I Tried 4 Famous Spinach-Artichoke Dips and Two Were Tied for First Place

published Feb 17, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshots from top to bottom: Getty Images, Adrianna Adarme, Stephanie Todaro, The Junior League of Tampa

When the opportunity to test four different spinach-artichoke dip recipes presented itself, I went running to sign up. I have loved spinach-artichoke dip since the potlucks of my youth. It’s bubbly, savory, and cheesy, all laced with spinach and artichokes. What’s not to love? I couldn’t wait to test the recipes and eat every single one. 

Going into this showdown, I had an idea of what a perfect spinach-artichoke dip should be, but this process helped me refine my definition. Obviously there needs to be warm and bubbly cheese, but the variety, flavor, and texture of that cheese matters greatly. You also need a good amount of artichokes and spinach, since they should be the stars of the dish. And the aromatics — like garlic, onions, and shallots — need to be factored in, too, since they give the dish body. When all of these components are in balance you have a dreamy dip.

Here’s another thing I learned during this showdown: It’s really hard to make a bad spinach-artichoke dip. Ultimately, though, I found two recipes I absolutely loved (they tied for first!), one I loved but just not quite as much as the top two, and one I liked but just wasn’t my personal favorite. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Meet Our 4 Spinach-Artichoke Dip Contenders

Knowing I’m not the only one who loves spinach-artichoke dip, I reached out to my fellow editors to learn about their favorite versions. Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of suggestions, and ultimately I ended up trying two of them. The other two were chosen because they had classic spinach-artichoke components but still had their own distinct personalities. 

A Cozy Kitchen: Our first contender’s recipe was inspired by the dips served at Applebee’s and Houston’s, two restaurants with very enthusiastic artichoke dip fans. There are pages of copycat recipes all over the internet! This one, with its flavor-boosting Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, spoke to me. Plus, it’s made with three types of cheese.  

The Junior League of Tampa: This recipe came recommended from Kitchn contributor Patty Catalano, who discovered it while going down a rabbit hole of crowd-pleasing recipes. As it turns out, it, too, has a large number of fans — Southern Living included! I was immediately intrigued by the generous amount of sour cream, and the use of pepper Jack cheese.

Chrissy Teigen: Our next contender comes from the kitchen of Chrissy Teigen. Her meal-worthy artichoke, spinach, and Buffalo chicken dip recipe involves hot sauce-marinated chicken, ample amounts of mayo, and a delicious-looking blue cheese topping. How could I not try it?

Aarti Sequeira: Last but certainly not least, Aarti Sequeria’s spinach-artichoke dip had me at the word “smoky” (and its five-star rating). It not only features smoked Gouda, cream cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan, but also whole coriander seeds. Would this be the secret ingredient that every spinach-artichoke dip needs? Read on to find out.

How I Tested the Spinach-Artichoke Dips

I made all of the dips in one day and ate them over the course of three days. I used the same brand of artichokes across all recipes. I used both fresh and frozen spinach depending on what the recipe called for, but kept the brands consistent. I used the same brands of cream cheese, mayo, hot sauce, etc.

When it came time to taste the dips, I hosted a small gathering where I fed them all (alongside pita and tortilla chips) to my guests. Then, I continued to eat the leftovers for the next two days. To choose the winner, I factored in my friends’ feedback as well as which ones I kept going back to all three days. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

1. The Best Dip for Cheese-Lovers: A Cozy Kitchen’s Spinach-Artichoke Dip

I was salivating over every ingredient in this Hillstone’s/Applebee’s copycat recipe. It’s packed with flavor boosters like roasted garlic, Worcestershire sauce, shallots, hot sauce, and cheese to the third power: Parmesan, cream cheese, and mozzarella. But in this case, for me personally, extra was a bit too extra. The mozzarella on the inside and on top made every bite extremely rich, and all the umami boosters masked the flavors of the veggies. But I know there are some folks out there who would love this one, so give it a try if that’s you!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

2. The Ultimate Crowdpleaser: Chrissy Teigen’s Artichoke, Spinach & Buffalo Chicken Dip

This recipe was the hit of the party and marries two American classics: Buffalo chicken and spinach-artichoke dip. Shredded hot sauce-marinated chicken breasts get mixed into the dip, and a sprinkling of blue cheese crumbles will have you craving more.

I appreciated that this recipe was easy to follow and included specific amounts for the salt and pepper, which brought all of the delicious flavors home. If you’re hoping to make a meal out of your spinach-artichoke dip, this is the one to make.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

3. The Veggie-Packed Star: The Junior League of Tampa’s Hot and Spicy Spinach-Artichoke Dip

This recipe comes from the Junior League of Tampa, and if this is what I can expect from Junior League potlucks, sign me up! I love that it’s made with two (10-ounce) packages of frozen spinach (more spinach per pan size than any of the other recipes), which meant there are delicious, pronounced spinach bites throughout. It was also super easy to whip up and tasted great for days after I made it. Plus, the addition of pepper Jack cheese was *chef’s kiss.* 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

4. The One I Couldn’t Stop Eating: Aarti’s Sequiera’s Smoky Spinach-Artichoke Dip

This recipe has four types of cheese — including smoked Gouda — which gives it a distinct and delicious point of view. It also includes sour cream, mayonnaise, and red pepper flakes for heat, but the thing that really won me over were the surprise bites of coriander. The little bursts complemented the dip perfectly, and kept me coming back for more. It’s an Aarti Party — and you’re all invited!