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14 cheesy recipes for pizza, pasta, pinwheels, and more

The Takeout logo The Takeout 9/7/2021 The Takeout
a close up of a slice of pizza: Ultimate Stuffed Crust pizza on parchment paper © Photo: Allison Robicelli Ultimate Stuffed Crust pizza on parchment paper

Cheese makes every dish it’s a part of significantly richer and more exciting, whether it’s sprinkled on top or incorporated as a central ingredient—and there’s such a wide world of cheeses out there that there are always more varieties to discover. At The Takeout, cheese is an animating force, one that’s always inspiring us to get creative. So here is a collection of our cheesiest recipes, guaranteed to satisfy a range of cravings.

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Doritos Powder

Two jars Homemade Doritos Powder, regular and Cool Ranch © Photo: Stacey Ballis Two jars Homemade Doritos Powder, regular and Cool Ranch

Homemade Doritos Powder (Classic and Cool Ranch)

Surely you’ve wondered before, with your hand halfway in the Doritos bag, which foods the cheesy flavoring might pair well with beyond tortilla chips. This Homemade Doritos Powder exists to answer that question. This cheese-boosted spice rub can be used as a topper for popcorn, pork chops, and baked potatoes; mixed into batter for biscuits, popovers, or cornbread; or even stirred into softened, unsalted butter for your toast. Give out jars of this blend as gifts and be the hero we need.  Get the recipe for Homemade Doritos Powder here.

Homemade Ricotta

a plate of food on a table: Three slices of baguette topped with Homemade Ricotta © Photo: Karl Gustafson Three slices of baguette topped with Homemade Ricotta

Homemade Ricotta

Imagine being able to tell your party guests that you actually made the cheese in the appetizers they’re eating. That’s the sense of pride and power that awaits you with this recipe for Homemade Ricotta, which only requires four ingredients and lets you adjust the moisture level so that the final product is exactly as creamy as you want. That flexibility makes it equally enjoyable in both sweet and savory dishes, so pair it with everything from tomatoes to raspberries and let your culinary prowess be known far and wide. Get the recipe for Homemade Ricotta here.

Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups

a bowl of food sitting on top of a wooden table: A white plate of Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups, or pinwheels, beside a cup of salsa on a wooden cutting board © Photo: Marnie Shure A white plate of Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups, or pinwheels, beside a cup of salsa on a wooden cutting board

Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups

Maybe you knew these as “pinwheels” growing up. Or maybe they had no name at all, because it’s hard for a name to stick when plates of this cheesy, bite-sized appetizer disappear from the snack table so fast at each and every family party and social function. This recipe makes a huge batch—which you will not want to scale down—and it’s fun to make again and again so as to perfect your tortilla rolling technique. Get the recipe for Cheesy Tortilla Roll-Ups here.

Pimento Cheese

a bunch of food on a table © Photo: Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post (Getty Images)

Let’s begin with the crowdpleaser to end all crowdpleasers: pimento cheese, a staple of the American South. You’re going to want to seek out Duke’s Mayonnaise for this recipe; it has a higher egg yolk ratio, which gives it a “homemade” richness—plus it’s also the officially sanctioned mayo of the South. Get the recipe for Pimento Cheese here.

Classic Cheese Ball

a pile of fruit © Photo: Gwen Ihnat

Making a cheese ball is so easy and yields so much wow factor. This recipe, which involves cheddar, Brie, and cream cheese studded with toasted pecans, comes to us from Dena Rayess, author of Cheese Balls: 40 Celebratory And Cheese-licious Recipes. Be warned: you’ll need a sturdy dipping apparatus, like a pita chip or celery, because this is one dense serving of cheese. Get the recipe for a Classic Cheese Ball here.

Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

a plate of food with broccoli © Photo: Kevin Pang

Smoked Gouda cheese sauce may sound like an elevated affair, but the only effort is picking smoked Gouda over plain cheddar at your grocery store. It can be applied to just about any preparation of broccoli and cauliflower, as well as cooked carrots, cabbage, burgers, hot dogs, meatloaf, and more—plus, it can be prepared ahead of time and chilled. Get the recipe for Smoked Gouda cheese sauce here.

Cheese Hand Pies with Cheese Crust

a piece of cake on a plate © Photo: Stacey Ballis

The pastry crust in this recipe is made mostly with cheese—just a tiny bit of butter to add some flakiness—so it is a terrific way of using up the remnants of a cheese board. These hand pies can be made large enough to make a nice lunch, or small enough for a two-bite, cocktail-hour snack. They are delicious hot out of the oven and at room temperature. And they freeze beautifully pre-baking, so that you can make a batch and stash them. Get the recipe for Cheese Hand Pies with Cheese Crust here.

Ultimate Stuffed Shells

a plate of food with a fork: Ultimate Stuffed Shells © Photo: Allison Robicelli Ultimate Stuffed Shells

When you hear the term “stuffed shells,” you probably think of the classic pasta dish in which shells are stuffed with cheese and baked in sauce. This recipe, though, consists of shells stuffed with sauce and baked in cheese, for a melty, gooey, inside-out dinner experience that will please any crowd. Use the biggest baking dish you own for this, and don’t be surprised if there aren’t many leftovers at the end. Get the recipe for Ultimate Stuffed Shells here.

Super Duper Stuffed Crust Pizza

a close up of a slice of pizza on a paper plate © Photo: Allison Robicelli

Twelve sticks of mozzarella string cheese—that’s all you need to change your life. This is a recipe for the cheesiest pizza you’ll ever eat, a “stuffed crust” pizza whose entire base consists of a coil of cheese-stuffed crust. Surprisingly, it’s easier and less fussy than a lot of other homemade pizza recipes, and even if you mess up the technique, you’ll come away with a delicious quantity of cheesy bread. Get the recipe for Super Duper Stuffed Crust Pizza here.

Brie En Croute With Apricot Jam

a close up of food on a plate © Photo: Kevin Pang

For the breathtaking simplicity of this appetizer, you only need three things: a wheel of Brie, a tube of crescent rolls, and the jam of your choice. Pillsbury even has crescent roll in sheet form now, but if you have the regular rolls, just pull it in two sections and use your fingers to get rid of those little perforations. Once it’s baked, serve with crackers and fruit of your choice, and we’ll just keep the ease of this dish a secret between the two of us, okay? Get the recipe for Brie En Croute With Apricot Jam here.

Welsh Rarebit Toasty

a piece of pizza on a plate © Photo: A. E. Dwyer

Consider this an open-faced grilled cheese but more sophisticated. Or, better yet, think of it this way: it’s like someone plucked the melty cheese and crouton out of a crock of French onion soup and just ate that. The best part. Shredded Gruyere or sharp white cheddar both work great in this recipe, and the mustard adds oomph—mustard powder will lend the biggest kick. Get the recipe for Welsh Rarebit Toasty here.

Broccoli Cheddar Mini Tacos

a plate of food on a table © Photo: Allison Robicelli

In this recipe, the mini taco shells are made of crispy cheddar cheese and the filling consists of seasoned broccoli and onions. The end result is low-carb and Keto-friendly—but much more importantly, they look adorable and taste great. Do not worry about exact measurements here; just use roughly the amount of vegetables called for, season as you go, and you’ll have a fantastic appetizer on your hands. Get the recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Mini Tacos here.

Cheesy Hash Elegante

a plate of food with a fork © Photo: Kevin Pang

This cheesy potato casserole is a perfect wingman to a spiral ham or the anchor of a well-appointed brunch spread. It’s also a prototypical Midwestern comfort food, in that it combines cream-based soup (in this case, cream of chicken) with oodles of cheese, the latter of which serves as a smooth, tangy binder. It’s rich, it’s filling, and it highlights everything you love about dairy. Get the recipe for Cheesy Hash Elegante here.

Homemade Manicotti

a close up of food © Photo: Danny Palumbo

Manicotti are cheese-filled tanks drowned in red sauce. You’ve probably had this decidedly Italian American dish as a microwave dinner or oven-baked from a frozen package. Store-bought pasta is great, but truly there is no substitute for homemade manicotti. Tender, eggy pasta crepes with cheese filling and your own style of red sauce is worth taking the extra time to put together. Get the recipe for Homemade Manicotti here.

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