17 Hot Dips to Get Your Party Started

Spinach Maria with toasted baguette
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Hot, melty dips are the tastiest way to kick off any party. Whether you prefer spicy queso or classic artichoke dip, these recipes for our favorite hot dips are ideal for a game day snack or an easy cocktail party appetizer.

01 of 17

Warm Crab Dip with Fresh Herbs

Warm Crab Dip with Fresh Herbs
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Kay Clarke

This creamy, crowd-pleasing recipe is one of the most delicious things you can do with fresh crab. A base of caramelized shallots, cream cheese, mustard, and chives is topped with a golden breadcrumb crust. Bake the dip in a gratin dish to serve family style with toasted baguette slices or pita wedges, or divide among ramekins for an elegant first course.

02 of 17

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip
© Abby Hocking

This crowd-pleasing dip from F&W culinary director at large Justin Chapple has all the punchy flavors of buffalo chicken wings. It gets its creamy texture from a combination of cream cheese and sour cream. Serve it with tortilla chips and celery sticks.

03 of 17

Queso Flameado

Queso Flameado
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

In this irresistible snack, charred poblano pepper and pureed cilantro and serrano chiles serve as a built-in salsa, layering spicy, garlicky flavors into the rich melted cheese. Flaming it with tequila makes the whole thing a little extra. The pickled carrots on top add acidity and brightness; feel free to substitute pickled jalapeño slices if you have some on hand.

04 of 17

Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip Recipe
Justin Walker

Filled with four kinds of cheese and plenty of tender artichoke hearts, this dip is creamy with a crisp, golden top. Be sure to drain the thawed frozen spinach well to avoid excess water, which can break the cheese sauce.

05 of 17

Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue

Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue

Julia Hartbeck

Steamed red-skinned potato chunks, grilled or toasted Tuscan bread cubes, and pear slices are all great for dipping in fondue cheese. Be sure to stir the Swiss fondue as you dip.

06 of 17

New England Lobster Dip

New England Lobster
Abby Hocking

Justin Chapple transforms the ingredients of a classic lobster roll into a genius dip. We like it best scooped up with crunchy kettle-cooked potato chips but toasted slices of brioche hot dog buns are just as delicious.

07 of 17

Roasted Cauliflower and Sesame Spread

Roasted-Cauliflower-and-Sesame Spread
© Joseph de Leo

Chef Jerry Traunfeld toasts and grinds whole coriander seeds before pureeing them with roasted cauliflower, tahini paste, lemon, and cilantro. At home, use ground coriander from a bottle to season this bright, tangy recipe.

08 of 17

Spinach Maria

Spinach Maria with toasted baguette
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Spinach Maria is made with lots of spinach, Monterey Jack cheese, and crushed red pepper. The cheese sauce is rich with warmth from the cayenne and nutmeg, and the extra layer of melted cheese on top makes it perfectly indulgent. It's great served as a dip with toasted pita wedges or tortilla chips. Customize the sauce however you want by adding more garlic, chopped hot chiles, pickled peppers, herbs, or even crab meat.  

09 of 17

Baked White Fish Dip

Baked White Fish Dip
Abby Hocking

With a healthy dose of artichokes included, this creamy cod fish dip is like two dips in one. Serve it with crudités or potato chips.

10 of 17

Philly Cheesesteak Queso

Philly Cheesesteak Queso
Abby Hocking

This recipe combines two favorites — Tex-Mex queso and Philly Cheesesteak — to make a crowd-pleasing dip. Provolone and white American cheeses are combined to form a gooey base for sautéed peppers, onions, and thinly sliced rib eye steak. We recommend serving this dip with toasted slices of hoagie rolls but tortilla chips are just as delicious.

11 of 17

Warm Kale and White Bean Dip

Warm Kale and White Bean Dip

© Phoebe Lapine

To put a different spin on classic spinach dip, try using kale instead of spinach and pureed cannellini beans in place of the bechamel sauce. Prepare the recipe in advance for a quick appetizer.

12 of 17

Warm Piquillo and Crab Dip

Warm Piquillo and Crab Dip
© Tina Rupp

Instead of laboriously stuffing piquillo peppers, spread the crab mixture in a baking dish, top it with slices of the peppers, then broil it until it's warm and melty.

13 of 17

Queso Fundido

Bayless's Queso Fundido al Tequila
© Frances Janisch

This simple, 20-minute dip from chef Rick Bayless combines melted cheese with tomatoes, chiles, onion, and a hit of tequila — just the thing to satisfy a sudden craving for something warm, salty, and gooey.

14 of 17

Corn Queso Fundido

Corn Queso Fundido

© Chris Court

The addition of sweet corn makes this version of the cheesy classic extra special. It's a breeze to prepare using thawed frozen corn — half gets pureed into the dip, and the rest is left whole for textural contrast.

15 of 17

Artichoke Dip with Crispy Shallots

Artichoke Dip with Crispy Shallots
© Jonny Valiant

Chef Michael White's version of the classic cheesy, warm dip makes great use of frozen artichokes. They're simmered with garlic and wine, then mixed with cream cheese, Gruyère, and Tabasco and baked with a panko breadcrumb topping.

16 of 17

Gouda, Pancetta, and Onion Fondue with Pretzels

Gouda, Pancetta and Onion Fondue with Pretzels. © Quentin Bacon

© Quentin Bacon

Leyden, a Dutch cheese flecked with cumin seeds, inspired cheese aficionado Laura Werlin to create this cumin-spiced Gouda fondue. Serve it with soft, warm pretzels or pickled vegetables for dipping.

17 of 17

New England-Style Crab Dip with Brown Butter Crumbs

New England–Style Crab Dip with Brown-Butter Crumbs
© John Kernick

Boston chef Matt Jennings tops this simple, crab-packed dip with super-crispy brown butter breadcrumbs.

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