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I still remember the first time I tried taco dip. It was on the opening night of summer camp when I was 12 years old. We had just finished setting up our cabins and headed to the mess hall for introductions and dinner.
The counselors had set up a make-your-own taco bar, complete with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and…taco dip.
I had never seen such a colorful, textured appetizer before. It was served in a large glass dish layered with refried beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and topped with black olives and green onions.
My friends and I devoured it, sneaking back for second and third helpings.
The creamy, spicy and crunchy flavors were like nothing I had experienced. From that moment on, taco dip became a summer camp staple and favorite snack.
In the years since, I’ve discovered just how versatile taco dip can be. While tortilla chips remain the classic accompaniment, there are so many other tasty pairings that complement this Mexican layered dip. I’ve served it at parties, potlucks and as an appetizer for taco nights at home. No matter the occasion, taco dip never fails to please a crowd.
Here are 9 of my go-to sides and dippers that take this appetizer from ordinary to extraordinary.
Warm, melted cheese quesadillas are a natural match for cool, creamy taco dip. Simply place shredded cheese (I like a Mexican blend) between two small tortillas and grill until the cheese is fully melted. Cut into wedges and serve alongside a bowl of taco dip.
Scoop up the dip with the quesadillas for the perfect nacho-inspired bite. For extra flavor, add sliced peppers, chicken or chorizo to the quesadillas. Quesadillas can be made ahead or cooked to order at parties.
For a lower carb, crunchy vessel for scooping up taco dip, try using fresh vegetables. Jicama, bell peppers and cucumber are my top choices. Peel and slice jicama and bell peppers into long sticks. Cut cucumber into spears. Arrange the veggie sticks around the taco dip to encourage dipping.
The juicy crunch of the raw vegetables balances the cool, creamy taco dip beautifully. It feels lighter than chips but still satisfying.
For an easy, hearty appetizer, top russet potato skins with taco dip ingredients. Bake the potatoes, let cool and slice in half. Scoop out most of the flesh, then brush the skins with oil and broil cut-side up until crispy.
Top with refried beans, salsa, shredded cheese, guacamole and sour cream. Serve the loaded skins with taco dip for double the flavor. Hearty and indulgent!
No taco dip pairing is more classic than crispy tortilla chips covered in taco fixings. Layer corn chips with refried beans, salsa, melted cheese and other favorite toppings. Serve nachos alongside a bowl of taco dip for customizable scooping and dipping. Beef up the nachos by adding seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken.
Top with diced tomatoes, olives, jalapeños and cilantro. Nachos are the perfect casual food for game day or movie night.
For an all-in-one taco dip delivery method, wrap up the fillings in crunchy taquitos. Fill corn tortillas with cheese, beans, and meat if desired. Roll up tightly and bake or fry until golden brown and crispy. Let diners dip the taquitos into the creamy taco dip for added moisture and spice. Taquitos also make great snacks on their own, so any leftovers won’t go to waste.
Swap out corn chips for a different carb option – pita chips! Cut whole wheat pita breads into wedges, then bake until toasted and crispy. The sturdier texture stands up well when dunked into the chunky taco dip.
Pita chips have a great crunch and wholesome flavor. Plus they come in a variety of flavors like garlic and za’atar to complement the Mexican profile.
Think beyond chips and load up shrimp tacos with taco dip ingredients. Pan-fry shrimp, then assemble in jicama shells or lettuce leaves with refried beans, salsa, cheese and guacamole. Serve shrimp tacos alongside a bowl of taco dip so guests can add extra sauce and spice.
This filling, low carb option feels fresh and adds a protein component.
Give your chicken salad southwestern flair with taco inspired add-ins. Combine shredded chicken, beans, corn, peppers, cilantro and salsa. Stuff into lettuce leaves and serve with taco dip for a creamy, cooling dipping sauce. The lettuce wraps are light, healthy and full of zesty Tex-Mex flavors. Kids love them and they work for lunchboxes or chilled summer suppers.
Turn grilled corn on the cob into a salad with Mexican street corn flavors – chili powder, cotija cheese, cilantro and lime. Grill corn until charred, then slice kernels off the cob and mix with remaining ingredients.
Top servings of this summery corn salad with a dollop of taco dip and dig in! The corn salad provides a fresh, sweet crunch that’s so good with the spicy, cool taco dip.
What to Serve With Taco Dip: 9 Yummy Ideas!
- Jicama and Bell Pepper Sticks
- Baked Potato Skins
- Pita Chips
- Jicama Shrimp Tacos
- Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Pick a side.