Fried Feta With Pistachios & Hot Honey

May 12, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Marissa Mullen
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Feta is one of my all-time favorite cheeses. The creamy Greek delicacy is excellent crumbled into salads, whipped into a dip, and paired with fresh cucumbers, pita, and olives on a meze platter.

If you've ever tried saganaki at a Greek restaurant, you're familiar with the treat that is ooey-gooey pan-fried firm cheese—which can be made with kasseri, kefalotyri, graviera, halloumi, and feta—so named for the pan in which the cheese is fried. Here, I’ve riffed on the classic dish by encrusting feta, one of the most accessible Greek cheeses in the U.S., with a combination of ground pistachios, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder. To kick it up a notch, I drizzled some hot honey (which you can buy at many supermarkets or online, or DIY) and lemon juice over the cheese before serving. This will be on constant rotation in my kitchen all summer long. —Marissa Mullen

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (8-ounce) block of feta (about 1/2 inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/4 lemon)
  • Fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)
  • Toasted bread, for serving
  • Castelvetrano olives, for serving
  1. In a food processor, combine the pistachios, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until coarsely chopped. Spread out the pistachio mixture onto a flat plate and set aside.
  2. Crack the egg in a shallow bowl, whisk, and set aside.
  3. Remove the feta from its packaging and pat it dry with a paper or kitchen towel.
  4. Dip the feta into the beaten egg and let the excess drip off. Next, place the cheese in the pistachio mixture and fully coat the block by gently pressing the ground nuts into the entire surface.
  5. Place the feta on a clean plate, cover, and freeze for about 30 minutes, until firmed up but not frozen solid.
  6. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  7. Remove the cheese from the freezer and gently place it in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until the pistachios turn golden brown and crispy.
  8. Carefully transfer the feta to a serving plate. Drizzle with spicy honey, then squeeze the lemon juice over it. If using, garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.
  9. Serve immediately, with toasted bread and Castelvetrano olives.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Marissa Mullen
  • Chana
Marissa Mullen is a Brooklyn-based food stylist, recipe developer, photographer and cheese lover. She is the founder of That Cheese Plate and creator of the Cheese By Numbers method. She is also the author of the best-selling cookbook, That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life, a step-by-step styling guide for crafting beautiful and delicious cheese plates as a form of creative expression. Featured on The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show, Business Insider, Vox among others, Marissa is dedicated to bringing people together through creativity, food and entertainment.

7 Reviews

Chana September 14, 2022
This recipe could be amazing. But the spice mixture is way way way too subtle for that hot honey. I ended up adding preserved lemon and more spice but still, if i did it again i would be more generous. My feta did not melt before the nuts started to burn so i might do it in the oven on a lower heat. I suspect the feta you use makes a difference here.
Angela June 11, 2021
Very good, but I think I should have heated the cheese in the oven or microwave after frying because it was still quite cool. I might use more of the dried herbs too. But it definitely good enough to make again. We had it with baguettes and olives and it made a great light summer dinner.
Lisa May 31, 2021
Most amazing appetizer ever! Our guests loved it.
Darian May 24, 2021
For a refreshing change of pace, here is a review by someone that actually tried the recipe. It was great! Super easy with some complexity to the combination of flavors and textures. I served with warm flatbread and baba ganoush.
Marissa M. May 24, 2021
Thanks for trying the recipe, glad you enjoyed it!!
Oswald C. May 23, 2021
Not an impressive recipe in my opinion. There is no chemistry with these ingredients...I can see Feta? honey and pistachio being part of a dish but thos is not it...
Miss P. May 13, 2021
If you've ever tried saganaki at a Greek restaurant, you're familiar with the treat that is ooey-gooey pan-fried feta, so named for the pan in which it's fried.

Totally incorrect definition of saganaki.
The cheese not feta . It is kasseri.