This Make Ahead, No-Bake Dip is Perfect for Parties
Having people over? Whether you’ve invited just a couple of friends for a quiet evening, or your entire address book for the annual Super Bowl bash, you probably don’t want to stress over last-minute dishes. So I’ll bet you’re in the market for a crowd-pleasing dish that won’t take too much work on your part — and one that you can make ahead of time.
May I introduce you to this tangy Artichoke Dip with Cheddar Cheese? It’s a no-bake dish (unlike many of the artichoke dips out there), so you won’t need to be fussing over it just as your doorbell starts ringing. And it improves in flavor if you make it a few hours ahead (or even the day before your event).
Set it out with some chips, crackers, or raw veggie crudités, and let people serve themselves. Your guests will rave about it — and assume you went to a lot of trouble to make it.
In truth, this dip takes mere minutes to whip up, but they don’t have to know that. What happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen, right?
Recipe: Artichoke Dip with Cheddar Cheese
Like many dips, this one has a base of sour cream and mayonnaise. To which you add canned artichokes, cheddar cheese, and flavorings. And then you’re done.
A lot of artichoke dips have a similar flavor profile. This recipe was inspired by a dip that we found at a small, local grocery chain (Straub’s, for those of you familiar with St. Louis). Mrs. Kitchen Riffs and I used to buy it there frequently — until we asked ourselves whether we could recreate a similar dip at home. This is our result — and I think it’s better than the original.
Prep time for this recipe is 5 to 8 minutes. Then it’s best to let the dip chill for at least an hour before you serve it (overnight is even better — it lets the flavors mingle and get to know one another).
This recipe yields just under 2 cups (enough for at least a bag of chips) and it’s easily doubled. Leftovers will store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week or so.
- ~12 to 14 ounces marinated artichoke hearts (jar sizes vary, but you want to be in this ballpark)
- 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
- ~½ cup sour cream (or a bit more; measurements in this recipe need not be spot-on)
- ~½ cup mayonnaise (or a bit less)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste; I prefer about 3 teaspoons, but you really notice the lemon if you use this much)
- ~1 teaspoon extra grated cheddar for garnish (optional)
- Drain and rinse artichoke hearts. Place in bowl of food processor (you can also do this step by hand; see Notes).
- Grate cheese and add to food processor bowl. Pulse to reduce the artichoke hearts and cheese to a loose paste.
- Dump the paste into a bowl, and add sour cream and mayonnaise. Beat together.
- Add the garlic powder, oregano, and kosher salt. Beat together.
- Add the lemon juice (use just a bit at first) and beat in. Taste, and add more lemon juice or salt if necessary.
- You can serve right away, but its flavor is better if you chill in the refrigerator in an air tight container for at least an hour. When serving, a sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese makes a nice garnish.
- You can probably make this whole dish in the food processor if you wish — just add the sour cream, mayonnaise, and flavorings to the processor bowl and whirl away. But I like to dump it into a separate bowl in Step 3 so I can taste as I mix.
- If you don’t have a food processor, just mince the artichoke hearts with a knife, and add to a bowl along with the grated cheese. Mash together with a big spoon until the artichoke hearts and cheese begin to form a paste. Then proceed with adding the sour cream and mayonnaise as directed in Step 3.
- You can experiment with ingredients and quantities somewhat to suit your taste. For example, if you want a very cheese-forward flavor, you might want to increase the amount of grated cheddar (the cheese is a background flavor in this dip as the recipe is currently written). Or maybe replace the sour cream with yogurt.
- Speaking of sour cream, you can use either full-fat or reduced-fat for this recipe. It’s slightly more luscious with full-fat sour cream, but this recipe has so much flavor, you won’t even notice if you opt for a low-fat version. Ditto with the mayonnaise.
- You can probably substitute frozen artichoke hearts in this recipe if you choose. I haven’t made it that way, but it sounds pretty good.
- I don’t think this recipe needs black pepper (or anything hotter, like cayenne), but add it if you like.
- You can substitute finely minced fresh garlic for the garlic powder (start with a clove, and add more if necessary). Or substitute a different herb for the oregano — thyme, dill, marjoram, Italian seasoning, or herbes de Provence would be nice choices
Super Bowl Fare
“This dip is terrific,” Mrs. Kitchen Riffs said, reaching for another chip. “Better than the original, don’t you think?”
“I do,” I replied, my dip-laden chip hovering midair. “Great for the Super Bowl, or any party. But our Smoky Salmon and Cream Cheese Dip would also make super party fare. As would California Clam Dip. That one’s a classic! Who doesn’t like it?"
“It’s one of my favorites,” agreed Mrs K R. “I always make it on New Year’s Eve! Another great dip for the big game might be Velveeta Tex-Mex Dip. Or if you don’t want all of that cheese, whip up a batch of Homemade Salsa and Picante Sauce to accompany your tortilla chips. Or if you can find fresh peaches, Peach Salsa. But I like cheese, so I’d probably vote for Pimento Cheese, although that’s more of a spread than a dip.”
“When it comes to cheese,” I said, loading up another chip, “my favorite party food might be our terrific Cheese Straws. And say, we haven’t made Homemade Chex Mix in quite a while! That would also go well. Or for something lighter and quicker, Microwave Popcorn."
“And of course there are those great Spicy Party Nuts we posted about earlier in the week,” Mrs K R added. “I’ll eat those anytime.”
“Right!” I enthused. “Those are wonderful. Say, in our last post you said you’d be preparing some kind of sweet for the big game. Want to clue us in?”
“You’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out,” Mrs K R said. “But it’s super easy to make, and super tasty. And it takes very little time. Everyone probably has all the ingredients they need already on hand.”
“Not even a hint?” I pleaded.
Mrs K R smiled. And bit into another chip.
I took that as a no. See you on Sunday.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Spicy Party Nuts
Frito Pie with Chili
Salmon and Cream Cheese Dip Pimento Cheese
Salsa and Picante Sauce
California Clam Dip
Homemade Chex Mix
Velveeta Tex-Mex Dip