22 Indulgent Baked Cheese Recipes

Macaroni and Three Cheeses
Photo: © Quentin Bacon

There's something magical about baked cheese dishes. Who can resist that impossibly perfect combination of a gooey interior with a golden, caramelized cheese crust? The standard representation is a decadent mac and cheese — the more cheeses it's made with, the better — but the deliciousness certainly doesn't end there. This recipe roundup is devoted to all the cheesy baked goodness imaginable, from light, airy cheddar gougères and a cheese soufflé to substantial mains like eggplant Parmesan and lasagna. Who says you can't make a meal of more than one?

01 of 22

Crab Macaroni Gratin

Crab Macaroni Gratin
Sarah Crowder

"A glorious amount of crab meat baked with shell-shaped pasta in a three-cheese cream sauce — tangy white cheddar, nutty Gruyère, and sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano — is no-joke delicious and trés riche," F&W Cooks contributor Andrea Slonecker says. "That's where the Champagne comes in. The tingly bubbles give your palate an ultrasonic scrub between each creamy, cheesy, blissful bite." 

02 of 22

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart
Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

This tart is the perfect way to take advantage of late-summer tomatoes. Roasting the tomatoes before adding them to the tart dries them a bit, which concentrates their flavor and helps prevent the crust from getting soggy. Goat cheese has two roles in this recipe, adding a tangy bite to the crust as well as serving as part of the cheesy tart filling. Fresh basil, another seasonal star, acts as the final garnish.

03 of 22

Crispy Frico Cups with Polenta and Brown Butter

Crispy Frico Cups with Polenta and Brown Butter
© Cedric Angeles

Star chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson molds traditional Italian frico (cheese crisps) into cups, then fills the salty, crunchy bowls with creamy, warm polenta and nutty brown butter. The frico cups soften as the polenta sits in them, so serve right away, with a fork and knife.

04 of 22

Baked Macaroni with Mortadella and Mozzarella

Baked Macaroni with Mortadella and Mozzarella
© Con Poulos

Chef Paul Kahan ramps up this comforting Italian take on mac and cheese with fresh mozzarella, mortadella, eggs, and a rich pork ragù.

05 of 22

Cheddar-Scallion Biscuits

Cheddar-Scallion Biscuits
Greg DuPree

The beauty of these biscuits is that you get a double punch of grated sharp cheddar. The cheese is mixed into the dough, of course — and the biscuits are baked on top of a pile of cheddar, resulting in crispy, lacy "feet" that form around the edges, adding beautiful caramelized flavor. 

06 of 22

Best-Ever Cheese Soufflé

Best-Ever Cheese Souffle

© Matthew Armendariz

Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli perused old supper-club menus to come up with this retro cheese soufflé with both Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gruyère.

07 of 22

Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pear, and Blue Cheese

Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pear and Blue Cheese. Photo © Quentin Bacon

© Quentin Bacon

Pear and blue cheese are a classic pairing. This simple focaccia adds sweet caramelized onions and comes together in just four steps. 

08 of 22

Cheddar Gougères

Cheddar Gougeres. Photo © Quentin Bacon
© Quentin Bacon

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar gougères are perfect on New Year's Eve (or any other day!) with cava. The tangy, well-aged cheese is crumbly and deeply savory with a bit of nutty sweetness.

09 of 22

Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan

Sheet pan eggplant parmesan
Victor Protasio

A quick broil followed by a longer bake makes this no-fry recipe hands-off enough to put together on a Tuesday, with results delicious enough for a weekend dinner party. Be sure to let the eggplant drain to achieve the best charred eggplant texture.

10 of 22

Macaroni and Three Cheeses

Macaroni and Three Cheeses
© Quentin Bacon

When legendary athlete Michael Jordan and chef David Walzog were working on the menu for his eponymous steakhouse in Manhattan, Jordan insisted on including macaroni and cheese. White cheddar, gorgonzola, and Parmesan make this deluxe breadcrumb-topped version sing.

11 of 22

Pimiento Cheese and Bacon Crostini

Pimento Cheese and Bacon Crostini.
© Burcu Avsar

There’s nothing more indulgent than melted and browned pimiento cheese topped with crispy bacon. 

12 of 22

Herbed Potato Gratin with Roasted Garlic and Manchego

Herbed Potato Gratin with Roasted Garlic and Manchego
© Petrina Tinslay

Chef Jose Garces learned how to make a classic potato gratin while studying at Kendall College’s cooking school in Chicago. It's still one of his favorite side dishes. This version combines lots of sharp, nutty Manchego cheese and smoky San Simón cheese (Gouda is a fine substitute) for rich, complex flavor.

13 of 22

Free-Form Sausage and Three-Cheese Lasagna

Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna
© Quentin Bacon

This gooey lasagna is packed with cheese and sausage. The style is called free-form because the pasta can be arranged in different ways — for instance, folded over the filling — instead of traditionally layered.

14 of 22

Camembert Baked in the Box

Camembert Baked in the Box
© Con Poulos

This tender, melty cheese bakes in its box to keep it from collapsing. Be sure to buy Camembert in a box that’s stapled, not glued.

15 of 22

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread

Pull-Apart Cheesy Onion Bread
© Frances Janisch

This recipe is as fun to eat as monkey bread (little balls of yeast dough that are baked in a pan together, then pulled apart at the table) but a lot less time-consuming to make. We spread buttery biscuit dough with a savory onion-Gruyère mixture, stack layers of it sideways in a loaf pan, then bake it until golden and fluffy. 

16 of 22

Wild Mushroom and Swiss Dutch Baby

Wild Mushroom Swiss Dutch Baby
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

This puffy pancake gets an extra-savory touch from grated Swiss cheese and a hint of Dijon mustard, while a combination of mixed wild mushrooms, shallot, and arugula tops it off. Use room-temperature milk and eggs to give the Dutch baby a higher rise than you'll get from fridge-cold ingredients. This dish makes a next-level breakfast or brunch.

17 of 22

Detroit-Style Pizza

Detroit-Style Pizza
Photo by Fred Hardy / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

With a light and tender crust that's crispy on the bottom, charred on the sides, and topped with lots of melty cheese and savory pepperoni slices, there's so much to love about Detroit-Style Pizza. Layering is key here: Start with pepperoni, then add the cheese. Wisconsin brick cheese is the traditional choice, but you can also use a blend of low-moisture part-skim mozzarella and provolone.

18 of 22

French Onion Baked Brie

French Onion Baked Brie

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Amelia Rampe

If that first spoonful of French onion soup — with toasted bread, melted cheese, and savory caramelized onions — is your favorite, then you’ll love this appetizer, which is a decadent mash-up of French onion soup and baked Brie. Smear the cheesy snack on slices of toasted baguette. 

19 of 22

Baked Butternut Squash and Cheese Polenta

Baked Butternut Squash-and-Cheese Polenta
Quentin Bacon

Anna Thomas’ 1970s book, The Vegetarian Epicure, is iconic; updated in the ‘90s and rechristened The New Vegetarian Epicure, it focuses on recipes for entertaining. One of her latest dishes is this crusty baked polenta, swirled with mashed butternut squash and smoked Gouda cheese.

20 of 22

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Radicchio

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Radicchio Recipe
Greg DuPree

A splash of red wine vinegar balances the richness of this cheesy pasta and magnifies the pink color of the onions and radicchio. Omit the prosciutto to make this a vegetarian main dish.

21 of 22

Basque Cheesecake

Basque Cheesecake Recipe
Cedric Angeles

2020 F&W Best New Chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph bakes a perfectly creamy cheesecake, without a water bath and with no risk of a cracked or sunken top, by incorporating whipped cream cheese with heavy cream in the batter. To make the cake properly, you're going to have to burn it. The more caramelized it gets, the sweeter and creamier the batter becomes, intensifying the flavor.  

22 of 22

Three-Cheese Cauliflower Gratin

Three Cheese Cauliflower Gratin
Victor Protasio

If there’s a better way to eat cauliflower than this gratin, we have yet to come across it. A powerhouse of English cheeses — Montgomery’s crumbly and nutty cheddar; Ogleshield, a washed-rind Jersey cow's milk cheese; and buttery, blue-veined Colston Bassett Stilton — blankets cauliflower florets in a bechamel. 

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