Spice up a holiday party, summer barbecue or your every day with these super easy, creamy cheese dips that start with just one five-minute, make-ahead basic recipe. Make it thick, it’s a spread. Make it thin, it’s a dip or creamy garnish.
On this page, the basic 5-minute recipe, two more recipes that build on it, lots of ideas to change it up, and two lists–one for the fridge, one for the pantry, so you always have what you need on hand to make plain and fancy dips, spreads and healthier sour cream-like sauces in a trice.
With this fruit and cracker plate, we made the dip just thick enough to grab a little on the end of our juicy pear slices. Oh, the taste of fall sunshine in those pears with the slightly tangy flavor of the dip! We liked it just as much with the nutty flavor of the whole wheat crackers. That’s how versatile this condiment is.
Here, we jazz it up a tad with cinnamon, maple syrup and fresh berries for a sweet fruit-plate dip.
Add the piquant, salty flavors of chopped Mediterranean olives to the basic dip for a savory cracker spread. Or make it hot and spicy with chopped jalapenos, toasted garlic, and fresh red onion for a chippy-veggie dip or spread.
The variety of dips, sauces and spreads you can make in just two or three minutes is limited only to what’s available in your kitchen that day and your imagination.
And they’re good for us
Don’t tell anyone, but these dips are as good for us as they are tasty. The probiotics in the cheeses and yogurt provide valuable “good” bacteria for intestinal and digestive health. Unlike full-fat versions or sour cream, both the low-fat cottage cheese, and the Neufchatel, if you can find it, save our waistlines, without sacrificing taste. In fact, we think they taste better!
Basic creamy cheesy dip, spread and sauce
One 5-minute recipe saves time all week
Five minutes, that’s all it takes to whip up the basic recipe. Use as is, or fancy it up a bit. This easy blender recipe is delicious all by itself. But it’s all the ways you can dress it up that make it a must-have staple in your fridge.
A stick blender makes mixing and cleanup easy
In the beginning, I made this with a stand blender, but I’ve found that a powerful stick blender like my Breville immersion blender makes for quicker work and easier cleanup.
Six ways to use the basic dip
During the week, as you need a sweet or savory cheese dip or spread, take two to three minutes to add a favorite spice or bits of fruit or vegetables, or a combination. We like it stirred with bit of curry for serving aside roasted vegetables, or fresh dill for dipping crudites.
Here are six ways you can use these dips, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find a whole lot more once you start keeping this condiment on hand.
- Make a quick supper for two of roasted veggies served with little dipping pots of herbed sauce
- Treat the kids and their friends after school with healthy fruit kabobs and Fruity Cheese Dip they make themselves.
- Kick-start a party with an inexpensive herbed cheese spread–or three–you whip up in a scant few minutes.
- Tuck a baguette, a bottle of wine, some grapes and a jar of dilled dip into a bag and you have an impromptu picnic in five minutes.
- Stir in curry to taste and serve with yam fries or even potato chips for a fun appetizer.
- Use the basic dip in place of sour cream on tacos, tostadas and enchiladas
This is a kid-friendly recipe
Kids love the opportunity to be a part of grown-up work, especially in the kitchen. Preparing food together builds confidence, especially if we listen to our little ones while we work. You might be amazed at the conversations you inspire!
The fruity dip and kabobs recipe that follows makes for a fun starter cooking session with little ones and older children alike.
A couple of minced strawberries, a little maple syrup and some cinnamon are all you need for a delicious, fruity snack dip
Older children, who are learning to use a knife, get a kick out of washing the fruit, removing stems and mincing the strawberries for the dip. If they are old enough, they may also enjoy cutting and chunking other fruits, such as melons, mangoes and papayas. Closely supervise every movement.
Let the younger children whisk the berries and syrup into the dip. Don’t worry about a little mess here and there!
Everybody gets to build their own kabobs, but again, age-appropriate supervision is important, as the skewers have sharp points on one end.
Herbed cheese dips and spreads start with a few simple ingredients
Add some pizzazz to the basic dip with chopped dill and chives, roasted bell peppers, Greek olives, chopped mint, or any number of other tasty ingredients. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and your taste buds.
Olive dill spread
It takes just a couple of minutes to chop a few olives, snip and mince the herbs and whisk them into the basic dip for a quick after-work appetizer for unexpected guests, or a make-ahead lunch.
What to keep on hand so you can always whip up a tasty appetizer on short notice
Keep these items in your fridge and pantry, and a quick appetizer or creamy garnish will never be more than five minutes away.
Keep these (organic) items in the fridge
- Fresh, live-culture, plain yogurt (Make your own!)
- Cream cheese, Neufchatel, or your own homemade
- Cottage cheese (we like Nancy’s Organic Live-Culture cheese–so good for us!)
- Fresh bell peppers in green, orange & red
- Fresh jalapeno peppers or other spicy peppers of your choice
- A variety of fresh herbs (dill, chives, basil)
- Greek or Mediterranean olives
What would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments, won’t you?
Keep these items in the pantry
Use your imagination to change up the dips. As long as you have these ingredients on hand, you will always have a treat, an easy supper or impromptu picnic ready in minutes.
- Fresh fruit–grapes, apples, berries–whatever is in season
- Fresh mint (Keeps well in jar of water on the windowsill)
- Assorted organic crackers
- Whole grain breads and baguettes to serve with savory spreads
- Fresh, whole tomatoes in various sizes
- Fresh lemons and limes
- Fresh garlic bulbs
- An assortment of seeds and nuts, such as sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, as well as walnuts, pecans and pine nuts
Storing the dips
Fido-type jars keep the dip fresh longer
You can store the plain dip up to a week in a properly cooled refrigerator. I used to store my dips in ordinary glass Pyrex storage containers. I discovered how much longer food keeps in Fido jars almost by accident.
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but one time I forgot I had already made the dip. It got shoved to the back of the fridge after a big family gathering and lots of leftovers.
Two weeks later, I found it, and it looked and tasted as pristine as the day I made it. I don’t recommend storing it that long, and ours rarely lasts a whole week, but I do recommend using jars like these to keep your foods fresher.
How would you use this basic dip, and what would you add to it?
By now, you’ve probably thought of half a dozen ways to use this basic creamy sauce. What would you add to it, and how would you serve it? Can you see using it as the basis for a ten minute supper after a long day?
♥ ♥ ♥
Dear Reader: If you think you’ve seen this recipe before, you may well have. In May 2012, as a writer on the now-defunct site Squidoo, I first published this recipe under the user name graceonline. In August 2014, HubPages, where I am known as ecogranny, bought Squidoo. I opted to have my Squidoo pages, including this recipe, transferred to the new site. Now, in February 2016, I’ve brought it home–to YayYay’s Kitchen.