My cheesy baked mushroom dip recipe is a holiday game changer ~ the flavor is bold, and the texture is sumptuous in the way that only hot cheesy dips can be. Whether your holidays will be big and festive or intimate and cozy, you’re going to want this irresistible appetizer on your coffee table, trust me.
Baked mushroom dip falls into the why not have dip for dinner category, for sure
Earthy mushrooms combine with rich cheese to make an incredibly satisfying experience. The mushrooms are nice and caramelized, and the cheese sauce bakes up so silky and gooey (the secret to that is below, keep reading) When you dip into it, be prepared for some long stringy cheese pull action ~ and don’t forget the napkins!
Yes, I did post another cheesy baked dip just the other day (caramelized onion dip,) but I make no excuses. And btw, put the two together and you’ve got one heck of a holiday appetizer plan.
What you’ll need for irresistible mushroom dip
- a pound of fresh mushrooms ~ sounds like a lot but they shrink down
- Gruyere cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Sherry, dry vermouth, or Marsala wine
- sour cream
- salt and pepper
Shhhhhh! the secret ingredient: sodium citrate (or a slice of processed cheese)
This is one of those chemistry in the kitchen secrets
Fresh young cheese melts wonderfully, but doesn’t have enough flavor to come through in sauces, dips, fondues, etc. The most flavorful cheese is aged cheese, but aged cheeses like Gruyere, Cheddar, Asiago, etc, do not melt smoothly. And when you bake a sauce made with aged cheese (think mac and cheese or cheese dip) it can turn grainy, or split into a greasy mess. At the very least it’s not dreamily smooth.
Processed cheese (like Velveeta or Kraft American cheese slices) is cheese made with other additives like preservatives, food dye, etc. Among those extra ingredients are emulsifiers, like sodium citrate, which facilitates smooth melting. It helps avoid separating or curdling, and creates a super silky texture. This is why processed cheese melts so eerily smooth and silky.
You can purchase sodium citrate online, and use it directly in your recipes, or you can add a small amount of processed cheese to create the same effect. Sodium citrate gives a cheese sauce made with high end aged cheese that ‘cheez wiz’ style (unbelievably silky) texture that you normally can’t achieve with better cheeses. Try it out and let me know what you think ~ I’m a believer! (Read more about it here.)
What type of mushrooms are best for a baked mushroom dip?
Honestly you can use literally any type of mushroom, but the easiest to find will be plain old button mushrooms from the produce aisle. You can mix the brown and white, they’re the same variety. They will develop plenty of flavor when you roast them on the stove top before folding them into the dip and baking.
If you’d like to use more exotic types like the ones below, just make sure you cut them or slice them into smaller pieces so they’re dip-able. You don’t want big chunks of mushroom, however delicious, in your dip. When you use wild mushrooms you’ll get an even more complex earthy flavor.
How to toast bread for hot dips
With a dip like this Fritos just won’t cut it, you need some serious square footage for maximum dip-ability.
- Take a fresh baguette and slice it into thin rounds. Don’t make the slices thicker than 1/4 inch for best results.
- Arrange the bread on a dry baking sheet and broil just until they start to turn golden around the edges…watch carefully, this only takes a few minutes. I don’t bother to flip them.
- If you like you can rub one side of the toasts with a peeled garlic clove, which will give them some nice flavor.
To make this dip ahead
- Make the dip up to step 7 in the recipe. You can cover and refrigerate the unbaked dip for up to 2 days.
- Leave the dip out on the counter for an hour or so before baking to allow it to come up to room temperature. Bake as directed.
How to reheat leftovers
If you’re just cooking for 2, you’ll have leftovers, but no worries, you can still enjoy this dip the next day. My husband discovered he loves it over chicken.
- You can reheat the dip in the same pan by covering with foil and gently heating in a 300F oven until it warms up.
- Smaller amounts can be microwaved, but start with 30 seconds and go from there, too much heat will make the dip split.
Variations you might want to try
- Experiment with different cheese combinations. You might try smoked Gouda, Jarlsberg, or even Brie! To mellow out stronger cheeses combine with Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or Fontina.
- Sherry can be switched up with dry vermouth, Marsala, cognac, or white wine.
- If you don’t do alcohol, use water or broth to deglaze the pan.
Baked Mushroom Dip
- 1 lb fresh mushrooms (I used white button and cremini)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 shallot peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (use more to taste)
- 2 Tbsp dry drinking Sherry (not cooking wine)
- 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 slice processed cheese (I used processed cheddar)
- fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Brush any dirt or debris from your mushrooms, then trim and slice them.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and, working in batches, add the mushrooms to the dry pan and cook, stirring often, until they have lost their moisture and begun to brown. Remove the mushrooms to a plate and set aside. Note: do this in 2 or 3 batches because if you crowd the pan the mushrooms will steam instead of caramelize.
- Add the butter to the same pan and allow to melt, then add the shallots and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes soften, then deglaze the pan with the sherry. Be sure to scrape up all the good brown stuff from the bottom of the pan, it's great flavor. Scrape everything onto the plate with the mushrooms.
- Put the mayo, sour cream, cheeses, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine well. Break up the processed cheese into smaller pieces before adding.
- Fold in the mushrooms and shallots, making sure to get everything evenly incorporated.
- Turn into a shallow baking dish, I used a 10-inch ceramic pie plate, but you can use a gratin dish or a cast iron skillet of a similar size. Spread out evenly.
- Bake the dip for about 25 minutes, or until bubbling around all the edges and starting to turn golden. The size and shape of your pan will affect how long you need to cook your dip. Serve immediately with toasted slices of bread.
- You can make the dip ahead and refrigerate it, unbaked. Set it out on the counter for an hour before baking to allow it to come up to room temperature.
- You can double the recipe for a crowd, and bake in a 9x13 pan.
- Feel free to change out the cheese for your favorite. Try a smoked cheese like smoked gouda, or you can also mix cheeses like cheddar and mozzarella.
- Dry vermouth, Marsala, or white wine can be substituted for the sherry.
- If you don't do alcohol you can even use a splash of stock or water to deglaze the pan.