Baked Fontina

baked fontina with herbs and garlic

I am all for buying two or three wedges of nice cheeses, plopping them on a cutting board, surrounding them with grapes and nuts and maybe something exotic like quince membrillo, and crossing “make-hors d’oeuvres” off my to-do list.

But every so often it’s nice to present something a teensy more special, more awe-inspiring, more spectacularly delicious. This baked fontina is the favorite party trick of my aunt — not the one that introduced me to salsa di parmigiano, the other one. She serves this bubbling fontina-herb-and-garlic-filled cast-iron skillet just as instructed with lots of crusty bread and swears that not a morsel ever remains. Because it is quite decadent, her other offerings consist of crispy kale chips and radishes with sea salt. My aunties are just full of good ideas.

This is definitely another good one to know this time of year — it’s super easy to put together and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. And if you are starting to feel anxious about how you might keep guests out of the kitchen this holiday season, here’s your solution: just plop down this cast-iron skillet in a nice cozy spot as far from your kitchen as possible — you’ll be sure to find some peace. But work quickly, because it won’t last long.

baked fontina on cheese

ingredients for baked fontina

minced herbs and sliced garlic

cubed fontina, herbs, olive oil, garlic & salt

Baked Fontina

Source: Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?

Note: I made a half recipe (using slightly less than half the amount of cheese) and baked it in one of these mini Lodge cast-iron skillets. It worked beautifully.

1 1/2 pounds fontina*, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty French baguette

*Suggested brand: Italian Fontina Val d’Aosta (I could not find this…just used what I could find at the grocery store)

1. Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat. (If you can’t get it exactly 5 inches, don’t worry — mine was more like 10.)

2. Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes (or longer if your pan is farther from the heat source), until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.

3. Serve the baked Fontina family-style-right out of the oven in the cast-iron pan with crusty chunks of bread for everyone to dip.

baked fontina on cheese


  1. Lollie ~ The Fortuitous Housewife says

    You’re killing me with all this cheesy deliciousness!
    Another recipe to print out & try ASAP! And this one gives me an excuse to go to my favorite, funky, locally-owned, kitchenwares warehouse to get a new piece of cast iron (I only have a 12″ skillet).

    • says

      Lollie — you can totally use your 12-inch skillet if you can’t find these smaller skillets — I only just picked these up this past weekend because I happened to be at an outlet mall and couldn’t resist picking up a few more “essentials”. This baked fontina is to die for. I hope you like it!

  2. says

    I found this recipe pinned on pinterest and clicked on through to find your beautiful blog! I not only will make this recipe of Ina Garner’s for certain, but I wll also be following your wonderful foodie blog as well so that I never miss a post! I would also like to invite you to stop by my blog as well when you have a moment. Your photography is outstanding by the way! Just outstanding!

    • says

      Roz — thank you for your nice comment! I’m so happy to hear you are liking what you see. This baked fontina is a must-make this holiday…people will go crazy. I will check out your blog right now!

  3. says

    I hate you right now because I’ve been avoiding cheese like the plague in order to fit into my skinny jeans. I’m in my skinny jeans now, but I think I’d be happier if I dove into this melted madness!!

  4. says

    Such a lovely post. You remind me that I do not do enough with Fontina. Thanks for recipe — I love the idea of loading on the garlic and fresh herbs here. And it’s so simple. Good to see you in the debut issue of Grate. Pair. Share. too!

    • says

      Madame Fromage — thank you for letting me know! I hadn’t seen it yet. It looks really good. And, I was thinking the same exact thing re Fontina — I have forgotten how delicious it is! I have been grating it into my eggs every morning…also delicious. The garlic and fresh herbs really make this dish.

  5. says

    I love trying out new cheese related recipes and this looks really good! Love it that its quite light and can go with crusty bread and crackers. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Anna says

    This was incredible. I had a night without roommates and reduced the recipe to 1/3 of the original, opened a bottle of wine, and enjoyed the solitude. Maybe I’ll even share some with my boyfriend next date night :)

    • says

      Anna, that sounds like the most incredible evening ever. My husband plays hockey on Tuesday nights and so we usually eat separately…I am SO looking forward to this dinner for one next week. I think I’m going to have to rent Before Midnight and call it a night :)

  7. gina says

    I just saw this exact recipe done by Ina Garten…Barefoot Congress show on food network… she your aunt? Lol

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