Creamy Feta Dip – quick, easy, thrifty
This Creamy Feta Dip will save you on all those days you need something fast but fabulous to take to gatherings! I love that it’s also low budget and can be made in advance. The dip toppings really make this, so don’t skip them!
Serve with lightly toasted bread or pita, else for a healthy and colourful take, with crisp raw vegetables (aka crudités).
Creamy Feta Dip
If you’re ever in need of something quick but homemade to break out at a gathering, this Creamy Feta Dip will save the day. All you do is blend feta, cream cheese, a smidge of garlic, lemon zest and olive oil in a food processor, then spread it on a plate and sprinkle/drizzle with toppings.
It all just takes a lazy 30 seconds. How easy is that??
No food processor? No worries! Just use a stick blender instead.
What you need
Here’s what you need to make this Feta Dip.
1. The dip itself
Danish feta – The type of feta I’m using today is called “Danish feta” here in Australia (also called “Danish white”). It is different to the well-known traditional Greek feta because it has a creamy rather than crumbly texture. This is what makes it ideal to use for making this feta dip because it’s comes out ultra smooth with very little blitzing!
Crumbly Greek feta works fine and is probably more authentic to use if you’re aiming for a traditional Greek mezze dip. But just be aware that the dip will end up with faint graininess to it no matter how long you blitz for. The only way to remove it is to pass it through a fine mesh strainer. Honestly, so much easier just to use Danish feta!
Cream cheese and olive oil – These add a bit of extra fat for smoothness and richness to the dip. I find that using feta alone is a little too briney and sharp, for my taste.
Garlic – Just a little bit, 1/4 teaspoon, as the flavour of raw garlic in this is actually quite harsh! I thought left overnight it would soften and meld with the other flavours better but it didn’t. So I hold back quite a lot on the garlic in this recipe!
I use a garlic press – quick and easy. If you don’t have one, you can grate the garlic using a microplane or “smear” finely minced garlic to make a paste using the side of a knife. If making a paste, reduce to 1/8 teaspoon (as paste is more intense than using a garlic press).
Lemon zest – Adds a bit of bright lemon flavour. It’s optional, but I really do think it adds a little something.
Salt – You’d think the salt in the feta would be enough, wouldn’t you? And perhaps for some it is, but I think it needs a touch more. Just add this in at the end so you can adjust to taste.
Here are the toppings I’ve chosen. This dip is a blank canvas for experimenting with toppings, though! I’ve offered some other suggestions below.
Honey – The hero topping! The combination of sweet honey with salty cheese is a classic cheeseboard flavour pairing so it comes as no surprise that it works extremely well with Feta Dip too. Don’t hold back on the honey! Trust me. Alternative: Maple syrup
Olive oil – For extra richness, and also for visuals. Beautiful puddles of golden olive oil dappling the white dip surface just looks so appealing.
Pistachios or other nuts of choice. I love pistachios for flavour and for their lovely green colour. Almonds, walnuts, macadamia and hazelnuts would also work well.
Chilli flakes / red pepper flakes – Just a pinch, for a hint of warmth!
Lemon zest – Optional, for an additional final sprinkle of fresh lemon. If I’m long on lemons, I’ll add it. But more often than not these days, I seem to have fruit bowls filled with white zest-less lemons!
Parsley – Honestly, I just add a pinch of a bit of extra green colour. Consider it entirely optional! For flavour, coriander/cilantro or mint would be fabulous, roughly torn and scattered over.
More topping options
There are few dips in this world with so many topping possibilities! Some suggestions: maple syrup, other nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia, pepitas, sunflower seeds), dried fruit (cranberries, sour cherries, apricots), olives, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes or other pickled things, cilantro/coriander.
How to make feta dip
This is a hard one….. you’re sure you’re ready for it??? Dump and blitz!
Blitz – Put everything except the oil in a food processor and blitz until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice. It will take 10 to 20 seconds if you’re using creamy Danish feta, as the recipe calls for. It can take a few minutes if you’re using crumbly Greek feta.
Olive oil – With the motor running, slowly pour the oil in through the feeder, then blitz for a further 10 seconds on high until it comes together into a smooth creamy dip.
Spread in shallow bowl – Scrape out and spread the dip in a very shallow bowled plate or a normal plate so it’s around 1.5 cm thick (0.6″). We want a good amount of surface area here so every scoop has a nice ratio of toppings to dip!
Dents & swirls – Make big dents/swirls across the surface of the dip using the back of a dessert spoon. No need to channel your Picasso within, once it’s covered in toppings no one can tell if you’ve created art or a total random mess with your swirls (latter for me!). We just want nice big dents for pools of honey and olive oil to settle in.
Toppings – Drizzle and sprinkle with toppings. Then that’s it! You’re done. Ready for dunking and scooping!
What to serve with Creamy Feta Dip
My favourite thing to serve the dip with is thick slices of baguette warmed in the oven. I don’t even toast it until golden, I just pop the bread in the oven to warm it up. Other carb options include:
Lebanese bread, cut into wedges – an excellent low-cost option (and fast to do, just stack and cut with a knife)
Pita or other flatbreads cut into pieces
Ritz or other crackers of choice
Then of course, if you prefer to bring on a riot of attractively bright colour while enticing people to eat their greens, you could assemble a big raw / par-cooked vegetable platter for the Feta Dip. That’s crudités, for the posh among you. Me, I will always call them veggie sticks! – Nagi x
PS. I know I’ve pitched this as a excellent express party food. But everybody knows it’s just as perfect for lazy Sunday afternoons, with just you, the sun, a book and a glass of your favourite wine in hand.
Watch how to make it
Creamy Feta Dip
Creamy Feta Dip:
- 400g / 10 oz Danish feta , at room temp (ie. the creamy sort, not crumbly Greek sort, Note 1)
- 125g/ 4 oz cream cheese , at room temp, full fat (Note 2)
- 1/4 tsp garlic , crushed using garlic press (Note 3)
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest , optional
- 1/4 tsp cooking/kosher salt
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Toppings (Note 4 for subs):
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp pistachios , roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp parsley , finely minced
- Pinch of chilli / red pepper flakes , optional
- Sprinkle of lemon zest , optional
Dipping options – choose:
- Thick slices of bread , warmed
- Lebanese , pita or flat bread wedges
- Veggie sticks (ie crudités)
Feta Dip: Place all ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Blitz on high for 10 seconds or until pretty smooth, scraping down the sides once. (You could also use a stick blender, but a stand mixer will not work)
Olive oil: With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feeder then blitz until the dip is smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.
Spread on a shallow bowl-plate / regular plate so it's around 1.5cm / 0.6" thick. Use the back of a spoon to create swirls for the honey and oil to pool in.
Drizzle over the honey and olive oil. Sprinkle with pistachios, parsley, chilli and lemon. Serve immediately with dippers of choice!
2. Cream cheese – Yogurt and sour cream also work but cut them down to 1/3 cup.
3. Garlic – The taste of garlic is really prominent in this dip so don’t go crazy with it even if you’re a garlic lover like me! If you don’t have a garlic press, use a microplane or similar to make a garlic paste but reduce to 1/8 tsp. You can also use the side of a knife to smear chopped garlic into a paste.
4. Other topping options – This dip will go with so many things! Think: cheeseboard and mezze items. Maple syrup instead of honey, other nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia, pepitas, sunflower seeds), dried fruit (cranberries, sour cherries, apricots), olives, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes or other pickled things, cilantro/coriander.
5. Keeps 3 days in the fridge without toppings. Top just before serving as the dip will start to perspire after around 30 minutes.
6. Nutrition per serve assuming 10 servings, no bread etc included.
Life of Dozer
A typical day in Life of Dozer these days – mornings vs evening:
EVENING! Book talk at a cocktail party event at Dymocks bookstore in Sydney city on Wednesday 26th October as part of my cookbook tour. More details coming including the menu of food we made!