These colorful 7 Layer Dip Cups are individual little appetizer stations layered up just like everybody’s favorite Tex-Mex bean dip ~ so you can mingle and chow down at the same time ~ genius!
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7 layer dips cups make so much sense
Everyone gets their own little layered dip to carry around with them ~ we can eat AND socialize, what a thought!
I’ve always been a believer in the individual appetizer. They’re cute, they’re fun, and they do away with the communal dip bowl that turns totally unappetizing after a few hungry guests have had their way with it. You’ve seen them before if you’re a fan of the blog, my green goddess veggie dip cups are a riff on this same idea. Ditto my individual salad cups.
Everyone has their own opinion about how to layer a 7 layer dip
The whole idea sprang up in the 70s or 80s, and since then everybody, including your co-worker, your mother-in-law, and Costco, has their own version. A couple of things are certain ~ it’s layered, it’s Tex-Mex, and it’s delicious. It almost always contains refried beans, usually from a can, sour cream, guacamole, black olives, cheese, and salsa. The 7th ingredient can vary quite a bit, it might be ground beef, lettuce, green onions, jalapenos, or corn. And some people sneak in an 8th layer, but don’t acknowledge it (who, me??) It’s the Wild West out there when it comes to 7 layer dips!
TIP: I came up with an 8th ingredient that I love ~ it’s a layer of finely diced pineapple dusted with chili powder, a treat that comes straight from Mexican street vendors. The sweetness of the juicy fruit and the kick of the spice is fabulous.
A 7 layer dip is made with convenience foods for obvious reasons.
The fun is in combination of all the layers, and in the presentation ~ there’s no need to make anything from scratch. Choose a great bottled salsa and you’re off to a good start. LA VICTORIA salsas are always made with real, simple ingredients, and all of their tomatoes are sourced from the California central valley, we’re practically neighbors. I love both red and green salsas, and so I alternate them in my dip cups. If I know my crowd is into spicy foods, I’ll use the Mango Habanero Salsa, or maybe the Green Salsa Jalapeña.
There’s a handy thermometer heat scale on every jar, so you’ll know in advance what you’re getting into. Surprisingly, the Mango Habanero comes in at medium, which is nice to know if habanero peppers have always freaked you out.
I constructed my individual 7 layer dip cups in lots of different ways,
I always keep flavor and color in mind. Sometimes I used shredded red cabbage, and sometimes minced red onion. Other times I substituted a green olive tapenade for the guac. Mexican La Crema and crumbled cotija cheese can stand in for the sour cream and shredded cheese if you want to go for a more authentic combination.
TIP: I recommend starting with the re-fried beans, they make a good base and will absorb any excess juices from the upper layers. After that the order of the layers is up to you.
I like to use 9 ounce clear plastic cups for individual dip cups
They hold just the right amount and are easy to handle and fill. You can find them in most grocery stores.
TIP: Sometimes I’ll mix some minced fresh tomatoes and a squeeze of lime juice into my jarred salsas. If you like you can throw in some cilantro, too. It’s an easy way to boost their fresh flavor and texture.
more recipes for a backyard fiesta
- Fajita bowls with chimichurri sauce
- Fire roasted salsa
- Creamy sweet corn salad
- Mexican street corn potato salad
- Instant Pot barbacoa
7 Layer Dip Appetizer Cups
- 16 ounce jar LA VICTORIA SALSA any variety
- 16 ounce can refried beans
- 1/4 pineapple finely minced (substitute fresh yellow corn)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder or more to taste!
- 10 ounces of prepared guacamole
- 10 ounces of sour cream
- 6 ounce can black olives drained and finely minced
- 1 small red onion peeled and finely minced
- 8 ounce bag of finely shredded Mexican blend cheese or any cheese you like
- sliced olives
- cilantro leaves
- Put the refried beans in a bowl and stir well. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of the beans into the bottoms of 10 9-ounce clear plastic cups. Flatten the layers out.
- Toss the minced pineapple with the chile powder and spoon a layer into each cup. Flatten out.
- Follow in the same manner with the guacamole, sour cream, olives, red onion, and salsa.
- Sprinkle cheese on top of all the cups, and garnish with sliced olives and a cilantro leaf.
- Serve with sturdy tortilla chips.
- You can assemble these 7 layer dip cups ahead of time, if necessary, up to 24 hours in advance. I would spoon on the top layer and garnish just before serving, though, for best presentation.
- Sturdy tortilla chips work best for this appetizer, thin chips won’t be able to scoop through the layers without breaking.
Don’t forget to pin these super cute 7 layer dip cups!