Whipping Up Dips

Get the party started with these delightful dips from locals. Some are savory, some are sweet, but all are guaranteed to please your taste buds.

Get the party started with these delightful dips from locals. Some are savory, some are sweet, but all are guaranteed to please your taste buds.

By  Mary Beth Wallace

Photography by  Emily Long

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Cranberry Jalapeño Dip


“Serve with your favorite crackers or toasted rounds. It’s great with Ritz crackers or the toasted rounds from Fresh Market!”




  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeños, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened


Rinse fresh cranberries thoroughly and dry on a clean dish towel. Chop cranberries by hand into quarters. In a medium-size bowl, combine chopped cranberries with green onions, jalapeños, and cilantro. Add coconut sugar, lemon juice, and salt and stir gently to combine. Cover bowl tightly with saran wrap and place in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove cranberry mixture from fridge and stir. Use a handheld fine strainer to strain out liquid (reserve this strained liquid to make the best jalapeño cranberry Grey Goose cocktails for your guests!). Whip softened cream cheese until smooth, or you can alternatively purchase the pre-whipped variety to skip this step. Spread cream cheese over the bottom of a shallow dish or pie pan. Pour cranberry mixture on top and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

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Lee Easterly

Lee Easterly’s

Layered Nacho Dip


“Many years ago, I came across this recipe in a favorite cookbook. It travels well to tailgates and parties. There have never been any leftovers, so cleanup is a breeze!”



  • 1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/2 bottle Ranch dressing
  • 1 (4 1/2 oz.) can black olives, drained and chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (4 oz.) can green chiles, diced
  • 1 1/2-2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend


Combine refried beans and taco seasoning in a bowl, then spread mixture evenly in an 8×8-inch baking dish. Layer remaining ingredients in order listed. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Leslie Morris

Leslie Morris’

Curry-Chutney Spread


“This dip is best paired with a slightly sweet cracker, such as Wheat Thins, or pita chips! I prefer to place the peanuts on top to make sure anyone with a nut allergy will see them.”



  • 1 (8 oz.) package light cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. curry powder (or more
    to taste)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup mango chutney, larger pieces minced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts


Mix softened cream cheese and mayonnaise until well-blended. Add curry powder and cheddar cheese and combine thoroughly. Spread mixture on a large serving platter (larger than a dinner plate). Mince larger pieces of mango in chutney, then return to the chutney. Spread chutney over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle green onions on top.
Top with chopped peanuts and serve.

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Cindy Wilson

Cindy WIlson’s 

Baked Brie in Sourdough Bowl


“I love the versatility of this dip! You can top it with apricot preserves for a sweet appetizer or bruschetta for a savory option. I pair the baked Brie with sturdy crackers or pita crisps for deep dipping.”



  • 1 large, prebaked round sourdough loaf
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 package Brie cheese
  • Bruschetta topping (recipe to right)


Prepare bruschetta topping. Preheat oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare bread bowl by cutting a hole in the middle of the loaf and hollowing out the inside. Tear removed bread into small chunks, place on the baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Using a serrated knife, skim the thin top rind off of the Brie cheese and place inside the bread bowl. Place bread bowl on the baking sheet along with the bread chunks, and then bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasty.

Bruschetta topping:

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp. agave syrup
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix gently. Allow to sit for 15 minutes and stir again. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

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Paul Schoner

Paul Schoner’s

Bacon Onion Cheese Dip


“This dip works well whether at a party or tailgating. Put the cast iron skillet on the grill, and let it do the work for you. Served with strong crackers or sliced French bread, it will be sure to impress your guests!”



  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine
  • 7 oz. grated gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. ranch dressing
  • 6 pieces thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped


Preheat oven to 400°. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add sweet onions. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Add wine to deglaze pan (about 2 minutes), scraping the pan as you work. Place cooked onions in a mixing bowl. Add gruyère cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, 2/3 of the bacon, and 1/2 of the green onions. Mix well. Spread mixture into a warm medium cast iron skillet (or other baking dish). Bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with remaining bacon bits and green onions and serve warm.   

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Chuck Goodhard

Chuck Goodhard’s

Feta Pesto Dip


“You can garnish the dip with a sprig of fresh basil. You can also add some chopped Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, or nuts for color and texture – but it works as is!”



  • 8 oz. feta cheese (preferably liquid-packed)
  • 2 Tbsp. pesto
  • 3+ Tbsp. milk or olive oil
  • Pita chips or Za’atar bread (recipe below)


In a small blender or food processor, blend feta and pesto together. Alternatively, mix ingredients together in a bowl using a fork. Gradually blend in milk or oil 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed until you reach your desired consistency. Feta packed in liquid may not need any additional milk or oil, but dry-packed may require a few extra Tbsp. Taste and adjust with more feta or pesto if needed; products can vary in strength. Serve with pita chips or Za’atar bread for dipping.

Za’atar bread:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Za’atar (blend of thyme,
       sumac, and sesame seeds)
  • 4-6 pitas, naan, or another flatbread

Preheat outdoor grill or oven broiler. In a small bowl, mix oil and Za’atar together and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Stir mixture and then brush on one side of the pitas or naan. Place bread on hot grill, oil side down – the objective is to warm the bread and pick up some grill marks, not to make toast. This should take 1-2 minutes. When ready, brush the top side with oil and flip to grill the other side. Tear or cut the finished bread into pieces and serve with feta pesto dip.

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