Best 7 Layer Dip – Once Upon a Chef


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Made with garlicky fork-mashed black beans, chunky guacamole, crisp sweet corn, and salsa fresca, this 7 layer dip bursts with freshness and flavor — it’s the ultimate party dip!

I love 7 layer dip in theory, but this Tex-Mex party appetizer often looks a whole lot better than it tastes. The classic recipe consists of canned refried beans, jarred salsa, store-bought guacamole, sour cream, pre-shredded cheese, and canned black olives layered in a glass dish. I prefer to make my 7 layer dip entirely from scratch so that each element is as delicious on its own as it is together scooped up in a tortilla chip.

This version features delicious garlicky fork-mashed black beans, chunky guacamole, and a quick homemade salsa. It’s a bit more time consuming to make than the semi-homemade version, but the payoff in freshness and flavor is 100% worth it.

Table of Contents

“This is delicious and worth every extra step. So much better than the old version we’ve all seen.”

Julia

What You’ll Need To Make 7 Layer Dip

7 layer dip ingredients

Find the printable recipe with exact measurements below.

  • Garlic, Scallions, Jalapeño Pepper, Lime Juice: These ingredients are divided among the layers to infuse each one with flavor.
  • Chopped Tomatoes: Serve as the primary component of the salsa layer, adding a bright, juicy, and fresh taste.
  • Canned Black Beans: Used to create the rich and hearty bean layer. When mashed and seasoned, they form a flavorful base that adds protein and substance to the dip.
  • Avocados: The key ingredient for the guacamole layer, providing a creamy, rich texture and a buttery taste.
  • Sharp Cheddar: Adds a tangy, savory depth as the cheese layer.
  • Sour cream: Forms the cool, tangy sour cream layer.
  • Corn: Contributes a sweet, crunchy element to the dip. Fresh-cooked corn is best, but canned can also be used for convenience.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prep

Before getting started with the recipe, I suggest prepping the scallions, garlic, jalapeño pepper, and lime juice. These ingredients are divided up between the layers, and you’ll be glad to have them handy and ready to use.

scallions, garlic, jalapeno, and lime prep for 7 layer dip

Step 2: Make the Salsa Fresca

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, half of the dark green scallions, half of the minced jalapeño, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and the sugar.

salsa ingredients in mixing bowl

Mix well and set aside.

salsa

Step 3: Make the Black Beans

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, and add all of the light scallions.

adding scallions to oil

Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Measure out ¼ teaspoon of the minced garlic and set aside in a medium bowl (you’ll use this for the guacamole). Add the remaining garlic to the skillet and continue cooking for 30 seconds more. Do not brown.

adding garlic to softened scallions

Add the black beans, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon of the cumin, and water and continue cooking for about one minute.

adding beans, water and seasoning to skillet

Off the heat, mash the beans with a fork or potato masher until they have a chunky puréed texture. Set aside. (The bean mixture may taste salty; that’s okay.)

mashed black bean mixture in skillet

Step 4: Make the Guacamole

To the medium bowl with the reserved garlic, add the avocados, the remaining dark green scallions, the remaining jalapeño, ½ teaspoon salt, the remaining ½ teaspoon cumin, and the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice.

guacamole ingredients in mixing bowl

Mash with a fork until blended but still a bit chunky.

guacamole

Step 5: Assemble the Dip

Spread the black bean purée into an even layer in an 8-inch glass baking dish.

black bean layer

Spread the sour cream evenly over the black bean layer.

sour cream layer

Sprinkle half of the cheese over the sour cream.

first cheese layer

Spread the guacamole over the cheese.

guacamile layer

Add the remaining cheese evenly over the guacamole.

second cheese layer

Sprinkle the corn over the cheese.

corn layer

Transfer the salsa to a fine sieve and drain. This is an important step that prevents the 7 layer dip from becoming watery.

draining tomato salsa

Top the corn layer with the salsa. salsa layer

Serve the dip immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. If chilled, allow 1 hour for it to sit out at room temperature prior to serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can 7 layer dip be made ahead of time?

Yes, the dip can made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered tightly in plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for at least one hour before serving. Because the guacamole is covered with cheese, corn, and salsa, it should stay green.

How long will leftovers keep?

If you have any leftover dip, it will keep for a day or two in the fridge. However, it may release liquid after sitting while refrigerated; simply blot the liquid with a paper towel before serving.

Should 7 layer dip be served hot or cold?

7 layer dip should be served slightly chilled or at room temperature. The ingredients used in the dip, such as guacamole, sour cream, and salsa, are best enjoyed without heating.

How can I make 7 layer dip a bit healthier?

Actually, the classic 7 layer dip is already a pretty healthy, packed with nutritious ingredients and healthy fats, especially from avocados in the guacamole layer. However, if you’re looking to tweak the recipe for specific dietary needs or preferences, there are still adjustments you can make. For instance, you can opt for Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Additionally, using a reduced-fat cheese or increasing the proportion of vegetables can further enhance the dip’s nutritional profile without compromising on taste.

You May Also Like

7 Layer Dip

Made with garlicky fork-mashed black beans, chunky guacamole, crisp sweet corn, and salsa fresca, this 7 layer dip bursts with freshness and flavor — it’s the ultimate party dip!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cored, seeded, and finely chopped tomatoes, from 2 to 3 large tomatoes or 4 to 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, light and dark green parts separated (divided)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced (divided)
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice, from 2 limes (divided)
  • Salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 medium avocados, halved, pitted and diced
  • 1 (8-oz) block sharp Cheddar, shredded (see note)
  • 1 (8 oz) container sour cream (1 cup)
  • 1¼ cups fresh cooked or canned (and drained) corn kernels
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions

  1. Make the salsa fresca: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, half of the dark green scallions, half of the minced jalapeño, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and the sugar. (If your tomatoes are sweet, you can reduce or omit the sugar.) Set aside.
  2. Make the bean layer: Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add all of the light scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Measure out ¼ teaspoon of the minced garlic and set aside in a medium bowl (you’ll use this for the guacamole). Add the remaining garlic to the skillet and continue cooking for 30 seconds more. Do not brown. Add the black beans, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon of the cumin, and water and continue cooking for about one minute. Off the heat, mash the beans with a fork or potato masher until they have a chunky puréed texture. Scrape the beans into an 8-inch glass baking dish and spread into an even layer. Set aside. (The bean mixture may taste salty; that’s okay.)
  3. Make the guacamole layer: To the medium bowl with the reserved garlic, add the avocados, the remaining dark green scallions, the remaining jalapeño, ½ teaspoon salt, the remaining ½ teaspoon cumin, and the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice. Mash with a fork until blended but still a bit chunky.
  4. Assemble the dip: Spread the sour cream evenly over the black bean layer. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the sour cream, followed by all of the guacamole, and then the remaining cheese. Sprinkle the corn over the cheese.
  5. Transfer the salsa to a fine sieve and drain. Top the corn layer with the salsa. Serve the dip with a spoon and tortilla chips.
  6. Make-Ahead Instructions: The dip can made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered tightly in plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. Leftover dip will keep for a day or two in the fridge. It may release liquid after sitting while refrigerated; simply blot the liquid with a paper towel before serving.
  7. Note: If you’re short on time, pre-shredded Cheddar can be used as long as it’s a good brand, like Cabot. You’ll need two packed cups.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (Nutritional data does not include tortilla chips – 12 servings)
  • Calories: 290
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 430 mg
  • Cholesterol: 29 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you’re following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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