7 Layer Bean Dip

It's not a party without 7 layer dip! We make it with hot refried beans topped with cheddar cheese, chilies, tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, and sliced black olives. It's an essential Game Day appetizer.

7 Layer Bean Dip | Simply Recipes
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.

Homemade 7 Layer Bean Dip on Chip
Elise Bauer

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.

Ways to 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
Elise Bauer

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 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.

How to Serve 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.

More Favorite Party Dips

7 Layer Bean Dip

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 8 servings

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.


  • 2 cups refried beans, canned or homemade

  • 1 teaspoon bacon fat (or 1 strip of bacon, cooked and minced), optional

  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, or more to taste (or Tabasco chipotle sauce, adobo sauce, or plain chili powder)

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

  • 1/4 cup canned green chiles OR 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños (more to taste)

  • 1 avocadopeeled and chopped

  • 1 tomato, cut in half horizontally, seeds and juice gently squeezed out and discarded, and chopped

  • 1/3 cup sour cream or Crema Mexicana

  • 1 cup sliced ripe black olives

  • Corn tortilla chips, to serve


  1. Warm a serving dish:

    Heat your oven to its lowest temperature. Place an oven-proof large bowl or a glass or ceramic pie dish in the oven to warm as you're making the beans.

  2. 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.

    Simple Tip!

    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.

  3. Add the seasonings to the beans:

    Mix in the chipotle chili powder and cumin to taste.

    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.

    Heat until the beans are hot and bubbly.

    Simple Tip!

    The avocados and the sour cream will cool down the spiciness of the beans considerably, so you can afford to be a bit spicier than you might think.

  4. Spread on the serving dish and top with cheese:

    Remove the serving dish from the oven, and spread the beans evenly over the bottom. Immediately top with 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.)

  5. Layer on the toppings:

    Layer on the chopped green chilies, chopped avocado, chopped tomato. Spoon on the sour cream (or crema Mexicana).

    Top with olives.

    Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
250 Calories
18g Fat
17g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 250
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 514mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 21mg 104%
Calcium 174mg 13%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 655mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.