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Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party or just entertaining friends, creamy nacho cheese dip is a quick, delicious recipe that can be whipped up in no time flat and is sure to please. All you’ll need is half an hour, a few basic ingredients and a big appetite!
- 1 package or container of regular cream cheese
- 1-2 cups sour cream (depending on ideal consistency and flavor)
- 1 small packet taco seasoning
- 1 jar of chunky salsa
- 1-2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or monterey jack)
- 1 large ripe tomato (optional)
- 1 large white onion (optional)
- 1 large green bell pepper (optional)
- Tortilla chips
Part 1Part 1 of 3:Mixing the Base Download Article
- 1Prepare your ingredients. Start by gathering everything you’ll need to make the dip. This basic nacho dip recipe calls for 1 package of cream cheese, 1-2 cups of sour cream, 1 jar of salsa, 1 large tomato, onion, and green bell pepper (to suit tastes), and about a cup of freshly shredded cheese. Dice and mix the vegetables together, then set them aside so they’ll be ready to add in later.
- To make the recipe big enough to fill up a crowd, simply double the amounts of the primary ingredients.
- 2Soften cream cheese to room temperature. Allow the package of cream cheese to soften and come to room temperature. This will promote spreadability and allow it to mix with the thinner sour cream. Drain any separated liquid from the cream cheese container.
- Most culinary guidelines will tell you to leave a package of cream cheese out overnight in order to soften in, but the process can be sped up considerably by first cutting the cream cheese into small cubes.
- 3Mix cream cheese and sour cream together. Combine the whole package of cream cheese with 1 cup of sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Mix the two thoroughly using an electric beater or spatula. Continue mixing until the consistency is the same throughout. The cream cheese and sour cream together will provide the creamy base for the dip.XResearch source
- Start with one cup of sour cream. If the mixture is still too thick to easily blend, increase the amount of sour cream up to one additional cup. Remember, the dip will thicken once it’s refrigerated.
- If you’re mixing the cream cheese and sour cream by hand, use scooping circular motions with the spatula to "fold" the mixture in on itself.
- 4Add taco seasoning. Take one small packet of taco seasoning and add it to the cream cheese/sour cream mixture. Mix again until the seasoning is blended in.XResearch source
- As an alternative to packaged taco seasoning, you might use chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and/or cumin.XResearch source
Part 2Part 2 of 3:Combining the Remaining Ingredients Download Article
- 1Blend salsa into the dip base. Open a jar of salsa and begin adding it gradually to the dip base. The salsa should be added to taste and stirred in until the mixture becomes a light pink color. Make sure not to add too much at once, as this can overpower the dairy elements and reduce the creaminess of the dip.XResearch source
- Choose a thick salsa instead of thinner types like pico de gallo to avoid making the dip watery.
- Just to be on the safe side, use mild salsa. If you want to spice the dip up later, you’ll have more control using fresh peppers and other seasonings.
- 2Layer on shredded cheese. Sprinkle roughly a cup’s worth of shredded cheese over the top of the cream cheese/sour cream/salsa mixture. Cover the entire dish so that the cheese is distributed evenly throughout the dip. Add more cheese to taste.
- The sharper notes of cheeses with distinct flavors, like cheddar and jack, will stand out nicely in your dip.XResearch source
- 3Incorporate the diced veggies. Take the tomatoes, onions and green bell peppers you diced earlier and add them into the dip. Mix the entire entire concoction together so that each ingredient is spread through the dip—ideally, each bite will contain a little bit of everything.
- Looking for other vegetables to build up your nacho dip? Try minced garlic, black beans or mild Anaheim or poblano peppers.
- 4Refrigerate for up to an hour. Place the bowl containing the mixed ingredients in the refrigerator and allow it to sit for thirty minutes to an hour until the dip "sets up." The cream cheese/sour cream mixture will thicken as it cools, and the flavors of the taco seasoning, cheese and vegetables will have time to come together. At the sixty minute mark, or whenever you’re ready to serve it, take the dip out, transfer it to the intended serving dish and arrange tortilla chips around the dip. You’re ready to eat!XResearch source
- Leave the dip in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bring it out for your guests.
Part 3Part 3 of 3:Experimenting with Other Variations Download Article
- 1Try it with chili. For a heartier, more savory dip, pour a can or two of Hormel chili into the mixture right after you add the salsa. Chili will lend the nacho dip a thick and meaty flavor and make it more filling; you could even serve this variation of the dip as the main course!XResearch source
- If canned chili still isn’t substantial enough for you, brown a few ounces of lean ground beef and use it to supplement your heavy-duty dip.
- 2Add sliced jalapenos. If you want to kick things up a notch, incorporate fresh or pickled jalapeno slices into the dip, or make a second batch specifically for spice lovers. Jalapenos pair well with the rest of the ingredients used in the dip, and the piquancy of the peppers will be offset nicely by the cool creaminess of the cream cheese.XResearch source
- Remove as many seeds as you can when cooking with fresh jalapenos—that’s where most of the spice comes from. You want the flavor, not just the heat.
- 3Use a can of Rotel. If you’re in a crunch for time or just want to make the cooking process as hands-free as possible, use a couple cans of Rotel instead of dealing with washing, prepping and cutting fresh vegetables. Rotel contains tomatoes and mild green chiles, making it perfect for Mexican and Southwest-inspired dishes and dips. You can even mix and match, if you prefer, using Rotel in place of the tomatoes and green bell pepper while adding fresh onion and whatever other veggies you desire.XResearch source
- Drain the Rotel can of all excess liquid before adding it to your dip.
- 4Serve it hot. While most cream cheese-based dips are made to be served at cool temperatures, you can also modify the cooking process to make a hot, delicious and extra creamy dip. This will require you to heat the cream cheese/sour cream mixture slowly, while gradually adding the other ingredients. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes before combining it with the other ingredients and bake the dip in a casserole dish at a low heat to prevent the cream cheese from scorching or clumping. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle a little more shredded cheese over the top for a nice melted finished.XResearch source
- Cream cheese is excellent for making rich, creamy sauces and dips, but it has to be heated correctly. Soften the cream cheese to room temperature first, then melt it over low heat gradually. Add a few ounces of milk if the cream cheese looks like it’s curdling or getting thick.XResearch source
- Smooth, easily-melted cheeses and cheese products like Velveeta will work well for hot dips.
Did you make this recipe?
- While freshly shredded cheeses will have a superior flavor and texture, prepackaged shredded cheese can cut down on prep time and make things a lot easier.
- "Light" cream cheese or sour cream can be substituted for the regular types if you have hungry guests who are counting calories.
- Pick up some tortilla chips that are sturdy enough to handle a dip this hearty.
About This Article
To make nacho dip, start by dicing tomatoes, onions, and green bell peppers. Then, set the vegetables aside, and mix together softened cream cheese and sour cream. Next, stir in 1 small packet of taco seasoning, and gradually stir in the salsa until the mixture is a light pink color. Finally, add shredded cheese and the diced vegetables, and mix well to spread the ingredients evenly throughout the dip. Chill the finished dip in the refrigerator for 1 hour, and serve with tortilla chips. For helpful tips, like how to use canned tomatoes and diced chilies instead of fresh vegetables, scroll down.