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Dips that will score points with your Super Bowl crowd

What's a Super Bowl party without a gooey mess of savory goodness to plunge a sturdy dipper into? I'd say that's not much of a party at all.

We had no trouble finding inspiration to compile this list of 25 mostly diet-busting recipes; magazines and food Web sites are in full-tilt football-party mode right now. (And although this is Super Bowl XLIV, we resisted the urge to publish 44.) Thanks to Food Network magazine plus, and for their good ideas, which we added to our original concoctions.

Among our favorites are the Cheddar Horseradish Spread, the Onion Dip and the Beer Dip, which we've run by popular request in the St. Petersburg Times several times. Football is our annual excuse to make beer dip, and we've found that the cheaper the suds, the better the dip. Pop the tab on that Pabst! We're always partial to hot seafood dips, too.

If you decide to tackle your own creations, remember that for each cup of mayonnaise, sour cream or cream cheese, you'll need about 1 tablespoon dried seasoning. Give your pantry the once-over; you could go with the packaged onion dip, but see if there are some herbs and spices that would change things up. That's how we came up with our version of the Onion Dip recipe.

Besides salty dippers, don't forget the crudites: Cold, fresh and crunchy vegetables are always welcome on a party menu that trends toward over-the-top. Just like the Super Bowl itself. Tune in at 6 p.m. EST Sunday on CBS; the game kicks off not long thereafter.

1. Muffuletta Dip, in honor of the New Orleans Saints. Combine 1 (8-ounce) block softened cream cheese, 1 cup cubed salami (about 1/4-inch dice), 4 ounces diced provolone, 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers, 1/2 cup drained, chopped green olives and 1 clove minced garlic. Spread the mixture into a pie plate and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with chopped fresh parsley.

2. Cheddar Horseradish Spread, in honor of the Indianapolis Colts. Mix 2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp white cheddar, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons drained, bottled horseradish, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard. Chill. Right before serving, stir in 1-1/2 cups finely chopped or shredded radishes (about 1/2 pound). Season with salt and pepper.

3. Onion Dip. Combine 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup mayonnaise, 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Chill at least 2 hours in the fridge. Garnish with sliced scallions.

4. Dill Dip. Combine 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup mayonnaise, 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon each coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chill at least 2 hours in the fridge. Garnish with chopped fresh dill or a few shakes of dried. (If you want to use fresh dill in the dip, double the amount, at least.)

5. Beer Dip. Blend 1 package Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix (original flavor), 2 (8-ounce) packages softened cream cheese, 6 ounces beer and 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese. Chill at least 2 hours.

6. Salsa-Mole. Mix 1 cup roasted corn kernels (use frozen and do this in a dry skillet) with 2 diced avocados, juice of 1 lime, diced red onion, 1 minced jalapeno (remove ribs and seeds for less heat), 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

7. Hot Sausage Dip. Brown 1 pound bulk sausage and drain off fat. Mix in 1 can spicy Ro-tel diced tomatoes and 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese and stir until cheese melts into hot sausage.

8. Spicy Ranch Dip. Whisk 1/4 cup each sour cream and minced red onion, 1/3 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 clove minced garlic and 1 tablespoon each chopped chives, parsley and chipotles in adobo sauce; season with salt.

9. Queso Dip. Saute 3 tablespoons minced onion in oil. Add 1 can green chilies, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/3 cup beer, 1/4 pound each grated Muenster and cheddar and a handful of chopped cilantro; cook until the cheese melts, then broil until bubbly.

10. Ricotta-Tomato Dip. Simmer 2 cups canned tomato sauce in a small skillet. Add 1 cup ricotta in dollops and warm through. Garnish with chopped basil and drizzle with olive oil.

11. Pizza Dip. Make Ricotta-Tomato Dip (above) in a small, ovenproof casserole or skillet; top with diced mozzarella and pepperoni, then bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes or until bubbling.

12. Curry Dip. Mix 2 cups mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon curry, 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish, 2 teaspoons white wine or herb vinegar and 1 packet green onion dip mix. Chill for at least 2 hours.

13. Feta Dip. In a food processor or blender, pulse 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1/2 cup each sour cream and plain yogurt and 2 peeled garlic cloves until garlic is minced. Season with salt and pepper.

14. Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip. Combine 16 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup blue cheese, 1/2 cup hot wing sauce or other hot sauce, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken and spread in casserole dish. Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese over top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

15. White Bean Dip. In a food processor, process 2 cans drained and rinsed cannellini or other white beans, 3 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup oil, juice of 1 lemon and 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley.

16. Hot Crab Dip. Combine 2 (8-ounce) packages softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 2 cans drained lump crabmeat, juice from 1 lemon, 2 teaspoons hot sauce and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Spoon into baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle top with paprika.

17. Deviled Egg Dip. Puree 8 hard-boiled eggs with 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 chopped dill pickle, a dash of hot sauce, and paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chives.

18. Crab and Celery Remoulade. Whisk together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 tablespoon drained capers. Stir in 8 ounces lump crabmeat, 1/2 cup finely chopped celery, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Chill before serving. Garnish with snipped fresh chives.

19. Microwave Artichoke Dip. Drain and chop 2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts packed in water. Mix them with 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan and 1 cup mayonnaise, then microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir, then microwave up to 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

20. Hot Shrimp Dip. Chop 1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp and combine with 1/2 cup each chopped onion and bell pepper, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 3/4 cup shredded white cheddar or pepper jack and Old Bay seasoning to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in an 8- by 8-inch baking dish, cover with additional 1/4 cup shredded cheese and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

21. Shrimp & Blue Cheese Dip. Combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 small can drained, diced green chilies, 1 small can drained, sliced black olives, 1/4 cup sliced scallions and 1/4 pound peeled, cooked salad shrimp. Gently fold in 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese.

22. Roasted Red Pepper Dip. Mix 1 (7-ounce) jar roasted red peppers that have been drained and diced with 3/4 pound shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 1 (8-ounce) package softened cream cheese, 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1 clove minced garlic and 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard. Spread in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

23. Clam Dip. Combine 1 (6.5-ounce) can drained, chopped clams, 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/2 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder and onion salt, and 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley.

24. Green Goddess Dip. Blend 8 ounces very soft cream cheese mixed with 1/2 cup milk until completely smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons each finely chopped onion, flat-leaf parsley and chives. Refrigerate until cold.

25. Blue Cheese Dip. In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream with 4 finely chopped scallions, 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese and garlic salt to taste. Cover and chill until serving.

St. Petersburg Times lifestyles editor Janet K. Keeler can be reached at Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.