Foods that go with weekend parties typically get the fried treatment. Making these eats at home is a smart way to get the crispiest results for you and a few others. Unless you’re planning on standing over a pot of oil all Sunday, though, fried treats aren’t particularly practical for an afternoon blowout with tons of friends. What you need are some dishes that are tasty, low-maintenance, and substantial enough to feed a crowd. A selection of dips is definitely the way to go and these seven recipes will cover all your bases. You’ll find meaty, cheesy concoctions as well as some options for those looking to keep things a little bit lighter. Just set out your selections, add some dippers, and the work is done.
1. Classic Guacamole
Everyone loves guacamole, though no one ever agrees on what makes the best version. Some folks like to load theirs with everything in their refrigerator while some like nothing more than avocados with a bit of salt and lime. This version from Roberto Santibañez, featured on Saveur, is minimal enough to please the purists while offering plenty of flavor and texture to keep the other camp equally as happy. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can still get great results mashing this dip in a bowl.
When it comes to picking avocados, go for ones that yield to a gentle pressure without feeling mushy. It is possible to get fruits that are overripe, so be on the lookout. If you can’t find any soft enough, pop them in a paper bag with an apple or a banana overnight. The ethylene gas from the fruit will speed the process.
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, divided
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ fresh serrano chile, stemmed, and finely chopped
- 1 pound avocados, halved, and pitted
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Tortilla chips
Directions: Mash half the cilantro with the onion, salt, and serrano in a mortar and pestle until it forms a paste. Scoop out flesh of avocado and roughly chop. Add to the mortar along with the rest of the cilantro and the lime juice and lightly mash. Serve with tortilla chips.
2. Smoky Chipotle Black Bean Dip
Unless it’s covered in a mountain of cheese, avocado, and salsa, bean dip just isn’t that sexy. We think it’s time to give the snack another chance and this smoky black bean rendition from The Lemon Bowl is surprisingly good. Loaded with chipotle chiles, salsa, black beans, and some spices, it may be the most satisfying bean dip you’ll ever eat. It’s also perfect for health-conscious guests as it’s completely vegan.
Even if you’re planning a relatively small gathering, plan on doubling the recipe. Leftovers have tons of tasty applications like sandwiches, quesadillas, and even soup. Just thin the dip with some chicken or vegetable stock, bring it to a simmer, then top with some salsa, sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips.
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 cup salsa
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 chipotles in adobo
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with your favorite dippers.
3. BLT Dip
Turn one of your favorite sandwiches into a dreamy snack with Taste of Home’s BLT Dip. Even if you’re a klutz in the kitchen, this recipe is impossible to screw up. Just cook some bacon until it’s crispy, crumble it, then mix it with sour cream, mayonnaise, tomatoes, and green onions. This spread is great on crackers or veggies, but we like small slices of toasted bread as a nod to the sandwich.
- 2 cups sour cream
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 pounds sliced bacon, cooked, and crumbled, plus more
- 6 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 3 green onions, sliced, plus more
- Crackers or chips
Directions: In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, bacon, tomatoes, and onions until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with additional bacon and onions. Serve with crackers or chips.
4. Homemade Cheesy Chili Dip
If you haven’t yet invested in a slow cooker, football season is the time to do it. These kitchen appliances are perfect for soup, chili, braised meats, and warm dips. You can even find small ones specifically designed for hot appetizers. If that’s not an option, try keeping your dip warm over a pot of barely simmering water on the stove.
Now that you have your setup, it’s time to find the perfect appetizer. This southwestern cheese and sausage dip from Pinch of Yum is one of the best choices for fans with a huge appetite. Be sure to have plenty of tortilla chips on hand for dunking.
- 1 pound ground pork sausage
- 1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
- 1½ cups salsa
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1¾ cups milk
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Fresh cilantro
- Green onions
Directions: In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat until browned, crumbling with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain grease from pan. Add taco seasoning, cayenne, black beans, and salsa. Add water if mixture looks dry. Mixture should be thick but still spoonable.
Melt butter in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute. While constantly whisking, gradually stream in the milk. Continue to cook and whisk until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in cheese, then pour sauce into sausage mixture. Stir in cilantro and green onions, and mix to combine.
Transfer to a mini slow cooker or other serving dish. Alternatively, keep dip warm over a double boiler on the stove. Serve.
5. Onion Dip from Scratch
Packaged onion dip from the grocery store isn’t a bad choice for entertaining, but it’s not a great one. Homemade always tastes better, and this creamy dip from Food Network’s Alton Brown is one instance where it might be less work than driving to the supermarket. All you have to do is caramelize some onions, let them cool, then combine with sour cream, mayo, and a few seasonings. Be warned, purchased will probably never make the cut again.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ cups diced onions
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1½ cups sour cream
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
Directions: In a sauté pan set over medium heat, add oil, onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook onions until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Mix remaining ingredients, then add cooled onions. Refrigerate and stir again before serving.
6. Buffalo Chicken Dip
Wings might be the ultimate football food. While the mess is usually part of the fun, it’s also a pain when you’re dealing with a lot of people and a measly stack of napkins. Get all the taste of the classic in a more party-friendly package with Add a Pinch’s spicy recipe. It’s made with cream cheese, hot sauce, chicken, blue cheese dressing, and a generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Serve it with any of your favorite dunkers, but don’t forget the celery sticks.
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken or 1 (10-ounce) can chunk chicken
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup blue cheese dressing
- ¾ cup homemade buffalo sauce or bottled hot sauce
- 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Corn chips, celery sticks, or pita chips
- Blue cheese crumbles
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, mix together chicken, cream cheese, dressing, hot sauce, 1 cup cheddar, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a medium baking dish.
Sprinkle remaining cheddar over the top. Bake dip 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Top with blue cheese crumbles and serve with chips or veggies.
7. Red Pepper Hummus
No party spread would be complete without one hummus offering. This red pepper version from Epicurious is both quick and delicious, making it a great option. All you have to do is toss the ingredients in a food processor, blend until creamy, and it’s good to go. This dip also saves really well, so go ahead and make it a few days in advance.
If you want to go all out, you can roast your own peppers pretty easily. Check out this video from Martha Stewart for the method. If you don’t have a gas stove, you can follow the same basic procedure using your broiler.
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup chopped, drained jarred roasted red peppers
Directions: With motor running, drop garlic through feed tube of a food processor and blend until minced. Scrape sides of bowl down. Add chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until mixture is smooth. Add roasted peppers and process until peppers are finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer hummus to a small bowl, and serve.