Cooking next week just got a lot easier—and tastier

Okay, so the Super Bowl is coming, and one thing is for sure.

There will be dip.

Frankly, once my team is out of the running, there are only three things I care about when it comes to the Super Bowl: the commercials, the halftime show, and dip. For me, this means specifically French Onion dip, of the "homemade" Lipton Soup mix variety, served with Jays Curly Waves Potato Chips exclusively, because I am fancy, and this is how we do. I am so passionate about this dip situation that I often make a double batch of dip in case my guests are extra greedy and seek to deprive me of my share.

But this is not a year for double batches of dips. In fact, this is a year that, without the benefit of gaggles of pals joining us for the game, will prompt the question: What does one do with leftover dip? Depending on the number of people in your household, chances are by the end of the game you'll be facing down some leftover dip to manage and your dipping desire may be sated. Guess what? There are actually great ways to use that leftover dip in some post-Super Bowl meals.  

Spinach Dip
Credit: Getty / Juanmonino

Cheese Dips

The dip: Here we're talking about dips like queso dip, hot parmesan artichoke dip, pimento cheese dip, beer cheese dip—any dip hot or cold in which cheese is the primary flavor. This cheesy goodness makes them sort of genius for turning into other dishes.

Make cheese soup: Pretty much any hot creamy cheese-based dip can easily be transformed into a cheese soup with the addition of some chicken or vegetable broth, maybe a splash of milk or cream (or even wine or beer), and some bonuses to make it a hearty and delicious soup. Think 1:1 ratio of dip to liquid, then taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper, and then zhuzh in a direction you like—add some fresh lemon zest or lime juice, a dash of hot sauce, a sprinkle of freshly chopped herbs, and voila.

Make gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches: Not in the mood for soup? Most cheese-based dips are just moments away from living their best second life as a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. Mix the dip 1:1 by volume with more shredded cheese and use as the filling in a grilled cheese sandwich.

Make mac and cheese: Finally, if you have cheese dip, you are not far away from mac and cheese! Just heat up the dip, thin as/if needed with milk or cream, and toss with cooked noodles. Garnish with something crispy if you are feeling extra.

French Onion Dips

The dip: French onion dips are usually just a basic combo of creamy stuff boosted with caramelized onion flavors. This makes it a terrific flavor enhancer for all sorts of other dishes. And while I may have once promoted leftover onion dip for a weird and wonderful coffee cake, and stand by that advice, there are less wacky ways to use your leftover onion dip bounty.

Make biscuits, scones, and more: French onion dip is, mostly, sour cream. This means you can swap it in for any acidic dairy—sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk—in a lot of recipes. So, when baked goods like biscuits, scones, pancakes, and flatbreads call for sour cream or other acidic dairy, you can replace some or all of the ingredient with onion dip and not negatively impact the chemistry! Imagine French onion biscuits or French onion naan. Lovely!

Make a marinade: French onion dip also makes for an amazing marinade. Think about buttermilk brined chicken: It's the acid in the dairy that tenderizes and makes that chicken juicy, and usually is heavily seasoned. Smear chicken, pork, or any protein you like with leftover dip and pop in a bag to hang out for 2 hours or overnight. Then continue with your recipe and see if that meat isn't beautifully tender and well-flavored.

Bean Dips

The dip: From hummus and white bean to black beans and lentils, pureeing beans into a dip is all the rage, usually as an accompaniment to other vegetables.

Make a soup or stew: The easiest way to repurpose a leftover platter of bean dip and veggies is as a hearty vegetable stew or soup. Simply chop the leftover crudites, add some aromatics like onion and garlic, the leftover bean-based dip, and just enough water or vegetable stock to thin to your preferred consistency. Cook gently until the vegetables are cooked, season to your taste, and enjoy a hearty warming bowlful.

Make sandwiches, tacos, and quesadillas: Bean dip also makes for a great basis for pita sandwiches or as an alternative to mayo or mustard on your sandwich bread (it's also a genius filling for tacos or quesadillas).

Make falafel: Finally, you can easily convert the bean dip to falafel style balls or patties: Just add an egg and enough flour (chickpea flour if you have it, but all-purpose will work) to make a thicker paste that you can mold or form, roll into balls and deep fry or form into patties and panfry until crisp on the outside and heated through. Serve instead of hashed browns with eggs, on top of salads, or in sandwiches.

Vegetable Dips

The dip: Spinach dip, eggplant dip, beet dip, carrot dip: These delicious dips offer bright colors and a healthier approach to dipping.

Make salad dressing: After the game, lean into that healthy premise and use your veggie dip as the basis for a dressing. Thin it with a bit of Greek yogurt or crème fraiche, and up the seasoning. Use for grain salads, potato salads, or slaws instead of mayo for great flavor and color. Thin with citrus juice or vinegar and add olive oil if you want to use as a dressing for lettuce-based salads.

Make shaksuka: Veggie dips also are a great base for shakshukas. Just spread the dip in a pan, make divots and crack eggs in each one, and bake until the eggs are cooked to your preference. Serve with crusty bread for swiping.