7-Layer Dip

Today marks the last official day of my reinvented Sugar Rush this year. It’s been a blast making (and devouring!) these {mostly} savory treats for your viewing and eating pleasure.

The final recipe is one you probably already have in your arsenal. I mean, 7-layer dip is basically the most common dip known to man, according to my scientific polls. But I’m telling you, promising you, guaranteeing you, that this isn’t just your ordinary 7-layer dip, this is the ultimate 7-layer dip. And I mean, ultimate.

What makes this 7-layer different than most other throw-together variations is that each component has a little slice of homemade love to it. As in, instead of refried beans, you get a simple mixture of slightly pureed black beans with a smoky spice and fresh lime juice thrown in. The sour cream layer is blended up with handfuls of cheese – which sounds strange, but it lends a delightful thick, cheesiness to the layer. Guacamole layer? Homemade – taking minutes to throw together but adding worlds of freshness and goodness. The salsa layer is replaced with a homemade pico de gallo variation that, again, is simple, simple, simple.

7-Layer Dip

Remember how I told you that my husband was consuming this cranberry-jalapeno dip by the pound, unable to bring himself to stop? Well, sadly for his weakening metabolism, this 7-layer dip has had an equally addictive response. He and I both have been fighting over the last remnants. It is so fresh and tasty, it’s easy to keep thinking “just one more chip, just one more chip.” And for the record, the layers of this dip just don’t add up to 7, so don’t ask. I think the original recipe (before I adapted it) counted the tortilla chips as a layer (strange) and also some sliced green onions on the top, which I omitted. Any way you look at it, it’s still 7-layer dip in my mind…and tummy.

The Ultimate 7-Layer Dip

Yield: Serves 8-10

The Ultimate 7-Layer Dip

Note: STOP! Don't get scared away by all the components and ingredients listed below. I promise it's not as complicated as it looks - and I promise the result is worth it. This recipe is usually served in a clear dish so you can see the layers. For a crowd, double the recipe and serve in a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Keep in mind that the parts of the prep for the tomato and guacamole layers need to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.


    Tomato Layer:
  • 4 large tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Guacamole Layer:
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin, green and white parts separated
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 3 avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Bean Layer:
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sour Cream Layer:
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Cheese Layer:
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Extras:
  • Tortilla chips, for serving


  1. For the tomato layer, in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, minced green onions, and lime juice. Stir in salt and let stand until tomatoes begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer or colander and discard the liquid. Set aside.
  2. For the guacamole, in a small bowl, combine the white parts of the green onions, jalapeno, garlic and lime juice. Let sit for 30 minutes. Add two-thirds of the avocado to the bowl with the jalapeno mixture and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Gently fold remaining avocado into mashed avocado mixture. Gently stir in the green parts of the green onions and the cilantro. Season with salt. Set aside.
  3. Pulse black beans, garlic, remaining lime juice, chili powder, and remaining salt in a food processor until mixture resembles a chunky paste. Transfer to a glass 8X8 or 9X9-inch dish or similar sized bowl, spreading into an even layer. Quickly rinse and wipe out the food processor and pulse the sour cream, 1 cup pepper jack cheese cheese and 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese until smooth. Dollop the sour cream mixture on top of the black bean layer, smoothing to the edges in an even layer.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Spread guacamole over cheese and top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with additional sliced green onions, if desired, and serve with tortilla chips. The dip can be tightly covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen

44 Responses to The Ultimate 7-Layer Dip

  1. Ashlee T says:

    Hey Mel! I have a question for you. I can’t seem to find an email for you. Can you send me your email? Thanks tons!

  2. CD says:

    Hi Mel,
    Is there any reason why you couldn’t start by making the black bean layer first and build up? Also, is there a reason why you say to rinse out the food processor “quickly” after the black bean layer? Thanks so much, and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Mel says:

      You could change up the layering however you like, I suppose. I quickly rinse out the food processor so I can use it immediately for the sour cream.

  3. Denise says:

    I’m wondering if this can be made ahead of time (maybe not the guac part)?

    • Mel says:

      I think all of it would fare ok except for the guacamole – I wouldn’t make it more than several hours ahead, though, as the tomato layer could get a little soggy.

  4. Traveller says:

    Just made this for the Family Easter Egg Hunt gathering. Delicious!! This is truly an outstanding 7-layer dip! It is very time intensive, especially if you double the recipe and don’t have any fancy chopping tools (beyond a sharp knife and a blender). However, I do think the “wow” factor is worth it for a special occasion appetizer, especially if it’s your one contribution to a potluck.
    I also had to substitute store-bought guacamole, however, I bought the plainest I could fine and then still added the lime juice, green onions and garlic so it was super zippy and fresh tasting!

  5. […] awesome dish from Melskitchencafe.com that I made this weekend is The Ultimate 7-Layer Dip. It’s a little labor intensive but well worth it. It’s suppose to be an appetizer for […]

  6. […] The Ultimate 7 Layer Dip […]

  7. Hash says:

    I think the tortilla chip can count as a layer since it is usually the bottom most layer when consuming a chip with dip 😉

  8. Rhonda says:

    This is an awesome dip. However, I will never make again as it is so time consuming. If you’re going to make it – need to plan a day ahead and have 2-3 hours of time set aside.

  9. Ali says:

    Ok, so I just made this for cinco de mayo. My husband and kids are at church and I am seriously considering eating the whole thing while they are gone!! It is absolutely amazing. I will never ever make 7 layer dip another way, ever again!! Thank You!

  10. Mel says:

    Hi Karen – honestly, I don’t know because I’ve never baked it. I assume it would be ok but you’d have to experiment and see. Good luck!

  11. Karen says:

    Looks delish and can’t wait to try it. However, I need to serve a hot bean dip this Friday. I’m wondering if I can make the bean layer, the sour cream layer and cheese layer and bake it? I’ve only used canned refried beans for a hot dip (long ago when I used to eat them.) Maybe top it with a little pico, green onions and guac to serve? Do you think your bean layer will be ok? Thanks!

  12. Rebecca says:

    Fabulous dip–the lime was so good in this and it was worlds better than the standard layer dip out of a package. I am so thankful to have a go to website with wonderful recipes every time I try one! Thank you. I live in Rwanda, Africa and I love that you do so many things from scratch.

  13. […] time, putting the tomato layer on top and mixing some goodies into it (I made the tomato layer from this recipe).  I also mixed in a packet of Fiesta Ranch dip mix into the sour cream instead of taco seasoning […]

  14. Mia says:

    I made this dip for a birthday party gathering for my friend. It was awesome, my only issue was that my avocados weren’t ripe enough so I ended up buying store bought guacamole =/ Either way though this was delicious and enjoyed by all 🙂

  15. Deb says:

    This recipe took some effort but was really worth it. Everyone raved about it at Christmas dinner, so much so that I ended up running out of chips!

  16. Rachel Russell says:

    Ok.. . have now tossed our old tex mex recipe as this was DIVINE. Was kind of (almost) wanting to beat you in the face a little bit when making it with the many steps required on X-mas eve …..- but when tasting it…. OH MY. We are making it again for New Years. HEAVEN. The Buffalo chicken pretzel bites and Best Chocolate cake also FABULOUS. All was perfect and now am searching for more things to try for this week! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Amy M says:

    I just want to give you a BIG THANKS for reinventing the sugar rush this year and highlighting appetizers. I know these posts will be ones I refer back to all year. I always seem to have people over and good savory appetizers are always a big hit. These recipes have inspired me to do more than open a package of boursin and wheat thins. Thanks again!

  18. Ariane says:

    This was a huge hit as an appetizer for Christmas dinner. The only thing I would do diferently is to time tomatoes. They don’t need more than 30 minutes, I made them first and left them in their too long, they had a ‘been around too long’ look but it was soo tasty! Thanks for another smash hit!!!

  19. Melissa says:

    I made the bacon cheese pinwheels for one of my Xmas apps. I fir s few trial runs and decided to bake them at 350 for about s half hour or so, turning once. Also I brushed melted butter on the bread sticking out the ends and sprinkled the bacon with brown sugar. Adds a nice touch

  20. noreen jesani says:

    Tried this recipe for the first time the other day…it turned out perfect and sooo delicious! Thank you for the step by step directions!!

  21. Melanie B. says:

    Delicious! To give it a little kick, I make my sour cream layer with 1/2 cup mayo and a package of taco seasoning. Gives the dip a little kick even if you do the basic (and predictable) 7-layer dip.

  22. Clare says:

    Oh…my…gosh…I loved this sooooo much! And so did my husband, and even my little ones. I did use pre-made guac to make my life a bit easier. I’m just sad because I know the leftovers will be gone when I get home – husband’s there alone.

  23. grace says:

    you’ve taken the 7-layer dip to new levels, mel–this is amazing! i feel sorry for your husband’s gut, yet i’m completely jealous at the same time. 🙂

  24. I am sure that the homemade layers make all the difference in the world. This dip is the best to begin with so your touches I am sure send this over the top!

  25. Jennifer says:

    I think I would have to eat the entire dish of dip – it looks sooo delicious!

  26. Lisa Hansen says:

    Sounds so yummy! I have never done anything special to my layers so I am excited to try this out over Christmas!!

  27. Andrea says:

    Okay, I know I’m going to LOVE this. I’m making it on New Year’s Eve for sure. Thanks!

  28. Our Family's adventures! » Blog Archive » Menu for the week says:

    […] Friday: Roast Chicken, Shell pasta, green salad Saturday: Homemade pasta, sauce, salad Snacks: 7 layer dip Sunday: Leftovers Monday: Ground beef taco rice, carrot sticks Tuesday: Chicken legs, rice pilaf, […]

  29. Hannah P. says:

    Holy Guacamole does this look de-lish! Seriously… can’t wait to make it.

  30. Lindsay says:

    Mel, do you have a recipe book? If not, you should make one. I would totally buy one from you! LOVE your website!!

  31. Nicole says:

    Sigh. I want some of that dip right now… It looks SO good!

  32. Pauline says:

    Thanks SO much for the non-sweet recipes! I’d take an appetizer ANY day over sweets. Thanks to you, I think my Super Bowl menu is just about lined up!

  33. Maggie L says:

    I just recently found your blog, looking for Teriyaki Meatballs, and I love it! I simply can’t wait until I don’t have to worry about Gestational Diabetes anymore… I am going to be cooking up a storm of dips and appetizers, and I think this will be the first! Thanks for delicious dinner inspirations.

  34. Laura D says:

    Yum!!! Great week of recipes….looking forward to to trying them over the next couple of weeks! Merry Christmas!

  35. martha says:

    HA! I’m sooo going to give this a try on saturday. there is a huge shortage of mexican food in Paris. so my californian boyfriend and i try to conjure up as much as we can. here is an awesome taco recipe we tried a few weeks ago


    have a great weekend. thanks for the post!
    bisous fois dix

  36. Kim in MD says:

    This is such a fresh take on the traditional 7 layer dip! The black bean dip, pico de gallo and guacamole sound delicious, and each could easily stand on their own as appetizers, but layered with the sour cream layer and cheeses…WOW! I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed the non-Sugar Rush recipes this year, Mel! I have so many new appetizers to try on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and I love that you linked in sweet treats from last year! Great job! 🙂

  37. StephenC says:

    If you have a moment (with no chip in your hand) could you answer this question? Is this layered dip something that could go in the book I am working on called “Back in the Day”, about the foods of my young years (1945-1960)? If that is so, I’d love to use it (and credit you, of course).

  38. Erin says:

    This looks fabulous! I like 7 layer dip, but I think I will LOVE this.

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