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This Pan-Fried Feta with Peppered Honey is the perfect (EASY) appetizer that everyone loves. Salty feta cheese, coated in Panko bread crumbs and pan-fried to golden perfection. Nothing beats that crispy fried layer surrounding an entire block of feta. Serve this warm, drizzled with peppery honey, fried lemon zest, fresh cherry tomatoes, and baked pita chips. A great quick-and-easy appetizer for any occasion that’s gone within minutes…and always the first app to disappear! 

overhead photo of Pan-Fried Feta with Peppered Honey and tomatoes on plate with spoon

And so it begins, the start of the 4th of July appetizers, side dishes, snacks, and sweet treats. Hard to believe the 4th is only a few weeks away (actually it’s exactly 3 weeks from today), but as we all know, time moves quickly, and somehow it is mid-June. This currently means two things for me. First, it’s finally starting to warm up here in the mountains. Things have slowly gotten green (if you follow along on Instagram then you know what I’m talking about). The temperatures, while still a bit cool, are at least in the upper 60’s during the day. And it’s been pretty sunny too, so yessss, summer is here!

Very excited to see green leaves and sunshine, it makes such a difference for me and I could not be happier.

Second? Mid-June means the summer produce is really starting to show up, and I have 4th of July entertaining on my mind. I know it’s just a little early to be talking 4th of July recipes, but then I know some of you like to plan, so maybe it’s not? Regardless, I’m excited to start rolling out all the summery recipes over the next few weeks (and months). I’m kicking off my 4th of July appetizers with this pan-fried feta cheese.

It’s a good one.

pita chips

For those of you who have a copy of the HBH cookbook, you might recall that I have a recipe for pan-fried feta in the appetizer section of the book. Honestly, I had completely forgotten all about that recipe up until a couple weeks ago when brainstorming new summer ideas. It’s one of my favorite appetizers from the book, the feta cheese marinates with the olives, and is so so good. If you haven’t made that recipe yet, I highly recommend it as well. It’s different from today’s but just as delicious.

For whatever reason, I always love to serve feta in the summer months. Maybe because I find it particularly delicious when paired with tomatoes? Or possibly because I see it as a “lighter” cheese that most people really enjoy?

Either way, it’s a great summer cheese. Trust me though, pan-frying it in just a smidge of olive oil (so no deep-frying) makes it even more delicious.

overhead close up photo of Pan-Fried Feta with Peppered Honey

This recipe is EASY, here are the details…

Start with the honey, it’s literally just honey, thyme, and black pepper mixed together. Simple, simple, but so delicious.

The next step is cooking the lemon zest in oil. Yes. You must do this. It’s key. Before you cook the feta, first cook the lemon zest in oil. Not only is fried lemon delicious, but it infuses the oil with lemony flavor and adds a really nice hint of citrus throughout the dish.

Now, let’s talk about the fried feta. Which isn’t really “fried” since we’re only cooking it in a little bit of (lemon infused) olive oil. The feta is first dipped through Panko bread crumbs and then pan-fried in a skillet. It takes maybe 10 or so minutes total to put together and the outcome could not be more delicious.

Since feta is a non-melting cheese, it’s really easy to work with and will not melt all over. Instead, the outside of the cheese remains crispy, while the inside is warm, soft, and perfectly crumbly.

side angled close up photo of Pan-Fried Feta broken into pieces with Peppered Honey

You can serve the feta at room temperature, and it will, of course, be delicious. But personally? I love serving the feta warm, drizzled generously with that peppered honey. The honey seeps into the feta creating the perfect salty, sweet, and peppery flavor with every single bite.

Mouthwatering!

Top with summery cherry tomatoes and enjoy with pita chips.

So darn delicious, EASY, and pretty too! This is going to make the perfect appetizer/snack for Father’s Day this weekend. I mean what Dad doesn’t love fried cheese? Then put it on repeat a few weeks later on the 4th. I already cannot wait to make this over and over all summer long!

overhead photo of Pan-Fried Feta broken into pieces with Peppered Honey

If you make this pan-fried feta with peppered honey, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch the How To Video: 

Pan-Fried Feta with Peppered Honey.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 151 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Peppered Honey

Fried Feta

  • 1 (10-12 ounce) block feta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • pita chips or pita bread, for serving

Instructions

  • 1. To make the honey. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar.
    2. To make the feta. Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Add the Panko to a separate shallow bowl. Dip the feta through the egg, turning to coat, remove and allow any excess to drip off. Dredge the feta through the Panko, turning to coat and pressing gently to adhere. 
    3. Heat 3 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the lemon zest and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute until fried. Remove from the skillet and set aside. To the same skillet add the feta and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer the feta to a serving plate.
    4. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, basil, and a pinch of salt.
    5. Serve the feta warm, drizzled with honey and topped with fried lemon, thyme, and tomatoes. Enjoy with pita chips or bread.

horizontal photo of Pan-Fried Feta with Peppered Honey

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This has become my go to, signature appetizer. Every time I serve it people go crazy. I had it last week-end and one of the guests said “I can’t stop eating this, it’s so addictive. This could be my dinner” I started making my own pita chips, since we found it kind of tricky to put on the store bought chips…they’re uneven and tend to break when you put the feta on. Definitely don’t skip the fresh thyme…it’s essential!
    Thanks, Tieghen from a California chef

    P.S. I think French feta works best!

    1. Hey Linda,
      Awesome!! I am delighted to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xxTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious. It’s technically fried but retails that fresh taste of feta. It was devoured in minutes.

    1. Hey Steve,
      Fantastic! I am thrilled you enjoyed this recipe, thanks so much for giving it a try! Have a great week:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Jennie,
      Awesome! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks so much for making it! Have a great weekend:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Nancy,
      Awesome! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks so much for making it! Have a great weekend:) xTieghan

  3. Hi Tieghan,
    This looks scrummy! Can you clarify what is one serving of this, please? How many serves do you get out of this one block of feta?
    Cheers
    Mexie

    1. Hey Mexie,
      Thanks so much! Since this is just an appetizer, I do not have an exact serving size. This should be a perfect appetizer for about 6 people to have several crackers with cheese. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Anne,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, I am thrilled that it worked out for you! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

    1. Hi! I am sorry to hear that! Is there anything that could have gone wrong while making this? Or anything I can help with? xTieghan

    2. This looks delicious. Can you please clarify step 3. Do we remove all the oil, along with the lemon, from the pan? Or should we keep the oil to dry the cheese?

      1. Hey Krista,
        You are going to leave the oil in the pan. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  4. This looks so good! Keen to make it. I am just wondering what kind of feta you would recommend using? Greek, danish etc.
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Hannah,
      I like to use a Greek feta. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. Hi Tieghan. Is there a substitute for the egg? I don’t eat eggs but would really like to get the delicious crust like you did. Thanks

    1. Hey Nalini,
      You could use milk! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Margaret,
      Halloumi would be great. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Ashverya,
      You could use bread crumbs, but I found that Panko works best. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    So I made this easy recipe for my Lebanese friends and they LOVED it! Wow, so easy and it serves up so beautifully. I highly recommend eating while it’s still warm. A real winner!

  7. 4 stars
    Great appetizer! Didn’t use all d honey because I thought it would b too sweet for some. Only problem was that I kinda burnt d lemon and didn’t really taste it. Next time I would use the suggested amount of honey and more lemon zest. Loved d flavour of d thyme and should definitely b served warm!

    1. Hi Nicole! I am really glad this turned out so well for you! And yes warm is the best! Thank you! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    This was SOOO good, and really easy! My tomatoes were getting kind of old and crinkly so I threw them in the pan while the feta was frying and they were delicious. I also only used half a block of feta and it worked just as well. Great recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and I’ve made it twice now. For some reason I have a hard time getting the bread to stay on the block once I put it in the pan. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for being awesome. You have fed our family throughout our “stay at home” orders and we’re so grateful.

    1. Hi Summer! I am really glad you have been trying and enjoying my recipes! Thank you so much! I hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe! xTieghan

  10. 4 stars
    Very tasty! I forgot the lemon zest, didn’t add the tomatoes, and used the honey I had left over from this recipe (https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/goat-cheese-stuffed-bacon-wrapped-dates/), but it all worked out very well. The next time I make it, I will cut the feta in half lengthwise to make it thinner (it was very thick and difficult to scoop up), and I would make sure my panko crumbs are less course (the course panko crumbs resulted in my feta not having this beautiful golden crust).

    1. Hi Kelsey! Yes, the cheese will still be delicious! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    I made this last night for my husband and myself….a test run before making it for guests. As predicted, it looked sophisticated and tasted delicious. A few things I learned….I peeled the lemon and cut it into thin strips after frying (It cooks quickly), I cut my slice of feta 1/2″ thick so it would be be a little softer and more delicious breading with every bite. I breaded my slice of cheese and refrigerated it for a bit, hoping that would help the breading to stick. I microwaved the honey, pepper and dried thyme on low to infuse the thyme and make it easier to pour over the feta.Tomatoes were pretty and delicious too!Definitely a keeper!

  12. Aaw, this is soo good, Teigan you are some kind of superwoman! I made a single serve version just for me by cutting off a baton of the cheese, had it on a toasted bagel with a watermelon Greek salad. As I was just eye balling quantities I think l skimped a bit on the honey, but lesson for next time!!

    1. haha no, just a girl who loves what she does! And also loves that you are loving it too!! Than you so much for trying this Sarah! xTieghan

  13. 5 stars
    Excellent. Made this as an appetizer along with
    The stuff peaches wrapped in prosciutto today.
    Not a morsel was left of either recipe.
    Thank you for your wonderful and creative recipes!

  14. To serve as a pick up app, could I cut the cheese into cubes, bread and fry? Have you done that? Sounds wonderful and I’d like to make it next Saturday night.

    1. Hey Ellen! Yes, you can cube, bread and fry! That is a little more time consuming, but it works great and your get a little crumb to cheese ratio too! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  15. 5 stars
    Sensational!!! Both my guests and I were completely wowed. I would use more sauteed lemon zest in the future and be less hectic in turning the cheese so as not to lose the crust. I also think this could be used on a salad, much like rounds of sauteed or baked goat cheese are. Bravo!

  16. 5 stars
    Suddenly found ourselves hosting Friday night dinner. With barely any prep, this was a complete hit. Careful with the flip though! Cheese does soften.

  17. Hi, is there any way this could be made into a meal? It looks amazing but I never really have any occasion to eat appetizers. I love your recipes so much ?

    1. Hey Sarah! You could certainly break the fried feta over your favorite salad, over pasta, or even over grilled fish or chicken! All would be so delicious! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  18. Made this to accompany your herbed Dutch baby as a lazy Sunday brunch at home. I used a flavored feta block from Aldi and it perfect. And just how easy this recipe was. Next time I will let the feta come to room temperature before frying as I wasn’t a fan of the cold center. Otherwise it was a lovely summer brunch feature. Will definitely make it again.

  19. Hi Tieghan,
    Could a variation of this be made using goat cheese? I know goat cheese melts so I’m not if it’s realistic (but then again so does mozza and who doesn’t love a mozza stick with some marinara sauce?!!!) Anyway, maybe this could be some inspiration for a future recipe creation? (my attempt at a not-so-subtle hint 😉

    1. Hey Andrea! You can totally use goat cheese! Just roll it into 2 tablespoon size balls, freeze the balls for 30 minutes, then coat in crumbs and fry. That will be delicious! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  20. 4 stars
    Amazingly delicious, quick, and easy! Made this for the “I just got home and need food” appetizer. I followed the recipe exactly, and the fresh herbs were essential. I sent the link to the recipe to my Mom, Grandma, Sister, and Brother’s Girlfriend.

    1. That is not a negative in my book! I am so glad you loved this recipe, Alexis! Thank you so much for trying it! xTieghan

  21. Looks delicious! Can you sub in a different kind of cheese for this recipe? (Not the biggest fan of feta.). What other types of cheeses would you recommend?

    1. HI! I recommend 1/3 inch slices of mozzarella or goat cheese rolled into tablespoon size balls (an then coat in the crumbs). Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  22. 5 stars
    Made this as an appertizer for friends. So delicious! That combination of salty and sweet is an absolute favourite! Another fantastic recipe! ??

  23. 5 stars
    I cannot even begin to describe what this flavor combination tastes like but OMG it was amazing. I went a little crazy on the pepper but who would’ve thought to add pepper to honey?!?!?!
    Thank you for this awesome dish your recipes never fail me! 🙂

  24. Hi Tieghan, I’m confused about the lemon…what do you mean by two thinly sliced lemon zest? Thank you so much for all your AMAZING recipes. I’m so excited about this one.

    Kathy

  25. This sounds amazingly delicious! I can’t wait to try it for myself! Might swap out the pepper for some chili flakes. Yum! xx

    1. Hi Kees! Of course you can tweet them, thank you! Please do not copy the recipe but everything else is fine! xTieghan

  26. 4 stars
    Delicious! I was confused about the lemon zest though. The zest was impossible to remove from the pan. I used a zester but thinking that was wrong. I should have peeled the lemon instead and cut the peel into strips. I substituted the tomatoes for fresh peaches since I was serving it with tomato soup. Since we all loved the crust of the feta next time I will cut the block of feta in half horizontally so it would be more crust to cheese ratio.

    1. Hey Anne! I am so sorry, I should have specified what kind of lemon zest to use. Recipe all fixed! And the peaches sound amazing! YUMMMM! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am SO GLAD you loved this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  27. HI Tieghan,
    This looks simply amazing love it!! The family i cook for would love absolutely love this expect the bread crumbs. She is allergic to flour,wheat and gluten. What would you use as a good substitute to make this work?? Thanks for all the great recipes I love them!!

    1. HI Mike! Is there a GF bread crumb you use when cooking? IF so, I recommend using that. You need some kind of breading in order to cook in oil. You could also try ground up nuts as well. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  28. Hi Tieghan! I was wondering what your favorite brand of feta is? My Trader Joe’s stopped selling my all-time favorite and everything else I’ve tried pales in comparison. Thanks!

    1. Hey Karen! I usually buy Murray’s Feta cheese block and really enjoy it! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

    1. Hi Toni, you should fry the whole block of feta cheese. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  29. Yup! My daughter and her family will be visiting with us for a few days around the 4th. This will be a definite for one evening. In fact it’s giving me an idea for an all appetizer dinner. Yum….love this! You are a genius. Maybe with your Corn and Tomato Tatin and a slider version of your curried salmon burgers too.

  30. Ooooo, I’ll definitely be making this! Now the only problem I have is which cheese should I use? Kasseri, Halloumi or the feta in my cheese drawer? Tieghan, your idea is brilliant! The peppered thyme honey will put it right over the top. Can’t wait to try it…my mouth is watering already!

    1. Hi Marcia! I would recommend the feta! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan