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“Tyrokafteri”, pronounced  ti-rho-ka-fte-RHI, from the Greek words “tyros” = cheese + “kaftero” = hot, in some places also called “ktypiti” or “kopanisti”, is a dip or a spread with cheese and red hot chili peppers. “Kopanisti”, takes its name from the cheese produced in the Cyclades and the Aegean, which is a type of soft cheese with a peppery, spicy

“Kopanisti”, takes its name from the cheese produced in the Cyclades and the Aegean, which is a type of soft cheese with a peppery, spicy flavor.  However, it can also be made with any kind of feta or other soft cheese.

This dip or a spread is made with a soft, creamy cheese with a peppery, spicy flavor which is  called kopanisti and is produced in Mykonos and in other Cycladic islands.  The other ingredient which makes it hot is the roasted hot chili peppers added to the spread.

It is more usual to find it under the name tyrokafteri in most Greek tavernas and is ideal during winter to go with wine, ouzo or raki.

I have mentioned in a previous post, when I wrote about Kokoras Krassatos, that our friends from Crete sent us a lot of xynomyzithra.   They live in a village and have their own sheep as well as other other livestock and they make the cheese themselves.  They sent me too much, four large blocks, each one must be more than one kilo.

I have stored them in the deep freezer and last year when they sent me some again,  they lasted nearly a year.

Last week I thawed a big piece and made puff pastry tyropita but I still had some left, so I decided to make some tyrokafteri.

My husband went to buy the groceries but unfortunately he did not find hot chili peppers, so instead he brought two red and two green peppers. However, I had this crave for tyrokafteri so I decided to make some even if I didn’t have the hot chili peppers. During my trip to France I bought Harissa so I decided to give it the hot touch with harissa.

I added the red and green peppers, feta, xynomyzithra, yoghurt and harissa in a food processor and pureed them for a few minutes until they became a nice spread.

The spread was perfect, hot but so addictive we could not stop eating it. The leftover was even better the following day as a spread on some crackers.


Tyrokafteri, my way

Preparation and roasting time: 20 minutes


  • 150 grams of feta
  • 150 grams of xynomyzithra (or feta)
  • 1- 2 tablespoons of Greek Yoghurt or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of Harissa
  • 1 green  and  1 red peppers, roasted
  • (1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice*)

(Note*: I preferred not to add vinegar or lemon juice, as xynomyzithra has a slight sour taste and instead of Greek yoghurt you may add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Finally, xynomyzithra may be substituted by anthotyro (similar to ricotta) or make the spread only with feta.   If you use green hot bull’s horn peppers substitute the red and green pepper with 2 roasted hot peppers.  In this case harissa would not be necessary).


Start by roasting the peppers. See how to roast them here.

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until you have a creamy consistency.



I am submitting this recipe to Rachel, at The Crispy Cook, who is hosting this weeks’ Grow Your Own, created by Andrea, of Andrea’s Recipes.

Kopiaste and kali orexi!

signature Ivy

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16 Responses

  1. This sounds absolutely delicious. Cheese, in any form, makes my knees weak! Thanks for sharing this and submitting to Grow Your Own. Now I have to get thinking and cooking for your guest hosting of Weekend Herb Blogging….

  2. Ti bad I didn’t live close and we couldshare the cheese wealth sis…wink…wink…This dip sounds amazing to me and the addition of the harissa would make it flavourful too:D

  3. A delightful speciality! I’m a cheese addict, so your recipe makes me drool… Yummy!

    Cheers and have a great Sunday,


  4. When I carave something, I have to make it too! Great version Ivy!

  5. Wow, that really does sound like an incredibly flavorful dip–and home-made cheese? I’m so jealous! I’d probably be finding excuses to serve this on everything until I ran out.

  6. Oh my, that looks like my kind of spread. Wish I could find some of that kind of cheese around here, but it might be hard!

  7. I like savoury food and this sounds nice. It looks like the perfect spicy spread. While I don’t get goat cheese, I could probably use soft cheese we call paneer.

  8. In Thessaloniki, we call it Xtipiti and regardless of the regional names, this is one of favourite dips…nice use of Harissa.

  9. That’s just my kind of spread Ivy…yum yum yum! I’m coming over to join you…I LOVE your regional food & history! xoxoxo Deeba

  10. heart n soul

    i, too, have a soft spot for tirokafteri! I envy your xinomizithra:)

  11. This looks very tasty Ivy.

  12. Oh, cheesy, cheesy goodness is what this is! I just love learning new dishes to add to the holiday table, and this greek one is certainly one of them!
    Pretty soon, thank to you, I’ll be the Asian making great Greek food!

  13. I love learning about all of these cheeses from you, Ivy.

  14. Ivy, This dip looks amazing. I love the blend of cheeses. The touch of lemon juice sounds nice as well.

  15. Oh, Ivy, that cheese is making my mouth water… straight from the producer’s hand… I love it! Nice recipe!

  16. Niki

    There is a restaurant in Greektown that used to have this as part of a trio of dips appetizer. I loved it sooo much, but I guess I was the only one who could handle the heat b/c they took it off the menu and replaced it with a more mild dip. I was so sad and was never able to find a recipe that could re-create it… I’m excited to try this and see what happens!