Join our family of curious Kansas Citians

Discover unheard stories about Kansas City, every Thursday.

Thank you for subscribing!

Check your inbox, you should see something from us.

Sign Me Up
Hit enter to search or ESC to close

The Ultimate 7-Layer Dip Embracing Bold Southwestern Flavors America's Test Kitchen Recipe Reinvents a Party Classic

ultimate seven layer dip recipe The ultimate seven layer dip recipe appears in the cookbook “All-Time Best Appetizers.” (Joe Keller | America's Test Kitchen via AP)
Share this story
Sponsor Message Become a Flatland sponsor
2 minute read

To create the ultimate version of this appealing dip with bold Southwestern flavors and a simple, no-fuss technique, we distilled every layer down to its essential flavors and designed our recipe to emphasize those elements.

We replaced the usual refried beans with canned black beans that we processed with garlic, chili powder and lime juice. To keep the sour cream layer from watering down our dip, we combined it with cheese to give it more structure.We made the salsa and guacamole layers quick and simple to ensure that they would come together easily and stay fresh and vibrant. This recipe is usually served in a clear dish so you can see the layers.

Love to cook at home? Want to learn some new skills in the kitchen? Find “America’s Test Kitchen” on Kansas City PBS in our schedule and watch at 11 a.m. every Saturday.

For a crowd, double the recipe and serve in a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. If you don’t have time to make fresh guacamole as called for, simply mash three avocados with 3 tablespoons lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve with tortilla chips.

Ultimate Seven-Layer Dip

Servings: 8-10
Start to finish: 45 minutes


4 large tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped fine

2 jalapeno chilis, stemmed, seeded, and minced

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

6 scallions (2 minced; 4, green parts only, sliced thin)

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lime juice (2 limes)


1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained but not rinsed

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 pound pepper Jack cheese, shredded (4 cups)

1 recipe (3 cups) Guacamole (recipe follows)

To Make The Dip: 

Toss tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, minced scallions, 2 tablespoons lime juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in bowl. Let stand until tomatoes begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh strainer, discard liquid, and return to bowl.

Meanwhile, pulse black beans, garlic, remaining 2 teaspoons lime juice, chili powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in food processor until mixture resembles chunky paste, about 15 pulses. Spread bean mixture evenly over bottom of 8-inch square baking dish or 1-quart glass bowl.

Wipe out food processor, add sour cream and 2 1/2 cups pepper Jack, and pulse until smooth, about 15 pulses. Spread sour cream mixture evenly over bean layer. Top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 cups pepper Jack, followed by guacamole and, finally, drained tomato mixture. Sprinkle with sliced scallion greens before serving.

Guacamole Ingredients:

3 ripe avocados

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, and minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 garlic cloves, minced


1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

To Make The Guacamole: 

Halve 1 avocado, remove pit, and scoop flesh into medium bowl. Add cilantro, jalapeno, onion, lime juice, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cumin and mash with potato masher (or fork) until mostly smooth.

Halve and pit remaining two avocados. Carefully make 1/2-inch crosshatch incisions in flesh with butter knife, cutting down to but not through skin. Insert spoon between skin and flesh, gently scoop out avocado cubes, and add to mashed mixture. Gently mash until mixture is well combined but still coarse. Season with salt to taste. Serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 480 calories; 322 calories from fat; 36 g fat (17 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 69 mg cholesterol; 741 mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrate; 11 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 21 g protein.

For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit Find more recipes like Ultimate Seven Layer Dip in “All-Time Best Appetizers.”

Follow @FlatlandKC on Twitter and Facebook for all your food news.

Like what you are reading?

Discover more unheard stories about Kansas City, every Thursday.

Thank you for subscribing!

Check your inbox, you should see something from us.

Enter Email
Reading these stories is free, but telling them is not. Start your monthly gift now to support Flatland’s community-focused reporting. Support Local Journalism
Sponsor Message Become a Flatland sponsor

Ready to read next

Just in Time for Dog Days, Bar K Opening Soon on Riverfront

Read Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *