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Traditional 7 Layer Mexican Dip Appetizer Recipe with Ground Beef, Cilantro, and More!

Watching her mom as a kid, Vicki came by cooking easily. Kids Cook Monday offers simple recipes kids can help with.

What extra layers should be added?

I’ve been making the traditional 7 layer Mexican Dip for many years now. Like many, I at first went with the seven layers that were recommended to me. However, over the years, through adapting the recipe to my own tastes, I usually end up with about nine layers, and I think the whole thing has turned out even better. See what you think. This dish serves a lot of people and is perfect for any type of party. Just add your favorite tortilla chips!

Many Layer Mexican Dip!

The tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro on top of the cheese and black olives make the dip quite attractive.

The tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro on top of the cheese and black olives make the dip quite attractive.

Ingredients for "7 Layer Dip"

1 15 oz. can refried beans

1 8 oz. (or more or less) container guacamole (or homemade guacamole, as I prefer)

1 8 oz. container sour cream

1 12 oz. jar salsa

1 8 oz. block cheddar cheese, grated

2-3 tomatoes, chopped (enough to cover)

1 8 oz. can sliced black olives

Tortilla chips (not counted as a layer--served separately)

Optional Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped (or try about 4 green onions, if you want something milder)

Fresh cilantro, torn and strewn on top

½ lb. ground beef, fully cooked, layered somewhere under cheese

Shredded lettuce, put on top right before serving (or on the side) for freshness

Easy Homemade Guacamole

3 ripe (soft to touch) avocados

1-2 cloves garlic

Cracked pepper to taste


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A few dashes of lemon juice

I like simple guacamole, with the avocado being the main ingredient. I don’t add sour cream or tomatoes as many recipes call for. I simply smash the avocados (a little chunky is even okay), add crushed garlic, pepper, and salt to taste, plus a few dashes of lemon juice. Taste it! If you like it, it’s ready.

Please rate what you think about this recipe!

Instructions for Layered Dip

Spread refried beans on bottom of 9 by 13 inch casserole dish. Make your guacamole (see homemade recipe), and spread over beans. Then spread sour cream, followed by jar of salsa. Feel free to use less of sour cream and salsa, as per your own taste, if you think it’s too much. You can buy pre-grated cheese, but I prefer to grate my own, as it’s cheaper and seems fresher. Spread the cheese on top of the salsa. Chop up tomatoes to sprinkle on top of cheese. Put sliced black olives on top of tomatoes. Again, in an effort to save money, I buy a can of whole olives, and slice up (or tear up) enough to spread out plenty on top.

As far as the optional ingredients, I do add the onions, sprinkling them on the salsa layer. Some folks feel that the salsa already offers enough onions and thus omit adding extra onions. In the particular version in the picture, I used green onions, putting them on top with the cilantro, as they are more decorative than white or yellow onions.

I’m a big cilantro fan. I’ll use it torn up in a simple lettuce and tomato salad. It’s delectable on this layered dip. If you like cilantro, tear up a bunch of fresh cilantro and spread it out on top.

I have tried the ground beef before, and it is a good addition, but it is better if the dip is served right away, as it isn’t as tasty once the dish gets cold. And this dish does have to be refrigerated, considering the ingredients involved. I have also used the lettuce before, but it needs to be served fresh. When I transport the dip outside my home, I don't attempt to use the lettuce or ground beef. For a bunch of hearty eaters at a Super Bowl party, you could add all the extras to make the dip go further. Just heat up the ground beef if needed.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips! This tasty dish disappears pretty quickly.

Check out my Christmas Party Appetizers Menu:

More Mexican-Style Recipes

© 2011 Victoria Lynn


Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 06, 2013:

wondering--I think it would be fine overnight. If you're adding lettuce, I would wait on that, maybe even chop up the tomatoes and keep them separate before throwing them on in the morning, just to make sure they don't get soggy. If beef, probably wait until morning to add and head it up. I don't usually add beef, but I have. Hope you enjoy it! I don't think you can go wrong with it!

wondering on June 06, 2013:

going to make this for a work function tomorrow at noon. can't get up early enough to make before hand. is it ok to leave it in a fridge overnight or do all the flavors meld too much?

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on March 15, 2013:

csgibson--I do like the additions I have made to this recipe over the years. Thanks for the comments!

Craig Gibson from Traverse City Michigan on March 14, 2013:

I have made a similar dish in the past. I think yours will be better. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on March 03, 2013:

Rogene--Yes, very pretty and tasty both! :-)

Rogene Robbins on March 03, 2013:

Doesn't that make a lovely dish! I'm sure it tastes just as good as it looks.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 04, 2013:

lesliebyars--I love it, too! I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading and voting.

lesliebyars on February 03, 2013:

I love the traditional 7 layer Mexican dip. I can't wait to try this addition. Thank you for sharing this great hub. I voted up and awesome.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on February 03, 2013:

busillis--7 layer bean dip!! What's on it? I would definitely try that one. Yummy. Do you have a hub on it? Glad you liked this recipe. I love, love, love it!

Kyson Parks from San Diego, CA on February 03, 2013:

My favorite part of the holidays is when my sister and I make a 7-layer bean dip. This takes it to a whole new level! It sounds and looks delicious! I'll have to set this aside for next year. Thanks for sharing!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 09, 2012:

pstraubie48--I love the extras on it. Hope you do, too!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 08, 2012:

Thanks for this little up date on the seven layer dip. I have never made it but have enjoyed it at parties. I must give this a try. Thank you for sharing.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on September 19, 2012:

algarveview--It IS amazing, I promise!! Thanks!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on September 18, 2012:

Thanks, Wesley! Glad you like it. I love this stuff. I could eat the whole pan of it! Thanks for sharing and voting it up!

Joana e Bruno from Algarve, Portugal on September 18, 2012:

Hi, Victoria, I just love Mexican food and this dip seems absolutely amazing... Voted up and useful and sharing. Have a great day!

Wesley Meacham from Wuhan, China on September 17, 2012:

This is great. I love how you have a recipe within a recipe. I really enjoy Mexican food or TexMex. Shared with followers, Pinned and voted up.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 18, 2012:

Peggy, thanks for your delightful comments. Like you, I usually experiment and change recipes. It's fun! Thanks!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 18, 2012:

I gave your recipe a 5 star rating. The traditional 7 layer dip is good and your additions would make it even better as a variation. I also like to experiment when cooking and often end up altering or even making up my own recipes. Good job! Also voted up and useful.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 17, 2012:

Did you make it, AA? Maybe I need to fatten you up! LOL. Good to see you!

Augustine A Zavala from Texas on June 17, 2012:


Oh well, I guess I can start acting jolly with all the weight gain I'll be having after eating the food made from your recipes. My stomach is begging for this, better go make it...

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 17, 2012:

Good idea, rebecca. This would be a wonderful, cool appetizer for a 4th of July party!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on June 17, 2012:

Thanks, Angela! I love it!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on June 16, 2012:

This Mexican layered dip sounds like it is the perfect answer to that Fourth of July party coming up. Great for any potluck.Thanks!

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 16, 2012:

This is so amazing! I would love to make this soon! Shared all the good places.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on May 06, 2012:

Hey, CC. I think refried beans are great with it. Spanish rice sounds fun! Yes, there are variations, and they're always good. That's the beauty of this dish! :-)

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on May 06, 2012:

It's awesome, Kelley. I'm sure your hubby will love it!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on May 06, 2012:

Thanks, Audra! I never get tired of this one!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on May 06, 2012:

Oh now this just looks scrumptious! I have experimented with veggie crumbles because they still taste good cold, but often, I just go with refried beans or even refried black beans. I've added Spanish rice a time or two, as well. So many variations, but you've got me thinking I have to make this for dinner tonight. ;)

kelleyward on May 05, 2012:

Hi Victoria Lynn, this looks fantastic. My husband loves Mexican food so I'll make this for him! Take care, Kelley

iamaudraleigh on May 05, 2012:

Ok, stop creating recipes that make me! This looks so awesome!!! I just ate dinner, but I am craving this!!!

Totally voted up!!!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on March 20, 2012:

Bubba Jasper--I love this dip, too. So flavorful! Thanks!

Bubba Jasper on March 20, 2012:

I love this dip!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 15, 2012:

DanielNeff-yeah, green onions might be a good choice, especially since salsa has onions in it, as well. Serving the ground beef on the side is an idea so it could be heated. Garlic powder? Yes, for some folks. I'm just such a garlic freak. All in all, these are great ideas for alterations. Thanks for reading and commenting!

DanielNeff from Asheville, NC on January 15, 2012:

I would go with the green onions spread on top as opposed to a white onion (a little too strong).

I would definitely leave out the ground beef. I love beef, but as you said, if the entire dish is not consumed right away, you're either going to have leftover dip with cold ground beef in it or you'll have to heat the whole dish up (either one is not very good IMO).

You could serve a ground beef with cheddar cheese dip alongside the 7 layer salad, and heat that up if there are leftovers.

I definitely make my own guacamole: it is so easy and so much better than prepared. One preference I have developed is to use garlic powder instead of crushed garlic. Normally, I use fresh garlic cloves in nearly everything, but in guacamole and dips, I find the fresh garlic is a little too powerful, and garlic powder gives the flavor in just the right intensity.

Great hub. From the picture, my mouth is watering and I want to run out to the store and get the ingredients to make the salad.

Voted up.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 02, 2012:

Do revisions in a bookmarked hub show up automatically? I hope so, because as I made this dip today, I realized that the sour cream and salsa amounts were too much (although it would still be good, I'm sure). I also added lettuce to additional options. Finally, I took a picture of the final version (with green onions this time) to replace the unoriginal picture. I would think the changes would automatically save in the bookmarked recipe, huh?

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 07, 2011:

Yeah, jbrock--cilantro smells great! I love homemade salsa, too.

I actually do usually use the "light" sour cream to save some calories. Thanks for the comments!

jbrock2041 from Park City, UT on December 06, 2011:

Simple and tasty! I'm with you on the cilantro- I love that stuff, especially the fresh smell of it. Yummy. I like your simple guac recipe. We also like to make our own salsa, which is so simple but yummy. What I especially like about this is the nutritional value that it has. With the avocados, tomatoes, olives, it makes it pretty healthy. And to make it even healthier, you can do low-fat sour cream.

Thanks for the recipe.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 06, 2011:

I love it too, randomcreative! You're welcome!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 05, 2011:

I love layered dip! Thanks for the great recipe!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 05, 2011:

Mine too, Steph! I love this layered Mexican dip. Hey, by the way, I listened to your interview a while back. Wasn't it on a radio station in Seattle? Very cool! Congrats on your success!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 05, 2011:

Lord--glad to have a gentleman stopping by! You can add the hot stuff if you want to the guacamole. :-) Hey, puppy? You're too funny! Now go get those avocados!

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on December 05, 2011:

One of my all-time favorite appetizers! Love layered Mexican Dip and am really looking forward to trying out your recipe suggestions.

Joseph De Cross from New York on December 05, 2011:

This is weird, so far women and a threadmill aside are commenting in here. I'm the first male stopping by. Seven layers seems a more exciting experience..wait a minute is a recipe, not a poem...disregard!

Love the guacamole one...avocados..hmm! But we would add habaneros and jalapenos! we usually see red after a while... don't know why?I love cilantro too. Chose it for that genuine flavoring. Lots of garlic for the heart. Well done Victoria...hey puppy! why are you looking at me like that? You want a piece of me?


Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 04, 2011:

RealHousewife--thanks for the feedback! I, too, like to slice avodados and use them on sandwiches, or burgers, or salads--and today on a tortilla with refried beans, sour cream, salsa, and cheese. Avocados can really make a recipe, as they do this layered dip! :-)

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on December 04, 2011:

This looks fantastic! I love Mexican food and I will try your guacamole recipe too - I only like the basics as well. I slice it and lay it over the top of sandwiches too. Thanks!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 04, 2011:

I love it, ktrapp! Thanks for voting up!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on December 04, 2011:

Thanks, missolive! I've been working on recipe hubs and have the munchies myself! thanks for the vote!

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on December 04, 2011:

Victoria - I haven't had this seven layer dip in ages. I too like cilantro and it sounds like it would be a really good, fresh addition. ~voted up~

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on December 04, 2011:

EXCELLENT! This sounds like a perfect variation of the traditional recipe! This sounds and looks ssoooooo good right now. I've got the late night munchies! YUM!

Voted up!