Obatzda: A Creamy Bavarian Cheese Dip

While Mexico has its guacamole and other various salsas like pico de gallo, Greece its cool and creamy tzatziki, and Spain its mojo verde, Bavaria has its very own kind of famous dip.

Close up of a bowl of German cheese "obatzda" dip with lye pretzels in the background.

This is a classic and traditional delicacy, often served as a light snack in between meals. It is a savory, creamy cheese dip that is usually eaten with a slice of dark rye bread or pretzels – and ideally with a cold beer.

Originally, this dish was developed to use up leftover cheese. To do this, the mature cheese was mixed with butter and spices.

A bowl of German Bavarian Obatzda cheese dip in the center front and two plates with large lye pretzels in the rear. On a blue tablecloth.

This basic recipe hasn’t changed a lot, though Obatzda is not often thought of as a mere way to use up leftover food today.

Since the 1920s, it has become known as a beloved snack in German beer gardens, outdoor terraces in restaurants or cafés that serve drinks and small meals during the day.

It has achieved such a symbolic value that it gained certification as a product with protected geographical indication (PGI) by the EU in 2015.

A table set with various German foods including lye pretzels, obatzda cheese dip, cabbage slaw, and bread dumplings.

Don’t worry if you think the taste of the Camembert might be too strong for a dip like this one. When it’s mixed with soft, fresh cheese like crème fraîche and butter, the strong and mature flavor will become more subdued, contributing to the flavor profile of the dish nonetheless.

Top down view of a three lye pretzels on white, porcelain plates with a a bowl of German Obatzda cheese dip placed to the left.

Obatzda should be eaten on the same day that you make it, because the onions can start to infuse the spread with a bitter flavor. If you want to make your dip in advance, you can add the onions as a garnish just before serving rather than stirring them in during prep.

Close up of a German lye pretzel with a dab of Obatzda cheese dip on it. A bowl of the dip is in the background. Sitting on a medium-blue tablecloth.

Another idea is to rinse or steam the onions before using them, which will provide a milder taste. Be sure to drain the onions well in a colander before adding them if you’re using this method, because any extra moisture can lead to runny results.

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A bowl of German Bavarian Obatzda cheese dip in the center front and two plates with large lye pretzels in the rear. On a blue tablecloth.

Obatzda Cheese Dip


  • Author: Nina-Kristin Isensee
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dips
  • Method: Blending
  • Cuisine: German

Description

Need a tasty dip for gameday, movie night, or just for snacking? Try Obatzda! It’s a Bavarian cheese dip that’s perfect for dipping and as a sauce. Serve this tasty German fare with everything from leftovers that need a little sprucing up to an authentic Oktoberfest meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 6.5 ounces mild Camembert
  • 2/3 cup cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (softened)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • paprika (to taste)
  • handful chopped chives ((optional))

Instructions

  1. Peel the onion and finely mince it.
  2. Mash the Camembert with a fork or your hand, and mix with the cream cheese, butter, and onion in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Refrigerate to infuse the flavors for approximately half an hour before serving.
  4. Season once more and garnish with the chives.

Keywords: German Food, Bavarian, Cheese Dip, Oktoberfest

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep Onions

Peel your onions, then chop fine. Rinse them if you’d like to mellow the taste a bit, drain, then set aside.

Step 2 – Mash and Mix

There’s no need to remove the soft white rind from your Camembert. Simply place the wheel into a small bowl and mash it wish a fork, or using your hands if you wish. This is easier to do if the cheese is closer to room temperature, but allowing it to warm up isn’t required.

Mashing Camembert for Dip | Foodal.com

Add the cream cheese and butter (also much easier to work at room temperature) along with the onion.

Resist the urge to use the food processor for this step- though it’s a great tool for blending various ingredients together, you want to have full control over the texture of this dip. Using an appliance will begin to heat up your dairy products too, and you don’t want them to melt.

Combining your ingredients by hand with a large spoon or rubber spatula is your best bet here. Stir together until the ingredients are well combined, and the onions is evenly distributed.

Combine Cream Cheese, Butter, Camembert, and Onions to Make Obatzda | Foodal.com

Step 3 – Season and Refrigerate

Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of paprika to taste. Give it one more stir, cover or scoop into a lidded container, and refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld, for about half an hour.

Top down view of a bowl containing large lye pretzels on the upper left with a bowl of German Obatzda cheese dip on the lower right.

Step 4 – Garnish and Serve

Just before serving, taste for seasoning once more, give the mix one last stir, and garnish with chopped chives.

Top down view of three large lye pretzels on platters with a bowl of German Obatzda Bavarian Cheese Dip on a blue table cloth.

For the perfect Bavarian snack experience, spread it on homemade lye pretzels or dark rye bread. To make it a meal, serve alongside your favorite Oktoberfest beer, cabbage slaw with bacon, bread dumplings, spaetzle, or any of your German-style favorites.

How will you enjoy this tasty homemade dip? Let us know in the comments!


Don’t forget to Pin It!

Need a tasty dip for gameday, movie night, or just for snacking? Try Obatzda! It's a Bavarian cheese dip that's perfect for dipping and as a sauce. Serve this tasty German fare with everything from leftovers that need a little sprucing up to an authentic Oktoberfest meal. Get the on Foodal now. #cheesedip #bavarian #germanfood #oktoberfest #foodal

Originally posted September 15th, 2016. Revised and updated August 17th, 2018.  Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

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About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

6 thoughts on “Obatzda: A Creamy Bavarian Cheese Dip”

  1. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of this dip, but I can definitely imagine a rich cream cheese-based dip going well with pretzels and beer. I don’t want to figure out the nutrition information on this one!

  2. I’ve seen this at the local farmer’s market and always wondered what it was. I like the spices and such in it, but can you use a cheese other than Camembert? I do not like that kind of cheese at all. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Thanks!

  3. Seeing the picture at a glance, this reminded me of a cheese dip I had tried out with horseradish. I didn’t think about a dip with something as fancy as Camembert though! Would this recipe stand up to something as assertive as horseradish? I would likely leave out the white onions in favor of a little spice, but that’s probably abusing the origins of the dish. 😉

  4. I love this series that you’re doing. This one really jumped out at me though. It sounds just.. decadent. I can’t wait to make some. It will go great with some of the beer we’ve been trying.

    This looks easier to make than I would have thought, and it sounds like it will be rich and delicious. I assume a little goes a long way, so I should probably make it when we have guests. I don’t want too much left over to tempt me. Yum.

  5. I’ve been enjoying all of these Oktoberfest-related recipes, thank you so much! Not going to lie, the texture of Obatzda doesn’t look appealing at all but I’m sure it tastes delicious with pretzels. It’s not even hard to make either, cheese dips are my favorite!

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