7 Layer Dip


7 Layer Dip

I love a 7 layer dip in theory, but this Tex-Mex party appetizer often looks a whole lot better than it tastes. The classic recipe consists of canned refried beans, jarred salsa, store-bought guacamole, sour cream, pre-shredded cheese, and canned black olives layered in a glass dish. I prefer to make my 7 layer dip entirely from scratch so that each layer is as delicious on its own as it is scooped up with the other elements. This version is made with garlicky fork-mashed black beans, cool sour cream, shredded sharp Cheddar, chunky homemade guacamole, crisp sweet corn, and salsa fresca. It’s a bit more time consuming to make than the semi-homemade kind, but the payoff in freshness and flavor is 100% worth it.

If you’re short on time, good quality pre-shredded Cheddar cheese, such as Cabot, can be used, as well as canned corn. The dish can be made a day ahead of time, but be sure to allow 1 hour for it to sit out at room temperature prior to serving, or it will be too cold to scoop. Either way, you may want to lay out a spoon with the dip for ease of serving.

What You’ll Need To Make 7 Layer Dip

7 layer dip ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prep

Before getting started with the recipe, I suggest prepping the scallions, garlic, jalapeño pepper, and lime juice. These ingredients are divided up between the layers, and you’ll be glad to have them handy and ready to use.

scallions, garlic, jalapeno, and lime prep for 7 layer dip

Step 2: Make the Salsa Fresca

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, half of the dark green scallions, half of the minced jalapeño, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and the sugar.
salsa ingredients in mixing bowl

Mix well and set aside.


Step 3: Make the Black Beans

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, and add all of the light scallions.

adding scallions to oil

Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Measure out ¼ teaspoon of the minced garlic and set aside in a medium bowl (you’ll use this for the guacamole). Add the remaining garlic to the skillet and continue cooking for 30 seconds more. Do not brown.

adding garlic to softened scallions

Add the black beans, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon of the cumin, and water and continue cooking for about one minute.

adding beans, water and seasoning to skillet

Off the heat, mash the beans with a fork or potato masher until they have a chunky puréed texture. Set aside. (The bean mixture may taste salty; that’s okay.)
mashed black bean mixture in skillet

Step 4: Make the Guacamole

To the medium bowl with the reserved garlic, add the avocados, the remaining dark green scallions, the remaining jalapeño, ½ teaspoon salt, the remaining ½ teaspoon cumin, and the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice.

guacamole ingredients in mixing bowl

Mash with a fork until blended but still a bit chunky.

Step 5: Assemble the Dip

Spread the black bean purée into an even layer in an 8-inch glass baking dish.

black bean layer

Spread the sour cream evenly over the black bean layer.

sour cream layer

Sprinkle half of the cheese over the sour cream.

first cheese layer

Spread the guacamole over the cheese.

guacamile layer

Add the remaining cheese evenly over the guacamole.

second cheese layer

Sprinkle the corn over the cheese.

corn layer

Transfer the salsa to a fine sieve and drain. This is an important step that prevents the 7 layer dip from becoming watery.

draining tomato salsa

Top the corn layer with the salsa. salsa layer

Serve the dip immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. If chilled, allow 1 hour for it to sit out at room temperature prior to serving. Lay out a spoon with the dip for ease of serving.

Leftover dip keep well in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap, for a day or two, but you may notice that the dip releases a little moisture after resting in the fridge. This is easily fixed by blotting the liquid with a paper towel. Because the guacamole is covered with cheese, corn, and salsa, it should stay green.

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