This lemon herb marinated feta cheese recipe whips up in just minutes, and makes a fantastic appetizer. Simple, but packed with flavour!
This simple appetizer recipe was inspired by something we bought at a Minneapolis cheese shop many years ago - I THINK it was France 44 cheese shop, but I’m not sure.
Anyway, it was a simple looking feta appetizer in a plastic tub - a briny feta chunk in oil, topped with fresh ingredients like chopped scallion and lemon peel.
I’m sure it was intended to be part of a beautiful presentation, maybe as part of a mezze platter, with marinated olives and elegant crackers...
... but we kind of tore into it with forks and it, uh, disappeared. Whoops.
I’ve thought about that feta cheese appetizer for a long time.
This easy appetizer uses a lot of my favorite ingredients to pair with cheeses, and is a quick recipe - it works up with only a little bit of effort.
It’s a great way to add some visual interest to a cheese board, and one of my favorite ways to use up a block of feta, when it goes on sale.
The best part? It’s super customizable - more on that in a bit!
This is a great recipe that uses super simple ingredients - everything can easily be found in most grocery stores. A few notes for you:
A Block of Feta
This simple recipe starts out with a block of feta cheese - a dense, salty white cheese. Greek feta is usually made with sheep’s milk - or a mixture of sheep's milk and goat’s milk.
That said, I did see some cow's milk feta when I was living in the USA.
You can use whatever type of feta you like, for this recipe - as long as it’s a feta cube or slices. Crumbled feta wouldn’t have the right texture.
Personally, I like sheep / goat milk feta, but then, I’m a fan of goat cheese in general. YMMV!
Rounding out this recipe, you will need:
Extra virgin olive oil
A lemon - for both lemon zest and lemon juice
Fresh garlic cloves
Pink peppercorns (can use Black peppercorns)
Salt and pepper
... I just don’t have much to add, as far as these last few ingredients go!
Using the basic idea and proportions, this recipe can be adapted to be whatever flavour profile you like!
A few ideas for customizing your marinated feta - mix and match as you like!
1. Swap the lemon juice out for red wine vinegar, or a lighter balsamic vinegar if you like.
2. Swap the fresh herbs. Fresh basil, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, fresh rosemary, and fresh parsley are all great additions. (And rosemary sprigs make a pretty garnish, if you end up using it!)
3. For that matter, you can also swap out the dried herb - oregano - in the recipe, for dried thyme or basil, if you prefer.
3. Add some heat - a bit of red pepper flakes / chili flakes, or even chopped fresh chili peppers can kick it up a notch.
4. Swap the cucumber out for chopped up red and/or green bell pepper, if you like. I like to do this in combination with #3!
How to Make Marinated Feta
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, here is the visual walk through.
Remove feta from brine, pat dry with a paper towel.
Slice feta block into ½" slices - or cubes, set aside.
Prepare your marinade ingredients: chop the herbs, peel and press the garlic, zest and juice the lemon, etc.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place the feta slices in the oil mixture, gently turning to coat.
Cover and chill for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight - for best flavor.
Top with enough olive oil to full cover the cheese, if it’s not fully submerged.
An hour before serving, remove bowl from fridge, allowing it to warm to room temperature.
Remove feta slices / cubes of feta from the marinade, arrange on serving dish.
Finely chop the cucumber, add to the leftover olive oil mix, and mix well.
Serve cucumber mixture poured over top of the cheese, or alongside it.
Any leftover oil can be used to make a tasty salad dressing - just build a vinaigrette over it!
A Note on Chilling
As the oil cools, it tends to solidify. This is why it’s important to pull it from the fridge ahead of time, to warm up.
If you need to speed up the process, you can microwave it in 20 second bursts just to get it started - you don’t want to overheat it.
More Delicious Gluten-Free Appetizer Recipes!
Looking for even more fantastic gluten-free party food that *everyone* will love? Look no further, I’ve got some easy recipes for you !
Ahi Tuna Nachos
Berry Skewers with Keto Mojito Cheesecake Dip
Deep Fried Stuffed Olives [Gluten Free Option in the Post]
Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
Gluten-Free Chicken Satay
Gluten-Free Doughnut Holes Recipe
Gluten Free Fried Brie
Gluten Free Pizza Bites
Gluten Free Mushroom Turnovers
Gluten-Free Sauerkraut Buns [Piroshki]
Gluten Free Tempura
Greek Salad Skewers
Hawaiian Pizza Skewers
Jalapeno Popper Dip
Mini Baked Potatoes
Mini Mushroom Arancini [Gluten Free adaptation in the post!]
Rainbow Fruit Skewers with Mimosa Cheesecake Dip
Tropical Fruit Skewers with Pina Colada Dip
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- 8 oz Feta
- ¾ cup Olive oil
- 2 Garlic cloves pressed or finely minced
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 2 Green onions finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon Fresh dill finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Pink peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon Dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- ½ English Cucumber
- Remove feta from brine, pat dry with a paper towel.
- Slice feta block into ½" slices - or cubes, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic cloves, lemon zest, Green onions, dill, lemon juice, peppercorns, and oregano.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place the feta in the oil mixture, gently turning to coat. (Or tossing to coat, if doing cubes)
- Cover and chill for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.