13 Delicious Ways To Marinate Cheese

Cheese is undeniably one of the most incredible foods ever created. It is exceptionally versatile, comes in an abundance of flavors and styles, and easily adds a delicious taste and texture to an array of regional cuisines. Thanks to its soft consistency, it also has the ability to soak up a world of flavors. Really, cheese is fantastic as is, but marinating it has the power to transform it from a mere garnish into the main event.

Marinated cheese makes a wonderful addition to charcuterie boards and side dishes. It's also incredible when added to sandwiches or used as a salad topping, and it allows you to repurpose leftovers. Best of all, most recipes are super simple, especially when you consider the phenomenal flavor results you achieve. If you're looking for a creative way to take your cheese to the next level, marinating it is a no-brainer.

We researched popular recipes, regional variations, and chef recommendations to create a list of phenomenal marinated cheese variations you're sure to love. Keep reading to learn about 13 delicious ways to marinate cheese so you can upgrade your charcuterie boards and take your food preparation skills to new heights.

Marinate cheese with Italian herbs

Marinated mozzarella balls are a common part of classic Italian antipasto plates, and they are a great place to start if you are new to marinating cheese. Considering cheese and Italian herbs go together perfectly in everything from pasta to pizza and beyond, you know it will taste amazing. Plus, it's quite easy to do. Small mozzarella balls, also called pearls, come in bite-sized pieces perfect for marinating. They are also soft enough to absorb tons of yummy flavors in a short time.

To marinate cheese with Italian herbs, drizzle olive oil over a bowl of mozzarella pearls and stir. Then, gently mix in dried basil, oregano, and minced garlic. You can also add black pepper or red chili flakes to round out the flavors if you want. Once all the cheese is coated, put your mix in an airtight container and place it in the fridge for about two hours. It's that simple. When ready, this recipe is delicious served on a charcuterie board, on pizza or salad, or stuffed in meatloaf.

Gruyère, cheddar, and cream cheese also work with this marinade, but mozzarella is the classic choice. If you opt for a harder cheese, just leave it to marinate for longer so it gets a chance to soak up more flavor. About eight hours should suffice.

Marinate goat cheese with thyme and lemon zest

Goat cheese has a soft, almost spreadable texture that makes it perfect for absorbing marinades. Its tangy, slightly earthy taste is also excellent when paired with bright and savory flavors like lemon and thyme. Combined, the flavors are zesty, fresh, and, of course, delicious. Whether you're eating a Greek-inspired meal or simply want a bold-flavored appetizer to spread on crackers, goat cheese marinated with fresh thyme and lemon zest won't let you down.

To make this marinade, start by cutting your goat cheese into slices. You can also make cubes or shape the cheese into small balls if that works better for your intended use. As long as they are small enough to be submerged in olive oil, it really doesn't matter. Put your cut goat cheese into a large jar or airtight container and cover with olive oil. Then, stir in fresh thyme and zest from a lemon. If you love citrusy flavors, you can also squeeze the lemon juice into the marinade for an even brighter taste. Garlic and pepper make welcome additions as well. When mixed enough that all the pieces of cheese are covered, close the container and put it in the fridge to marinate. It'll be ready in just a couple of hours, but leaving it longer leads to a more robust flavor throughout the cheese.

Marinate paneer cheese in masala

While Indian cuisine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about marinated cheese, some of the most popular dishes are made with it. One of the most common is paneer tikka masala. This flavorful dish is served with rice, but its main component is paneer cheese marinated in a spicy, creamy tomato-based sauce. The same sauce is also used to marinate chicken and veggies, which you may be familiar with, but its complex flavors also lead to one of the most drool-worthy marinated cheeses available.

Matar paneer is another Indian marinated cheese recipe that calls for a tomato and cream-based sauce. However, it is typically served with peas and sometimes potatoes. Or for something totally different, palak paneer is basically cheese marinated in a tasty spinach sauce with lots of spices.

Admittedly, making an Indian sauce from scratch is a bit more complicated than making many of the other marinades on this list, but it can be done. If you're looking for something a bit more simple, you can also pick up a store-bought version of any of these sauces and call it a day.

Marinate cheese with balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and basil

Marinating cheese in balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and fresh basil is nothing new. Chances are good you've tried or at least heard of a Caprese salad before, and that's essentially what this is. It just needs a bit more marinade for better cheese coverage and smaller pieces of tomato. Conveniently, you don't have to make a balsamic reduction, either. The regular stuff works great.

Mozzarella is the obvious choice for this marinade, but you don't have to stop there. Gouda, Havarti, and white cheddar also taste amazing when steeped in these flavors. Whatever you decide to use, put it in a bowl with balsamic vinegar, diced tomatoes, and freshly chopped basil leaves. Stir until the cheese is coated, then put it in the fridge for about an hour. Since balsamic vinegar has a super potent taste, it won't need long to reach the desired flavor. When done, you can use the mix to make bruschetta, put it on salads or sandwiches, or serve it with crackers.

Marinate cheese with peppers and olives

Peppers, olives, and cheese are all common ingredients on a charcuterie board, so why not combine them all from the start? That way, instead of having to stack them on a cracker or piece of bread precariously, you can scoop a bit of the marinade and get all the flavors in one convenient bite. Plus, adding olive oil to the mix only helps the elements form one cohesive flavor. Yum!

Similar to other marinades, you'll want to start by covering bite-sized pieces of cheese with olive oil. If that is a bit heavy for your preference, you can also mix in some white wine vinegar to thin it out and add another layer of flavor. Either way, diced pimientos or olives and chopped peppers are added next. Olives vary significantly in taste, so use whatever kind you like best. As far as the cheese is concerned, cheddar, cream cheese, mozzarella, and Gouda are all outstanding choices. We like to add some seasoning as well, like chopped garlic and black pepper. Once all your ingredients are mixed together, put them in the fridge, and they'll be ready in about eight hours.

Marinate feta cheese with orange peel, mustard, coriander, and more

Feta cheese is often confused with goat cheese. However, it is typically made from sheep's milk. It can be made with goat's milk, but feta made from sheep's milk has a tangy, salty flavor that tastes amazing when marinated with aromatic herbs and spices. A myriad of ingredients pair well with this soft cheese, but the following marinade's complex, bright taste is our favorite.

Like most good marinades, this one starts by smothering your goat cheese with a healthy serving of olive oil. Next, it's time for the perfect blend of tangy and savory spices. In this case, we'll use zest from an orange peel, cumin seeds, nigella, crushed garlic, coriander, and mustard in equal amounts. Mix the ingredients, taking care not to break up the feta in the process. When you're satisfied with your work, you can serve it straight away or leave it to marinate in the fridge for anywhere from two to 12 hours. Of course, it'll keep in the fridge for much longer than that, but the flavors will be more than sufficiently joined after a few hours.

Many of the marinades on this list are simple to make and only include a handful of ingredients. This one is a bit more complex, but it's most certainly worth the extra ingredients and effort, even if you don't have them on hand already. Once you get a taste, you'll see why.

Marinate cheese with spicy peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and other seasonings

Spicy peppers and sun-dried tomatoes are another incredible flavor combination that tastes delicious when paired with cheese. When you add seasonings to the mix and marinate them all together, it only gets better. If you like spicy foods, this marinade is for you. Not only does it have a myriad of amazing textures and flavors, but it looks quite appealing, too, so it's perfect for entertaining guests.

To start, add equal parts olive oil and white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar to a mixing bowl. Then, add chopped garlic, dried basil, a touch of sugar, diced jalapeños, sun-dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Stir vigorously or whisk until all ingredients are well mixed. Then, add your cheese of choice. Sharp cheddar and Colby Jack are our top picks for this marinade. Still, whatever you have on hand will likely taste great. Stir until the cheese is covered, put in an airtight container, and put it in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of eight hours. Cheddar and Colby Jack aren't as soft and porous as other popular marinade cheeses, like mozzarella, so they'll need some extra time to marinate. When the time is up, sprinkle fresh diced green onions on top, serve, and enjoy. It goes exceptionally well with crackers, bread, sandwiches, and more.

Marinate goat cheese with savory herbs and juniper

This marinated goat cheese recipe comes to you from St. Jack in Portland, Oregon. It infuses simple French flavors into cheese to create a scrumptious dish appealing to varying tastes. The recipe calls for a log of goat cheese cut into 2-inch rounds, a few spices, and olive oil. Place your cut goat cheese in a jar. Then add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 4 juniper berries, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns, 2 springs of rosemary, and 2 sprigs of thyme. Then, add enough olive oil to cover it all, seal the jar, and put it in the fridge.

The chef who created it, Aaron Barnett, recommends leaving the goat cheese in the fridge to marinate for two days up to one week to achieve the desired flavors throughout the cheese. This is a bit longer than many other marinades on our list, but the delectable result is worth the wait. When ready, the classic French flavors of this marinated cheese make it perfect for pairing with warm bread, other French cuisine, salads, and more.

Marinate feta cheese with Greek herbs

Feta cheese is Greek by origin. In fact, according to Real Greek Feta, feta and cheese making have a rich mythological history in the region that dates back many centuries. With this in mind, feta and Greek flavors make an outstanding duo. When you take it a step further and marinate feta in Greek flavors, you get a zesty, tangy, salty concoction "fit for the gods."

The best part about this marinated feta recipe is that it only requires four ingredients: olive oil, feta cheese, dried oregano, and dried thyme. Tossing olives, salt, and pepper in is also a good idea, but it is tasty without them. You'll need a bit of time and an airtight container, too, but that's to be expected. For the best results, cut your feta cheese into small cubes. Add them to a jar or sealable container and toss in 1-2 tablespoons of the dried herbs. Top with enough olive oil to cover the cheese and seal the jar. Then, place it in a cool place to marinate for 10 days. This particular recipe recommends a cool place, but not the fridge because the olive oil is likely to congeal at such low temperatures. However, if this seems a bit strange to you, you can always put it in an area of the fridge that isn't as cold, like the door.

Marinate cheese in truffle oil and aromatic spices

Truffles have a distinct, drool-worthy flavor profile that you can't achieve with any other ingredients. They are also exceptionally difficult to harvest, so they come at a premium price. However, truffle oil is a fantastic, low-cost option when you want to get some of the coveted flavor without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, truffle oil doesn't contain real truffles, but it does give you a taste of the unique flavor, making it an excellent option for marinating cheese.

Truffle oil doesn't hold up well when exposed to high heat, so you don't want to cook this marinade. Fortunately, this means marinating cheese in truffle oil is beyond simple. All you have to do is coat your cheese in the oil, add a few aromatics like garlic, pepper, or thyme, and leave the ingredients to work their magic. After a couple of hours, your cheese will be richly flavored and highly aromatic. This decadent style of marinated cheese is perfect for charcuterie boards, topping salads, or sprinkling on french fries.

Marinate cheese with chili garlic oil

Chili garlic oil is another fantastic flavor combination that lends itself super well to cheese. Thanks to the popularity of this ingredient in both Asian and Italian cuisines, you can easily buy a chili garlic oil pre-made, too. As a result, preparing this recipe is as easy as grabbing a jar from the store, tossing it in a bag or jar with cheese, and leaving it to marinate for a while — you're good to go. The spicy chili taste mixed with garlic and oil easily coats cheese and infuses it with complex flavors.

Similar to other recipes, soft cheeses are often best because their consistency helps them soak up more of the marinade, but feel free to play around. Whether you use Asian-style chili garlic sauce or olive oil infused with chili and garlic, they add a bold flavor to cheese that people are sure to love. Depending on the oil you use, this recipe has the potential to be a bit too spicy for some palates. However, if you like heat, it is a surefire winner.

Marinate cheese in pickle juice

There are several ways to use leftover pickle juice, like as a chaser for shots of liquor or making Nashville-style hot chicken sauce. However, using it to marinate cheese leads to surprisingly zesty, sour, flavorful results that pickle lovers won't be able to get enough of. Plus, it means you don't have to throw the delicious juice in the trash.

Arguably the best part about marinating cheese in pickle juice is that it is virtually effortless. All you need is leftover pickle juice and cheese. You can also add a few herbs and spices, like rosemary or thyme — but even without them, you still get unbelievably tasty results. Since pickles already come in an airtight jar, you don't need an extra container, either. Simply drop small squares of cheese into the jar, seal it, and leave it to marinate for a few hours.

Soft cheeses like mozzarella, feta, and Gouda are perfect for this recipe. However, something tells us you can use any cheese you like. When you are done marinating, eat the cheese cubes as is, or slice them up and add them to a sandwich to infuse it with lots of tangy flavor.

Marinate cheese with Asian flavors

Cheese is not a common ingredient in East Asian cuisine. Still, it goes surprisingly well with several Asian flavors, such as soy sauce, sesame, and miso. Compared to other recipes in this list, these recipes are super easy to pull off, too. They only require a couple of ingredients, which you may already have in your fridge and pantry.

Soy sauce marinated mozzarella cheese only takes a couple of minutes to prepare. Simply pat fresh mozzarella cheese with paper towels to remove excess moisture and place it in a sealable plastic bag or airtight container. Add 1 part soy sauce and 2 parts water to the container, sprinkle with an herb of your choosing (Kikkoman recommends oregano), and move around the cheese to ensure it is thoroughly coated with the mixture. Then, seal the container, put it in the fridge overnight, and it's ready.

Making a sesame cream cheese spread is another tasty way to infuse cheese with Asian flavor. Smother a block of cream cheese with soy sauce, turn it over several times, and refrigerate for two hours. While it is in the fridge, rotate the cream cheese frequently to get an even coating. Then, roll the cheese in sesame seeds before serving.

Miso-marinated cream cheese is also a fantastic option packed with umami flavor. Instead of using soy sauce, make a mix of miso and mirin. Then coat the cream cheese and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of days.