Saturday, December 14, 2013


When I was a child, my genius family had the ultimate epiphany: Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner are the SAME MEAL.  Eating the same holiday meal only a month apart didn't bring much excitement to our lives, so we had to come up with a solution.  Embracing our Mexican heritage, we decided to start the tradition of Mexican Christmas.  Did I mention that in addition to being geniuses, we are also trailblazers?  Anyway, my very non-Mexican mother’s contribution every year is the incredibly authentic cornerstone of Mexican cuisine, 7 layer dip!  I’ve tweaked her classic recipe over the years and have taken over her Christmas appetizer duty, so she can focus on her true love, BAKING CHRISTMAS COOKIES!  Seriously, this dip is so good that I’m pretty sure my sister-in-law married my brother just so she could enjoy it annually.  Hi, Lindsay, xoxo!

Doesn't this just scream Christmas?!

Now listen, I know there are a lot of 7 layer dips out there, but this one is just slightly more delicious.   Most people don’t realize there IS a solution to those thick bean dips that always break your chips.  COOK THE BEANS!  Trust me on this one.  I made the dip for my friend Tara’s baby shower and she could not stop commenting that there was just something about it that made it slightly better than when she makes it.  We went through our methods/recipes step by step and finally figured out that when she makes it, she just opens the cans of beans and plops them in the dish.  Nope, gotta cook em!  Better texture AND color.  Trust.

The secret ingredient.  Sour cream mixed with taco seasoning.  I could just eat this with a spoon and be happy.

2 cans refried beans, 16 oz each.  (use regular, fat free, vegetarian, with green chiles, etc.)
1 container sour cream, 16 oz (don't use light or fat free; it won't taste the same)
1 packet taco seasoning (Old El Paso is delicious)
Guacamole, about 12 oz (Wholly Guacamole is such a great brand)
1 jar Chi Chis thick and chunky salsa, medium heat
2-3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
Shredded lettuce (iceberg is best)
Chopped tomatoes
Extra salsa, if desired

Heat your two cans of beans in a saucepot on the stove, or even in a bowl in the microwave.  Stir constantly and you will notice your beans become a lovely, velvety smooth consistency in no time. Let your beans cool on the counter, giving them a stir from time to time to let that heat escape.  Or, if you’re impatient like me, you can stick them in the fridge for a quicker cool down.

Once beans are room temp, evenly spread them in the bottom of an 8x8 dish. You may want to use about a can and a half, depending on what size dish you use.  If you're going bigger than 8x8, you'll probably have enough room for both cans.  Pour on the salsa and spread it evenly.  Sprinkle on your first layer of cheese.  Layer on the guacamole, smoothing very carefully with a butter knife or the back of a spoon so you don’t disturb the cheese.  In a small bowl, mix the taco seasoning and sour cream.  Spoon this over the guac, spreading evenly as you go.  Now add another layer of cheese.  Top with lettuce, chopped tomatoes and a little extra salsa if you’re feeling wild.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate for about an hour first.

A few notes: use a very chunky salsa, or use a slotted spoon when adding the salsa layer.  You don't want it to get watery.  Also, I did not use fresh tomatoes in this batch because it's December and the tomatoes at the grocery store looked sad.  That's usually the top layer.  My friend, Krysta, is GF so I used Old El Paso taco seasoning and their original refried beans, Daisy sour cream, and Chi Chis salsa.  Just read labels and this can easily be GF or even vegetarian.  Just gotta get vegetarian refried beans.

Layer 1: beans
Layer 2: salsa
Layer 3: cheese
Layer 4: guac.  I'd just used my inhaler, so my shaky hands made this blurry!  Nerd alert.
Layer 5: taco seasoned sour cream
cheese (repeat layer, doesn't count!)
Layer 6: shredded lettuce

Layer 7: salsa/tomatoes


  1. Yum! We don't do traditional Thanksgiving either. One year we did all Italian food and this year we did all appetizers. Every year it is something different! I will try your recipe for this delicious looking dip!

    1. All appetizers sounds amazing! Hope you enjoy the dip as much as I do :)

  2. I do my 7 layer dip the same way! for a while I thought I was the only one who thought of mixing the sour cream with taco seasoning. Glad to see you do too!!

    1. That's funny! I always (wrongly) assumed my mom came up with that idea. Nice to see others have caught on over the years ;) It's definitely my favorite layer.