Because the food spread is just as important as the game. 

By Jenn Rice
January 28, 2020
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Super Bowl weekend is upon us and well, that means one thing to me: entertaining. I’m not a huge football fan (in fact, I have absolutely no idea who’s playing, please don’t @ me) but it’s one time of the year that my friends and I absolutely gather to eat and drink. It's like the holidays but better, as there’s no pressure. 

2020’s agenda? My friend John May is mastering the craft of a 6-foot long meatball sub, while I’ll be piecing together a giant cheese board that looks like a football stadium—with a ton of accompanying dips, as it’s not really a Super Bowl party without multiple dips to choose from. And recently on Instagram, Marissa Mullen of That Cheese Plate, coined 2020 the year of the dips, so I’m here for it all. “I coined 2020 the year of the dip mainly because you really can't go wrong with the endless opportunities of dip recipes,” says Mullen. “I make cheese plates for a living and dips open up a new world for possible pairings,” she adds. In her upcoming book, That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life, Mullen dedicated an entire chapter to dips and we couldn’t be more excited. 

While we’ll never tire of a good buffalo chicken dip, a tray of vegetables partnered with Hidden Valley Ranch dip (by way of packet), sausage cream cheese dip and French onion dip, to name a few, there are so many other dips to consider when looking to dial up your Super Bowl spread. From meaty queso to elevated onion dip, we’ve gathered 10 easy dips that are anything but basic. Not sure what dipping vehicle goes best? We’ve done the legwork for you and there’s a chip or crunchy substance to pair with every single dip listed below. You’re welcome.

And on that note, I suppose I should figure out who’s playing in the Super Bowl...

Marissa Mullen

Whipped Feta with Spicy Honey 

Dipping vehicle: crusty bread 

Mullen’s whipped feta dip with spicy honey is as easy and delicious as it looks and will sit perfectly on a cheese board. “It's so easy to make and such a crowd pleaser,” she notes. Simply blend feta cheese, Greek yogurt, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor until super smooth and creamy—and top off with spicy honey. “The creamy blend of feta and yogurt balance with the sweet and subtle spicy tang from the honey.”

Fraser Family Crack Dip

Dipping vehicle: Fritos Scoops

Just like Milk Bar’s Crack Pie, my friend Carolyn Fraser’s “Fraser family crack dip” is a much sought after bite. “Crack dip started out as an alternative to the classic Velveeta queso dip and has now far outreached our love for queso,” says Fraser. “But the Frito scoop is the key—the combination of warm, cheesy, spicy sausage dip on a crisp corn chip is heaven.” Cook ground sausage and add to a mix of softened cream cheese, Rotel and chopped jalapenos, heat through, and that’s it. Fraser’s sister-in-law is responsible for the dip making and over the years they’ve experimented with different types of sausage or tomatoes vs. Rotel—and even corn and black beans. “It's not a Fraser family party without some version of this dip,” she adds. 

Spencer Pernikoff

Hot Salami Queso

Dipping vehicle: tortilla chips or crostini

There’s creamy, white queso and then there’s hot salami queso. If you’ve devoured the Hilly Cheesesteak (named after its location on the hill) at Gioia’s Deli in St. Louis you know exactly what I'm talking about. If not, think the most sinful, meaty queso on the block that screams party dip. It’s essentially just hot salami, cubed Velveta, Rotel, and jalapenos, but it’ll be the “champ of your Super Bowl party,” says Spencer Pernikoff of Whiskey and Soba, further deeming it a “semi-liquid version of St. Louis’ favorite sandwich.” Pernikoff and Alex Donley, owner of Gioia’s, partnered up to bring an entire crockpot of this cheesy goodness to life (see full recipe here). If there are leftovers? “I like to dump the hot salami queso all over a messy roast beef sandwich and then take a nap,” Donley says. 

Hidden Valley Sauerkraut Dip 

Dipping vehicle: Ruffles or crudite 

If you like the OG Hidden Valley Ranch packet dip you’ll love this version with an 8-ounce can of drained sauerkraut, 16 ounces of Duke’s Mayonnaise, 16 ounces of sour cream and a packet of ranch with a sprinkle of paprika on top once ingredients are mixed together. “The recipe was passed down from my mom, who learned it from an old German lady,” says Max Trujillo of NC F&B Podcast. “The idea of adding pickled sauerkraut was to give the boring ranch dip some zing and complexity,” he says. “Adding paprika was a common Hungarian spice she picked up over the years,” noting the dip is best enjoyed with a simple, salty potato chip. 

Tonnato Sauce Dip 

Dipping vehicle: potato chips or pork rinds 

Chances are you’ve got canned tuna in oil lurking around the pantry, and if so, this tonnato (A.K.A. creamy tuna sauce) dip will knock your socks off. “This briny dip is almost all canned things and common refrigerator staples—and is killer with potato chips or even pork rinds,” says Joel Schroeter, chef and owner of Old North Meats and Provisions. Toss two cans of tuna packed in oil, a couple spoons of mayo, zest and juice of a lemon, one garlic clove, black pepper, chili flakes and fresh herbs of choice and into a food processor, and pulse until creamy. For a more fishy dip Schroeter recommends adding in 2-3 anchovy filets “Add olive oil if too thick or a couple ounces of cream cheese if you like it thicker,” he adds. Garnish with herbs, chili flake or olives and you’re all set. 

Cinder House

Charred Onion Dip

Dipping vehicle: Kettle chips 

A Super Bowl party’s not a party without onion dip. While the original, canned version will always suffice, I’m forever daydreaming about chef Gerard Craft’s charred onion dip at Cinder House. Do as you would with a regular onion dip (think sour cream, creme fraiche, garlic powder, onion powder, scallions, salt and chive oil) but go the extra step to char onions on a grill until they turn to ash. Blend together all ingredients in a food processor and it’s game time. “This is an elevated version of a classic staple—with better ingredients,” says Craft. 

Jalapeno-Cilantro Hummus

Dipping vehicle: pita chips 

I flock to Sassool Mediterranean Cafe at Morgan Street Food Hall for jalapeno-cilantro hummus on the regular. And if you don’t live in Raleigh, it really is that easy to make at home—and always a solid dip to set out on the table. All you need is a can of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno and spices, plus a food processor (get the full recipe here). This hummus is all the things in one: vibrant, texturally pleasing, slightly spicy and healthy. 

Cold Artichoke Dip

Dipping vehicle: pita chips, tortilla chips, rice crackers or crudite 

In just 10 minutes, Marisa Houser of Rest & Relish shows us how to make a six-ingredient, zesty artichoke dip ...that's served cold, not hot. Add quartered artichoke hearts, Neufchatel cheese, light mayonnaise, lemon, Parmesan and parsley into a food processor and pulse ingredients until mixed together (see here). “The addition of the lemon and parsley to artichokes and cheese really amp up this flavorful dip,” notes Houser. “Chilling the dip allows you to really taste the individual ingredients’ flavors—most importantly, you’re able to make this ahead of time and focus on your guests!” 

HelloFresh

Rainbow Fruit Salsa

Dipping vehicle: cinnamon sugar tortilla chips, sweet bagel chips or cannoli chips

If there are too many salty, cheesy, creamy dips in the mix, add a fruit salsa to the equation. (Think a bunch of delicious fruits diced and mixed up with jam and lemon juice.) “Fruit salsa is the perfect way to offset that and entices people to eat fruit in a unique and delicious way,” says Claudia Sidoti, Principal Chef at HelloFresh. And thanks to this beautiful rainbow fruit salsa recipe you can brighten up a spread in no time.“You can mix the fruit up in this salsa depending on taste and what's available,” says Sidoti. “Try pears instead of apples or pineapple instead of mango or peach. You can even try a squeeze of lemon or orange juice for more of a citrusy kick.” 

Black & Blue Cheese Fondue

Dipping vehicle: Lay's Potato chips

If you do feel like going the extra mile, may we suggest Soby's New South Cuisine’s black and blue cheese fondue. For starters, fondue is always a hit and can act as a cheesy centerpiece of the food spread. Soby’s recipe (see here) is super rich, involving white wine, chicken stock, heavy cream, blue cheese and blackened crab meat—a “gooey thickness” that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Serve alongside potato chips for the most satisfactory bite.