Baked Fontina Cheese Dip inspired by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. This easy holiday appetizer is made with Italian fontina cheese, olive oil, and fresh spices, all baked to bubbly perfection and served with crusty french bread.

A cast iron skillet with baked fontina cheese dip, bread slices in the background and a hand taking a scoop out of the cheese dip with a bread slice.

Baked Fontina Cheese Dip

Something about fancy cheese names, like fontina, sound really intimidating.  However, if you are feeling intimidated by this recipe, let me assure you that it may be the EASIEST appetizer you’ve ever made.  You can make this easy cheese dip recipe in just minutes and impress all of your guests because it looks and tastes so special and delicious.

What cheese is best for cheese dip or fondue?

When it comes to fondue or baked cheese dips, the better the cheese the better the dip.  That usually means paying a higher price for more expensive cheese.  Soft and mild cheeses like fontina, gruyere, and or gouda cheese work great!

What is Fontina?

Fontina is an Italian cheese made from cows milk that has a soft, mild flavor.  Fontina is a great melting cheese that is often used to make cheese fondue or baked cheese dips.

How to make Baked Fontina:

Cut the fontina cheese into cubes and place them in a cast iron skillet. Drizzle olive oil over the cheese.

The ingredients needed for baked fontina including wedges of fontina cheese, cloves of garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs next to another photo of a cast iron skillet with cubes of fontina cheese and olive oil being drizzled on top.

Mix the fresh herbs together and sprinkle them on top of the olive oil and cheese.  Add a little salt and pepper and place the skillet under the broiler for 6 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.Process photos of baked fontina in a cast iron skillet before it goes in the oven and after it's been baked.

Serve the baked fontina immediately with slices of a crusty baguette or even with veggies.

What is the difference between baked fontina and cheese fondue?

Baked fontina is very similar to most fondue recipes.  However, many fondue recipes ask you to grate the cheese and they often call for cornstarch, which this recipe does not.  This recipe uses a few simple ingredients including fresh herbs, cheese, and olive oil and is extremely fast and easy to prepare.

A small baguette slice nestled in a hot baked fontina cheese dip in a cast iron skillet.

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Recipe

A cast iron skillet with baked fontina cheese dip, bread slices in the background and a hand taking a scoop out of the cheese dip with a bread slice.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 6 mins
Total 21 mins
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Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 pounds fontina cheese , rind removed and 1-inch diced
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil (high quality olive oil works best)
  • 6 cloves garlic , thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme , minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Crusty French Baguette , cut into chunks when ready to eat

Instructions
 

  • Before preheating the oven, move one oven rack and place it about 5 inches from the heat. (on the bottom rack)
  • Turn the broiler oven on high.
  • Assemble your Fontina cheese cubes in the bottom of a large cast-iron pan.  Be sure to space them apart.  Drizzle olive oil on top of the cheese.
  • In a small bowl, combine garlic, fresh thyme, and fresh rosemary.  Sprinkle the mixture over the cheese and olive oil.
  • Add salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for about 6 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown.
  • Serve immediately with the French baguette.

Notes

Recipe inspired by Ina Garten, Food Network.

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 14gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 648mgPotassium: 45mgVitamin A: 545IUVitamin C: 1.4mgCalcium: 317mgIron: 0.3mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this dip and took to a dinner party. It was a huge hit. Next time I will double the recipe. Super yummy!!