Extra Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip (Hot or Cold!)
Get ready for the best Spinach Artichoke Dip of your life! It is smooth, creamy, extra-cheesy, with spinach to make you feel good about yourself, and tangy artichoke for that classic bright taste. It can be served cold with veggies, or baked hot in the oven or crock pot! You need a go-to recipe for this easy appetizer, it hasn’t been a fan favorite since the 50s for nothin!
The other day we were putting 2-year-old Edison to bed. Eric was holding him and I got the toothbrush ready. I held it up to Edison’s mouth, waiting for him to open up. Only to realize (after, like, a while) that I was holding the toothbrush up to my husband’s face, patiently waiting for him to open his bearded, manly mouth.
Eric just sat there, waiting for me to wake up and notice what I was about to do. “What if I had opened my mouth??” Would I have brushed his teeth?? I don’t know!! I was busy doing something really important in my head, OBVIOUSLY.
I don’t know where my brain is lately, guys. We still mask to go anywhere in Sacramento, which is annoying for sure, but one of the nice things about masking is that no one can see that I’m constantly talking to myself in public. I have full on, mouth-flapping conversations with myself and no one can even tell what a freak I am! Sometimes at home Eric will look over at me muppeting and ask, who are you talking to over there? MYSELF, OKAY. It’s a really important conversation.
Probably I was busy thinking about this extra-cheesy creamy and delightful Spinach Artichoke Dip instead of my toothbrushing task. Let me tell you, this dip is ABSOLUTELY worth dreaming about! I actually woke up in the middle of the night last week thinking about it. (Okay, lies, I was mapping out a reshoot of the recipe in my head because I’m a food blogging weirdo. But still. I WAS dreaming about it in the middle of the night.)
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Raise your hand if you’ve never tried this dip! And tell us where you live, it has got to be under a rock. Spinach Artichoke Dip has been around for years for a very good reason!
Here’s why you need to cancel your plans and make this dip, maybe for dinner tonight, or at the very least as one of your appetizers for the Super Bowl next week: It is incredibly easy to make, it’s a HUGE crowd pleaser (seriously, people can’t stay away from this stuff) and it feeds a lot of people. Plus, I mean, it’s a cheesy dip. You get to DIP. Dipping is fun. Fun activity + delicious food all in one. When I dip you dip. Y’all know.
I didn’t think I would need to do that many tests on this recipe, because it’s pretty basic. Creamy stuff, cheeses, spices, spinach, artichokes, we done. But I actually ended up going back and testing it again and again because I wanted to get the cheesy-to-creamy just right, and the right level of spinach for optimal cheese-pull, etc.
I also tested out using a packet of leek soup mix just to see what all the fuss was about that (I did mention this recipe is from the 50s right?) And I found that there was no fuss. From-scratch spices added one by one, fresh garlic, and bright lemon is definitely better and worth the time. And now for the million dollar question:
Are you supposed to eat Spinach Artichoke Dip hot or cold?
Drum roll please, the answer is… either way! Spinach Artichoke Dip is one of those rare recipes that is totally delicious served either hot or cold. It really just depends on what you like best, and the mood you’re going for with your appetizer choice.
If it’s a hot summer bbq, serve it cold with crackers and vegetables. If it’s winter time or a holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving, serve it warm with some bread. A cold dip feels a little more come-and-go casual. A hot dip makes you want to sit yourself down in an easy chair with your bread and a Do-Not-Disturb sign. There is NO wrong answer here people!
Ingredients for Spinach Artichoke Dip
Here’s what we’re lookin at:
- cream cheese
- sour cream
- lemon juice and zest
- kosher salt and pepper
- cayenne pepper
- onion powder
- dried dill
- dried parsley
- mozzarella cheese
- parmesan cheese
- spinach, fresh or frozen works fine
- artichoke hearts, I like canned
- milk, optional
- baguette, chips, or crackers for dipping
Oops, pretend there is mozzarella in this photo. You can use any spices that suit your fancy, really. I’m a dill fanatic so that’s what I used (It’s what makes Ranch Dressing so delicious!) but you can sub oregano, basil, or whatever you want. Also, if you happen to have fresh dill or any herb on hand, use it!
How to make Spinach Artichoke Dip
Guys. It’s stupid easy. You can put this together in your sleep:
- Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, mayo
- Add in the garlic, lemon, and spices, Mozzarella and Parmesan
- Chop spinach and artichoke hearts and add to the cheese
- Chill if serving cold, or bake/slow cook if serving hot
- Devour with toasted baguettes! Cheesy mouth-pleasing heaven!
You didn’t think I would leave you hanging without some pictures did you?
First things first, we need to soften our cream cheese. I know we’re usually a little precious about our cream cheese, letting it soften on the counter so that it comes to room temperature evenly. Maybe giving it a lil massage. Spinach dip needs no such coddling. Toss it in the microwave. Heat until it looks like it will mix easily. If it melts a little bit, don’t stress.
Add all your garlic, lemon zest and juice, and spices. I love a little lemon zest in my dip, it brings out the tanginess of the artichoke hearts! You don’t need to go crazy, I usually zest about half a lemon. Don’t skip the garlic either, it’s essential.
Shred some parmesan and mozzarella and add it to the cheese mixture. You can use pre-shredded parmesan and mozzarella for this recipe. It’s doesn’t melt quite as beautifully as freshly grated, but I don’t think it affects the texture too much for this dip.
Next drain your can of artichoke hearts and gently squeeze out some of the liquid. Roughly chop into bite size pieces. You can also use frozen artichoke hearts! Just be sure to drain well and squeeze dry.
Can I use fresh spinach instead of frozen?
Next up: spinach. You’ve got some options here. Frozen spinach is traditional. You’ve got to thaw it and dry it out otherwise you’ll have a watery mess of a dip. I have vivid memories of my mom squeezing spinach into the sink when making Quiche, and being slightly nauseated. (I was not a spinach champion back then.) I kid you not, my 10-year-old Charlotte walked into the kitchen last week and saw me squeezing spinach for one of my tests on this recipe, and she’s like “UGH what is that” haha. The cycle continues!!
But the good news is that fresh spinach works totally fine! It’s really whatever sounds easiest to you. The result is going to be about the same. Here are the different methods:
Frozen Spinach: Let the spinach thaw completely at room temperature, OR microwave until thaw. Then use your hand to squeeze all the liquid out, one fistful at a time. The nice thing with frozen is that you don’t have to do any cooking, because the spinach was par-boiled before it was frozen. The unpleasant thing is that it has a LOT of liquid to squeeze out.
Fresh Spinach: Heat a pan with about a teaspoon of oil. Add chopped fresh spinach. Wilt for 1-2 minutes. Let cool for just a bit, gently squeeze out any liquid (there won’t be as much), and voila. The nice thing is that you don’t have to wait for a thaw or squeeze forever, but you do have to dirty another pan.
And what about taste? Honestly, I think the fresh spinach tastes a little, well, fresher, but really both are great. I did not try canned spinach because I’m not a masochist, let me know if there are any weirdos out there who are gonna bust open a can in the name of research ;) Can you tell I’m not a canned veggie person?? (Except canned green beans. Those are tolerable.)
That’s everything in the bowl! Time to stir it up!
Give it a taste and see what you think. Does it need a pinch more salt? A dash of extra dill? Another crack of pepper?
Once it’s exactly how you like it, decide whether you want to serve it hot or cold.
How to serve and store
COLD Spinach Artichoke Dip: If serving cold, refrigerate the dip for at least 30 minutes (or up to 48 hours!) to allow the flavors to blend and get all comfy with each other. Serve with veggies like carrots, broccoli, radishes, cucumber spears, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, and bread or toasted baguettes.
Baked Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip: Pour the dip into a 2 quart pan or pie plate, top with mozzarella cheese, and bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melty and lightly browned.
Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip: Pour the dip into a slow cooker, top with mozzarella if you want (you want) and heat on low for about 2 to 3 hours, or on high for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. The larger your crock pot, the faster it will heat up. Once it’s heated through, turn your crock pot setting to Warm. Be aware that the bottom edges of the dip will get browned, and eventually burned if you leave it in too long. I LOVE the browned bits on the bottom and was fighting people for them, but if you are not a crispy-edges fan, then maybe you should bake instead.
Serving: You can leave your chilled, warm, or room temperature dip out for 2-3 hours while serving. Once your party is over (if there is any left!), transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, or store in an airtight container. It will stay good in the refrigerator for about a week. If it separates at all, just stir well before serving again. You can even stir together what’s left, top it with more cheese, and bake again for a second chance at nice presentation.
What to use for dipping
Honestly, I love this dip so much I will eat it with a spoon. Or top a lunch salad with it. I’m not one for limiting my options! BUT of course if you are bringing it to a potluck, you need to bring some dippers. Try these ideas:
- toasty baguette slices, details for this method are in the recipe card!
- serve it in a bread bowl with the bread from the center torn up arranged on a platter around it
- with an array of crackers, pretzels, bread or toast slices, or tortilla or pita chips
- with crudite (cut up veggies): My favorites are carrots, celery, cucumber, snap peas, bell pepper, cauliflower, radishes, and broccoli. Treat it like a glorified Ranch.
- As I mentioned before, you can totally incorporate any leftover dip into a meal. Use it as a spread for sandwiches, or on top of a delicious grilled steak or chicken breast. I like to eat it with salad, but I’m kind of a salad freak, so I understand if this is weirding you out. Try not to judge me.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, you can totally freeze Spinach Artichoke Dip! Just transfer all the dip to a sealed, freezer-safe container (I love freezer ziplock bags) and put it in the freezer, where it should last about 2-3 months. If you’re making the dip in advance and plan to serve it warm, freeze before baking. Let thaw completely in the fridge, then spread in a pan (or put in the crock pot) as described in the recipe, no changes necessary.
Are you guys going to make it this weekend? I already made 4 batches but I might just do one more. I’m craving it now, and I gave all my leftover dip to the neighbors. What was I thinking! Never enough Spinach Dip!!
More dips and appetizers to love!
If you are making an epic Super Bowl spread, you need more than one dip! Here are some of my favorite appetizers!
- Chili’s Queso Dip << the ultimate cheese pleasing restaurant dip!
- Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip << I usually can just make a meal out of this stuff. SO good.
- Greek Tzatziki Sauce << try this with pita!
- Caprese Salad Skewers << a lighter but totally show stopping option
- Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers << you will win many friends with this one.
- 5 Minute Restaurant Style Salsa << easy, classic, pass the chips.
- Authentic Pico de Gallo << all the tips to make it the best!
- Carol’s Legendary 7 Layer Dip << I’m telling you, Carol KNOW’S WHERE IT’S AT
- Bacon Blue Cheese Dip << super delicious with apples
- The Best Cheese Sauce Ever << dip anything in this, fries are my fav
- Baba Ganoush from Wanderlust Kitchen
- Ranch Chex Mix from Swanky Recipes
- Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups from Recipe Runner
Extra Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip (Hot or Cold!)
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, zest from half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 6 ounces spinach*, drained and chopped (frozen or fresh; see notes)
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 16-ounce baguette, sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing on bread
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F if you plan to serve this dip warm.
- Add 8 ounces cream cheese to a large microwaveable bowl. Heat in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until the cream cheese is mostly soft but not melted.
- Add 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayo, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest (I zest about half a lemon), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this adds flavor, not heat), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (use less if all you have is table salt), 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dill, and 1 teaspoon parsley.
- Shred 1/2 cup of parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Pre-shredded cheese is fine for this recipe. Stir it all together and give it a taste. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.
- Meanwhile, prepare your spinach. You can use fresh or frozen spinach for this recipe:Frozen spinach: Let 6 ounces* of spinach thaw completely at room temperature, or it's totally fine to stick it in the microwave. Heat until it is thawed out but don't overdo it. Take the spinach a handful at a time and squeeze out all the liquid with your fist. Try not to puke. Add to the cheese mixture. Fresh spinach: Chop 6 ounces* of spinach into bite size pieces. Set a pan over medium heat on the stove and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the spinach all at once and cook over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes, until it is completely wilted. Let cool. Gently squeeze out any liquid and add to the cheese mixture.
- Drain the 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts and gently squeeze the artichokes to dry them out a bit. Chop them into bite size pieces. Add to the cheese mixture.
- Stir everything together and decide if you want a softer, looser, more dip-able texture. I like to add about 2 tablespoons of milk, but it is optional. Stir it all together.
- To serve cold: cover and refrigerate the dip for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors marry. This is a great dip for making 24 or even 48 hours in advance! Serve with bread and fresh vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, etc. Treat it like a glorified ranch dip.
- To bake in the oven: Pour the mixture into a 2 quart pan, or a pie plate works well. Spread the top flat and sprinkle with about 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes, or until the top is starting to lightly brown. Serve immediately with bread or crackers.
- To heat in the crock pot: Pour the cheese mixture into a crock pot and spread on the bottom. Top with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Turn your crock pot to low and cook for about 2-3 hours (or on high for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours), checking on it occasionally to make sure it's not drying out. (Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time if it's getting dry.) Serve hot with bread or crackers! Turn it to the warm setting once it is nice and hot, and you can keep it nice and toasty throughout your whole event.
- To serve with baguette slices: Thinly slice the baguette into about 40 slices, and line up the pieces in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Brush the top of each slice of bread with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip each piece of bread and repeat, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the bread at 450 degrees F for about 5 minutes, or until they are as golden and crispy as you like. You can flip each one if you like, to get them extra toasty.
- You can also serve this spinach dip with vegetables, chips, pita chips, crackers (Wheat Thins are good and sturdy), etc. Check the deli at your grocery store, sometimes they have pre-sliced baguettes sold in bags, toasted or not.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.