Cheese and olive appetizers are a fabulous, quick and easy “can I have the recipe?” recipe. The briny, cheesy crowd-pleasing appetizer is perfect for any occasion.
Just 6 ingredients – a mixture of cheese, olives, green onions, curry powder and mayo – baked onto English muffins in about 20 minutes.
Many years ago when I was living in Montreal, a nutritionist brought these vegetarian olive cheese appetizers to a work party. We all inhaled them and promptly asked for the recipe.
Not upscale, not fancy, not foodie-esque. Just a tasty easy party appetizer. I’m a big sucker for fast, easy, good and pretty on the plate.
The appetizers are perfect for making ahead – great for the holidays and brunch. The blend of salty tangy olives with the cheddar, onions and curry works really well. Even non-olive lovers like this cheesy appetizer.
Ingredients – tailored to your taste
English muffins: These are an easy foundation for these appetizers, but you can use other crusty bread such as ciabatta or French bread as the base instead.
Cheese: I use white cheddar or gruyere. Emmental, fontina or provolone will work well too. Even mozzarella if you prefer mild. Freshly shredded cheese is best, but in a pinch, you can use pre-shredded cheese.
Olives: These are a matter of taste. I prefer black olives or Kalamata olives but tangy green olives are fine too. The only thing I suggest is to test the saltiness of the olives. The salt can be quite prominent.
Seasonings: The recipe calls for a pinch of curry powder. Other options are cumin, turmeric, masala, coriander or oregano. The green onions boost the flavor as well.
Step by step instructions
Olives can be extremely salty because of the brine they sit in. To reduce the saltiness, rinse the olives well.
- Buy pitted olives so you don’t have to remove the pits yourself
- Use a food processor to blend the olive cheese mixture together (and hide the olives if you have fussy eaters)
- Use pre-shredded cheese (although freshly grated cheese melts better).
- Just flash-freeze the unbaked pieces for 45 minutes, pile them into plastic freezer bags and freeze them for up to a month.
- Pull them out and bake as many as you need for a last-minute appetizer. No need to defrost.
This is technically a delicious appetizer for a cocktail party or any gathering, but you can also serve the olive cheese toasts with a hearty soup for a great weeknight meal or lunch. Think alternative to grilled cheese and soup 🙂 In this case, you can leave the English muffin halves whole instead of cutting them into quarters.
Another option is to add this tasty appetizer to cheese boards or charcuterie boards.
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Cheese and Olive Appetizers (Baked, 10 Minutes)
- 1 cup fresh chopped pitted olives (rinsed to reduce saltiness), Note 1
- 1/3 cup finely chopped green onions (green and white part)
- 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, Note 1 (about 6 ounces)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- salt and black pepper to taste (don't use salt if olives are salty)
- 8 English muffins, cut in half
- Garnish (optional): chopped fresh herbs like parsley or fresh thyme
- HEAT OVEN to 400F/204C.
- PREPARE OLIVE-CHEESE MIXTURE: Place all ingredients in a large bowl (except muffins) and mix with a spoon until well combined.
- ASSEMBLE: Divide mixture onto the 16 muffin halves and spread evenly to cover. Cut each muffin half into 4 quarters to make 64 pieces in all.
- BAKE: Lay appetizer pieces on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper or an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Best served hot, but also good at room temperature.
- Type of olives: black or green are both fine. For a shorcut, buy pitted ones. Rinse well as some olives are very salty.
- Cheese options: Use cheddar (I use white), gruyere, fontina, emmental, provolone. Mozzarella is ok too if you prefer mild cheese.
- Curry power substitutes: cumin, turmeric, masala, coriander or oregano.
- Variation: Add some finely chopped red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes to the olive cheese mixture for color.
- Make ahead:
- To freeze (before baking): Place pieces on a baking sheet and put in freezer for 45 minutes until frozen. Pile pieces into a ziploc bag, then put back in freezer to use when needed. No need to defrost before baking.
- Store leftovers in airtight container and reheat in moderate 350 degrees f (177C) oven for 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted.