Chili Cheese Dip is the perfect appetizer! It has just 3 ingredients so whipping it up is a breeze. It’s got great flavor but you can customize it with different ingredients to make it spicy or double the recipe to feed a crowd.
Ingredients for Chili Cheese Dip
There are only three ingredients in this chili dip – chili, cream cheese and cheddar cheese. A cut up loaf of french bread or a bag of crispy tortilla chips and you’re set!
Chili – For the simplest dip, a can of chili with no beans is the top choice! I’ve tried different brands, but I’ve always had the best results with Hormel brand. Other brands are just too greasy. If you want, you can also make your own homemade chili, just leave out the beans.
Cheese – Sharp cheddar cheese is preferred, freshly grated off the block. Don’t use pre-shredded; it won’t melt the same.
Cream cheese – Go full fat brick style for the best, creamiest dip.
How to Make It
In a large bowl, stir together softened cream cheese, chili and some shredded cheddar.
Pour the dip into a baking dish and sprinkle with more cheese.
Bake until bubbly and serve with tortilla chips or chunks of french bread. Garnish with sliced green onions or chives.
Stovetop or Slow Cooker Instructions
The recipe instructions will tell you to bake the dip in a casserole dish, but for a super quick snack, make your dip on the stovetop. Or, for make it in the slow cooker and keep it warm for hours.
Stove top: Heat the chili and cream cheese over medium heat until melted and combined, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese until completely melted. Pour into a dish and serve. Or if you’re feeling frisky eat it right from the pan.
Slow Cooker: Cut the cream cheese into cubes. Layer the ingredients in the crockpot, first cream cheese, then chili, then shredded cheddar. Cook on low for 1-2 hours, then stir and keep warm to serve.
How to Serve
Garnish the finished dip with some green onions or chives and you’re ready to serve. Serve with chips, crostini, french bread or cut up veggie sticks. Got an air fryer? Try our homemade air fryer tortilla chips!
For a beautiful presentation, I love to bake dips in a hollowed out bread bowl. Grab a 1 pound loaf of french bread, shepherder’s bread or sourdough and remove the middle to create a “bowl.” Pour in your dip and bake as directed. The outer shell gets crispy and golden, and when you’re done you can just toss it – no extra pan to wash!
Make Ahead, Storage and Reheating
Make Ahead: You can prepare the chili dip up to a day in advance. Cover tightly and store in the fridge until ready to bake. Let it sit out while you preheat the oven.
How to store: Any leftover chili dip should be promptly stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
How to freeze: Cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for 2-3 months.
How to reheat: Reheat dip on the stovetop or in the microwave. If frozen, thaw completely in the refrigerator first.
Expert Tips and Variations
Full fat cream cheese has the best meltability so it’s my top choice. However a low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) will work, too.
I love the sharp cheddar flavor with chili, but white cheddar or jack cheese are delicious too.
For more heat, try adding spicy salsa or hot sauce.
I usually love my chili with lots of beans, but when making dip, beans just get in the way. But if you like them, you can get the kind with beans.
For serving: Tortilla chips, hunks of bread, raw veggie sticks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine chili, cream cheese and 1 cup of shredded cheddar.
Pour dip into the the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheddar evenly over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through and bubbly and cheese is melted.
Let cool a few minutes before serving. Garnish with sliced scallions and serve with chips or hunks of bread for dipping.
Make Ahead: You can prepare the chili dip up to a day in advance. Cover tightly and store in the fridge until ready to bake. Let it sit out while you preheat the oven.How to store: Any leftover chili dip should be promptly stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.How to freeze: Cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for 2-3 months.How to reheat: Reheat dip on the stovetop or in the microwave. If frozen, thaw completely in the refrigerator first.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.