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This chili cheese dip is a magnet for good times. Put it on the table during game day, an afternoon bbq, or bring it to a potluck and guaranteed it won't be there long. It's big on flavor from the cheddar cheese, salsa, chili, and fresh lime juice — plus there's a secret ingredient – any guesses?
Also, give this hot cheese dip a whirl to really spice things up!
In under half an hour, you will have an appetizer on your hands that will have mouths watering everywhere. This chili cheese dip recipe is all things warm, cheesy, spicy, and delicious.
Plus, this chili cheese dip recipe uses a not-so-traditional cauliflower bechamel! That's the secret ingredient! But don't worry, you won't even notice it's in there.
Why add cauliflower to your chili cheese dip
Don't turn your back on the cauliflower bechamel until you've tried it! There are 3 good reasons to use cauliflower in your chili cheese dip:
- It acts as a thickener: When you blend cooked cauliflower it creates a super silky texture, almost like a soft cheese. When you add it to sauces or dips it provides a rich texture.
- It takes on flavor: You won't be able to tell there's cooked cauliflower in your chili cheese dip and that's because it takes on the flavor of the other delicious ingredients.
- It adds a nutrient boost: Not that nutrition is the first thing you look for in a chili cheese dip – but! – if there's a way to secretly pack a veggie in that no one will know or be able to tell is incorporated – sounds like a no-brainer!
- Cauliflower: For the cauliflower bechamel, chop about half a head or about 3 cups of cauliflower. You will blend this into a smooth and creamy addition to the dip.
- Chicken stock: You will use chicken or vegetable stock to cook the cauliflower (instead of water) and enhance the flavor of the veg and overall dip.
- Cream cheese: Adding cream cheese to your chili cheese dip makes for an extra creamy, rich experience. The dip also benefits from the natural tang of cream cheese. You can use light cream cheese, if preferred.
- Cheddar cheese: Use 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese to make up the classic cheesy taste of your chili cheese dip.
- Chili: You can use homemade chili (can be meat or vegetarian chili), or store-bought chili will also work for this recipe.
- Salsa: Add ⅓ cup of salsa to the mix to give that wonderful acidic pop from the tomatoes. You can choose to use mild or hot salsa.
- Lime Juice: Be sure to include freshly squeezed lime juice, and don't skimp on it either! This dip tastes just that much better with boost of brightness and lime juice is just the thing!
- Garnishes: Optional garnishes to include are cherry tomatoes, minced onion, cilantro, and jalapeño.
How to make chili cheese dip
Time needed: 25 minutes
All it takes is 4 simple steps to make this awesome chili cheese dip!
- Cook the cauliflower:
Add the chopped cauliflower and chicken stock to a pot and let it cook until nice and soft.
- Blend it up:
Add the cooked cauliflower to a blender and cream it together until super smooth.
- Combine all ingredients:
Transfer your cauliflower mixture back to the pot (after discarding any leftover stock) and add the cream cheese, shredded cheese, chili, and salsa. Then, heat it until it's bubbly.
- Lime juice + garnish
Stir in the lime juice and add any garnishes you want to serve it with. Pair with chips, fries, bread, or veggies and enjoy!
What to serve with chili cheese dip
Don't think you're limited to tortilla chips with this dip! Here's some ideas of what to serve with your homemade chili cheese dip:
- Chips: This is a classic pairing and for good reason! The salty chips go so well with the warm, cheesy dip!
- Fries: Drizzle or dunk, the choice is yours!
- Veggies: Promise all the veggies will be eaten if you offer them with chili cheese dip.
- Bread: Warm cubes of hearty bread is another great vehicle for this dip.
Can I make this chili cheese dip recipe in the slow cooker or crockpot?
You don't need the slow cooker or crockpot for this recipe. If you want to include homemade chili in your dip, however, that might be where your slow cooker comes into play!
Can I make chili cheese dip in advance?
You can make this dip up to a couple of days in advance of serving. Just make sure to store it in the fridge and reheat it on the stove or microwave before digging in.
How should I store chili cheese dip?
It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container.
Can you freeze leftover chili cheese dip?
Yes! First, cool the dip completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
- 3 cups chopped cauliflower (about ½ head)
- 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 4 ounces cream cheese (can be light)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 ½ cups homemade or storebought chili (1 15-ounce can)
- ⅓ cup salsa
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (fresh is best)
- Cherry tomatoes, minced onion, cilantro, and jalapeño (to serve)
- Corn chips or tortillas (for dipping)
- Place the cauliflower and chicken stock in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is very soft.3 cups chopped cauliflower, 1 cup chicken stock
- Transfer the cauliflower to your blender and blend on high speed until smooth. If needed, add a little of the stock from the pot to get it to blend well. Don't add too much though as you don't want runny cheese sauce.
- Discard any stock left in the pot then pour in the pureed cauliflower. Add the cream cheese, shredded cheese, chili, and salsa and then heat the cheese sauce over medium heat until the cheese is melted and bubbly.4 ounces cream cheese, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1 ½ cups homemade or storebought chili, ⅓ cup salsa
- Stir in the lime juice and top with any or all of the toppings. Serve with chips on the side for dipping.1 tablespoon lime juice, Cherry tomatoes, minced onion, cilantro, and jalapeño, Corn chips or tortillas
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.
This recipe is part of our Healthy Super Bowl Recipes series.