Pesto Cream Cheese Spread
This easy Pesto Cream Cheese Spread is an amazing make ahead appetizer for a crowd. Layers of basil pesto, red pesto, and cream cheese are perfect for spreading on a piece of crusty Italian bread!
Remember when I showed you how to make basil pesto and delicious pesto rosso the other day? It wasn’t just because I love pesto, it was because I wanted to share this amazing Pesto Cream Cheese Spread with you!
This easy cheese spread only requires 4 simple ingredients to form its layers of cream cheese & goat cheese (if you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, it can be all cream cheese), basil pesto, and red pesto. I have served it at so many parties; it is always a hit!
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Ingredients You’ll Need
You know I love a good make ahead appetizer recipe for parties and this Pesto Cream Cheese Spread is one of the best. I like making my own basil pesto and pesto rosso since it’s pretty simple but to save even more time you can also buy it premade in a jar.
- Cream cheese – Make sure you use a block of cream cheese not spreadable or whipped cream cheese. A block of cream cheese has a firmer consistency that helps this molded spread hold it’s shape.
- Goat cheese – I love the extra tang that goat cheese adds to any dish but I think it goes especially well with this recipe. If you don’t like goat cheese you can just use additional cream cheese.
- Pesto Genovese (basil pesto) – Make your own pesto Genovese or purchase it at the store.
- Pesto Rosso (red pesto) – Make your own pesto rosso with sun-dried tomatoes or purchase it at the store. You can substitute with sun-dried tomato spread as well.
- Optional: Pine Nuts – We use these to garnish the top of our cheese spread.
What you will need to make Pesto Cream Cheese Spread:
How to Make Pesto Cream Cheese Spread:
Step 1 – Combine cheeses. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer cream together the softened cream cheese and goat cheese (if you don’t like goat cheese no worries, just use more cream cheese in place of it).
Step 2 – Prepare dish. Then find a dish you want to use as a mold. I used a small Pyrex dish but a bowl or a small pan will work too. Line your dish with plastic wrap. Tip: Lightly grease the inside of your dish before placing the plastic wrap. This will help it slide out later.
Step 3 – Cheese layer. Start with a layer of cheese in the bottom. I make my layer about a half an inch thick.
Step 4 – Green Pesto. Next spoon in a layer of pesto Genovese. You want the layer thick enough to completely cover the cheese and show up through the side of your dish.
Step 5 – More cheese. Then another layer of cheese. This can get a little tricky since you can’t press down firmly on the pesto. I find it easiest to dot the cheese mixture on and once the whole surface is covered use the back of your spoon to smooth it out.
Step 6 – Red Pesto. Spread the pesto rosso over the cheese in a layer as thick as your basil pesto layer.
Step 7 – More cheese & chill. Add a final layer of cheese. When you are done pull the edges of the plastic wrap over the top of the cheese to seal it and place it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Step 8 – Remove from the mold. When you are ready to serve the Pesto Cream Cheese Spread that piece of plastic wrap you lined the dish with is going to help you pull it out of the mold. Just flip the mold upside down on the platter you are serving the spread on and lift the dish off. A few little tugs on the edges of the plastic wrap will help free the cheese from the mold.
Step 9 – Neaten it up. Things are going to look a little messy at first but have no fear. Use the back of a butter knife to go around the outside of the cheese, skimming off any oil, pesto, or sun dried tomato, that may have gotten on the cheese. I like to place extra pine nuts on the top of mine to hide the imperfections (plus it is such a pretty presentation). It’s never going to look perfect (at least mine doesn’t) but it will always be delicious!
Step 10 – Serve. Serve with a knife or cheese spreader, bread, and crackers.
Serve your Pesto Cream Cheese Spread on a nice cheese board with a cheese knife and spread so they can cut a slice and spread it over crackers, or better yet french baguette slices (fresh or toasted), and you’re got an appetizer that your guests are going to go nuts over.
How to Store It
To store the cream cheese spread, transfer it to an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator and ensure it is kept at a consistent temperature. The cream cheese spread can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week, allowing you to enjoy it at your convenience.
We do not recommend freezing this pesto cream cheese spread as that can change the texture and consistency.
Uses for Cream Cheese Spread
Cream cheese spread is incredibly versatile and can be used on a wide range of foods to add a creamy and tangy touch. Here are some popular options for what you can spread cream cheese on:
- Bagels: Take your bagels to the next level with this pesto cream cheese spread. Simply spread a generous amount of it on a toasted bagel half for a delicious breakfast or snack.
- Crackers: It pairs beautifully with crackers of all kinds. Whether you prefer plain saltine crackers, whole wheat crackers, or flavored varieties, spreading cream cheese on top adds a creamy and savory element to your snack.
- Sandwiches: Pesto cream cheese spread can be used as a creamy and flavorful alternative to traditional sandwich spreads like mayonnaise or mustard. It works particularly well with deli meats, such as turkey or ham, and pairs nicely with fresh vegetables and greens.
- Crudités:It can be used as a dip for fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cucumber slices. Its creamy texture and tangy flavor make it a delicious accompaniment to crunchy and refreshing veggies.
- Wraps and Roll-Ups: Spread this delicious mixture on tortillas or wraps before layering on your favorite fillings, such as sliced turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon. The creaminess of the spread helps hold the ingredients together and adds a delightful flavor.
Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to using cream cheese spread. Feel free to experiment and get creative with your favorite foods to discover new and delicious combinations.
Want more easy, cheesy appetizer recipes?
- Cheesy Corn Dip
- Whipped Ricotta and Tomato Dip
- Caramelized Onion and Bacon Skillet
- Baked Caprese Dip
- Dried Fruit and Pistachio Baked Brie
- Sausage Cream Cheese Dip
- Rotel Dip
- Cream Cheese Dip Recipes: 10+ Delicious Recipes to Spice Up Your Party
Pesto Cream Cheese Spread
- 4 oz Goat cheese
- 8 oz Cream cheese
- 6 oz Basil pesto
- 6 oz Sun dried tomato spread
- Pine Nuts for Garnish, optional
- Mix cream cheese and goat cheese together.
- Use a small bowl or pan as a mold for your cheese spread. Spary a small amount of cooking spray on the inside of the container and then line it with plastic wrap.
- Layer the ingredients into the dish beginning with the cheese (the layer should be about 1/2″ thick).
- Next add a layer of basil pesto.
- Place a second layer of cheese on top of the pesto being careful not to press down too hard.
- Top with a layer of sun dried tomato spread.
- Finish with a final layer of cheese.
- Wrap the mold in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve unwrap the mold and turn it upside down on the plate it will be served on. Pull down on the plastic wrap lining the mold to help pull the cheese free of the mold.
- Using a butter knife or spatula scrape the sides and top of the cheese spread to clean off any excess oil or pesto.
- Top with pine nuts (optional)
- Serve with crackers or bread.