Salsa Baked Cheese

Salsa Baked Cheese appetizer

Our traditional dinner for Christmas Eve is a Mexican fiesta, complete with homemade tamales, tacos and enchiladas. It’s a family favorite, but truth be told: it’s a LOT of work.

Because of all the work I put into the main meal, the last thing I want to do is put a huge focus on appetizers or snacks. Ok, I know there is some domestic goddesses who would give just as much attention to the appetizers as the tamales, but that’s not me. I do like to have a few things available to keep everyone satisfied until the food is finished, but I’m just not going to spend hours…or even 1 hour…towards an appetizer. I keep them simple. Super simple.

Salsa Baked Cheese is that recipe.

Salsa Baked Cheese

One of the common snacks we’ll have at parties is salsa poured over cream cheese. This is kind of like that, but slightly elevated. A wee bit fancy, but not so fancy that you’ll forget who are. :)

Salsa Baked Cheese comes from my favorite celebrity chef, Rick Bayless, who can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. It’s a combination of cream cheese and goat cheese, with toasted pecans mixed in. The whole thing is topped with salsa and served with tortilla chips or sturdy crackers. While I’m a cheese-aholic, goat cheese typically isn’t my favorite, but I really love the flavor it gives to this spread.

Salsa Baked Cheese


  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 6-ounce log goat cheese
  • 1/2 package cream cheese, softened (4 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • Optional: cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Crackers or tortilla chips


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  2. While nuts are toasting, place both cheese in a small bowl and combine. After nuts are toasted, remove from oven, allow to cool for about 3 minutes and add to the cheese, combining thoroughly. Scoop into a pile in the center of an 9" inch pie plate. Smooth down and form into a round 5-6" diameter circle, approximately 1 1/2" high, in the center of the pie plate. Spoon salsa over and around the cheese. Bake in oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, garnish with cilantro leaves in center, if you wish.
  3. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Adapted slightly from Rick Bayless Salsas That Cook

Salsa Baked Cheese

Salsa Baked Cheese is my contribution for this week’s #SundaySupper, which has a theme of Holiday Drinks & Appetizers, hosted by Conni of The Foodie Army Wife. Below you will find a big list of festive holiday drinks, appetizers, snacks, and treats that will be perfect for your holiday parties:

Holiday Cocktails

Holiday Appetizers or Hors d’oeuvres


About the Author: brandie (549 Posts)

Brandie Valenzuela is a food blogger and writer at Home Cooking Memories. She lives in Las Vegas, NV where she enjoys cooking, baking, modern-day recipe keeping and making everyday memories with her family. She is known to have an extremely normal obsession with cupcake liners, ribbons and office supplies.


  1. Intriguing to mix goat and cream cheese. Love that!

  2. This is my dream appetizer. I’d fight others for it! YUM!

  3. I’m surprised and delighted with the addition of pecans to this dish. Love the goat cheese and cream cheese mixed together too.

  4. Well sign me up to the list of people loving the cream cheese – goat cheese combination. I love how festive this looks too!

  5. This is fabulous! I love goat cheese so much, I can eat only this, no main dish for me!

  6. Wow, that looks so good. What a great idea!!

  7. Ooooh YUM!!! Anything inspired by Rick Bayless is great in my book. I’m pretty sure I’d be all over this dip at a holiday party…

  8. I love your idea of a Mexican Christmas Eve dinner…how delish! Your dip looks fantastic…and such an easy starter. Perfect!

  9. I love baked cheeses and adding salsa? Oh my, it sounds fantastic!

  10. Very different! Sounds good to me!

  11. Yum! Love the idea of a Mexican fiesta for Christmas Eve!

  12. Oh my goodness this looks amazing! I am right there with you, I spend so much time and effort on the main course and sometimes the dessert course that if I have to spend too much effort on an appetizer I often just skip it. But this is going on my must try list right now

  13. This looks delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Conni Smith says:

    Oh, this looks so delicious!! I love appetizers like this :)

  15. Wow, I know people who would go at this with a spoon!

  16. Love Salsa and this version with cheese sounds great for any party!!Love it :)

  17. I am unfortunately not a fan of goat cheese but every single person I know would descend upon this like a pack of locusts and devour it in no time flat. I am totally onboard with the Christmas Eve Mexican fiesta. Happy holidays!

  18. What a creative idea! I love the salsa over top of the cream cheese.


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