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Artichoke dip is popular for good reason: it's a bubbly, cheesy crowd-pleaser. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Artichoke dip is a pretty crowd-pleasing snack. But the perfect version? You don't want them too runny or too light on the actual artichokes.

Canned artichokes work fine but it's best to use the non-marinated, straight-up hearts that are packed in water so you can control the seasonings. Be forewarned that the outer leaves may still need plucking—no one wants a tough, bark-like bite.

You also have to watch for grit since artichokes are often grown in sandy soil. Rinse them gently and remove any non-tender, outer leaves.

The base of the artichoke dip is important, too. A mix of cream cheese, sour cream and a small amount of mayo lends the best consistency and most flavorful finish, especially when three cheeses—Parmesan, Romano and a liberal sprinkle of mozzarella on top—come into play.

Get the Recipe

Creamy Three-Cheese Artichoke Dip >>

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago.

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