This easy cream cheese and salsa dip uses just 5 ingredients and features 3 layers of delicious dipping. It can be served cold as a layered nacho dip, or baked until hot and bubbly - your choice!
This easy layered cream cheese and salsa dip is SO incredibly easy to make. It's the perfect last-minute appetizer or potluck offering, and it's always a hit at parties. Who knew something so simple could work so well?
But it's not just for potlucks and parties - you could easily serve this to your family! We do appetizer nights every now and then. We just prep a bunch of appetizers and enjoy them while we watch a movie. It's so fun! This cream cheese and salsa dip would work perfectly for that - and you can even store the leftovers for up to 2 days!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- It uses just 5 simple ingredients, making it easy to put together and budget-friendly!
- Takes just 10 minutes of prep work and can easily be made ahead.
- A crowd-pleasing favorite and always a hit at parties!
- Easy to customize - add your favorite toppings, serve it cold OR baked, or you could even add in some seasoned ground beef or chicken.
- Cream cheese: You'll need one softened brick of cream cheese. I like to leave it out for several hours, or you can place it in a ziplock bag in a bowl of very warm water for 5 minutes or so. Make sure not to substitute it for cream cheese that comes in a tub - the consistency doesn't work for this recipe.
- Sour cream: I like to use a good quality, thick sour cream like Daisy but any style of sour cream would work for this recipe.
- Taco seasoning: This adds a touch of flavor to the otherwise plain sour cream and cream cheese base. You'll need just a small amount (1 ½ teaspoons) and you can use store-bought or my homemade taco seasoning blend.
- Salsa: A chunky, thick salsa works best for this recipe. If your salsa is thinner, you can easily strain off the excess liquid by placing it in a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl.
- Shredded cheese: I don't often recommend pre-shredded cheese over home shredded, but this is one instance where I will! It holds up better at a party (the cheese won't sweat), AND the shreds don't clump together. I used a Mexican blend cheese with Monterrey jack and cheddar but you can use whatever you like best.
Check the recipe card for quantities and full instructions!
How to Make Cream Cheese Salsa Dip
The Sour Cream and Cream Cheese Layer
To get started, add your softened cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning to a medium-sized bowl.
Use an electric hand mixer to beat the softened cream cheese together with the other ingredients until smooth and uniform, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning mixture to the bottom of a 9" round or square baking dish. Spread it out in an even layer.
If your cream cheese was very soft, you may want to refrigerate this layer for 30 minutes before adding the salsa. If it was just soft enough to mix, you can go right ahead and add the salsa without issue.
Adding the Salsa Layer
Pour your salsa on top of the cream cheese layer and spread it into an even layer.
If your salsa is very liquidy, you can place it in a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl to help remove some of the excess liquid. This liquid will pool in your dip, so it's best to remove it at this stage. I didn't do that for the photos below, but I did when I recorded the video and it yeilded a much better result.
Finally, once the salsa is in place you can sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the salsa. Spread it out in an even layer and up to the edges.
You want every dip to have a bit of the cream cheese mixture, a bit of the salsa, and definitely some of that yummy cheese!
You can serve it right away but I recommend refrigerating it for about 30 minutes or so before serving.
What to Serve with Taco Dip:
- Scoop tortilla chips
- Corn tortilla chips
- Pita chips
- Celery ribs
Appetizers and Dips That Pair Well
- Bacon-wrapped jalapeno peppers
- Jalapeno popper dip
- Bean dip
- Buffalo chicken dip
- Churros and cream cheese frosting
Making Ahead and Storage
How to Make Salsa and Cream Cheese Dip Ahead of Time:
- Prepare all of the layers of the dip and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
- If you would like to make your dip more than 8 hours in advance: prepare the cream cheese and sour cream layer. Wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Add the salsa and shredded cheese just before serving, allowing the base layer to soften at room temperature for 30 minutes first.
Storing Layered Nacho Dip
- Store any leftovers in the fridge, tightly wrapped.
- For the best results, eat your remaining taco dip within 8 hours of storage.
- It's totally okay to store for 1-2 days, but note that the salsa will start to "weep" a bit and it won't be quite as tasty. It will be perfectly fine to eat though!
Variations and Substitutions:
Baked Cream Cheese Salsa Dip: Prepare your dip in an oven safe 9" round or square baking dish. Bake in a 375ºF oven for 25-35 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end of the cooking time for an extra bubbly dip.
With Ground Beef: Brown half of a pound of lean ground beef with 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning. Drain any excess fat. Add the ground beef after the salsa layer and top with cheese. Serve as a cold dip, or bake for 25-35 minutes at 375ºF for a hot dip.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to make a layered dip for nachos, you always start with a layer of cream cheese and sour cream (or just sour cream) and then follow it up with a layer of salsa and a layer of shredded cheese. You could add other favorite toppings like guacamole, chopped vegetables, etc if desired.
Salsa pairs well with a variety of cheese, but some popular ones include cheddar, queso blanco, cotija, Monterey jack, queso fresco, and manchego.
You can mix together cream cheese and salsa, but it can be difficult to get the consistency right since the fat in cream cheese repels the watery salsa. Instead, try layering cream cheese followed by salsa. This tends to work better!
More Easy Party Food:
- No Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
- No Bake Nutella Pie
- Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers
- Instant Pot Deviled Eggs
- Lazy Cheesecake Salad
Layered Cream Cheese and Salsa Dip
- 8 oz brick style cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons taco seasoning
- 1 ½ cups thick salsa
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Add the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning to a medium-sized bowl.
- Beat the cream cheese together with the other ingredients using a handheld electric mixer.
- Continue to mix until smooth and uniform, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the cream cheese mixture to the bottom of a 9" round or square baking dish and spread it into an even layer.
- If your cream cheese was very soft (could easily press a finger through it), refrigerate the first layer for 30 minutes before adding the salsa. If it was still relatively firm, go ahead with the next layer.
- If your salsa is thin and liquidy, pour it through a strainer set over a bowl. The liquid will collect below and can be discarded.
- Spread drained or chunky salsa in an even layer on top of the cream cheese and sour cream layer.
- Finally, top it with your shredded cheese, spreading it out evenly.
- Serve immediately if desired, or refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving for the best results.
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Please note that some of my blog posts here at Dash for Dinner may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please see my Disclaimer for more information.