This incredibly flavorful cream cheese dip is easy to mix by hand. It's ready in about ten minutes!
It gets its wonderfully smoky flavor from adding smoked paprika and bacon bits.
They can be fairly complex and require baking in the oven, or they can be quick and easy, like this cream cheese dip, literally ready in ten minutes. Pimento cheese is another excellent option if you want something quick.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Cream cheese: Use a block of cream cheese and not a tub of "cream cheese spread."
- Sour cream: I'm often asked if reduced-fat sour cream is OK. It is, but it's not recommended. The best flavor and texture come from full-fat ingredients.
- Dijon mustard: This thick and creamy French mustard adds tang and saltiness to the dip.
- Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.
- Cheese: Shredded sharp cheddar adds texture and flavor.
- Bacon bits: These add a wonderful smoky flavor and saltiness.
- You can use half mayonnaise and half sour cream (½ cup each). I like this version because it adds richness and flavor to the dip.
- Use two cups of shredded cheddar for a thicker, more textured dip. For a thinner and creamier dip, use just one cup. After trying both versions, I prefer to use two cups.
- Make it spicy with ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. My husband, a fan of spicy food, loves this version.
- Try a different cheese, such as gouda or smoked gouda. It's very similar to cheddar but has a slightly nutty flavor.
- Use chili powder instead of smoked paprika. This creates a more spicy and less smoky flavor profile.
- Use three minced garlic cloves instead of garlic powder. I often do that when I have fresh garlic on hand.
- ½ cup of chopped chives will add flavor and color to the dip. I wouldn't buy chives specifically for this recipe, but I recommend using them if you have them on hand.
Cream Cheese Dip Instructions
The detailed steps for making this dip are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview:
Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for about 10 seconds per side. You want it to be very soft so that it will be easy to mix by hand. Place the softened cream cheese in a medium bowl and stir it with a spoon or a rubber spatula. This softens it further and aerates it, making it fluffy.
Add the sour cream, Dijon mustard, and spices. Mix well.
Add the shredded cheese and mix until thoroughly combined. This will take a couple of minutes.
Mix in the bacon bits.
That's it! The dip is ready. Serve it with fresh-cut veggies.
- Since we won't heat the dip and melt the cheddar, it's best to use finely shredded cheese. I tried a coarsely shredded cheese and found that it interfered with the smooth mouthfeel of the dip.
- This dip is excellent right after you make it. But if you have time to let it sit and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, it will be even better because the flavors will have a chance to meld.
I've tried that, and I can't recommend it. Greek yogurt has less fat and more tang. This dip is tastier when it's made with sour cream.
There's no need for added salt. The existing ingredients add plenty of saltiness. But you can always taste and decide for yourself.
I serve it cold. But you can bake it and serve it as a hot dip. Bake it in a small 1-quart baking dish until the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes in a 350°F oven. I've tried both versions. I prefer the cold one, but the warm dip is excellent, too.
Fresh-cut veggies make the perfect vehicle for scooping up dips. I serve them with this cream cheese dip, and I also serve them with pizza dip, spinach artichoke dip, sour cream dip, and Greek yogurt dip.
As you can see in the photos on this page, I often use broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, carrots, celery, and large cherry tomatoes.
If you'd like to serve this dip with something other than vegetables, here are a few more options:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. Remove the portion you will use and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
I don't recommend freezing this dip. Its texture won't survive freezing and thawing. It becomes watery after being thawed and is not as smooth and creamy as it should be.
More Dip Recipes
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10-Minute Cream Cheese Dip
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup sour cream (8 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups cheddar cheese finely shredded
- ¼ cup bacon bits
- Place the cream cheese on a microwave-safe plate. Soften it in the microwave, about 10 seconds per side.
- Place the softened cream cheese in a medium bowl. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, mix it to further soften and make it fluffy.
- Add the sour cream, Dijon mustard, and spices. Mix to combine.
- Mix in the shredded cheese and bacon bits.
- Serve immediately, or allow the dip to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- Use a block of cream cheese, not a tub of cream cheese spread.
- Since we won't heat the dip and melt the cheddar, it's best to use finely shredded cheese.
- The dip is excellent right after you make it, and you can serve it immediately. But if you have time to let it sit and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, it will be even better because the flavors will have a chance to meld.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. Remove the portion you will use and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- I don't recommend freezing this dip. Its texture won't survive freezing and thawing. It becomes watery after being thawed and is not as smooth and creamy as it should be.