I don’t know that I’ve ever had a bad spinach and artichoke dip—it’s hard to make something with that much dairy and salt unappetizing. But things that are good can always be great, and I have taken the liberty of compiling four upgrades that can be applied to any spinach and artichoke dip recipe.
Get some pepper jack in there
I don’t find myself reaching for pepper jack cheese all that often, unless I’m making spinach and artichoke dip. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s “the perfect mix of creamy and cheesy, offering good cheese pulls and a faint, sweet heat” that keep your taste buds engaged. It melts like shredded mozzrella, meaning you can sub it in for other metly cheeses without any issues; or you can just add an extra handful of it along with all of those other cheeses. Pepper jack also bubbles and browns nicely, so make sure you throw some on the top of your dip before broiling it.
Add a pinch of MSG or dash Worcestershire sauce
The best dips are the most savory dips, and both monosodium glutamate and Worcestershire sauce are packed with umami. If you’re looking for a (vegan) hit of pure savory flavor, add a few pinches of MSG. If you want things to get a little more funky, you can up the umami and tang with a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Just make sure to get the real deal stuff with fermented anchovies and tamarind—Worcestershire sauce just isn’t the same without them.
Mash in some roasted garlic
A lot of recipes for this kind of dip call for garlic, usually minced or powdered. But smashing in several cloves—or a whole head!—of roasted garlic is a pro move. Roasted garlic is sweet and mellow, and it has a deeper, more developed flavor than its raw or powdered relatives. You can prepare the garlic either in the oven or the air fryer. Roast until it turns a deep, sticky amber, then smash into your dip base with wild abandon.
Replace the spinach with Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are not only in season right now, they also have the ability to brown, which is an ability that spinach does not possess. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s also an incredibly easy swap to make:
Instead of thawing spinach and mixing it into cream cheese—which is very mushy—shred your sprouts, brown them in some sort of fat over high-ish heat until the they’re crispy on the edges, then mix them into cream cheese. Your dip with have better flavor and more textural contrast. (Also, Brussels sprouts just have a more interesting, stronger flavor. Sorry, but it’s true!)
Just swap in the same amount of sprouts by volume and prepare them as described above, then sit back and reap the benefits of better dip.