Game Day 7-Layer Dip

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Football season is in full swing, and everyone knows that game day celebrations aren’t complete without the delicious tailgate feast. Actress, mom, and football enthusiast Holly Robinson Peete has created this recipe and many more perfect for game day.


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  • One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained and liquid reserved
  • 12 Ounces guacamole
  • 1/4 Cup sliced green onions
  • 16 Ounces sour cream
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • One 2.25-ounce can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 Cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
  • One 16-ounce can refried beans

Healthy 7 Layer Dip

7 layers. 7 minutes. 7th heaven. This healthy 7 layer dip is great for game day and makes excellent leftovers (if it lasts that long). Let’s go!

I love this dip. I think that this is a standard, conventional, everyone-knows-this-recipe, 7-layer dip. In any case, my oldest son has mastered this recipe and makes this dip in under 10 minutes for football watching, parties, and family nights.

You don&rsquot need any expensive ingredients and there&rsquos no mixing required. All you need to do is layer the ingredients.


I can refried beans &ndash 16 ounces

8 ounces regular, low fat, or fat-free

Start your layers with the refried beans, top with the guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

Add the lettuce, then the cheese and top with diced or cubed tomatoes and that&rsquos it!

*This post may contain affiliate links and I&rsquoll earn a commission if you shop through them. You can read my full disclosure here.

I like to use a glass bowl so you can see the layers from the side. The one above is a basic one,

How to Make 7 Layer Dip

This dip is so crazy easy to make and it feeds A LOT of people. You can make it the easy way, or you can make it the easier way. Spread a layer of bean dip (seasoned refried beans) into the base of a 9 x 9 glass serving dish. Top it with a layer of homemade guacamole or buy it pre-made. It’s your choice.

Next, arrange a layer of thawed baby shrimp over the guacamole. Really pack them in tight so each dip of the chip will contain shrimp. Top the shrimp with thick and chunky salsa. Again, you can make your own or buy it. No one will be judging…they’ll be too busy shoveling this dip into their pie holes. A nice fresh Pico de Gallo would also be great as a layer or as a final topping.

Stay with me here, there are just a few more layers to go. The most difficult layer will be the sour cream layer. The best way to spread it over the salsa is to pipe it in thick even layers, then spread it to cover the salsa. If any salsa pokes through, just add more sour cream to fix the ‘leak’.

Guess what? Everyone’s favourite layer is next…the CHEESE! For this recipe I used classic grated cheddar but there are so many other great options. To mix it up a bit, try Monterey Jack or go with a fresh Mexican cheese like Cotija.

Lastly, the toppings on this 7 Layer Dip are the easiest way to make this dip a real stunner. Chopped green onions, sliced black olives, diced Roma tomatoes or Pico de Gallo, diced red or green peppers, jalapenos, fresh cilantro, and dashes of chili-lime seasoning are all great finishing options.

7-Layer Dip Showdown

Adam Kuban is the proprietor of the pop-up Margot's Pizza. He was the founder of the websites Slice and A Hamburger Today. He served as Serious Eats' founding editor after having sold his sites to SE.

Where do you draw the line when it comes to fancying-up comfort foods? Sometimes iconic dishes benefit from a studied take, careful technique, and some high-quality ingredients. But what about, oh, I don't know . 7-layer dip?

A staple of game day parties and casual get-togethers, the stuff is essentially a hodgepodge of Tex-Mex ingredients carefully layered together, the classic combo often comprising refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, grated cheddar and/or Monterey Jack, black olives, and ground beef.

Can and Wife

My better half and I wrestled with this question on a recent Friday night, as we started considering what appetizer we would bring to a friend's potluck dinner party over the weekend. She hit upon 7-layer dip, since:

  • A) It wouldn't have to be reheated or be kept warm
  • B) It would feed a ton of people, and
  • C) Because as declassé as some folks might think it is, even the mightiest of food snobs usually ends up bowing to the over-the-top awesomeness of seven strata of tortilla-worthy ingredients

She found the classic open-a-can, dump-a-jar take on sites like and Kraft Foods. But she also found a high-falutin' version from NYC chef Joaquin Baca (Momofuku, Brooklyn Star) on New York magazine's website. Both were appealing in different ways and for different reasons, and after some back-and-forth we still weren't in agreement on which recipe to make. So, like many a modern couple, we turned to Facebook to help us through this latest marital spat:

Now you see why Facebook is increasingly cited as a factor in divorce. Our friends essentially egged us into a throwdown. A sure-to-be-delicious throwdown, yes, but a throwdown no less.

After losing such classic Facebook debates as "Do you wear regular underwear under long underwear?"* and "Wife does not like this jacket [photo]: What do you think?" I was ready to finally score a win. Armed with Mr. Baca's recipe, I was sure I had the advantage.

Also on my side? A pound of midnight black beans from Rancho Gordo, the food snob's bean purveyor of choice,** and a heap of freshly ground beef from the butcher, only minutes out of the grinder. I was sure I had a lock.

A(n Impromptu) Jury of Our Peers

But it wasn't enough that we taste the dips ourselves and render a verdict. How could we be impartial? We hit upon the idea of bringing along ballots to the party and roping our poor hosts and fellow attendees into our twisted competition, voting on "Dip A" or "Dip B," with only the knowledge that one was traditional and the other a chef's version. (Yeah, I know, it wasn't that scientific a tasting.)

We also asked guests to mark down their state of origin. We had a theory that folks raised on the coasts would be less familiar with 7-layer dip and more likely to go for the cheffy version. The converse being that guests born and raised in Middle America would have a taste-memory of what the Facebook peanut gallery deemed the "real" 7-layer dip. Because, when it comes down to it, this stuff is the quintessential Middle American potluck party dip.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. At this point, we still had a lot of work to do.

Or, make that I still had a lot of work to do. Only two of my layers were hassle-free. Scratch that. I bought some good-quality block cheddar, three-quarter pounds I still had to grate. Thank God that Baca did not call for homemade sour cream.

'Hey Dips***, What Were You Thinking.

On the surface, the Baca recipe doesn't seem that complicated. We had a good amount of the ingredients in the pantry already—onions, garlic, long-grain rice, spices, tomatoes, the aforementioned black beans.

Making refried beans from scratch? Hardly difficult or time-consuming. Browning some ground beef? That's the first step in many a recipe. Cooking rice? Most of that "work" is just a pot simmering away while the cook does other things.

But, oh. Oh, no. For a dip, this is a serious investment of time. And fairly labor-intensive. You've got some onions to dice tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro to chop garlic to mince limes to juice avocados to halve and mash and innumerable quarter- and half-teaspoons to measure out.

SE'rs, I did not dawdle. The timestamp on my black bean photo a couple pictures up tells me it was taken at 3:05 p.m. This photo of my dip (below), taken just after I finished layering it .

Three and a half hours, ladies and gents. Not including shopping time.

Compare that to my wife's dip, which took all of 15 minutes, partially utilizing the stuff in the right half of the photo above.

Granted, I gave her a leg up by prepping extra guac as I made my own — and by browning her ground beef for her (in a separate pan, minus the special seasonings in the Joaquin Baca version). But that was only about 12 minutes' additional work. The traditional version is super simple, especially when you have someone prepping two of your layers for you.

OK, OK, So Who Won, Already?

Yeah, I'm getting a little tired of hearing myself talk, too, and I need to get this post up since I promised our Facebook friends I'd post the results on SE. So let's cut to the chase.

Four hours, two dishwasher loads, and 14 layers later, we set out Dips A and B the party. We were careful throughout the night not to mention who had made which or give any indications of which was the fancy or traditional one. (Though anyone familiar could have guessed the one with black olives was the classic.)

Think the photo above tells the story? Looks like the classic dip, at right, had more of a dent in it, right? But does that necessarily indicate its status with the crowd?

As it turns out, no. The fancy chef-recipe dip won 8 to 2.*** Among the eight votes for the all-from-scratch version was one from a Texan.**** Of the two votes for the classic dip, one — appended with the words "Delicious! Delicious! Delicious!" — was from a Canadian expat. The rest of the votes that included state origins indicated New York. So, clearly, even a sloppy demographic analysis of dip-voting habits would have meant nothing.

Our Own Observations

Besides the differing amount of prep that went into the various layers, the dips differed in one major way. Cheffy version used rice instead of black olives. Personally, I thought this was a great substitution because I loathe black olives. And since 7-layer dip is essentially a big ingredient dump of what gringo Americans think of as "Mexican food," why not stick some rice in there? We noted guests comment favorably on the rice as well.

What did the wife and I think? Honestly, we thought they were pretty similar in flavor.

For the time and labor involved, I don't know if the all-from-scratch version was worth it. Though its landslide victory would seem to indicate that maybe it is. For me, any increase in quality I may have perceived was slight. And it was definitely mitigated by the knowledge of all the time and labor that went into that version. But if you want to take a dip to a party that has some true foodie cred, there you go.

Should Comfort Foods Be Fancied Up?

Let's bring it back to the beginning here. I asked at the top of this post where you draw the line at fancying-up comfort foods. So do you, SE'rs, think it's worth it? This whole thing reminded me of Jennifer Reese's fried chicken cookoff on Slate, where she pitted the Pioneer Woman's chicken (and biscuits and cake) against Thomas Keller's and had her family serve as judge and jury. I quote Reese here [my emphasis in bold]:

Keller's recipes were harder, but they were also, on the whole, better. A lot better. I'm not surprised by that. What surprises me is how little anyone—except me—cared. Apparently, when it comes to comfort food served around a kitchen table, good enough is good enough. What ultimately mattered about the fried chicken was not the seasoning but that there was fried chicken. A middling hot biscuit made with Crisco was as welcome as the perfect all-butter biscuit made with cake flour.

So, is good enough good enough for you? Or do you go the extra mile?

My take was that, no, long underwear is underwear. The wife and our friends disavowed me of that notion.

** That's only somewhat tongue in cheek. Rancho Gordo beans truly are great stuff.

*** Dinner party attendance was about 30 people. We were saddened by the voter apathy on display, what with a measly 33% voter turnout. What does it say about the electorate if even two delectable dips cannot motivate them to the polls?

**** Somehow not surprising, since Joaquin Baca is himself a Texas native and probably created a dip that plays to the palates of Lone Staters.

Test Kitchen Taylor’s Big Game Bound Recipes: 7 Layer Taco Bell Dip

NEW ORLEANS – This layered dip is so simple and easy to make, but has a ton of impressive flavor. Test Kitchen Taylor is showing how to make it for game-day!

7 Layer Taco Bell Dip

8 oz whipped cream cheese
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1 tub guacamole
1 jar strained chunky salsa
1 bag shredded lettuce
1 can Rotel
6 ox shredded cheddar cheese

Combine cream cheese and taco seasoning.
Starting at the bottom of a glass dish, layer ingredients, layer an even layer of each ingredient.
Serve with tortilla chips!

Stay tuned for more Big Game Bound Dips and Appetizers right here on!

Suggest a Correction

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Baking dish: Use a baking glass dish. This is my favorite method. The dip and the toppings get more spread out. And it is easy to scoop out.

Individual cups: This is my favorite method. Layer the ingredients in individual cups. I use disposable drink cups. This also ensures there&rsquos no double dipping!

Trifle: For elegant and fancy touch, layer the dip in a trifle bowl. It looks pretty and worthy of a centerpiece.


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If you make this 7 Layer Dip &ndash Easy Party Appetizer Recipe , do let us know how you like it by star rating it and leaving a comment below.

How to make this easy 7-layer dip

  1. Combine beans and seasoning: First, start by combining refried beans and taco seasoning in a small bowl. Sometimes, I like to add in some drained and rinsed black beans, as well! When your ingredients are well mixed together, spread it into a 13 x 9 pan.
  2. Layer ingredients and toppings: Next, you will create the layers of your easy 7-layer dip! Begin with the sour cream and guacamole, then add layers of salsa, shredded lettuce, Mexican cheese, olives, tomatoes, green onions and red onions.
  3. Store or serve: Finally, it’s time to enjoy your delicious dip! Serve with tortilla chips or veggies for dipping, or if you’re not eating it right away, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

7-Layer Dip Flatbread

How did we already get here? It&rsquos yet another year of the big game day. Anyone more into the food than the game like me? As with every year, I always try to come up with easy snacks for game day because having something to munch on throughout the game is way more fun!

This 7-layer dip flatbread is obviously a take on the classic 7-layer dip. I thought this flatbread version would be more fun and easier to transport into your mouth. You have all the layers on the flatbread already and you just gotta take a slice and eat it!

Let&rsquos run through the 7 layers. First you&rsquove got refried beans. They&rsquore so dangerously good. I rarely, if ever, have them, but when I do. Oh my gosh. So good! Then you&rsquove got sour cream, then spicy guacamole (you can totally use whatever kind you like), then Hunt&rsquos Diced Tomatoes (more on why below), green chilies, black olives, cheese, and typically chopped red onions but Jason doesn&rsquot like red onions (who is he?!) so I omitted them.

I chose to use Hunt&rsquos Diced Tomatoes in this recipe because well, they&rsquore just as good as fresh tomatoes because they are grown in California and picked at the peak of ripeness! They go from field to can within hours to preserve their fresh flavor. The process the tomatoes also go through is called FlashSteam&trade. Instead of using chemicals, like lye* Hunt&rsquos peels all its diced, whole, and stewed tomatoes using steam from simple hot water (FlashSteam&trade), and it means that no chemical by-products get put back into the earth! It&rsquos much more convenient for me to use Hunt&rsquos diced tomatoes because I always have a can of Hunt&rsquos diced tomatoes in my pantry &ndash seriously! It&rsquos one of my staple go-to items especially for when I make something in the slow cooker.

Be sure to follow Hunt&rsquos tomatoes on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more recipe ideas especially for game day!

50+ Perfect Game Day Recipes

Over 50 Perfect Game Day Recipes for feeding a few or a large crowd. From dips to drinks, appetizers and tacos, nachos and taquitos. You’ll find all you need right here!

The big game is this weekend and truth be told… I’m a little excited.

This year I’m making Stromboli and Caesar salad and other than that, I’m not leaving the couch. Just a lazy Sunday filled with food and football. And just incase you’re looking for a little snack or sandwich inspiration, I decided to compile a list of perfect game day recipes! A list that already has over 50 recipes! However I do plan to update it throughout the year, so this list will be growing.

What do you make on Super Bowl Sunday? Do you have any staple game day recipes? Let me know in the comments!


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