This beautiful 7 layer dip recipe is perfect for parties, family gatherings and game day! Made with a black-bean base and layers of fresh colorful ingredients, this 7 layer dip is a real winner! Because food presentation can set the mood for a party’s atmosphere, I enjoy creating a huge centerpiece bowl of scrumptious 7 layer dip as the main focus on the appetizer table. Because of its large size it commands everyone’s attention while also whetting their appetite! I put together 12-20 individual-size 7 layer dip serving bowls – one for each guest. I artfully place them around the giant 7 layer dip display bowl. As always, the look to go for is festive and fabulous!
Once this stunning 7 layer dip hits the appetizer table it will be gone in a flash! Place a long-handled wooden spoon next to the centerpiece bowl so it’ll be easy to scoop out additional portions, as needed. As a hostess one of the best things about this tasty appetizer is how quick and easy it is to make. Although you can absolutely use canned refried beans and store-bought guacamole so speed things up, I do something just a little bit different when preparing mine. Here’s how to make the best 7 layer dip your eyes and lips ever did feast on…
7 Layer Dip Recipe > LAYER NUMBER 1 – BEANS
For the first layer of your 7 layer dip, start with canned (cooked) whole black beans. Make them “refried” without oil by placing the beans and juice in a large, wide frying pan over medium or medium/low heat. With a potato smasher, start mashing away. I like to leave some beans whole or just partially smashed to give the refried beans a lovely texture. You’ll notice a lot of steam rising as the bean juice begins to evaporate. Continually stir until the beans reach the desired consistency. For spices I add in sea salt, powdered garlic, and onion powder to taste. If I’m 100% positive that all of my guests can eat meat, then I’ll stir in some pieces of cooked, roughly-chopped, crispy thick-sliced bacon. So darn yummy! This no-oil “refried” beans process takes about 25-30 minutes.
7 Layer Dip Recipe > LAYER NUMBER 2 – GUACAMOLE
After spreading the cooled-off beans in an even layer within the large serving bowl, as well as each of the individual-size bowls, start preparing the second layer of your 7 layer dip. To make the best guacamole you’ve ever tasted, use my authentic Mexican guacamole recipe. Spread the guacamole in one even layer over the refried black beans. The color contrast of the bright green against the dark black beans is simply beautiful!
7 Layer Dip Recipe > LAYER NUMBER 3 – SOUR CREAM
Sour cream is the third layer of your delicious 7 layer dip. When using a container of fresh sour cream there should be no liquid separated out and floating on top. If there is, my preference is to drain it off in the sink leaving the sour cream nice and thick. But you can also mix the liquid into the sour cream for a lighter, creamier consistency. Spread the sour cream over the guacamole. This layer should be just as thick as the layer of black beans and the layer of guacamole.
7 Layer Dip > LAYER NUMBER 4 – SHREDDED CHEESE
My choice of shredded cheese for this 7 layer dip is medium cheddar cheese. But you can use mild or sharp cheddar cheese instead, if that’s your preference. I just wouldn’t choose a white cheese like Monterey Jack or a mixed Mexican blend if you’re going after a stunningly colorful 7-layer dip. You’ll want that gorgeous deep-orange cheddar color anchoring the fourth layer of your festive appetizer. If you’d like, you can make your layer of cheddar cheese just a little thicker than mine is here.
7 Layer Dip > LAYER NUMBER 5 – SHEDDED LETTUCE
Although you can use iceburg lettuce for the fifth layer of your 7 layer dip, I prefer to use romaine lettuce. It has a beautiful consistency and a lovely deep green color. For shredding lettuce I use a serrated bread knife. Spread a layer of shredded lettuce right over the cheddar cheese. I try to keep both the cheese layer and the lettuce layer about the same thickness.
7 Layer Dip > LAYER NUMBER 6 – PICO DE GALLO
The sixth layer of your 7 layer dip is vibrant, flavorful pico de gallo. And believe me, pico de gallo is super easy to make! I use grape tomatoes because I can always count on their fabulous bright-red color. Chop up each grape tomato into 8-12 little squares and place them in a small mixing bowl. Add in diced red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, sea salt, black pepper, and a light sprinkling of garlic powder. When making pico de gallo for family and friends that enjoy spicy foods, I’ll add in a bit of finely diced serrano peppers. But when I’m hosting a party or serving a crowd, I like to keep things mild so everyone can enjoy this yummy 7 layer dip. Gently mix everything together. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and fold it in. Grab a tortilla chip and taste your heavenly pico de gallo. Mmmm…Now’s the time to make any flavor adjustments, if needed. Carefully spoon the pico de gallo over the bed of bright-green shredded lettuce.
7 Layer Dip > LAYER NUMBER 7 – GARNISHES
Now stand back and take a few moments to look at your masterpiece. Absolutely gorgeous! Now for the crowning touches: sprinkle the top of your 7 layer dip with sliced black olives and a few fresh slices of jalapeno peppers. In another bowl you can offer additional slices of jalapeno for those that like to spice things up!
7 LAYER DIP RECIPE > SHOP THIS POST
If you don’t have a tall clear-glass bowl to use as the main centerpiece container for your 7 layer dip, another great option is a lovely trifle bowl. Below are the exact same mini glass tumblers I used here for individualized portions of my 7 layer dip! I love that they’re super cute, and are the perfect size for serving appetizers, dips and desserts. These clear-glass tumblers are made in Spain.
7 Layer Dip
- 3 cans of black beans (26.05 ounces each)
- Spices: sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder
- Guacamole, store bought or homemade (see my authentic Mexican guacamole recipe)
- 1 large tub of sour cream
- 1 large package mild or medium cheddar cheese, shredded
- Romaine lettuce, shredded
- Grape tomatoes, Costco-sized container
- Red onion
- Cilantro, chopped (leaves only)
- Spices: sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder
- Olive oil
- Black olives, sliced
- Fresh Jalapeno, sliced
4 bags of restaurant-style tortilla chips
Add the beans with liquid to a large, wide frying pan. No oil is needed to make these healthy and super tasty "refried beans"! Over medium heat, start smashing the beans with a potato-smashing tool. It's fine to leave some of the beans only partially smashed. This will give your beans a lovely texture. Add sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder to taste. Continually stir the beans as the liquid evaporates. Within 25-30 minutes your beans should be at the perfect spreadable consistency - not watery and not dry. Remove the pan from heat and allow the beans to cool down to room temperature. Spread the beans in an even layer on the bottom of a clear-glass serving bowl, and at the bottom of several individualized serving dishes or clear-plastic 9-ounce drink cups.
Prepare the guacamole according to my authentic Mexican guacamole recipe found within this post. Or you can use store-bought guacamole instead. Layer the guacamole over the room-temperature refried beans. This layer should be the same thickness as the layer of black beans.
Layer sour cream over the guacamole. This layer should be the same thickness as the black bean layer and the guacamole layer.
Layer the shredded cheddar cheese over the sour cream. This layer can be either 1/2 or 1/3 the thickness of the other three layers.
Spread shredded Romaine lettuce over the cheese. The thickness of this layer should be the same as the cheddar cheese layer.
For the pico de gallo, slice each grape tomato into 8-12 small squares. Add the tomatoes to a small mixing bowl. Add in chopped red onion, a bit of chopped cilantro leaves, salt and pepper to taste, and a gentle sprinkling of garlic powder. With a spatula, gently fold these ingredients together. Drizzle the mixture with olive oil and mix again. Use a tortilla chip to taste the pico de gallo to see if it needs a bit more seasoning or if it's absolutely perfect. Spoon the pico de gallo over the bed of lettuce. The thickness of this layer is just slightly less than the first three layers.
Sprinkle sliced black olives and a few slices of fresh jalapeno over the top of the top of the pico de gallo. Your fabulous 7 layer dip is ready to be served. Each individual-sized serving cup can be garnished with a single tortilla chip. So darn festive!
Courses Appetizer, Snack, Lunch, Potluck, Party
Cuisine American, Mexican, Tex-Mex
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7 Layer Dip Recipe > Your Thoughts
When was the last time you enjoyed a Mexican-style 7 layer dip? What are your favorite go-to appetizers for game day? What do you think of this fabulous 7 layer dip recipe? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!