Mexican Layer Dip

I have been making this dip for YEARS and love it as much today as I did then. You see….I’m a dip girl! Do you know one?

A “Dip Girl”…while feminine and poised, can polish off a whole container of DIP in one setting. Afterwards, she turns casually and eyes the crowd, as if someone else MUST be responsible for the now empty container! A true “Dip Girl” knows the amount of bites left in said dip at all times and can quickly assess the eating speed of fellow dippers! She coyly places herself in the optimum dipping spot, however turns slightly away from the bowl in order to draw the least amount of attention.

Now that we’ve covered that….

My layered dip is pretty true to old-fashioned form, however I don’t like to have the same creamy soft texture all throughout my layers. So I add a few crunchy layers for a little change of pace. I substitute a quick and easy pico de gallo for the salsa, and throw some diced lettuce into the mix.


1 1/2 lbs. ground beef

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon paprika

1/2 cup water

1 large onion, diced

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

1 large lime (or 2 very small), juiced

Cilantro, handful chopped

1 can rotel tomatoes with green chilies, well-drained

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 (30 oz) can refried beans

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, diced

16 oz. sour cream

shredded cheddar, I use 1-2 lbs

1 can olives, well-drained and chopped

cotija cheese (optional)


First prepare the beef by browning and draining the grease.

Return the beef to the pan and add the chili powder, granulated garlic, cumin, and paprika. You can also use a taco seasoning packet but I prefer to create my own blend. :)

Add the 1/2 cup of water and stir to thoroughly combine. Set the meat aside and allow to cool.

Now to make the pico….. This is a quick and easy way to add some crunch and texture to your dip. Prepare your vegetables as mentioned in the ingredient list.

Add the onion, jalapeno, and rotel tomatoes to a dish. Add the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

Mix together and allow to set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Place the mixture into a strainer and allow to completely drain. We don’t want all that liquid in the dip!

Next, grab a 9×13 casserole dish and spread the refried beans on the bottom. Now, all cans of beans are a little different. We’re looking for an easily spreadable and creamy bean. So if your can is not like that, feel free to heat on the stove with just a touch of water or salsa added until it’s nice and spreadable looking.

The next layer will be the chopped lettuce. Since lettuce also carries a noticeable amount of water, we need to squeeze it out a bit. I use a salad spinner, although I have also placed all my chopped lettuce in a towel and twisted the water out.

After the lettuce is dry, sprinkle over the layer of beans.

Sprinkle on the seasoned ground beef.

With a spatula, gently give the layers a quick press. Now add the “well-drained” pico de gallo over top.

Another gentle press with the spatula, and then add the sour cream. I find it easiest to spread this layer with a metal icing spatula.

Top the sour cream with the shredded cheddar, chopped olives, and crumbled cotija cheese if using.

Now obviously this can be used as a dip….however, the next day my kids love to throw it on taco or tostada shells as well. It makes a great nacho topping or burrito filling.

It’s a winner winner taco dip dinner :)

Hope you enjoy!

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver

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