In this recipe for Czech pickled cheese (aka Nakládaný Hermelín), a creamy cheese with a bloomy rind that’s similar to Camembert is sliced, stuffed with a savory filling, and cured in oil. It’s the ultimate pub food in Prague! And bonus, it’s the perfect low carb and keto appetizer.
I saw Nakládaný Hermelín at least two or three times on menus at different pubs in Prague before I decided to order it. Sometimes it was called pickled cheese and other times it was referred to as marinated cheese. I had no idea what to expect!
But I’m a cheese lover through and through and I decided to give it a try.
Even if it ended up being cheese that tastes like pickles, how bad could it be?
This is the Nakládaný Hermelín I had at a pub in Prague, Czech Republic. The kind waitress was sweet enough to ask her boss if they could sell us four of the Czech ceramic plates when I asked her. The answer was YES! A local potter in Prague made them, and I love them so much.
I’m glad I ordered it because this dish ended up being one of my very favorite foods that I had in Czechia! (Let me set some of your fears to rest. Despite it sometimes being labeled pickled cheese, no, it isn’t cheese that tastes like pickles, lol.)
In fact, I enjoyed Nakládaný Hermelín so much that the first thing I did after I finished eating it was take out my phone, open a new note, and describe the flavors so I could recreate it at home.
Nakládaný Hermelín Recipe (Czech Pickled Cheese)
Ingredients for Nakládaný Hermelín
Hermelín cheese is traditionally used to make Czech marinated or pickled cheese. This is a soft and creamy Czech cheese with a bloomy rind, similar to Camembert.
As far as flavorings go, garlic, onion, and paprika are always present, as well as a few herbs (notably rosemary and/or thyme) and aromatics (like juniper berries and bay leaves). And for spices, peppercorns are popular, and you’ll also sometimes find allspice.
And in the version I had at a pub in Prague, I could swear I tasted ginger too, as well as a hint of spicy chilies. So I went with it!
How to Make Nakládaný Hermelín
To make Nakládaný Hermelín, sliced cheese rounds in half, stuff it with flavorings, and cure it in oil.
How Long Does Czech Cheese Need to Marinate?
The length of time needed for the cheese to marinate depends on a couple different factors.
The first factor is how ripe (i.e., soft) the cheese is. The softer the cheese, the quicker it takes on the flavor of the marinade. Therefore, the less time the cheese needs to spend marinating.
Another important factor to consider is the temperature of your kitchen. Traditionally, Nakládaný Hermelín marinates in a glass jar at room temperature (out of direct sunlight). Therefore, at higher temperatures, it will take less time.
For this recipe I marinate the cheese in the fridge to avoid potential food poisoning. I’m not an expert on the topic of botulism, and I understand and respect that this method has been used probably for centuries to make this dish in Czech Republic. However, because I’m not an expert, I decided to play it safe and try and avoid botulism (which is food poisoning related to bacteria growth, possibly due to improper sterilization or a low-acid environment), and let it marinade in the fridge.
What to Serve with Czech Pickled Cheese
When I had this dish at a pub in Prague, it was served with pickled cucumber, pickled cabbage, pickled red onion, and fresh cucumber. We asked for no bread to keep it low-carb.
However, when I re-created this at home, I served it along with “Wheat” Keto Bread and it was delicious!
Of course if you can get it, serve this marinated Czech cheese recipe along with a Czech pilsner (or pale lager).
Here are a few ideas for what to serve with marinated Czech cheese:
- Rye bread – this is a classic pairing
- “Wheat” keto bread – a great way to keep the carbs down
- Quick pickled red onions – this elevates the flavor of this cheese
- Grilled red peppers – the natural sweetness of grilled or roasted red peppers pairs beautifully with Nakládaný Hermelín
Even though this dish is frequently referred to as “pickled cheese” on pub menus in Prague, it isn’t actually pickled. There’s no vinegar involved!
More Pub Food and Bar Food Recipes to Try
- Beef Pasty Recipe
- Guinness Beef Stew and Irish Brown Soda Bread
- Cheddar Cheese Ball Appetizer (aka Cheddar Pub Spread)
More Travel Tips if You’re Planning a Trip to Prague
- Prague Attractions – The BEST Things to Do in Prague
- Food Guide – The BEST Food in Prague
- Prague Shopping – Including Insider Tips
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Nakládaný Hermelín Recipe (Czech Pickled Cheese)
- 2 large cloves garlic crushed
- 2 teaspoons fresh-grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces wheel of Brie or Camembert cheese
- 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 red chili pepper thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries optional
- About 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- Mix the garlic, ginger, paprika, and salt together so it forms a paste.
- Slice the cheese wheel in half horizontally. Spread the garlic paste inside one half, and then place the other half on top.
- Add a few slices of onion and chili pepper, a bay leaf, and half of the peppercorns and allspice berries in the bottom of a sterilized glass jar. Pour in about half an inch of oil.
- Add the cheese (you can cut it into wedges if you need to so it fits).
- Add the rest of the onion and chili pepper slices, the remaining bay leaf, and the rest of the peppercorns and allspice berries. Add enough oil so everything is submerged.
- Let it marinate for at least 3 days or up to 4 weeks (I marinate it in the fridge, although the traditional method marinates it at room temperature). Let it sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to soften the cheese before serving.
- Net Carbs: 5g per serving
- Nutritional Information: The nutrition information for this recipe was calculated without the oil used for marinating.
- Let it Sit at Room Temperature Before Serving: When this is refrigerated, the oil will harden, but that’s not a problem. Just let this sit at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes before eating.
- Traditional Method: This dish is traditionally made by letting the cheese marinate at room temperature for up to a few weeks, making sure that the cheese is fully submerged in oil. However, I let it marinade in the fridge.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on February 19, 2020. I updated it with new photos and more information on March 3, 2023.
Hi, I’m Czech and when I came across this recipe I was really curious how an American would make our tradional pub food (I’ve been making it for years 😄). I was a bit surprised by the gigner because I heard of that but I might try it in my next batch but otherwise it very authentic. If you can get pickled cherry peppers try adding them whole to the jar and serving ot with the cheese, it is the tradional way and adds a nice crunch and spiciness to the dish.
I am czech and my grandmother made a cheese from traov, cooked it was pale yellow, almost opaque. Had caraway seeds in it. Any idea. Trying to find a recipe