Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip
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One of my favorite memories from high school is hanging out with my friends at T.G.I.Fridays at the mall. Is that restaurant even still open?
We would corral around a table and eat spinach artichoke dip until the movie started or the restaurant closed. One usually happened first.
And it was never just one order of dip. The group of us would share multiple dips. I mean, why not. It was just that good.
Although today I can’t quite eat spinach artichoke dip with such enthusiasm (that really applies to any party dip), it’s still one of my favorite party foods to serve.
You can never go wrong with a hot cheesy dip served with chips. Never.
Plus, there’s something amazingly satisfying about melting together spinach, artichokes and cheese.
A few years ago, for a last minute Super Bowl party, I grabbed a frozen one from the supermarket to bake at home. It was terrible. I should have assumed that nothing frozen would mimic the goodness of freshly melted cheeses, spinach and artichokes.
After that experience, I set out to create an easy spinach artichoke dip recipe that didn’t disappoint. It needed to be a recipe with simple to find ingredients, few steps to make and something that guests would talk about afterwards. For awhile.
One Surprising Thing
Spinach artichoke dip is kind of surprising. Actually many party dips are. Before making them for parties, I had no idea that you would put mayo in a party dip and call it delicious.
Generally speaking, I am not a huge mayo fan. But I tried making the dip without the mayo and it didn’t have the same creamy texture. The mayo definitely adds smoothness to the dip.
My Secret Ingredient
There is also an unexpected secret ingredient that gives this spinach artichoke dip a bit of a pop.
And no it’s not cayenne pepper. Although you could use that too, I guess. The cayenne pepper tends to make things too spicy for our entire family to enjoy.
In this spinach artichoke dip, I added a bit of ground nutmeg. After many years of enjoying cheese fondue at the Melting Pot restaurants, I discovered that they always added some nutmeg to make the fondue taste delicious. The nutmeg helps bring out the flavors of the cheese. And the spinach and artichokes in this recipe. It brightens the dish and makes the dip memorable.
Enough about nutmeg. Let’s talk about serving. I enjoy spinach artichoke dip with tortilla chips. The crunch of the chips mixed with the softness of the dip makes for a wonderful combination.
If you want a more upscale dip experience, you could also serve with crackers, pieces of bread or even vegetables. I wonder if you could consider this dip “healthy” if you served it with vegetables?
Party Prep Tips
- Don’t forget to defrost the spinach. I use chopped frozen spinach and then defrost it the day before in the refrigerator.
- When you open the bag of spinach, pour it into a colander in the sink. Using a paper towel, squeeze the excess water from the spinach. It’s important to get the spinach as dry as possible before combining it with the cream cheese mixture.
- Take out the cream cheese a couple hours before you make the spinach artichoke dip. This let’s it get to room temperature. If the cream cheese isn’t softened enough, it will be really hard to mix the other ingredients into it.
- Although you can use jarred artichoke hearts if desired, canned artichoke hearts work well too. And they are a lot less expensive. I do love how the jarred ones look, though, so it’s really up to you. I didn’t find the overall quality of the finished dip changed that much when trying with different kinds of artichokes.
- Time the baking to take out of the oven right before guests arrive. Spinach artichoke dip is best served warm. So, you don’t want to bake too early and then have it sit on the counter getting cold. Although it needs a little time to cool, try to take it out of the oven no more than 15 minutes before you want to serve it.
- Bake uncovered to get a light brown crust on the top. Before removing from the oven, make sure that the dip is heated through and the cheese is nicely melted.
- Get creative with your dippers. My favorite accompaniment is tortilla chips. But baguette slices, French bread cubes, crackers or even vegetables (like carrots, peppers and cauliflower) make great dippers. Offer guests some choices.
- Serve with a spoon if you have a big crowd. We love to gather around the spinach artichoke dip as a family and dig in. This might not be ideal with a lot of guests. Leave a serving utensil near the dip, so guests can spoon some dip onto their plates and enjoy.
You Can Make It Ahead
The best part about this spinach artichoke dip?
You can make it a day or two ahead of time. Then, bake it the day of your event. This lets you focus on preparing other party food the day of. And let’s you serve it hot.
Choosing the Best Baking Dish
I love baking dishes. Running my fingers along their smooth ceramic edges is divine. And they come in so many different colors. It can look like a rainbow in your cabinet.
For this spinach artichoke dip, you will need a dish on the deeper side. This let’s munchers scoop the dip onto their chip or bread. Having an inch or two of dip gives a good base to grab from.
It’s also helpful to use a dish with a lid. Although you need to leave the lid off while baking so your dip gets golden brown, if (and I mean a big “if”) there is some left at the end of the day it’s easy to cover and put in the fridge to enjoy later.
I usually use a round 1.5 quart baking dish (affiliate). You can also use a square baking dish. I love the texture and color added to your party table with this square one (affiliate).
Can I Freeze the Spinach Artichoke Dip?
Although the one I purchased for that Super Bowl party was frozen, I can’t say that the baked result was any good. I don’t recommend freezing this dip either. There is a lot of dairy in the recipe and that can curdle when frozen.
My guess is that the frozen ones at the supermarket use a lot of preservatives to get them to not curdle. I also think that’s why they don’t taste very good.
This spinach artichoke dip blends together spinach, artichokes and cheeses to make a delicious party dip guests are sure to love. Don’t forget to add the secret spice for extra flavor.
You Will Need:
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
14 oz. Artichokes, chopped
8 oz. Frozen Chopped Spinach (thawed)
1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Salt
2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
1/2 cup Shredded Mozzerella
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a 1.5 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
3. Before you start to make the dip, drain the thawed spinach in a colander. Wring it out to remove any excess liquid. Let sit.
4. In a bowl, stir together cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
5. Stir in nutmeg and salt.
6. Drain the artichokes. Chop into smaller pieces.
7. Add the artichokes and spinach to the mixture. Stir together.
8. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the top becomes lightly golden brown. Make sure that the cheese is nicely melted.
9. Serve warm with tortilla chips, bread, crackers or even vegetables.
Spinach artichoke dip is a crowd pleaser for any event. Serve for friends at a football party or add to your New Year’s Eve hors d’oeuvres. It even makes a perfect snack at book club.
We love sharing spinach artichoke dip on a wintry weekend afternoon. I make it a day in advance and pop it in the oven when we get hungry. It’s the perfect snack for staying warm and cozy.
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