Layered Taco Dip
A universally enjoyed and easily made appetizer, this layered taco dip recipe can be prepared ahead of time for easy entertaining. Made with refried beans, canned chiles, cream cheese, taco seasoning, freshly grated cheese, salsa, and fresh vegetables, this is dip is always a crowd favorite. And this Mexican layer dip is easily made vegetarian by using vegetarian refried beans.
So, I have shied away from calling this a Seven Layer Dip because…well, I can be a bit anal. I mean, what constitutes a layer? Who is the higher authority who determines if all the veggies lumped together are one layer, or do they each get their own layer?
And on top of that, this layered dip recipe is so easily customized that you could quickly turn it from a 7-layer dip to an 8-layer dip or, for that matter, a 6-layer dip. You see where I’m coming from? So, it was just easier to call it a Layered Taco Dip and let you add your own number.
But, no matter what you call it, this is the perfect appetizer to take to a game day celebration, a Cinco de Mayo party, or a casual neighborhood gathering.
customize this layered taco dip
- For a heartier appetizer, bordering on a meal, add seasoned ground beef between the bean layer and the cream cheese layer.
- For all the avocado lovers out there 🙋🏼♀️, mash one and put it between the bean and the cream cheese layer. Just make sure you cover it well with the cream cheese layer to keep it from turning brown. And because you can never have too much avocado, go ahead and chop and distribute one on top, too!
- Add a layer of diced bell pepper.
- Use green salsa instead of red salsa.
- Add a sprinkling of shredded lettuce right before serving.
is this Mexican Layer Dip served hot or cold?
This dip is served cold, making it easy to pull out of the fridge for a gathering. Even if you do add a layer of cooked beef or chicken, this is a cold dip. That said, because this dip contains dairy and possibly meat, it should not sit at room temperature for longer than two hours.
can you make this layered taco dip recipe ahead of time?
With this recipe, you can easily do much of the prep work ahead of time.
- Mix the beans and canned jalapeños and refrigerate or spread on your plate, cover, and refrigerate.
- Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning ahead of time and refrigerate or spread on top of the beans, cover, and refrigerate.
- Grate the cheese, cover, and refrigerate.
- Drain the olives and the salsa.
- Dice the scallions and fresh jalapeño, cover, and refrigerate.
What I wouldn’t do ahead of time is add the salsa and chop the tomatoes. No matter how much you try to drain them, they will continue releasing their liquid, making your layered dip runny. No bueno!
making layered taco dip is very easy
how to serve this layered taco dip
I prefer making and serving this dip on a plate instead of a baking dish because it is easy to scoop with a tortilla! A baking dish is beneficial if your dip is runny. But by draining excess liquid from our ingredients, it is easily served on a plate. But that’s just my preference! This is your dip, so you do you!
Serve your Mexican layer dip with tortilla chips.
Layered Taco Dip
A universally enjoyed and easy-to-make appetizer, this layered taco dip can be prepared ahead of time for easy entertaining. See notes for tips for advance preparation. Easily made vegetarian with vegetarian refried beans.
- 16-ounce can of refried beans (or 16 ounces of your own refried beans recipe)
- 4.5-ounce can of jalapeño peppers, extra liquid drained off.
- 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8-ounces of sour cream
- 2-teaspoons of taco seasoning (use your own taco seasoning recipe or package taco seasoning)
- 16-ounce jar of salsa
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced with pulp removed
- 3 green onions or scallions, sliced
- 8 ounces or 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, Monterey jack or a combination.
- 2.5-ounce can of sliced black olives
- Diced fresh jalapeño
- Diced avocado (optional)
- Combine the refried beans and the canned jalapeño peppers in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Spread the bean mixture over the bottom of your serving plate. Leave a good 1" margin between the beans and the plate edge.
- Combine the sour cream with the cream cheese in another medium bowl. Depending on how soft your cream cheese is, you may need to mash it with a potato masher or blend it in a food processor. Your goal is to remove any chunks of cream cheese.
- Once the cream cheese and sour cream are fully incorporated, add the taco seasoning and mix well to combine.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture over the beans. Try not to push down, as that will further spread your beans.
- If your salsa has a good deal of liquid, at it to a colander to drain the liquid off.
- Spread the salsa over the cream cheese layer.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese over the salsa.
- Remove seeds and pulp from tomatoes and dice.
- Slice green onions thinly.
- Sprinkle the diced tomatoes and scallions over the cheese.
- Drain the black olives of their brine and sprinkle them over top.
- Dice the fresh jalapeño into a small mince and sprinkle. Use rubber gloves.
- Cut cilantro into fine shreds and distribute.
- If you will be adding avocado, wait until right before serving to dice and add it to your layered taco dip.
- Serve with tortilla chips for scooping.
If you would like to prepare this layered taco dip in advance, I would stop at step 6. Cover your partially prepared dip and refrigerate. Then, right before serving, add the drained salsa, cheese and diced vegetables.
other Mexican or Latin-inspired recipes
We love our Latin or Mexican food in this house! Here are a few of our favorites:
- My dad’s Margarita recipe is ALWAYS one of the top 10 most popular posts on our site for a reason!
- Both Shrimp Salsa and Mango Habanero Salsa would be great to serve alongside your layered taco dip.
- Slow cooker Pinto Beans are excellent as is for a side dish, or mash them for quick refried beans.
why is my taco dip runny?
If you make sure to drain the liquid from the jalapeños, the salsa, and the olives AND you remove the pulp from the tomatoes, you will dramatically cut down any liquid that would make your taco dip runny.
Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this Layered Taco Dip recipe in the future.
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