For seasoned chefs and kitchen novices, cookbook author and nutritionist Robin Miller goes back to basics with great, family-friendly recipes worth making again and again.
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 tastiest version you’ll ever eat.
With three cheeses that are tart, nutty and mealy, vibrant spinach and a remarkable amount of garlic, the center 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?
If possible, opt for fresh spinach. I prefer fresh baby spinach leaves for this dip. Yes, removing the stems requires some extra work, but frozen chopped spinach is often stringy. That said, you can replace 10 ounces of thawed, well-drained, frozen chopped spinach in no time.
No matter what kind you use, make sure to squeeze your spinach before using it. Spinach contains a lot of water, which can make your dip soupy, not thick.
After cooking, wrap the spinach in paper towels or paper towels and wring out all the moisture.
What is creamy spinach dip made of?
Cheese is the heart of this dip. I use Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. The Parmesan is tart 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 beware, some of these cheeses have a higher fat content, which can make your dip a little greasy.
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Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese if possible. Pre-grated Parmesan is no doubt useful, but it just doesn’t melt as well as freshly grated Parmesan.
However, you can certainly use shredded mozzarella cheese sold in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.
Try to use full-fat ingredients. No one has ever labeled traditional hot spinach dip a “diet food.” It’s a hearty appetizer. Using full-fat ingredients guarantees the best results and every 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 whatever you want, but know that a “skinny dip” may be less satisfying.
How do you make spinach and artichoke dip and other variations?
Consider some add-ins. The recipe below is the classic, much-loved hot spinach dip recipe.
If you want to make your own custom dip, consider adding a cup of chopped (drained) artichoke hearts. Other additions include a cup of chopped and sauteed 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 bread, baguette and fresh vegetables. There are no hard and fast rules for serving 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 is not required, but we eat spinach here, and you know what often happens. If no one else has the guts to tell you, I will.
Can I make spinach dip in advance?
Feel free to prepare the dip up to 12 hours in advance. Once the dip has transferred to your baking dish, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake. For best results, take the dip out of the fridge 30 minutes before baking or add a few minutes to the baking time if starting with cold dip.
Since this dip goes straight from the oven to the table, consider the presentation. You don’t need your best cookware, just think ahead when preparing. I am a big fan of cast iron skillets because of their rustic look. This time I used one of my favorite clay bakeware.
Recipe: This is how you make hot spinach dip
This hot spinach dip is a 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 can be kept in the fridge 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 of sour cream
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ cup grated or grated Parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated/shredded
- 1 ½ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- For serving, crackers, pita bread, fresh bread and vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Coat a baking dish or ovenproof skillet with a thin layer of olive oil.
- Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until it has wilted, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and let the spinach cool.
- When the spinach is cool enough to handle, wrap the spinach in paper towels or paper towels and wring out all the water. Place the spinach on a cutting board and chop coarsely. Put aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Mix until well blended. Fold in the spinach.
- Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and the dip is bubbling. If desired, place the pan under the broiler and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to further brown the cheese.
- Sprinkle with chives and serve with crackers, bread and vegetables.
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