There is no food that gives us more of a reason to celebrate any occasion—a long work day, upcoming weekend, or holidays—than cheese. It’s one of those foods (especially when paired with carbs!) that can make your day a little bit brighter. The beauty of cheese is that it doesn’t need to be expensive in order to be a crowd-pleaser (crowd-cheeser?) To end 2020 on a high note and ring in the New Year (finally!), try one of the cheesiest, most satisfying appetizers that everyone will love. These recipes get cheesier as you go on, so if you were to have a buffet of all 10 dishes, they’d start tame and end with the most decadent, over-the-top cheesy bowl of dip. Make one, make all 10, just make sure that your New Year’s Eve is perfectly cheesy. Let the countdown begin!

10. Caesar Shishito Peppers

shishito pepper recipe image

If you enjoy cheese but don’t want it to overpower the entire dish, try these sweet and smoky shishito peppers with a Caesar-style dip. The thick, cheesy dressing complements the mild kick from the roasted peppers. Tip: Don’t pile the peppers in the pan—this will prevent them from blackening and blistering! 

9. King’s Hawaiian Mini Cubano Sandwiches

If we’re being real, the star of this show is the King’s Hawaiian bread. Soft and buttery, it perfectly smushes the ham and cheese together to make the ultimate soft and tasty sandwich. Pepperjack gives the ideal combo of cheesy and a little spicy, so pile it on.

8. Parmesan Breadsticks

Why eat ordinary breadsticks when they can be coated in lots of butter and crispy bits of Parmesan? They are crunchy on the outside with minced garlic that caramelizes in the oven, and warm and fluffy on the inside. Eat them alone or dunk them into marinara sauce. Pro tip: Make extra, freeze them, and have more breadsticks in 2021!

7. Cheesy Guacamole

Plain ol’ guac is delicious, but have you ever added shredded cheddar cheese to the mix? You might be questioning this move, but trust us here: The sharp and tangy cheddar adds a nice saltiness and a bit of texture to the creamy avocado base.

6. Cheesy Jalapeño Cornbread

There’s cornbread, and then there’s spicy, cheesy, bacon-y cornbread. Which would you rather have? There’s a lot of butter in here, but it wouldn’t hurt to add a little more. Treat yourself after a loooong year.

5. Carta Di Musica Pizza Bites

“Carta di Musica” is an Italian cracker that’s named for the tiny dots on a piece of sheet music, because Italians are more romantic and poetic than we are and the crackers come out really thin, like pieces of paper. Chrissy tops them with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and salami, but go wild with the toppings! The limit does not exist.

4. Stuffed Garlic Knots

Stuffed Garlic Knots Recipe Image

Is there anything more comforting than warm, fluffy bread stuffed with ooey-gooey cheese? We think knot. These couldn’t be easier (or cheesier!) to make. If you want to go crazy, try adding some minced garlic and grated Parmesan on the outside for an additional burst of flavor, kind of like a mashup with Parmesan breadsticks.

3. Garlicky Roasted Squash & Ricotta Pizza

This gourdgeous, sauceless pizza is one of the cheesiest recipes we’ve got. No need for tomatoes here, as the combination of Parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta create the creamiest, silkiest base for the roasted garlic, chiles, and sweet delicata squash. 

2. Boxed Mac ‘n Cheese Balls

This recipe takes the classic nostalgic taste of boxed mac ‘n cheese we allllll grew up loving, but with some freshly grated cheddar and American cheese for extra cheesiness and jalapeños for heat. Hack: Bake the mac ‘n cheese balls in a muffin tin to help maintain the round shape!

1. 3-Cheese Lobster Artichoke Dip

LOBSTER ARTICHOKE DIP

The cheesiest way to ring in the new year. This three-cheese dip is as decadent as it is comforting. The key is nailing the perfect ratio of Gruyere, cheddar, and Parmesan. When combined, this trifecta of cheeses makes the lobster flourish rather than get overpowered. We know, we know, lobster can get pricey, so feel free to substitute it with crab (fake or fresh!) But hey, it’s a celebration—why not go big? You’re already home.