25+ Recipes That Start With a Bag of Shredded Cheese
Do you struggle with just "throwing together" a quick weeknight meal or easy side dish? A bag of shredded cheese is one of those classic staples that you'll want to keep stashed away in your fridge at all times. Shredded cheese keeps well for a long time, is extremely versatile, and adds a nice punch of flavor to just about any dish. Got an extra bag (or two) on hand, or want to use up the rest of that bag you opened earlier in the week? These delicious recipes, from Beef Quesadillas and Easy Tater Tot Casserole to Basic Cheese Dip and Ham Croquettes, start with a bag of shredded cheese and end with a cheesy, tasty dish that family and friends are sure to love.
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Our Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is creamy, spicy, and decadent, with bite-sized pieces of tender chicken breast and a subtle hint of blue cheese. There's plenty of buffalo chicken flavor, minus the atomic shade of orange you find in other buffalo sauce dishes. The panko topping stays nice and crispy, making for little hits of crunch that perfectly complement the tender and juicy chicken. This dish is super family-friendly, and can even be made in one pot—just skip the baking dish, add the blue cheese and panko, and stick the pot directly in the oven. If you don't have time to cook chicken, you can use 3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken of leftover chicken instead. Serve with a nice green salad dressed with a slightly sweet vinaigrette and a crisp glass of cold white wine or a cold beer.
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
People in the test kitchen liked this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad so much they were taking it home, and we're thinking it had something to do with our perfectly herby and garlicky ranch that coated the veggies and pasta perfectly. Speaking of dressing, save some on the side for serving, especially if the pasta salad will rest in the fridge for a while—sauces have a tendency to thicken up when cool. Serve with burgers, grilled chicken, ribs, or whatever else you'd grill in your backyard.
We've taken a very Tex-Mex approach to Beef Quesadillas, with a crunchy tortilla, cheesy gooey insides, and tangy sides of guac and salsa. Think Taco Bell, but elevated: It's great for a meal or as a late-night snack after too many beers. Sprinkle that cheese over the whole tortilla so every single bite will be gooey. You can find taco seasoning at the grocery store (We like Old El Paso, Taco Bell, and McCormick blends), or you could make your own. Serve with margaritas or Dos Equis and put out a bunch of garnishes like lime, cilantro, and radishes. These don't keep well, so serve immediately while the crispness is still fresh.
Sheet Pan Beefy Bean Nachos
These Sheet Pan Beefy Bean Nachos are proof that a quick, effortless dinner can still be fun. They're loaded with pantry and freezer staples like taco seasoning and beans, but still customize-able enough to garnish with whatever fresh ingredients you have on hand.
The Ultimate Breakfast Dogs
When a hearty morning meal is in order, these loaded breakfast dogs belong on the menu.
Easy Tater Tot Casserole
There are some things that only tater tots can bring, like a buttery (yet starchy) taste, and a texture that's simultaneously crispy and soft. Those mythical tater tot properties work best in a casserole, where they're surrounded by fluffy eggs and ooey, gooey cheese. This is an uncomplicated tater tot casserole, but elements like fresh chives and pepper Jack cheese give this dish just enough flavor and spice to distinguish it from other cheese-and-potato bakes. Serve this casserole as an easy Sunday brunch, or perhaps as a side at a holiday meal.
Crockpot Funeral Potatoes
Our take on Crock Pot Funeral Potatoes couldn't be easier—you simply make it and walk away for a few hours. It's a classic, rib-sticking, cheesy sour cream potato dish that sure to please, or at least satisfy, a crowd. If you're feeling adventurous, you could any condensed "Cream Of" soup, as well as any 12-ounce combination of melting cheeses. We used Ore Ida potatoes and Campbell's soup, but you can adjust to incorporate your preferred brands. These potatoes make a great side for a heartier meat dish, like roast beef or ham. Wash them down with iced tea.
Turkey Noodle Casserole
Here's an easy family dinner everyone will love, or just a fun way to use up some leftover holiday turkey. Our Turkey Noodle Casserole combines all the good stuff—broccoli, pasta, turkey, and cream sauce—into one delightful, family-friendly dish. For a little something extra, we've added mirepoix, otherwise known as the holy trinity of Cajun and Creole cuisine. Serve with a glass of milk, some rolls, and maybe a side of steamed or roasted veggies.
Cheesy Potato Bake
This Cheesy Potato Bake makes a great potluck dish or side for brunch. It's super easy to mix together and throw in the oven, and you can even assemble it a day ahead and bake just before serving. You can use any brand of shredded hash browns, or make it with fresh potatoes that you peel, boil and dice beforehand. Cream of bacon soup is readily available, even if you've never heard of it.
Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers
These are not your average jalapeño poppers: The delicious, mellow jalapeños are stuffed with a creamy, cheesy filling and have a nice, smoky bacon exterior. Meanwhile, the dip is creamy and herby to add interest and a little crunch. These poppers have three types of cheese, and they all stand out in their own way; the jalapeños' heat and the bacon's smoky flavor balance all that creamy goodness. Be sure to use jalapeños that are similarly sized so they'll cook at the same rate, wrap those chiles up tightly, and place them on the baking sheet with their ends on the bottom—this prevents them from unraveling while cooking. These are easy to prepare ahead of time, but taste best straight out of the oven, so don't bake them until right before your guests arrive.
Denver Omelet Breakfast Casserole
This comfort food-like, cheesy grit casserole is kind of like a Western omelet, especially with the ham, mushrooms, bell peppers, and cheddar cheese. If you haven't heard of it, know that it's a classic. Make sure to temper the grits into the eggs to avoid scrambling them. The mixture should feel lumpy because of the grits.
Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger Dip
Move over, 7-layer, dip. A super-rich bacon cheeseburger is even better when you can enjoy it over kettle chips, crackers, or even fries. The meat-and-cheese combo perfectly pairs with the ketchup mixture and pickle, in terms of both taste and texture. While the ketchup and pickle add a perfect tanginess to complement the creamy richness, the cold toppings bring everything together for a perfect bite. Opt for lean ground beef since there's enough fatty richness in the bacon and cheese.
Instead of the usual hamburgers, surprise everyone with patty melts for dinner tonight. Sturdy, thick-cut bread such as sourdough can stand up to the meat and gooey cheeses in this classic sandwich. Use a cast-iron pan; it's a pro at handling the heat needed to cook the patties and toast the bread.
Breakfast Buffet Bake
This super easy breakfast bake is basically a loaded breakfast casserole: It's heavy on the onions, peppers, and sausage, but lighter on the eggs, so it's an inverse of your typical breakfast casserole. The layered format and ease on the eggs keeps this from getting soggy. You can go ahead and cook this casserole ahead of time by cooking the hash browns ahead of time, then layering on the onions, peppers, and sausage before covering and refrigerating overnight. Then, simply add the custard the next morning and bake. If you can't find frozen hash patties, you can use shredded hash browns instead. Simply spread about a pound of frozen hash browns in the baking dish and bake at 400 until cooked through. Then go on with the rest of the recipe.
Shrimp and Grits Casserole
Basic Cheese Dip
Say "hello" to our best-ever basic cheese dip. So creamy, decadently cheesy, and perfectly easy to whip up at a moment's notice, this simple cheese dip recipe is the one to keep on hand to address any and every queso craving. Rich, but not too thick, our basic cheese dip makes a primo last-minute party appetizer or "something special" treat to make a weeknight meal feel a little more festive. We made this no-frills cheese dip with customization in mind; use it as a versatile base for all of your favorite cheese dip stir-ins. Chorizo, fresh slice jalapeño, cilantro, chopped onion, or taco meat would all be delicious additions.
Cheddar Cheese Shortbread Crackers
These crisp, buttery crackers make an impressive hostess gift alongside a bottle of wine. We've included a classic Cheddar option, as well as three creative flavor variations if you want to mix things up: Pimiento Cheese; Pecan-and-Thyme; and Bacon, Borubon, and Benne Seed.
Give your traditional chicken casserole a break and serve this bright and lively chicken spaghetti. You only need a Dutch oven and a 9-x-13 baking dish to create this delicious meal, meaning there is less clean-up afterwards. Cook and shred your chicken in advance to save time.
Instant Pot Keto Chicken Fajita Bowls
This keto-approved take on fajitas is a super satisfying low-carb meal. The chicken shreds off the bone easily, while the veggies have a slight crunch and the broth is light and flavorful. It feels indulgent, but you're not breaking any rules.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese
This warm, roasted tomato soup is perfect for weeknights and weekends alike. Pair this soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, and you're all set. An immersion blender, one of our favorite kitchen gadgets, makes pureeing this rich and creamy soup a snap. If you don't have this kitchen tool, try this Southern Living Test Kitchen trick: simply transfer the hot soup in batches to a blender and process until smooth. Fill the blender no more than halfway so steam can escape.
Warm up with this rich and indulgent soup. Our Cheesy Potato Soup with Bacon feeds a crowd, freezes well, and it comes together in a single Dutch oven. Melted yellow Cheddar makes a great finishing touch. If you prefer to buy only one type of cheese, then add extra white Cheddar.
Beef Stew with Cheddar Biscuits
This skillet beef stew is made even better when topped with homemade cheddar biscuits. You can easily swap out the beef for ground turkey if you prefer. When buying Cheddar, color isn't an indicator of flavor—white, orange, and yellow taste the same. Instead, pay attention to the sharpness. Mild Cheddar contains the most moisture and melts the best, making it a good choice for baked goods, grilled cheese, or mac and cheese. Sharp Cheddar is aged longer for a tangier punch, but it has less moisture, so it's not ideal for melting.
Warm Cheese-and-Spicy Pecan Dip
Crunchy spiced nuts take a classic cheese dip to new heights. Avoid overcooking the dip or it could separate; remove from the oven when it starts to bubble around the edges. We love this gooey dip with toasted baguette slices, but you can also serve it with your favorite crackers.
Prosciutto-Asiago Pimiento Cheese
This recipe gives some Italian flavor to Basic Pimiento Cheese. With crispy prosciutto and Asiago cheese, you're definitely stepping up your dip game. Friends and family will think it is oh-so-fancy, but you will know it was super simple. From backyard cookouts to a porch party, this recipe can work for any occasion. It also makes the perfect snack for those long summer days. Hand shred your cheese for a better texture and flavor. We also prefer diced pimientos over sliced.
Cheddar-Caramelized Onion Bread
You may have grown up eating classic Southern cornbread at fish fries, but give this Cheddar-Caramelized Onion Bread a try at your next cookout. This bread has a very unique texture, largely due to the use of almond flour. Serve it alongside hearty soups and stews instead of the usual white bread. Be sure to prepare a batch of Whipped Sweet Potato Butter to go along with this tasty bread.
Nobody complains about eating leftovers when these tasty croquettes are on the menu. Addictively crunchy, these crispy, cheesy croquettes make a great dinner or an afternoon snack. To make them gluten-free, substitute gluten-free baking mix for the all-purpose flour and use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Creamy Broccoli-Cheddar Casserole
This fresher take on the traditional broccoli-and-cheese casserole is loaded with vegetables and comes together with a homemade sauce instead of sodium-heavy canned soup.
Best Sausage Balls
There's a universal attachment to these cheesy sausage balls and the holidays. Everyone starts by rolling their eyes at the idea of them and then proceeds to eat at least five (sometimes all at one time).
Savory Breakfast Cookies
Breakfast to-go has never looked better. These six-ingredient breakfast cookies feature Bisquick mix, bacon, and eggs for an all-in-one, grab-and-go breakfast treat.