7 Layer Bean Dip

Super BowlDipQuick and EasySouthwestern

It's not a party without 7-layer Bean Dip! This one is made with hot refried beans and topped with cheddar cheese, chilies, tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, and sliced black olives.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Refried beans should be served warm.

There, I’ve said it. I don’t usually put my foot down about food preferences, but cold refried beans are about as appealing as a cold hamburger. This is why I make 7-layer dip starting with a layer of hot refried beans.

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Homemade 7 Layer Bean Dip on Chip

How to Make 7-Layer Dip

Shredded cheese is added directly to the top of the warm beans so it melts from the heat of the beans. Then the layers of tomato, avocado, olives, and chilies, onions (all mostly room temp) are added.

The only cold part of the dip is the topping of sour cream (or crema Mexicana). Served this way and the taste delightfully mimics tostadas or homemade nachos, but in an easy-to-serve dip form.

Adapt this Recipe

By the way, depending on what you have on hand, your 7-layer dip may end up with eight or nine layers, or six. The basics are refried beans, grated cheese, avocados (or guacamole), chilies (or salsa), sour cream, and olives. Improvise with more or fewer toppings to your own taste.

You can also add a layer of seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken. Warm them up and add them along with the refried beans and cheese.

7 Layer Bean Dip | Simply Recipes

What You Can Do Ahead of Time

While the dip itself should be assembled and served while the beans are hot, there are some components you can do ahead to make the final steps easier on yourself.

  • If you’re making your refried beans from scratch, you can make those a day or two ahead and then just re-warm them as directed in the recipe below when you’re ready to assemble the dip.
  • Shred the cheese up to a day ahead, and keep it refrigerated in an air-tight container until needed
  • Chop the chiles or or pickled jalapeños up to a day ahead, and keep refrigerated in an airtight container until needed
  • WAIT to prep the avocado and tomato: The avocado will turn brown if prepped in advance and the tomatoes will turn mushy and lose flavor if refrigerated.

Serving 7 Layer Dip

Serve your 7-layer dip with plenty of corn tortilla chips for dipping! This is a fairly thick and heavy dip, so make sure to buy thick, sturdy chips, not the super-thin kind.

Blue corn tortilla chips are a fun alternative to regular white or yellow corn chips.

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7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 2 cups refried beans, from one 15-ounce can or homemade
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) of bacon fat (or 1 strip of bacon, cooked and minced), optional
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, Tabasco chipotle sauce, or adobo sauce, more to taste (or plain chili powder to taste)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green Anaheim chiles (canned) OR 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños (more to taste)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 hot house tomato, cut in half horizontally, seeds and juice gently squeezed out and discarded, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, or if you can get it Crema Mexicana (Mexican sour cream)
  • 1 cup sliced ripe black olives, from a 15-ounce can
  • Corn tortilla chips, to serve


1 Prepare the refried beans: Heat the refried beans in a medium sauté pan or cast iron skillet. Stir in enough water to get a creamy, easily dip-able consistency, about 1/4 of a cup.

The taste of refried beans is greatly enhanced by bacon fat; we'll add a teaspoon to canned beans or a tablespoon or more to taste if we are making the beans from scratch.

If you don't have bacon fat, you can cook up a strip of bacon, chop it up fine and add that to the beans.

If you are trying to avoid pork, note that most canned refried beans are made with added lard, so check the ingredients. You can use olive oil instead, to help the consistency of the beans.

Mix in the chipotle chili powder (or Tabasco, or adobo, or regular chili powder) and cumin to taste. Note that the avocados and the sour cream will cool down the spiciness of the beans considerably, so you can afford to be a bit more spicy than you might think.

Stir in salt to taste, depending on how salted your refried beans are to begin with, and depending on how salty the tortilla chips are that you are serving with the dip.

2 Spread on serving dish, top with cheese: Once the beans are hot and bubbly, spread them over the bottom of a warmed serving dish. Immediately add the shredded cheese so that the heat from the beans helps melt the cheese.

(The cheese doesn't need to be completely melted, but even if it is just a little, it will help the dip stay on the chip.)

3 Layer on toppings: Layer on the chopped green chilies, chopped avocado, chopped tomato. Spoon on the sour cream (or crema Mexicana, crema fresca, or even cream fraiche).

Top with sliced green onions and olives.

Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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23 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Amy

    Made this weekend for football viewing. Yuuuuuuum. I did homemade refried beans linked in this recipe- dried pinto beans in the Instant Pot- very easy! My team won, so I think I’ll have to continue to make this through to playoffs to ensure they keep winning ;)


  2. Angelica Rodgers

    Adding sliced green onions was a really great idea with my chicken fajitas! Thanks for the idea.

  3. Moira

    Instead of bacon, I like to start with Mexican chorizo. But I agree, having the warm beans is much better than just spreading out canned cold ones. I have been known to use leftover pink beans with hamhocks to make the refried beans.

  4. AnneBB

    I love this recipe and we keep it warm by layering everything in an electric skillet.

  5. Sven

    Usually I don’t comment on websites, but for this I have to make an exception. Found this recipe about two years ago, and it has become an integral part of my life. I eat this about once a week and it’s always delicious!

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Completed 7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe in Large White Bowl7 Layer Bean Dip