These are America's Test Kitchen's most popular, easy dips for Super Bowl Sunday (2024)

Mackensy LunsfordNashville Tennessean

America's Test Kitchen has your gameday game plan.

The media company includes magazines such as "Cook's Country" and "Cook's Illustrated," trusted resources for tried and true recipes.

That's in large part due to a thorough testing process involving a whole team of recipe developers with an arsenal of vetted cookbooks and trusted online recipes at their disposal, said Cook's Country Senior Editor Matthew Fairman

From those scores of recipes, he said, testers choose five of the most promising candidates to make and taste, a process that can up to three days.

"Depending on the complexity of the particular recipe, we'll usually test the working recipe on average I'd say, at least a dozen times, singling out important variables and conducting side-by-side tastings to ensure our recipe is failproof, delicious, tailored for the home cook and that our recipe language is perfectly crafted for reproducible results," he said.

That's clutch when you're hosting a crowd.

"We never lose sight of the context for our recipes," Fairman said. "In this case, when we're creating recipes for party fare, the last thing we want to do is frustrate you with an overly complicated recipe."

To that end, these three popular dips come together in less than an hour and make entertaining simple, so you won't miss a minute of the game — or the gameday commercials if that's more your speed.

The corn dip, for example, is built in a cast iron skillet, which retains heat and keeps the dip warm. Even better? You'll have only one cooking and serving vessel to clean.

Speaking of simple, the salmon and crab dips can both be made ahead, so most of the kitchen work can be complete and cleaned up long before kickoff.

The smoked salmon dip is particularly easy. It comes together quickly in a food processor and is designed to be perfectly creamy and dippable at room temperature.

The only thing on your mind during the game will be how delicious the food is — and, of course, which team you want to win (or lose) the most.

Recipes and photos are courtesy of America's Test Kitchen. Headnotes have been edited for length.

Hot Cheddar Crab Dip

This dip was inspired by one from French-influenced Cajun Louisiana, where it's called crab au gratin.

We took care when sourcing the two starring ingredients, seeking out a good-quality aged cheddar and the best crabmeat available.

Aged cheddars are not only salty and sharp but also pleasantly sour and buttery. When melted into the already flavorful base of this crab dip, they added incomparable depth. For the best results, we recommend shredding the cheese on a box grater.

We found that we preferred freshly cooked and picked unpasteurized crab here, but we also loved the test kitchen's winning refrigerated pasteurized crabmeat, Phillips Premium Crab Jumbo. If you can't find fresh crab, refrigerated pasteurized crab is the next-best option. Lump, backfin (special), and claw meat all work well here.

This recipe can easily be doubled. The finished dip goes great with a little extra Worcestershire and some Tabasco sauce on top. Serve with toasted baguette slices or crackers.

Serves: 6

Cook time: 45 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 ounces sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups), divided
  • 8 ounces crabmeat, picked over for shells
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


Adjust oven rack 8 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, 1 teaspoon thyme, salt, cayenne and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in milk and Worcestershire and bring to simmer. Cook until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Whisk in ¾ cup cheddar until melted. Off heat, gently stir in crabmeat. Transfer crab dip to shallow broiler-safe 1-quart baking dish.

Sprinkle remaining ¾ cup cheddar over crab dip, followed by paprika. Broil until cheese is well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove dish from oven and sprinkle dip with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Let dip cool for 5 minutes. Serve.

To make ahead: At end of step 2, let dip cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, unwrap and bake at 400 degrees until hot throughout, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir dip and continue with step 3.

Cast-Iron Skillet Corn Dip

This recipe is inspired by esquites, a Mexican dish of grilled corn, mayonnaise, cheese, chile and lime. We adapted these flavors into a hot, gooey and delicious dip served in the cast-iron skillet it was made in. The skillet was key for getting good char on the corn kernels. It also kept the dip hot during serving. The bright and vibrant cilantro and scallions, along with the dusting of salty cotija cheese, gave the dip added flavor and enhanced its visual appeal and wow factor.

A large ear of corn should yield 1 cup of kernels, but if the ears you find are smaller, buy at least six. We prefer to use fresh corn in this recipe, but you can substitute 4 cups of thawed frozen corn; thaw frozen corn in a single layer on a dish towel-lined platter or baking sheet and pat dry before adding to hot oil in step 1. We like serrano chiles here, but you can substitute a jalapeño chile that has been halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced ⅛ inch thick crosswise. For a spicier dip, do not seed the chiles.

Serves: 6 to 8

Cooking time: 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4-6 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (4 cups), divided
  • 1 teaspoon table salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin, divided
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 equal pieces and softened
  • 8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups), divided
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ounce cotija cheese, crumbled (¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla chips


Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of corn, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and spread corn into even layer. Cover and cook without moving corn until it begins to char, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining corn, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Once second batch of corn begins to char, stir in garlic and half of scallions and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Return first batch of corn to skillet with corn-scallion mixture. Stir in cream cheese, 1½ cups pepper Jack, mayonnaise, serranos, lime juice, and chili powder until evenly combined (cheese will begin to melt). Spread mixture into even layer and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup pepper Jack.

Broil until cheese is melted and spotty brown, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from broiler and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cotija, cilantro, and remaining scallions. Serve hot from skillet with tortilla chips and lime wedges.

Smoked Salmon Dip

To create a cohesive and easily scoopable dip, we started with softened cream cheese, added smoked salmon, lemon zest and juice, and pepper, and blended them all in a food processor until the mixture was smooth.

In just 30 seconds, we had a flavor-packed, scoopable dip that was ready for an array of flavorful toppings that really made it sing: briny, pungent capers; fresh dill; and a bit of minced shallot, which had just enough oniony flavor but not too much. A finishing drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil helped smooth out the texture and tied everything together.

To quickly soften the cream cheese, microwave it in a large bowl for 20 to 30 seconds. This recipe can easily be doubled. Serve with cucumber slices, crackers, toasted baguette and/or bagel chips.

Serves: 4 to 6 (makes about 1½ cups)

Cooking time: 25 minutes


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces and softened
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Process cream cheese, salmon, lemon zest and juice, and pepper in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to serving dish and spread into even layer.

Sprinkle with shallot, capers, and dill. Drizzle with oil and serve.

To make ahead: Dip can be made through step 1, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before proceeding with step 2.

These are America's Test Kitchen's most popular, easy dips for Super Bowl Sunday (2024)
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