Yes, you could serve squeaky, toothpick-able cheese cubes, and no one would object.
But you could also take that same cheese and make a more metamorphic change: Add spices, herbs, and vegetables, then blend or melt or beer-spike into a dip that's creamy, scoopable, and at home on a variety of "dippers," from tortilla chips to carrot sticks. Suddenly, you've taken that singular, lonely cheese and transformed it into an eligible snack from which hundreds of thousands (or at least a few) spin-off combinations are possible:
- Saltine plus pimento cheese? Yes please.
- Carrot stick heavy with pimento cheese? Don't mind if I do.
- Tortilla chip with pimento cheese? Crazier things have been done before.
For a full run-down of the best dippers to pair with which cheese dips (like, which one does a strawberry go with?!), see our not very comprehensive nor scientific guide below.
Choose your cheese, cheesy, or cheesiest dip below, then prepare or purchase any accompaniments as you see fit:
There's a reason cheese and nuts often show up on the same appetizer board: they're a match made in heaven. Blend briny feta cheese with salty-savory pistachios for a beautifully green-hued dip you'll just keep dipping into.
Baked ricotta is so good it's almost a crime (because it's so easy to make). Add extra richness by swirling in salty, toasty brown butter and top with savory mushrooms for a dip that's especially good with toasted baguette slices.
This smoky, slightly tangy vegan cheese dip is the answer to all your plant-based appetizing questions. If that question is "can I put vegan cheese dip on this" that is. Dairy-free Mexican food enthusiasts, grab your cashews!
A skillet of bubbling melted cheese is just what your snack feast needs. Bonus points for adding extra savory flavor and heft with mushrooms, and extra bonus points for picking the slightly burned cheese off the sides of the pan.
This beer-infused cheddar fondue is as dip-tacular on hard or soft pretzels as it is on a burger, sandwich, pile of fries, pile of crudité, pile of broccoli...you get the idea. For a go-to cheese dip, make sure you're well-stocked on pilsner.
Okay so maybe pimento cheese isn't a dip per se, it's more of a spread. Some varieties are too dense with cheesy goodness to hope to dip a cracker in without shattering to shards. Nevertheless, to leave pimento cheese out of a list of the best cheese dips would be criminal and we're nobody if not law-abiding, cheese-consuming citizens.
Fewer dips in this world encourage dipping quite like gooey nacho cheese. Whip up a batch for dunking and drizzling, and bid farewell to that bag of tortilla chips.
The briny combination of feta and olives makes for a sumptuously salty dip that begs for sturdy pita chips and toasted bread slices. If there's any left—and there's no guarantee of that—spoon the remainder over simple seared or roasted salmon for a tangy topping.
This is an iconic pairing that's invited countless extra rounds of beer among drinkers and diners. Silky-smooth beer cheese on soft, chewy homemade pretzels is truly the stuff of dairy dreams, and a welcome guest at any table that eschews dainty bites for "now we're talking" festive food.
Here's a nifty trick: in this cheese dip recipe...no, that's it. There is no recipe; the cheese is the recipe (and the vessel). Gently slice off the top of a wheel of Camembert, splash with fruity calvados, heat until bubbly and dip raw vegetables and crackers right in.
This artichoke dip is so cheesy it might as well be called "Cheese Dip With Artichokes." This warm, comforting appetizer staple is so much better with extra cheese, and yes it renders the vegetables themselves mere accessories. We were always in it for the cheese.
Smooth, savory, slightly sweet cashew cheese takes to warm fall spices (think pumpkin pie or garam masala) like cheese dip takes to just about anything. Keep it plant-based and serve with veggies and crackers for a vegan snack everyone will love.
Add extra flavor to the ultimate stretchy cheese combination of cheddar, jack, and mozzarella by adding a dollop of sour cream, squeeze of hot honey, and sautéed mushrooms for the easiest (and very possibly most delicious) skillet cheese dip you've ever watched vanish before your eyes.
Many kinds of cheese dip, especially those made with bloomy-rinded cheeses, benefit from a hit of sweetness in the mix (see skillet cheese dip with hot honey above). This cream cheese dip has a rich, frosting-y texture that clings to cut fruit, cookies, graham crackers, anything you like—without being too sweet.
This ricotta-based marvel is a dip, topping, schmear, and so much more. Swirl the best-quality ricotta you can find (or make your own) with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh herbs for an appetizer that's as at home in a bowl next to veggies as it is on top of a frittata or potato pancake.
Traditional fondue has roots in the Swiss Alps, with a blend of Gruyere (the fondue foundation) and the more pungent Vacherin Fribourgeois. Source these two creamy, nutty cheeses and melt them together with a touch of nutmeg and splash of kirsch for an authentic Alpine experience you'll want to visit over and over.
Cheese and port wine is an elegant way to end a meal, but they're every bit as good combined with cream cheese, heavy cream, Dijon mustard and chopped nuts for a quick but impactful one-bowl appetizer. Serve it with crackers or toast points, or spread it on sandwich bread and top with ham or turkey for an easy, flavorful lunch.
This spin on beer cheese takes the best part of the warm pretzel dip and marries it to beautiful pimento cheese. That's right, beer pimento cheese. Spicy beer pimento cheese. Pick your favorite beer, grab some pre-shredded cheese for ease, and dip, spread, and scoop away.
Any cheese dip would benefit from an extra kick of heat, and this version, blended with briny peppadews, is certainly no exception. Serve it with the accoutrements du jour, or spread it on celery stalks for a crunchy, savory snack.
What's your favorite way to consume cheese? "In large quantities" is a totally acceptable answer. Drop others in the comments below!