispy bread and some wine, that’s my idea of heaven! This whole dish looks so delicious!

  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic + Zest
    March 26, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Sue, you always make the BEST things. It never fails, every time you post a new recipe, I feel like you’re speaking directly to me — because it’s EXACTLY the way I like to cook and eat. Thank you for this one, it’s going to be on the menu this Easter!

  • Reply
    Claudia Lamascolo
    March 26, 2018 at 6:19 am

    wow this looks fabulous love this idea for an appetizer with all the company I have coming for Easter this may be the ticket!

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 6:23 am

      I do think this would be great for Easter, it’s a good spring appetizer because it’s warm but not heavy.

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    March 26, 2018 at 6:12 am

    This looks amazing! I love those olives, esp. the green vibrant. Did they come in jars?

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 6:20 am

      I usually buy my olives at my local supermarket’s olive bar, Angie, they’re so much better than jarred or canned.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    March 26, 2018 at 4:56 am

    I love baked feta! It’s so flavourful when it’s warm, it’s just so luscious 🙂

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 6:05 am

      I was amazed at how different it is warm, and what a bonus that’s it’s lower in fat, we went through that block in record time 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    March 26, 2018 at 4:35 am

    I love this idea Sue! It’s so simple but such a beautiful and appealing appetizer!

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 6:08 am

      Thanks Chris, I keep a little mental check list of really truly easy appetizers and this one is on there for sure.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    March 26, 2018 at 4:22 am

    Oh my this looks good. I love all the flavors going on here and bet I could really dig into this baked cheese! I could eat cheese and olives every single day – pinning and sharing!

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