This appetizer recipe is on fire, quite literally. This 10-minute Saganaki recipe will transport you to a table at a Greek restaurant. Opa!

Saganaki in a small cast iron pan.

When I was growing up, our family restaurant of choice (the only place we would go “out to eat”) was a Greek restaurant called Zorba’s. I loved it because they had a salad bar (I was obsessed with salad as a kid), a fabulous fish fry (because Wisconsin), and flaming cheese!

There is nothing quite so exciting as flaming cheese when you’re a kid, and it’s still thrilling as an adult. So next time you’re pulling out all the stops for your Greek feast, consider a flaming piece of Saganaki.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient and equipment notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Saganaki Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for saganaki.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient and equipment notes

  • Kasseri cheese: This semi-hard sheep milk cheese is popular in Greek and Turkish recipes. Salty, mild, nutty, and buttery in flavor, it’s the classic Saganaki cheese. If you can’t find Kasseri, look for kefalotyri, gravieri, or halloumi instead.
  • Small cast iron skillet: I use a 5-inch Lodge skillet; any small heat-safe skillet will do.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Using a pastry brush, brush each side of the Kasseri cheese with water. To a shallow dish, add flour. Coat each side of the cheese with flour.
Pastry dough sprinkled with flour on a white plate with a bowl of water and a brush.
  1. In a small cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat pan until it just begins to smoke, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add olive oil and carefully place the floured cheese in the hot oil. Cook until cheese begins to ooze and a golden-brown crust forms, about 2 minutes. Quickly flip the cheese over with a spatula. Fry until bottom is golden brown, about 30 seconds more.
Saganaki in a small cast iron pan.
  1. Remove skillet from heat. Drizzle brandy over the cheese.
Liquid being poured over Saganaki in a small cast iron pan.
  1. Carefully light the brandy using a fireplace lighter. Let the flames subside, drizzle lemon juice over cheese, and garnish with parsley.
Saganaki in a small cast iron pan being heated with a lighter.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes four appetizer-sized, 2-tablespoon (1 ounce) servings of warm cheese.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Round out your Mediterranean meal: Complete the no-passport-required feast with a selection of Greek-inspired fare, like Chicken Gyros, Greek Roasted Potatoes, and Quinoa Tabbouleh. (Oh yes, and keep that brandy handy for a Brandy Old Fashioned for the 21+ crowd! More Midwestern than Mediterranean, but totally tasty nonetheless.)
Saganaki in a small cast iron pan.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of cheese is saganaki made from?

In Greece, they typically make saganki are graviera, kefalograviera and kefalotyri. Here we suggest Kasseri cheese because it is easier to track down.

How do you eat saganaki?

Saganaki is best with a spritz of fresh lemon juice and a whisper of parsley. Cut the saganaki into bite-sized pieces for snacking. It’s generally not consumed with bread but paired with salad or other light foods to balance its richness.

Greek Salad

For the ultimate Greek Salad, tone down the raw onion flavor with a simple vinaigrette. Then complete this classic with lots of colorful vegetables and plenty of feta cheese.

30 minutes
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Saganaki in a black cast iron skillet.

Saganaki

This appetizer recipe is on fire, quite literally. This 10-minute Saganaki recipe will transport you to a table at a Greek restaurant. Opa!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 4 servings (about 2 tablespoons each)
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Greek
Calories 153

Ingredients 

  • 4 ounces Kasseri cheese
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce brandy (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley minced, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Using a pastry brush, brush each side of the Kasseri cheese with water. To a shallow dish, add flour. Coat each side of the cheese with flour.
  • In a small cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat pan until it just begins to smoke, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add olive oil and carefully place the floured cheese in the hot oil. Cook until cheese begins to ooze and a golden-brown crust forms, about 2 minutes. Quickly flip the cheese over with a spatula. Fry until bottom is golden brown, about 30 seconds more.
  • Remove skillet from heat. Drizzle brandy over the cheese. Carefully light the brandy using a fireplace lighter. Let the flames subside, drizzle lemon juice over cheese, and garnish with parsley.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Kasseri cheese: This semi-hard sheep milk cheese is popular in Greek and Turkish recipes. Salty, mild, nutty, and buttery in flavor, it’s the classic Saganaki cheese. If you can’t find kasseri, look for kefalotyri, gravieri, or halloumi instead.
  2. Small cast iron skillet: I use a 5-inch Lodge skillet; any small heat-safe skillet will do.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes four appetizer-sized, 2-tablespoon (1 ounce) servings of warm cheese.
  4. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ozCalories: 153kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 6gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 105mgPotassium: 29mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 378IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg
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