Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I love spinach and artichoke dip, but I have never make it very often. I had a hard time finding a recipe that lived up to what I would get at a restaurant. With a little bit trial and error, I’ve made Alton Brown‘s into something that my family and I both love. It’s now something I’m making probably much too often – I made it three times within a month, and will probably continue to make it regularly since I can make it ahead and freeze until needed. The original Alton Brown recipe calls for a cup of spinach and a cup and a half of artichokes. Those seemed weird measurements since both are sold in 10 ounce boxes. I never measured the spinach, but in my version below, you’ll end up with a little over 2 cups of artichokes. I also increased the amount of Parmesan and red pepper flakes suggested, since the original version was a little bland. As I make this, I stir together all the ingredients and then microwave a small spoonful of the mixture, so that I can make any adjustments needed. Then I bake. (Sorry Alton, baking everything for 20 minutes is way easier than boiling the veggies and microwaving the cream cheese.) How easy is that?

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1-10 oz. box frozen spinach, thawed and drained until all water is removed*
  • 1-10 oz. box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature or slightly softened
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 2/3 c. grated Parmesan
  • 1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes (I like a full teaspoon, but if you’re sensitive to spicy food, start at a 1/2 tsp. and taste before adding more)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

*Tip: I’ve found that the easiest way of removing all the water from frozen spinach is to line a colander or strainer with cheesecloth. Run cold water over spinach until completely thawed. Allow spinach to drain in the colander and cheesecloth for a few minutes after completely defrosted. Then, bring ends of cheesecloth together, and twist to seal in spinach. Squeeze or twist out any water remaining in spinach. The cheesecloth will keep you from losing spinach as you’re squeezing out the water.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. I like to taste before baking – microwave a small spoonful in a bowl until hot. Taste and add more Parmesan, red pepper flakes, or anything else, to taste.
  4. Transfer mixture to an oven-safe dish and bake for 20 minutes, until hot throughout. If desired, transfer to a mini crock pot to keep warm. Serve hot.

Serve with crackers or fresh bread. Or, serve in mini phyllo cups, for a super special presentation.

Make Ahead & Freeze:  The mixture can be frozen once combined. Transfer to a freezer-safe dish, wrap so that it’s air-tight, and freeze until you need it. Can be baked straight from freezer or defrosted. Frozen dip will probably take 30-45 minutes to warm through, but check periodically.

Crack Dip

This would have been a great recipe to post a couple of weeks ago for Superbowl, but I’m a bit slow in blog updates (couple of tough weeks at work and getting over my annual winter cold). I have seen recipes for Buffalo Chicken Dip, aka Crack Dip, on a lot of different blogs, but hadn’t made it until a few weeks ago. This dip tastes exactly like buffalo chicken wings – a bit spicy with the cool taste of blue cheese mixed in – but without the hassle of eating wings (so messy and annoying to pick the meat off the little bones).

Note that several other blogs call for cheddar, mozzarella, or other cheese. Frank’s calls for blue cheese inside the dip and mozzarella on top. Do whatever you prefer or have on hand.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (aka Crack Dip)

Heavily adapted from Frank’s Hot Sauce

Yields 4 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1-8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. blue cheese salad dressing
  • 1/2 c. hot sauce
  • 1/4 c. minced celery
  • 3/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (or, leftover chicken from roast chicken)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir cream cheese until smooth. Mix in salad dressing, hot sauce, celery, 1/2 c. of blue cheese, and chicken. Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle top with the remaining blue cheese.

Bake 20 minutes, until mixture is warm throughout.

Serve hot – either in the baking dish or transfer to a crock pot. Serve with tortilla chips and/or celery sticks.

Pecan-Date Spread

I found this idea in Fine Cooking (#102, p. 20), in the page on new ways to use seasonal ingredients compliments of editor Lisa Waddle. I was a little doubtful at first and honestly, when I had my first bite, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. The consensus at the part was that although it was sweeter than expected, it was a great spread.

Note: Fine Cooking didn’t list portions, so feel free to use more or less of the below, according to your taste.

Date-Pecan Spread

Inspired by a Lisa Waddle suggestion in Fine Cooking #102

Yields about 1 1/2 cups spread

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 c. chopped dried dates
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c. toasted pecans
  • zest of 1 orange
  • dry sherry

Combine first three ingredients in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture begins to come together.

Gradually add sherry to food processor, pulsing until mixture is combined to desired consistency. Mine was still a bit chunky, but you can also pulse until a smooth paste has been formed.

Serve: with fresh bread as an appetizer. Crackers would also work, but we weren’t impressed with the spread on crostini. This is a great appetizer on its own, or as a compliment to a cheese board (I enjoyed it with brie).

Fine Cooking also suggested adding the spread to a grilled cheese sandwich or turkey panini.

Artichoke Parmesan Pesto

Here’s a quick appetizer you can have on hand for unexpected guests. I have frozen this both when directed as well as the completely finished pesto (with the Parmesan), and it is good both ways. I serve this in a bowl, and let everyone help themselves, but you can also pre-spread the pesto onto toast or bread.

I’m hoping for leftovers, as I’d love to try this mixed in pasta with a little olive oil and red pepper flakes, or stuffed in a chicken breast. If you beat me to it, be sure to let me know how you liked it!

Artichoke Parmesan Pesto

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients (Before Freezing):

  • 1-8 oz. pack of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 c. fresh parsley
  • 1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. olive oil

More Ingredients (After Freezing):

  • 2/3 grated Parmesan
  • bread or cracker of your choice…. for grilling, toasting, or serving plain

Pre-Freezer Directions:

In a food processor, chop the artichokes, parsley, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, scraping the sides as necessary. With the food processor in, add the olive oil.

If freezing, transfer to an airtight container (or pre-portion into an ice cube tray and wrap tightly with plastic wrap). Freeze for up to 1 month.

Post-Freezer Directions:

Thaw pesto.

Mix in Parmesan cheese (2 tsp. per ice cube if you’re freezing it that way).

Serve as part of a platter of dips, breads, and crackers (including homemade pita toasts), and allowed everyone to help themselves. If you prefer, toast some bread, spread the pesto, and serve.

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Homemade Onion Dip

Caramelized onions infuse a traditional sour cream & mayonnaise combo to create a sweet homemade onion dip, a delicious accompaniment for fresh vegetables or salted potato chips.

Caramelized onions infuse a traditional sour cream & mayonnaise combo to create a sweet homemade onion dip, a delicious accompaniment for fresh vegetables or salted potato chips.

Want to know a secret? While mixing up a packet of seasoning is a quick way to make onion dip, there’s a better option. Homemade onion dip is way better and it’s not hard. It takes about 30 minutes of prep and cook time and BAM! You have a flavorful and sweeter dip, and guess what? You know every single ingredient that goes into it!

Caramelized onions infuse a traditional sour cream & mayonnaise combo to create a sweet homemade onion dip, a delicious accompaniment for fresh vegetables or salted potato chips.

See, I had always had onion dip that came from a packet, or some store-bought version, and I was never a bit fan. It was just too… oniony. Too processed. And then a friend brought a homemade version to our house one day and I totally changed my tune. This is sweet and fresh. I couldn’t stop eating it.

Caramelized onions infuse a traditional sour cream & mayonnaise combo to create a sweet homemade onion dip, a delicious accompaniment for fresh vegetables or salted potato chips.

An added bonus is that this dip is definitely a recipe to make ahead. The longer it sits, the longer the flavors infuse into the sour cream and mayo. Serve with veggies, crackers, or chips.

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Caramelized onions infuse a traditional sour cream & mayonnaise combo to create a sweet homemade onion dip, a delicious accompaniment for fresh vegetables or salted potato chips.

Homemade Onion Dip

Caramelized onions infuse a traditional sour cream & mayonnaise combo to create a sweet homemade onion dip, a delicious accompaniment for fresh vegetables or salted potato chips.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 211 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. diced onions about 2 onions
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper preferably white
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a medium pan.
  2. Add onions and salt, cooking until onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes. Onions will be a deep brown.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once cooled, mix together all ingredients. Just before serving, stir and transfer to a serving bowl.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of dip. That's 10-1/4 cup servings, or 20-2 Tbs. servings.

If desired, you may reserve a tablespoon of caramelized onions to garnish the dip just before serving.

This recipe was adapted from Alton Brown.

Caramelized onions infuse a traditional sour cream & mayonnaise combo to create a sweet homemade onion dip, a delicious accompaniment for fresh vegetables or salted potato chips.

This post, one of the first on the blog, was updated with new photos and updated formatting in 2018. The old photos didn’t do the dip justice, trust me.