Hot Taco Dip

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Tex-Mex hot taco dip offers a bold and zesty flavor profile, combining the spiciness of hot sauce, the savory taco seasoning, the richness of melted cheese, and the earthy tones of cumin and coriander, topped fresh lettuce and green onions.

A person dipping a chip into a hot bowl of nachos.
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A hot dip of buffalo chicken served with tortilla chips.

Cheesy Tex Mex Taco Dip

Hot taco dip, made with a luscious blend of cream cheese, hot sauce, Parmesan, Tex-Mex cheese, red bell pepper, onion, tomato, and a generous sprinkle of taco seasoning, is a mouthwatering delight that tantalizes the taste buds with its creamy and spicy flavors. The combination of the rich cream cheese with the fiery hot sauce creates a sumptuous base, while the Parmesan and Tex-Mex cheeses add a savory depth and delightful meltiness. The inclusion of fresh vegetables like red bell pepper, onion, and tomato introduces a refreshing contrast, cutting through the richness with their natural sweetness and crunch. The taco seasoning ties all the elements together, infusing the dip with a warm, earthy essence that’s both comforting and invigorating.

This hot taco dip is a versatile dish perfect for various occasions, from casual get-togethers to more festive celebrations. It’s an ideal appetizer for game nights, family gatherings, or even as a special treat during movie nights. To enjoy it at its best, serve it warm, allowing the cheeses to be delightfully gooey and dip-friendly. It pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dippers such as tortilla chips, sliced vegetables, or even crusty bread. For an added twist, you can garnish it with additional toppings like sliced jalapeños, a dollop of sour cream, or a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. This dip is not just a treat for the palate but also a feast for the eyes, making it a guaranteed crowd-pleaser at any table.

A bowl of hot taco dip with tortilla chips and shredded cheese.

How to Make Hot Taco Dip

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (1 tablespoon): Olive oil is used for sautéing the bell pepper and onion. It adds a rich and fruity flavor to the dip and helps soften the vegetables.
  • Bell Pepper (1, chopped): The bell pepper provides a sweet and slightly crunchy texture to the dip, along with a colorful and vibrant appearance.
  • Medium Onion (1, chopped): Chopped onion adds a savory and aromatic element to the dip, enhancing its overall flavor.
  • Cream Cheese (1 8-ounce brick): Cream cheese forms the creamy and rich base of the dip. It adds a smooth and indulgent texture, balancing the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Strained Tomatoes (½ cup, canned): Strained tomatoes contribute a tomatoey essence to the dip, providing a tangy and slightly thickened consistency.
  • Parmesan Cheese (3 tablespoons): Parmesan cheese adds a salty and nutty flavor, enhancing the overall cheesiness and depth of taste in the dip.
  • Taco Seasoning (1 packet): Taco seasoning is the flavor powerhouse of the dip, bringing a combination of spices like chili powder, cumin, and paprika to infuse it with that classic taco taste.
  • Tex-Mex Cheese (½ cup): Tex-Mex cheese, a blend of cheeses like cheddar and Monterey Jack, adds a gooey and melty texture to the dip while contributing a creamy, cheesy flavor.
  • Lettuce (½ cup, chopped): Chopped lettuce serves as a fresh and crunchy topping, reminiscent of taco fillings. It provides a refreshing contrast to the warm and creamy dip.
  • Green Onions (1-2, chopped): Chopped green onions add a mild oniony flavor and a pop of color as a garnish.

Optional:

  • Hot Sauce (any flavor): Hot sauce is optional but can be added to bring extra heat and a spicy kick to the dip, depending on personal preference.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

  • In a medium pan heat up olive oil, then cook the onion and pepper for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add in cream cheese, strained tomatoes, parmesan cheese, taco seasoning and mix until well combined and the cream cheese is melted (note: if using hot sauce, add it here).
  • Place into a serving bowl and layer with Tex-Mex cheese, lettuce and chopped green onions (Note: you can add as much of these garnish items as you desire).
  • Serve with corn chips or veggies.
A hot cheesy chicken dip with tortilla chips.

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Hot Taco Dip

Soften Cream Cheese: Ensure the cream cheese is at room temperature before mixing it with other ingredients. This makes it easier to blend smoothly and eliminates any lumps in the dip.

Properly Sauté Vegetables: When sautéing the bell pepper and onion in olive oil, aim for a tender and slightly caramelized texture. This adds depth of flavor to the dip.

Season Thoughtfully: While the taco seasoning packet provides flavor, taste the dip before adding extra salt. The seasoning mix and Parmesan cheese can already contribute saltiness.

Layer Ingredients: Consider layering the ingredients in an oven-safe dish for an attractive presentation. Start with the cream cheese mixture, followed by the Tex-Mex cheese, and top it with the sautéed vegetables.

Adjust Heat: If you’re using hot sauce, start with a small amount and taste as you go. Remember that the heat can intensify as the dip bakes, so it’s easier to add more later than to make it less spicy.

Choose Quality Cheese: Opt for high-quality Tex-Mex cheese for better meltability and a smoother texture. You can also experiment with different cheese blends for unique flavor profiles.

Serve Hot: Hot taco dip is best enjoyed when it’s freshly baked and hot from the oven. It’s when the cheese is gooey and the flavors are at their peak.

Garnish Fresh: Wait to add the chopped lettuce and green onions as a garnish until just before serving. This maintains their freshness and crunch.

Keep It Warm: If you’re serving the dip at a party or gathering, consider using a small slow cooker or a chafing dish to keep it warm throughout the event.

Pair with Dippers: Provide an assortment of dippers like tortilla chips, nacho chips, sliced baguette, or even fresh veggies. Different dippers can enhance the overall enjoyment of the dip.

Customize Toppings: Encourage guests to customize their individual servings with additional toppings like sour cream, sliced jalapeños, or diced tomatoes for a personalized touch.

FAQs

Can I make hot taco dip in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the dip in advance and store it in the refrigerator before baking. When you’re ready to serve, simply bake it until it’s hot and bubbly. This is convenient for parties and gatherings.

What can I use as dippers for hot taco dip?

Popular dippers include tortilla chips, nacho chips, sliced baguette, crackers, and fresh vegetable sticks like celery and carrot. Choose your favorites or offer a variety for guests.

Can I make a vegetarian version of hot taco dip?

Absolutely! You can omit the meat components and use additional vegetables or meat alternatives like plant-based ground “beef” to make a vegetarian-friendly version of the dip.

How do I prevent the dip from becoming too greasy?

To reduce excess grease, consider using lean ground meat or draining any excess fat after cooking it. Additionally, choosing lower-fat cheese or blotting the surface with a paper towel before serving can help.

Can I freeze hot taco dip?

While it’s possible to freeze hot taco dip, it may alter the texture of the dip slightly when thawed. It’s best enjoyed fresh, but if you need to freeze it, ensure it’s well-wrapped to prevent freezer burn.

How do I reheat leftover hot taco dip?

To reheat leftovers, place the dip in an oven-safe dish and warm it in the oven at a low temperature (around 300°F or 150°C) until it’s heated through. You can also use a microwave, but be cautious not to overheat, as it can become dry.

What should I do if the dip is too spicy?

If your dip turns out spicier than desired, you can balance the heat by adding more cream cheese or Tex-Mex cheese to mellow the spiciness. Alternatively, serve it with cooling elements like sour cream or ranch dressing.

How long can I leave hot taco dip out at room temperature?

It’s best to serve hot taco dip immediately when it’s hot. If it sits at room temperature for more than two hours, it’s advisable to refrigerate it to prevent the growth of bacteria.

A person dipping a tortilla chip into a bowl of hot dip.

What to Enjoy with Hot Taco Dip

Hot taco dip pairs wonderfully with:

Tortilla Chips: A classic choice, their crunch and saltiness complement the creaminess of the dip.

Vegetable Sticks: Such as carrot, celery, and bell pepper sticks for a healthier, crunchy option.

Pita Bread: Soft and slightly chewy, pita bread can be a delicious vehicle for the dip.

Pretzels: Both traditional and soft pretzels work well, offering a salty crunch.

Crackers: Choose from a variety like whole grain, multiseed, or butter crackers for different textures and flavors.

Baguette Slices: Toasted or fresh, they add a nice crunch and absorb the dip’s flavors beautifully.

Corn Chips: Their robust texture and corn flavor make them a great match.

Jicama Slices: For a refreshing and slightly sweet crunch.

Tostadas: Break them into pieces for a sturdier dipping option.

Grilled Chicken Strips: For a protein-rich dipper, especially for those looking for a low-carb option.

Mini Meatballs: Can be skewered for easy dipping and add a savory twist.

Cheese Quesadillas: Cut into triangles, they offer a cheesy, soft texture.

Sliced Sausages: Like chorizo or pepperoni, for a spicy and meaty addition.

Fried Plantains: For a sweet and savory contrast.

Breadsticks: Offer a nice crunch and are easy for dipping.

Try my other Tex Mex Recipes next:

Hot Taco Dip

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Hot taco dip - an easy and cheesy dip that is perfect for serving hot.

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A hot bowl of cheesy nacho dip with tortilla chips.

Hot Taco Dip

Yield: about 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Delicious easy hot and cheesy taco dip perfect for tortilla chips!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 8-ounce brick of cream cheese
  • ½ cup strained tomatoes, canned
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • ½ cup Tex-Mex cheese
  • ½ cup lettuce, chopped
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a medium pan heat up olive oil, then cook the onion and pepper for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add in cream cheese, strained tomatoes, parmesan cheese, taco seasoning and mix until well combined and the cream cheese is melted (note: if using hot sauce, add it here).
  3. Place into a serving bowl and layer with Tex-Mex cheese, lettuce and chopped green onions (Note: you can add as much of these garnish items as you desire).
  4. Serve with corn chips or veggies.
Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 178Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 38mgSodium 448mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 5g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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