Hot spinach dip is the quintessential crowd-pleasing appetizer. It’s warm, creamy, cheesy, and adored by everyone. This recipe is no different, and thanks to my tips and tricks below, it’s easy to prepare, prep-ahead friendly and the most delicious version you will ever eat.
Boasting three types of cheese that are tart, nutty and melty, vibrant spinach and a notable amount of garlic, the middle of the dip is creamy and rich, while the top is golden and stretchy.
What kind of spinach should I use in hot spinach dip?
Opt for fresh spinach if possible. I prefer fresh baby spinach leaves for this dip. Yes, removing the stems requires a little extra work, but frozen chopped spinach is often stringy. That said, you can substitute 10 ounces of thawed, well-drained, frozen chopped spinach in a pinch.
No matter what kind you use be sure to squeeze your spinach before using it. Spinach contains an enormous amount of water, which can make your dip soupy, not thick.
After cooking the spinach, wrap it in a kitchen towel or paper towels and wring out all the liquid.
What is creamy spinach dip made of?
Cheese is the heart of this dip. I use parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. The parmesan is sharp and nutty and the mozzarella is buttery and gooey. The two work incredibly well together.
If you don’t have mozzarella cheese, you can substitute Oaxaca, gouda, mild cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss or fontina cheese. But please note, some of these cheeses have a higher fat content, which might make your dip a tad oily.
If possible, use freshly grated parmesan cheese. Pre-grated parmesan cheese is undoubtedly convenient, but it simply doesn’t melt as well as freshly grated parmesan.
You can certainly use shredded mozzarella cheese sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, though.
Try to use full-fat ingredients. Nobody ever labelled traditional hot spinach dip “diet food”. It’s a hearty appetizer. Using full-fat ingredients will guarantee the best outcome, and each bite will be more satisfying than a dip made with low-fat or fat-free ingredients. Especially the cheeses.
I’m not your boss, so do what you want, just know that a “skinny dip” might be less gratifying.
How to make spinach and artichoke dip, and other variations?
Consider some add-ins. The recipe below is the classic, much-loved recipe for hot spinach dip.
If you want to create your own, custom dip, consider adding a cup of chopped (drained) artichoke hearts. Other additions include a cup of chopped and sautéed cremini mushrooms, some chopped (drained) sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chopped green onions or crumbled crispy bacon.
What goes with spinach dip?
Serve your dip with crackers, pita, baguette and fresh vegetables. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how to serve your hot spinach dip, but offering a wide variety of options is an easy way to please a crowd.
And don't forget to check your teeth. This isn’t mandatory, but we’re eating spinach here, and you know what often happens. If nobody else has the guts to tell you, I will.
Can I make spinach dip ahead of time?
Feel free to prep the dip up to 12 hours in advance. Once the dip is transferred to your baking dish, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake. For the best results, pull the dip from the fridge 30 minutes before baking or add a few minutes to the baking time when starting with cold dip.
Since this dip goes straight from the oven to the table, consider the presentation. You don’t need your finest cookware, just think ahead when prepping. I’m a huge fan of cast iron skillets for their rustic appearance. This time, I used one of my favorite clay baking dishes.
Recipe: How to make hot spinach dip
This hot spinach dip is show-stopping appetizer, it's also excellent as a thick sauce drizzled over meat, pasta, potatoes or rice. So don't be afraid of leftovers. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for coating the pan
9-10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, stems removed
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
½ cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated/shredded
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
For serving, crackers, pita, fresh bread and vegetables
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Coat a baking dish or oven-proof skillet with a thin layer of olive oil.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and let the spinach cool.
When cool enough to handle, wrap the spinach in a kitchen towel or paper towels and wring out all the water. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and black pepper. Mix until well blended. Fold in the spinach.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and the dip is bubbly. If desired, place the pan under the broiler and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to brown the cheese further.
Top with chives and serve with crackers, bread and vegetables.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Spinach dip is an easy appetizer. This is the ultimate recipe