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What is a Seven Layer Dip?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Seven layer dip is a party dip that combines a number of ingredients to create a multi-layered food that is ideal for serving with corn or tortilla chips. Because of the mixture of ingredients that are used to create the various layers, dips of this kind are visually attractive as well as providing a wide range of flavors for guests to enjoy. While dips of this type do require some preparation time, the result is well worth the effort.

A basic seven layer dip recipe involves use ground beef, refried beans, and grated cheese as the first layers for the dish. Sour cream and guacamole follow, along with a layer of salsa placed on the guacamole. To finish off the seen layer dip, chopped onions, diced tomatoes, and chopped black olives round out the list of ingredients. Combined, the colors found in the foods used to create seven layer dip provide a festive appearance that is almost as enjoyable as the taste.

To begin preparation, the ground beef must be crumbled and browned in a skillet. Any excess grease should be drained from the cooked meat. Before beginning to assemble the dip, it is important to allow the ground beef to cool to room temperature. While the meat cools, the refried beans can be prepared. To save time and effort, canned refried beans will work very well in this recipe. Make sure to heat up the refried beans, stirring them while they heat. This will help create a consistency that will make it easy to create the bean layer of the dip. Like the ground beef, allow the beans to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

While the beans and ground beef cool, use the time to chop the olives, onions, and tomatoes. Another time saver is to use commercial sour cream, guacamole, and salsa instead of preparing them from scratch. Open the containers and place them within easy reach, as it is important to assemble the layers quickly once the process is begun.

With everything in place, begin assembling the seven layer dip by creating a layer of the refried bean mixture. Place a layer of ground beef on top of the beans and follow up with grated cheese. Sour cream is next in the layers, followed by guacamole and then the salsa. All through this process, take care to make sure the layers are more or less the same thickness.

In quick succession, add a layer of black olives, then tomatoes and finally the onions. For a striking effect, use green or purple onions rather than white onions. The extra hint of color will further enhance the visual appeal of the dip.

Seven layer dip can be served immediately after completing the preparation, or the dish can be assembled in advance and refrigerated for later use. While many people prefer seven layer dip to be chilled, others enjoy the blend of flavors and textures when the dip is at room temperature. Use dip style corn chips or tortilla chips to easily scoop the dip out of the serving dish. As a variation on standard dips that revolve around one main ingredient, a seven layer dip can add that little something extra that makes the party even more of an occasion for your guests.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By Rotergirl — On Jun 28, 2014

Believe it or not, seven layer dip can even be vegetarian. All you have to do is heat the veggie "meat" crumbles in a skillet with a tad of oil and some seasoning. You don't even have to really drain the crumbles -- the oil is just to keep them from sticking in the skillet. Then build the dip as you normally would.

Grilled chicken is also another good option if you do eat meat, or pulled pork, for a barbecue feel. Ground turkey or ground pork are both very good in this dip, too.

Like Pippinwhite said, you can do nearly anything with this dip to suit your personal tastes. It goes together in a hurry and is popular everywhere I've ever taken it. People love it.

By Pippinwhite — On Jun 27, 2014

Seven layer dip is one of my favorites. One thing I always do is mix the ground beef, and sometimes the sour cream, with taco seasoning mix. I also usually use diced tomatoes in place of salsa, because salsa can make the dip too "wet."

Sometimes, I'll also mix the sour cream with dry ranch dressing mix to add a little extra flavor. I also like to use diced green onions, instead of white onions.

The nice thing about seven layer dip is you can customize it to your particular flavors.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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