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7 Layer Dip is a favorite Tex-Mex appetizer for parties, cookouts, or game day gatherings. It has seven delicious layers of refried beans, guacamole, seasoned cream cheese, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, olives, scallions, and more!
What is 7 Layer Dip?
It’s a classic, Tex-Mex inspired appetizer that seems to show up on the menu at almost every party we attend. Seven colorful layers of various dips, vegetables, and cheeses are layered on top of one another in a clear dish or bowl – then served with tortilla chips on the side.
Credit for this easy, creamy, and colorful appetizer goes to Peggy Shoop from Grapevine, Texas. The story goes that in 1982, Peggy found a recipe in Southern Living magazine that layered sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and cheese – but then made it her own by adding refried beans and jalapenos. Ever since then, this dip has been a party classic.
Why you’ll love 7 Layer Dip
- It’s creamy, zesty, and absolutely delicious!
- You can make it as easy or as gourmet as you’d like – using pre-made and pre-mixed versions for some of the layers, or make our homemade versions.
- It’s the perfect menu option for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, game day parties, or anytime you want to serve an easy appetizer that is a crowd favorite.
What goes into a 7 Layer Dip?
- Refried Beans – Mix up a batch of our delicious, homemade refried beans, or buy canned refried beans.
- Guacamole – Follow our homemade guacamole recipe, buy a store-bought container, or the packaged spice mix.
- Creamy layer – While some versions of this recipe simply include a layer of sour cream, we went with softened cream cheese that is whisked with sour cream and some taco seasoning. (You can mix up your own taco seasoning with spices from your spice cabinet, or buy a packet or jar at the supermarket.)
- Tomatoes – For this layer, you have some options and depending on what kind of tomatoes you choose, this can make your 7 layer dip spicier or more mild. Drain a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilies (mild or spicy) or, to make the dip even less spicy, simply cut up fresh Roma tomatoes. Additionally, you could use a chunky jarred salsa that has been drained of excess liquid or make a homemade salsa.
- Shredded Cheese – We included a mix of shredded cheddar cheese and pepper Jack cheese in our version – but feel free to use all cheddar and/or Monterey Jack instead of pepper Jack. You could also simply buy a pre-mixed Mexican blend of shredded cheese. You will need 6-ounces of cheese.
- Sliced black olives – For garnish, slice your own or buy pre-sliced olives.
- Chopped fresh scallions – For garnish, we use both the green and white parts of the scallions.
- Cilantro – For garnish
- Optional – Sliced pickled jalapenos or chopped fresh jalapeno, for garnish.
7 Layers…More or Less!
As written, our recipe – technically – has more than seven layers (unless you count the scallions and cilantro as one garnish layer). Feel free to add more or less or all of the listed garnishes to suit your tastes.
Special Tools Needed
- 8X8 clear glass casserole dish (or bowl)
- Cutting Board and Sharp Knife
- Various Small Bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Whisks and Rubber Spatulas
- Offset Spatula – This will make it easy to spread the various creamy layers.
How do I make Seven Layer Dip?
- Prepare the refried beans, or open up your favorite canned variety.
- Make the guacamole or use your favorite store-bought brand.
- Whisk softened cream cheese with sour cream and taco seasoning until smooth.
- Shred the two cheeses using the small holes of a box grater, or buy a pre-shredded Mexican blend.
- Drain the canned Rotel tomatoes – or for less spice – cup up fresh Roma tomatoes instead.
- Slice the black olives.
- Slice the scallions.
- Chop the cilantro.
- (Optional) Drain the pickled jalapenos or slice the fresh jalapenos. (Remove the seeds for a less spicy layer)
- Assemble layers with refried beans on the bottom, then top with guacamole, cream cheese-sour cream mixture, shredded cheese, tomatoes, olives, and scallions. Garnish with cilantro and jalapenos if you’d like.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
Tips & Tricks
- For the perfect dip-able texture, we like a finely-shredded cheese layer in our 7 layer dip. If you are shredding your own cheese, use the smallest hole in a box grater.
- We prefer fresh tomatoes or drained, canned tomatoes in our dip over using a salsa. The salsa, even when drained, sometimes makes the dip a little too wet and soggy.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Seven Layer Dip ahead of time? Yes, this can be made up to a day in advance.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
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1 1/2 cups refried beans
2 cups guacamole
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons taco seasoning spice
1 cup finely shredded pepper Jack cheese (3 ounces in weight)
1 cup finely shredded yellow cheddar cheese (3 ounces in weight)
1 10-ounce can Rotel tomatoes with chilies, drained, or 1 cup fresh Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup black olives, sliced
1/4 cup fresh scallions sliced (about half a medium bunch)
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Optional – Pickled or fresh jalapeno slices, for garnish
Tortilla chips, for dipping
- Prepare and measure all ingredients.
- In an 8X8 casserole dish layer refried beans, guacamole, cream cheese mixture, shredded cheese mixture, tomatoes, olives, scallions and garnish with cilantro.
- Can be refrigerated to blend flavors or served immediately.
- Serve with corn chips.
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