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Chefs often introduce new concepts as appetizers to create menu variety on a smaller scale than full entrées require.  

Shredded or melted on top, as a sauce, as a crucial ingredient or as center-plate items, cheeses of all types are widely used in appetizers around the world.  

Dairy products from the United States help chefs keep on-trend with innovative new menu ideas tailored to suit increasingly-sophisticated consumer demand. Learn more about U.S. dairy products in the Product Section.

Appetizer Trends

appetizersCheese is a feature in the majority of full service restaurant (FSR) chains' appetizer offerings in the United States (Technomics' Top Ten FSR's). From health to indulgence, the hottest U.S. foodservice trends offer international opportunities to increase use of cheese and dairy products.  

The rapid appetizer menu expansion in flatbread offerings and popularity of "small plates" cater to health-conscious patrons who opt for items perceived as nutritious. Cheese provides high-quality protein and essential minerals as well as taste and sensory appeal.   

Traditional, more indulgent fare continues to appeal to many consumers as well, and cheese plays a central role. From long-standing favorites like fried mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings with blue cheese to the resurgence of cheese dips, particularly paired with the newly rediscovered pretzel, cheese is a key component in many popular U.S. appetizers.  

Healthy Appetizer Offerings

The flatbreads trend combines a universal love of pizza with a rise in consumer demand for healthier, more nutritious foods. Flatbreads feature vegetable and salad toppings, and cheese further widens the range of texture and flavor profiles. From creamy and mild monterey jack to crumbly and more robustly flavored feta, cheese can bolster the opportunities created by special flatbreads offerings and frequent recipe changes.  

Small plates 

Multiple appetizer platters are a feature at seven of the top ten U.S. FSR's, and nearly half offer specific "small plates" selections in addition to regular appetizer menu items. Consumer demand for variety and healthier options fuel the trends, as small plates are perceived as lower in calories than full entrée offerings. Small plate items that contain dairy products help deliver rich, creamy mouthfeel and promote satiety with important proteins and broad nutritional spectrum availability. 

Formulas & Recipes

Spicy Cheese Scones

Spicy Cheese Scones

Give your scones a savoury twist with these delicious spicy cheese scones that are both buttery and rich in cheese. Serve warm with soup for a wholesome brunch.


Cheesy Ensaymada

Cheesy Ensaymada

A traditional Filipino sweet brioche-like bread that is baked with butter and topped with grated U.S. cheddar cheese and sugar. Simply rich in flavor and perfect for sharing with your loved ones.


Asian Spicy Curry Cookies

Asian Spicy Curry Cookies

For a savoury treat that is uniquely Asian, indulge in these spicy curry cookies that are sure to tantalize your tastebuds.