Chipotle Bean Dip

NFL Football playoffs start this weekend and that means it’s time to bust out the heavy hitting game day recipes.  We’ve got wings, mozzarella sticks, and potato skins covered, but I thought it was high time to break out a recipe for a good old-fashioned American dip — Bean Dip.

I know, I know, bean dip sounds boring.  Surely guacamole and salsa seem to steal the show anytime tortilla chips are broken out, but I assure you, this is no ordinary jarred bean dip.  First off, we’re making our own pinto beans.  That’s right, from the very get-go this is a homemade affair which means you can load as much flavor into this seemingly humble dip as possible.  Slow simmered with smoked pork, cumin seeds, oregano, onion and garlic there is no canned pinto bean on earth that can match that flavor.  Next off, we add spicy chipotle chiles for maximum punch and savory, smoky undertones.  After a dollop of two of sour cream to cool everything down and lend a velvety texture, the whole thing is topped with cheese and thrown into the oven until piping hot and gooey.

I promise, you’ve never tasted bean dip this good.  It’s fantastic served alongside some thick, crispy tortilla chips and dare I say, even better with Fritos Scoops. But if you’re feeling truly badass, try using it as the backbone for a homemade 7-layer dip and taste the rainbow of game day paradise.


Adapted from The Feast of Santa Fe: Cooking from the American Southwest, Huntley Dent

For this recipe, I wholeheartedly recommend that you cook your pinto beans from scratch.  Not only will you infuse them with outstanding flavor in the process, but the flavorful broth that remains is essential for reaching the perfect bean dip consistency.  If you are strapped for time, don’t feel too bad about using canned beans — you’ll still have one damn good dip.  Here I recommend using anywhere between 2-4 chipotle chiles, but you should also feel free to add more or less depending on your tolerance for heat.  The texture of the final dip is of the utmost importance.  Start out by adding about 1/4-1/3 cup of the bean liquid and adjust to your desired consistency from there.  Cheese can be blended into the dip if desired or simply sprinkled on top before baking.  The dip can be eaten at room temperature, but it tastes its best when warm.  Finally, you can assemble the bean dip ahead of time (allow time for longer heating in the oven if it is straight from the refrigerator), just be sure to press the plastic wrap down onto the surface of the dip to avoid the development of a crusty skin.


For the Beans:

  • 1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/2 onion, whole or coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Water to cover

For the Chipotle Bean Dip:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cups pinto beans with 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid (see above)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2-4 canned chipotles in adobo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup cheddar or jack cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Tortilla chips for serving


  1. Make the beans: Put the beans in a pot along with all of the remaining ingredients and cover everything with water by 2-inches.  Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and then turn the heat down and cook at a steady simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are very tender.  Be sure to stir the beans occasionally to ensure even cooking along the way and skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
  2. Drain the beans of their cooking liquid, making sure to reserve at least 1/2 cup of their flavorful broth.  Remove the pieces of bacon (you can use some of them in the dip if you want) and discard the bay leaf.  Set the beans aside to cool.
  3. Make the Chipotle Bean Dip: Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet set over medium-low heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onions, cover the pan and allow them to sweat for 5 minutes or so.  Remove the cover and raise the heat to medium.  Fry the onions, stirring often until they are well-browned, about 8 minutes.  Remove the pan from heat and allow the onions to cool a bit.
  4. In the bowl of an electric food processor, combine the beans, the onions and their oil, chipotle chiles, cracked black pepper, sour cream and salt.  Add in about 1/3 cup of the reserved cooking liquid at first to aid in the processing of the ingredients (you can add more later to reach your desired consistency) and process until a slightly coarse puree is reached (you do not want the mixture completely smooth).  Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.  Add more bean liquid or sour cream if a thinner or creamier texture is desired.
  5. Transfer the bean mixture from the bowl of the food processor to a small, ovenproof baking dish.  Sprinkle on the cheese and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Place the dip in the oven and cook until warm throughout and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.  If a bubbly crust is desired, remove the tin foil during the last few minutes of baking and turn on the broiler to high until lightly browned.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately with crispy tortilla chips.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  1. Oh YUM! This looks amazing – I think I’ll definitely put this one on my Superbowl menu!

  2. Yum! I love a nice, warm bean dip and homemade refried beans. This is a winner!

  3. We’re definitely watching the playoffs this weekend but probably won’t be having people over. That doesn’t mean that we can have tailgating food for just the 2 of us though! This dip sounds perfect!

  4. This is my kind of dip!! Love the combination!! We are not having people over either and besides this one is too good to share!!

  5. That dip looks and sounds so good!

  6. this is far from boring.It looks terrific and something I’d like to try.

  1. February 4th, 2010