This easy-to-make 7 Layer Dip is a timeless appetizer that is utterly delicious and everyone loves to devour. You’re going to want a good, sturdy chip for scooping through all the scrumptious layers.
Needless to say, game day for me is all about the food and I gave up long ago trying to make it a healthier event. Instead, this is the one day of the year I give everyone what they really want; chips, chicken wings (or these delicious drumsticks), the best chili ever, nachos (of course) and cheesy dips galore.
An appetizer that I love to bring out for the biggest game day of the year, is this delightfully old-school 7 layer dip. A much-loved classic that is always a huge hit no matter what the occasion is. As you swipe a crunchy chip through layers, you’ll scoop up bits of olives, cilantro, tomatoes, red onions, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, then finally some tasty refried beans. It’s pretty much all your favourite taco toppings conveniently layered into a dip. I promise, your guests will not be able to stop eating it.
Best of all, if layered properly, the dip, minus the cilantro and olives, can be assembled and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.
Key Ingredients And Notes
It’s super easy to make this 7 layer dip recipe your very own by adding, subtracting, or tweaking amounts of ingredients or seasoning in the layers. As long as you stick to with ingredients that won’t water down the dip, the choices are endless.
- Refried beans: To keep things simple, I use canned refried beans as the base for this 7 layer dip. Pinto beans are classic, but black refried beans are just as delicious. To add flavour, and to make them more scoopable, the refried beans are mixed with some jarred salsa and a dollop of sour cream.
- Guacamole: For this large batch recipe, you will need about 4 to 5 avocados, depending on their size. I use my guacamole recipe to ensure this layer is addictively delicious. Alternatively, just mash some avocados and add some lime juice for flavour and to help keep the guacamole from oxidizing. Also, make sure to season it well with salt or it will taste bland. Lastly, you could buy a tub of guacamole but given you need about 3 cups of guacamole for this recipe, that could get pretty expensive.
- Sour Cream & cream cheese: A layer of sour cream adds delicious tang and creaminess to this dip. Mixing in some softened cream cheese with the sour cream gives this layer more richness and body, but you can omit the cream cheese if you prefer. I prefer to leave the mixture plain but if you wish, you can also mix in a few tablespoons of taco seasoning or chili powder for more flavour.
- Cheddar cheese: A sharp yellow cheddar is pretty standard here and adds some nice colour to the dip. If you prefer, you can use a white Monterey Jack cheese or a pepper jack for a lovely hint of spice. A blend of sharp white and yellow cheddar would also be great.
- Tomatoes: I know out-of-season tomatoes are not very tasty right now, but I still prefer them to a layer of salsa which tends to water down the dip too quickly. I use diced Roma tomatoes, but use any variety that looks good to you. Just make sure to de-seed the tomatoes so it doesn’t water down the dip. to avoid a watery layer. for the toamto. If you prefer to use salsa, I recommend one that is on the thicker, chunkier side.
- Olives: Not sure how olives became a standard ingredient in this Tex-Mex dip, but I love the brininess they lend to this dip. To keep things easy, I break the rules here of always buying olives that have not been pitted.
- Cilantro: Chopped cilantro is an optional garnish but I love the great flavour, colour and freshness it lends to the dip.
How To Make 7 Layer Dip
This recipe serves a really large crowd, but you can easily halve it if your crowd is smaller. That said, I’d go ahead and make the large batch because leftovers are fabulous the next day with fried eggs, or as a filling for veggie burritos.
Step 1 – In a large bowl, stir the refried beans with 1/2 cup salsa and 2 tablespoons sour cream. If your refried beans are really thick and hard to make smooth, you may need to use a hand mixer. Spread the guacamole evenly over the refried beans.
Step 2 – In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream and cream cheese until smooth. Set aside.
Step 3 – Use this recipe to make a delicious guacamole. Alternatively, simply mash the avocados, drizzle with lime juice and season with salt to taste. Spread the guacamole evenly over the refried beans.
Step 4 – Top the guacamole with the sour cream mixture. Make sure all of the guacamole is covered to prevent it from oxidizing. Then,
Step 4 – Top the guacamole with the sour cream mixture. Make sure all of the guacamole is covered to prevent it from oxidizing. Then, sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the sour cream. (Feel free to use more cheese than the recipe calls for.
Step 6 – Add a layer of diced tomatoes, followed by the red onions, black olives, and chopped cilantro. (Hold back the olives and cilantro if making a day ahead).
Step 7 – For best results, cover the dish, and refrigerate for one hour before serving. Serve with your favourite tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Use a shallow dish. A trifle bowl will show off you 7 layer dip beautifully but makes it nearly impossible to scoop. Use a shallow glass or ceramic dish for easier scooping.
Make Ahead. To make ahead, refrigerate assembled 7 layer dip for up to 24 hours. TIP: It is best if you add the cilantro and olives just before serving.
Switch up the layers. This 7 layer dip recipe uses ingredients that are pretty classic and standard. Make it your own by omitting or adding any components you might prefer. Here are some optional additions: shredded iceberg lettuce, corn, chili, ground meat, salsa, pickled onions and/or pickled jalapeños.
Avoid watery ingredients. You want to prevent the dip from getting too watery so make sure the ingredients you add will not release a lot of liquid.
Leftover Uses and Storage Tips
This 7 layer dip will keep well in the fridge, covered tightly, for up to 3 days. If the guacamole starts to brown a bit wherever it is exposed, just scrape it off with a spoon.
Leftovers can be enjoyed as a dip, but you can also stuff the dip into tortillas (I like to use hard-shells). The dip is also great on tostadas, or as a filling for burritos with the addition of rice.
More Game Day Recipes To Try!
If you give this 7 Layer Dip recipe a try, please feel free to leave a comment and/or a star rating below. We appreciate and welcome all your feedback. Thank you!
7 Layer Dip
- 2 16- ounce cans of refried beans I use Pinto
- 1/2 cup thick salsa
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1/3 cup soft cream cheese optional
- 2 1/2 cups Guacamole from about 4 large avocados (see notes)
- 2 cups Cheese shredded
- 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes (I use 4 Roma)
- 1/3 cup diced red onions
- 1/2 cup Black olives sliced
- ¼ cup fresh roughly-chopped cilantro leaves
- In a large bowl, stir the refried beans with 1/2 cup salsa and 2 tablespoons sour cream. If your refried beans are really thick and hard to make smooth, you may need to use a hand mixer. Spread the beans on the bottom of a 9×13 glass dish.
- In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream and cream cheese until smooth. Set aside.
- Spread the guacamole evenly over the refried beans.
- Top the guacamole with the sour cream mixture. Make sure all of the guacamole is covered to prevent it from oxidizing.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the sour cream, followed by a layer of the diced tomatoes, red onions, black olives, and chopped cilantro. (Hold back the olives and cilantro if making a day ahead).
- For best results, cover the dish, and refrigerate for one hour before serving. Serve with your favourite tortilla chips and enjoy!
- Guacamole: You don’t have to use the guacamole recipe on this site (though I hope you do!) but just make sure you mix in the juice of one lime into your mashed avocados. Lime juice adds flavour and will help prevent the guacamole from oxidizing.
- To store: This 7 layer dip will keep well in the fridge, covered tightly, for up to 3 days. If the guacamole starts to brown a bit wherever it is exposed, just scrape it off with a spoon.
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