Barefoot Contessa: 7 Times Ina Garten Took Cheese to Another Level

Calling all cheese lovers. Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten knows how to take food up a notch (or 10) and that includes cheese. The longtime Food Network star has multiple recipes that are packed with all types of cheese, just not storebought grated Parmesan.

1. The Barefoot Contessa elevates cheese dip with Baked Fontina

Ina Garten wears a blue shirt while smiling and toasting with a glass of wine
Ina Garten | Mike Smith/Getty Images

The Barefoot Contessa host makes cheese dip dinner party-ready in a matter of minutes. No, it’s not by going the storebought-is-fine route. Garten’s Baked Fontina takes 10 minutes to prepare

She elevates cheese dip by baking Fontina cheese in a cast-iron skillet. It’s a Super Bowl favorite of Garten’s and it’s easy to see why. It’s incredibly easy to make — the recipe calls for seven ingredients and that includes salt and pepper — plus bread (Garten suggests a French baguette) from the grocery store. 

Simple ingredients? Check. Not too many ingredients? Check. Easy to make? Check. Versatile enough for a dinner party or a potluck? Check. 

2. Ina Garten’s Lobster Mac and Cheese is a fancy take on the classic dish

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Mac and cheese might be seen as a popular children’s dish by some but leave it to Garten to take it to another level. She skips the boxed stuff and makes a decadent mac and cheese from scratch. 

The ingredient that puts it over the top is lobster. Somehow it’s the perfect summer mac and cheese and fancy at the same time. Call it the Barefoot Contessa effect because Garten has the ability to make just about any dish elevated, elegant, and yet somehow perfect for any occasion. 

She uses a combination of extra sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheese to put the Lobster Mac and Cheese over the top. If the lobster and two different types of cheese aren’t enough, the Modern Comfort Food author also puts a crunchy layer of bread crumbs on top. 

What’s more, the recipe is easy to prepare. It requires only 15 minutes of prep work, according to Food Network. And,at the time of publication, the recipe has been reviewed more than 300 times. 

3. Ina Garten’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese is filled with 3 different types of cheese

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Another grown-up version of a classic children’s dish, Garten takes cheese to the next level with her Ultimate Grilled Cheese. She makes a gooey cheese filling using three different varieties of cheese including freshly grated Parmesan, extra-sharp cheddar, and Gruyere. 

Not only does Garten put her grilled cheese recipe over the top with three kinds of cheese, but she elevates it even more with the addition of bacon. If that’s not enough the 73-year-old coats each slice of bread with a mayonnaise and mustard spread. 

4. The Barefoot Contessa’s Spinach and Cheddar Souffle is a simple version of a classic dish 

Consider this a close relative of Garten’s spinach dip. The Food Network star puts spinach, cheddar, and Parmesan in a souffle for a seriously cheesy dish. Souffle might sound intimidating to make at home but Garten’s recipe takes 40 minutes to make from start to finish and, in true Barefoot Contessa fashion, the recipe is simple

5. Ina Garten’s Cacio e Pepe Cheese Puffs are an easy 30-minute appetizer

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Need a cheesy appetizer in 30 minutes or less? Look no further. Garten’s cheese puff recipe is made with not one but two types of cheese. Not only are they a great appetizer or side dish, like most of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipes they don’t require lots of ingredients. 

6. The Barefoot Contessa’s Grown Up Mac and Cheese’ calls for 3 types of cheese

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Garten makes mac and cheese grown up by adding not one but three different varieties of cheese. Similar to her Lobster Mac and Cheese, the Barefoot Contessa brings the cheesy dish to another level with the addition of a crunchy, bread crumb topping. And, once again, the recipe takes only minutes to prep before baking. 

7. Ina Garten’s Savory Coeur a la Creme is a labor of (cheese) love

Some things take time and this Barefoot Contessa dish is one of them. Garten takes the cheese recipe to another level by transforming it from sweet to savory. She leaves a cream cheese and heavy cream mixture in the fridge overnight before topping it with chutney.