Argentina, with its sweeping landscapes and vibrant culture, holds a special place in my heart. For those of you who haven’t heard about my high school days, I spent some time studying abroad there. When nostalgia strikes, I take the time to cook traditional Argentine recipes that embody the flavors of the country.

Argentine Provoleta Appetizer

What is provoleta?


Besides delicious, that is. One of my favorites is this provoleta appetizer recipe. But what is provoleta anyway? This South American appetizer’s name comes from a special Argentine cheese called provoleta. Provoleta was first made around 1940 specifically for grilling and serving as an appetizer in advance of the chargrilled meats, for which Argentina is famous. You can't find this cheese in the United States, but it does taste just like provolone, so substituting a thick slice of provolone works well!

Provoleta is amazing with warm slices of toasted country bread, with my traditional Argentine chimichurri sauce recipe, or alongside my grilled asada (steak) recipe. How will you enjoy yours?

Get Your Sizzle On Provoleta in a Cast Iron Skillet

This Argentine provoleta recipe is made in an adorable mini-cast iron skillet. This helps distribute the heat evenly so the cheese doesn’t burn. Here is a link to purchase a 6-inch cast iron on Amazon if you don’t already have one. 

Argentine Provoleta Appetizer
Argentine Provoleta Appetizer

Should I make my provoleta in the oven or on the grill?

My easy provoleta recipe can be made in the oven or on the grill. It’s delicious on the grill, but I recommend using the oven because it’s so dang easy! When cooking on the grill, you must keep a closer eye on the cheese to make sure it doesn’t burn. I’ve included directions for both versions in the recipe below. 

What’s the best kind of provolone cheese for provoleta?

Since real Provoleta cheese is not available in the United States, my recipe calls for provolone. Provolone cheese is renowned for its semi-hard texture and distinctive flavor, which intensifies with aging. Varieties of provolone range from mild and creamy to sharp and robust, and many are smoked for a whole extra dimension of flavor. For provoleta, you will want to purchase your cheese directly from your neighborhood deli or the deli counter at your local grocery store because you need thick slices. The cheese needs to be cut from a log—ask for slices about 1½ inches thick.

Argentine Provoleta Appetizer
Argentine Provoleta Appetizer

Spicy or Mild: The Great Debate

Whenever I prepare this dish, I always double the recipe and make two versions for my family: a spicy version and a mild version. Adjust the level of spice by adding more or less red pepper flakes to each dish! You can also add some red pepper flakes on the side for people to add more heat if they’d like. It is traditional for provoleta to be served alongside chimichurri, salsa, extra oregano, and chili pepper… so everyone can have theirs just the way they like it!

If you like cooking in cast iron, try these recipes next!

Yield: 4
Argentine Provoleta Recipe: A Grilled Provolone Cheese Appetizer

Argentine Provoleta Recipe: A Grilled Provolone Cheese Appetizer

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 12 MinTotal time: 27 Min
Start dinner off right with the taste of Argentina! This savory provoleta recipe is a traditional appetizer everyone at the table will love. Dig in!


  • Olive oil, as needed to lightly coat the bottom of the cast iron skillet
  • One 8-ounce slice (between 1-inch and 1 ½-inch thick) unsmoked provolone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat your oven or outdoor grill to 400 degrees. Pour just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a 4-inch cast iron skillet. Place the cast iron skillet in the preheated oven or on your outdoor grill. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can prepare the Provoleta in a small, oven-safe dish, but you won’t be able to make it on an outdoor grill (you’ll have to use the oven instead).
  2. Oven method: When the pan is hot, carefully put in the cheese. Sprinkle with the oregano and crushed red pepper. Cover the pan loosely with foil. Just a piece placed loosely on top is fine. Bake on the top rack for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the foil. The cheese should be melting and beginning to ooze. Turn on the broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until the top begins to brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  3. Grill method: Place the cheese in the hot cast iron pan. Sprinkle half of the oregano and red pepper flakes. Cover the grill and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Now you need to “flip” the cheese so make sure it is not too melted. I always check it after 1 minute. Using a metal spatula, carefully flip the cheese over, then top with the remaining oregano and red pepper flakes. Close the grill lid and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese begins to ooze. NOTE: This method is a bit more daunting since you have to flip the cheese so you may want to try this recipe in the oven first!
  4. To serve: Carefully transfer the cast iron skillet to a serving platter. You will be serving the cheese directly in the skillet. Place the toasted bread slices around the skillet and serve with chimichurri dipping sauce.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @blameitonbiscotti on instagram and hashtag it #ArgentineProvoletaRecipe
May 28, 2024 — Mary DiSomma