Spinach-artichoke dip is pretty much everyone’s favorite. I may be exaggerating a little bit there, but seriously, it’s so unbelievably good. For my catering event this week, this classic dip was on the appetizer list, so I experimented a bit beforehand to come up with the best version. It’s not light, and it’s not what I’d consider “healthy,” but it’s deliciously indulgent, irresistibly creamy and made with whole ingredients… and in my opinion, that’s worth splurging for. Side note, if you want to lighten it up a bit, I’ve included a few swaps in the recipe.
Anyway, for my Ultimate Spinach-Artichoke Dip, I use fresh spinach that I cook quickly in boiling water. A 10-oz package of frozen works too, but the fresh spinach adds a purity and freshness that I love. Then comes the perfect mixture of the REALLY good stuff – cream cheese, Greek yogurt, mayo and cheese. If you’re thinking “ooo-la-la” then we’re on the same page here. Finally, canned artichoke hearts, fresh garlic and paprika add some additional layers of flavor. And that’s pretty much it. All you have to do is mix all of these ingredients together, pour into an oven-safe dish and bake until golden and bubbly.
Now, I’ve had a lot of spinach-artichoke dips in my time, and I can honestly say that this version takes the cake for most amazing. Guests of the catering event, as well as my friends (aka my test subjects), found it just as amazing as I did. I mean, they could’ve just been being nice, but it seemed sincere. Only way to know for sure? Try it out! Holiday season is upon us so it’s the perfect time to gift this life changing dip to all your friends and family. They will most definitely LOVE you for it.
The Ultimate Hot & Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Dip
Start to Finish: 1 hour Serves: 10 (as an app)
1 lb fresh baby spinach (10oz package of frozen spinach works too, see below*)
1 cup (8 oz) softened cream cheese*
1 cup Greek yogurt (I like full-fat)
1/4 cup mayonnaise*
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2+ teaspoon salt, fine grain (I like to use 3/4 tsp to add a bit more saltiness)
1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained & roughly chopped
Dippers of choice (toasted baguette slices, crackers, crudités, etc)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Fill a large pot halfway with water. Bring to boil. When boiling, add 1 lb fresh baby spinach. Use a spoon to submerge it in the water. After 1.5 or 2 minutes, drain and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, mix together ingredients, cream cheese through salt. I like to do this in a food processor so it gets super smooth, but mixing by hand works too. Transfer to mixing bowl.
Once spinach is cooled, squeeze out excess moisture. It’s ok for it to have some moisture but it shouldn’t be dripping at all. Roughly chop spinach leaves.
Add cooked spinach, chopped artichokes, 1/2 cup parmesan and mozzarella. Stir to combine. I don’t like the spinach and artichokes blended, I like more texture. But if you want, you can process all ingredients together.
Transfer to an oven-safe serving dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until hot, bubbly and golden.
Make ahead tip (1) – you can make this dip up to 3 days ahead of time – after mixing all ingredients, transfer to baking dish, cover and refrigerate – when ready to eat, top with the Parmesan cheese and bake – it may need a few more minutes to bake since it’s going in colder.
Make ahead tip (2) – this is also a great freezer recipe – I love having full-size or smaller portions in the freezer for last minute entertaining – after mixing all ingredients, transfer to baking dish, cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months – when ready to eat, defrost in the fridge for 8-10 hours or on the countertop until no longer frozen but still cold – remove coverings, top with grated Parmesan cheese – ramekin-size portions will cook in 30-35 minutes, larger portions will take closer to 50 minutes.
*to use frozen spinach, defrost and squeeze out all excess moisture – a 10 oz package of frozen will yield about the same as the 1lb fresh
*for a slightly lighter version 1) replace 8oz cream cheese with 8oz reduced fat cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese 2) replace 1/4 cup mayo with an additional 1/4 cup Greek yogurt