Dips might just be the perfect Super Bowl party food: They're satisfying but not overly filling, simple to make in large quantities, and easy to eat with eyes glued to the screen. Though we have a bunch of other snacks and finger foods to suit all your game-day needs, you could do worse than to just offer your guests a spread of assorted dips. We've got a few different salsas, from a fruity and smoky orange-tomatillo salsa to a fiery salsa verde; a slew of quesos and cheese dips, including a vegan version stuffed with vegan chorizo and Ro*Tel tomatoes; and guacamoles for every taste. Get out your blender and your food processor, fry up some homemade potato chips or bake your own baguette toasts for accompaniments, and let this collection of 25 game-day dip recipes be your guide.
Classic Pico de Gallo
Chips and salsa are de rigueur for Super Bowl Sunday, and fresh, raw pico de gallo is the most straightforward approach. This time of year, use a cherry, plum, or Roma variety—February isn't exactly the peak of tomato season—and salt and strain them before combining them with onion, chilies, and cilantro in order to concentrate their flavor.
When making your own salsa, it's worth the extra time to roast the tomatoes under the broiler, which intensifies their sweetness and overall tomato-iness. In this recipe, we broil not just the tomatoes, but the jalapeños, onions, and garlic, too, making for a smokier salsa with a milder heat that blends seamlessly into the dip.
Basic Salsa Verde (Mexican Tomatillo Salsa)
For a salsa with a gentle heat, simmer tart tomatillos with onion and serrano chilies to make a traditional salsa verde, finished simply with cilantro and lime juice. You can use salsa verde as a sauce, too—say, with a steak and corn salad or with chilaquiles—so make a big batch and use it in the couple of weeks following the Bowl.
Hot Salsa Verde
This version of salsa verde leans heavily on the heat, using one poblano and two serrano peppers for each tomatillo. The tomatillos help to balance out all that fire, but we also add sour cream and lime to keep the salsa on this side of punishing. The result is tart, tangy, and spicy.
A fruitier, more adventurous option, this salsa offsets the tart flavors of tomatillos with sweet citrus and smoky chipotle chilies, with cilantro and lime juice to brighten it up. It's just different enough to be memorable, without straying too far from the Super Bowl snack canon.
Salsa and ketchup are a natural pairing: The sweetness of ketchup is a ready foil for peppery salsa, and the chopped tomatoes in salsa enhance the texture of ketchup. Of course, the ketchup also dilutes the salsa's heat, so we add chili powder, minced garlic, cayenne, cilantro, and lime juice for extra flavor.
The Best Basic Guacamole
Creamy guacamole is the king of dips, but it's also easy to get wrong. This basic version keeps it simple, combining mashed avocado with onion, serrano pepper, cilantro, and lime juice. To get the most intense flavor out of your mix-ins, combine them with salt and pound them into a paste before stirring them into the avocado. Mashing with a whisk helps to maintain some chunks for textural contrast.
Guacamole With Roasted Tomatillos
This recipe builds on our basic guacamole by taking a cue from salsa verde, folding a purée of charred tomatillos, garlic, onion, and serrano pepper into the avocado. The sourness of the tomatillos and the heat of the chili are a great match for the cool, mild avocado.
Guacamole With Sriracha
Prepare a batch of our basic guacamole, add a couple of tablespoonfuls of Sriracha, and stir—that's all it takes. The spicy, garlicky, and modestly sweet chili sauce will add instant interest to your guac.
Guacamole With Roasted Garlic
Roasting a whole head of olive oil–rubbed garlic softens and sweetens its pungency. Mash the roasted cloves into a paste and incorporate it into your guacamole for a more intense flavor without an overly garlicky bite.
Guacamole With Charred Corn, Black Beans, and Scallions
For a more substantial dip, we load up basic guacamole with fresh corn charred in a skillet, canned black beans, and sliced green onions. A little lime juice adds acidity and brightness.
Guacamole With Old Bay and Crab
Avocado and crab are a time-honored pairing, as are Old Bay and crab, so putting all three together isn't too wild a leap. The result is a creamy and well-spiced guacamole studded with big chunks of sweet crabmeat.
Guacamole With Jicama and Mango
Guacamole works naturally well with the Mexican-inspired flavors of crisp diced jicama and sweet mango. It's a fruity, refreshing combination that effectively counters salty tortilla chips—and other salty, heavy Super Bowl party fare, for that matter.
Cheese Sauce for Cheese Fries and Nachos
The gooey-smooth texture of cheese sauce is pure comfort to me, but the artificial flavor of American cheese is less than ideal. To get that smooth shininess with real cheese, we melt extra-sharp cheddar with evaporated milk and cornstarch—the former adds body to the sauce, while the latter keeps it from turning grainy. Use it as a dip, or for topping chili cheese fries.
Chorizo, Mushroom, and Onion Queso
This spicy chorizo con queso gets a touch of earthiness from mushrooms—we use shiitakes, but creminis are cheaper and would also work wonderfully. A little Monterey Jack mixed into a base of Oaxaca cheese adds extra heat.
Taco Queso Dip
This dip is taco night in a bowl: It starts with equal parts Monterey Jack, sharp cheddar, and ground beef, flavored with oregano, cumin, chili powder, jalapeño, onions, and garlic. Sour cream lends tanginess and a creamier consistency. Make a lot of this one—otherwise, it might not last until halftime.
Gooey Cheeseburger Dip
After much the same fashion as our taco queso, this one piles in the flavors of a cheeseburger—using ground beef chuck, canned tomatoes, and a blend of sharp cheddar and mild American cheese. Some people swear by Ro*Tel tomatoes, of course, but because we can't find those in our parts, we substitute a homemade mix of diced tomatoes, roasted chilies, cumin, and red pepper flakes.
Green Chili Queso Dip
The key to this dip is to not allow the poblanos (or Hatch chilies, if you're lucky enough to have access to them) to be overpowered. That means we keep the other flavors relatively tame—the cheese itself is a mix of Monterey Jack and mild white American, seasoned with cayenne instead of fresh jalapeños for a smoky, well-balanced, and totally addictive combination.
Pimento Cheese Dip
This is the essential Southern spread, thinned down and transformed into a chip-friendly dip. Start with our basic cheese sauce formula, then mix in mayo, sour cream, and pimentos. Though jarred pimentos will work, you'll get better flavor if you char fresh red peppers and peel and chop them on your own.
French Onion Soup Cheese Dip
Evoking a classic bistro French onion soup, this dip incorporates everything that makes that dish delicious—Gruyère and Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. It's on the thicker side, so add more evaporated milk if you'd like a more pourable, drizzle-able texture.
Philly Cheesesteak Dip
Despite our general preference for dips with real cheese, the processed stuff really is best sometimes. Case in point: For a dip that truly mimics a Philly cheesesteak, you've got to go with Cheez Whiz. Combine it with sautéed onion and seared steak—we recommend ribeye—and you're in business.
Adding a robustly flavored brown ale to our cheese sauce gives the dip a pleasant bitterness, and Dijon, Worcestershire, and hot sauce round it all out. Serve whatever you like to dip into the sauce, but our vote is for warm soft pretzels.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu Dip
Inspired by chicken Cordon Bleu, this dip is made rich, thick, and bubbly with cream cheese, Swiss, shredded chicken, and diced ham. A slow cooker makes easy work of this recipe, though you will have to get up early for it. Resist the urge to open the lid and peek while it cooks—you'll let steam escape, which dries out the dip.
Balsamic-Strawberry Baked Goat Cheese Dip
If you and your Super Bowl gang are down to swap strict traditionalism for a little elegance and whimsy, treat them to this warm baked dip of whipped goat cheese, cream cheese, and honey. A topping of strawberries and basil coated in a balsamic reduction gives it tangy, herbal, and fruity notes. Toasted baguette slices are perfect for serving.
Fully Loaded Vegan Queso Dip
This is one of my favorite cheese dips ever, yet it's completely dairy-free. It's based on a vegan version of nacho sauce made with potatoes, cashews, almond milk, and vegetable shortening. The sauce makes a perfectly fine dip on its own, but it gets even better when you pile in our vegan chorizo, beans, Ro*Tel tomatoes, and fresh vegetables.