This easy seven layer dip recipe is homemade – meaning less processed and more deliciousness! It’s the perfect appetizer for taco night as well as holiday get-togethers.
Do you get weirded out when you realize that a favorite childhood recipe is over 40 years old? Or that it was actually hip and trendy when your mom first made it? Or that it’s so darned expensive when made according to its original incarnation?
Yeah, me, too.
Okay, you probably don’t have that same reaction to Seven Layer Dip that I do, but those things are all true. The recipe has been around since the early 80s. I had no idea that it was super popular back when my mom made it. Only she called it Traveling Taco.
I did, however, know that it was expensive to make.
This layered taco dip was a favorite of mine in my teen years (aka the 80s) and I well remember my shock the first time I purchased all its ingredients. The bill was over 20 bucks! A lot of its cost is attributed to the canned and commercial ingredients: bean dip, taco seasoning, jarred salsa, guacamole.
Since then when I have a craving for this classic bean-based app, I dial down the expense — and the preservatives! — by making it more homemade.
Ingredients for this really homemade seven layer dip recipe
This really homemade seven layer dip, of course, has 7 layers to it. To make it really homemade, I eliminated the traditionally processed ingredients, such as bean dip, commercial taco seasonings, and jarred salsa. Instead, we use real pinto beans, homemade taco seasoning mix, and the ingredients of homemade pico de gallo: tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeño.
I think you’ll be surprised at how yummy this minimally processed version is. Feel free to use all Greek yogurt or all sour cream if you prefer. You’ll need to mix up a batch of my taco seasoning mix and do a little mashing and stirring, but it’s totally worth it.
- Pinto Beans – You can use canned beans or try making your own homemade pinto beans!
- Taco Seasoning Mix – To make this truly homemade try making your own homemade taco seasoning mix. It’s really easy!
- Crema – I sub Greek yogurt for some of the sour cream in the crema layer.
- Cheese – I use shredded cheddar but you can use your favorite cheese for tacos, such as jack, pepper jack, or even cotija.
- Veggies – Chopped tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and olives finish off the plate.
- Tortilla chips – These are great for dipping. You can even make homemade tortilla chips if you like.
How to make this 7 layer dip
- Start with combining the beans and taco seasoning. In a small bowl, combine the refried beans with the taco seasoning. If you want, you can mash whole cooked pinto beans until only a few chunks remain. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the taco seasoning mix.
- Prepare the crema layer. In another small bowl, combine the sour cream, greek yogurt, and remaining tablespoon taco seasoning.
- Assemble the layers – On a small plate, spread the beans almost to the edge. Spread the sour cream mixture over the beans. Sprinkle the cheese over the sour cream. Continue sprinkling the remaining layers: cheese, tomatoes, peppers, olives, and cilantro.
- Don’t forget the chips!
Other appetizers to serve during alongside
I am a big fan of snacky dinners and mocktail parties, so serving a table full of appetizers is super fun. Consider serving these other appetizers alongside.
- How to Make an Easy Veggie Tray
- Healthy Spinach Dip
- Easy Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon & Greens
- Brie Baked in a Bread Bowl
- Cactus Salsa
How long does seven layer dip recipe last in the fridge?
This dip will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. Promptly store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
You may find that the longer it sits, the watery it gets. Just simply drain off the extra liquid and dig in!
How much does it cost to make Seven Layer Dip?
Anytime you’re making homemade, it’s important to determine if you’re really saving money. Let’s crunch the numbers on this recipe:
- canned refried pinto beans – $0.44
- taco seasoning mix – $0.25 ($1.00/batch)
- Greek yogurt – $0.30 ($4.79/32 oz)
- sour cream – $0.15 ($1.20/pt)
- shredded cheese – $0.42 ($3.36/16 oz)
- tomatoes – $0.60
- jalapenos – $0.30
- cilantro – $0.15
- black olives – $0.15
- chips – $1.00/10 oz
Total spent for a large batch of Seven Layer Dip with chips is only $4.18 or about 52 cents a serving.
How to save even more?
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on cheese, I buy several packages. Same goes for greek yogurt. It’s a great way to save money on your groceries.
- Do a price comparison. I know that ALDI is the best place to buy ingredients like greek yogurt and cream cheese when there isn’t a great sale elsewhere. I keep track of prices so that I know who has the best deal where.
- Buy spices in bulk. Buying spices is cheapest in bulk at your local health food store. You aren’t committed to buying a large container. You can actually buy just what you need.
- Cook your own beans. Cooking dry pintos and mashing them yourself will cost less than a can. Plus, you can add the seasonings and salt you prefer.
- Grow your own. Jalapeños, tomatoes, and cilantro are easy to grow yourself.
Really Homemade Seven Layer Dip
- In a small bowl, combine the refried beans and 1 teaspoon of the taco seasoning mix. Stir well to combine.
- In another small bowl, combine the sour cream, greek yogurt, and remaining tablespoon taco seasoning. Stir well to combine.
- On a small plate, spread the beans almost to the edge.
- Spread the sour cream mixture over the beans.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the sour cream. Continue sprinkling the remaining layers: jalapenos, tomatoes, olives, and cilantro. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
This post was originally published November 1, 2012. It has been updated for content and clarity.