Hot spinach and artichoke dip with caramelized onions is a delicious party appetizer. It's a great make ahead recipe, just bake it before serving. Serve with bell peppers and celery for a low-carb, gluten free appetizer or with hearty crackers.
As we head into the holiday season, it's a great idea to start stockpiling easy party appetizers you can make ahead and just bake and serve for your special events.
This easy and delicious hot spinach and artichoke recipe was a huge hit with my friends and family.
If you love traditional spinach and artichoke dip, you will really love this version because it is flavored with caramelized onions, a hint of lemon pepper, and a spicy kick from crushed red pepper flakes and hot sauce.
But don't worry, this recipe is not too spicy at all, my kids loved it!
Why This is the Best Recipe
I love to make hot dips for a party appetizer because usually you can make them in advance to save some time. I think this is the best spinach and artichoke dip recipe because:
- SO Much Flavor: Unlike other recipes, there are extra seasonings in this dip recipe that add so much more flavor. The caramelized onions are my favorite part and they only take a few more minutes to make.
- Make Ahead Friendly: You can prep the dip up to 24 hours in advance and keep it in the fridge. Then just bake and serve for your party.
- Big Batch: This recipe makes a very generous amount of spinach and artichoke dip that is perfect for a crowd. I split it into two smaller dishes and enjoyed one with my family and shared the other pan with a friend as a special treat included in her meal train dinner.
- Low Carb or Gluten Free: The holiday season can be a challenge when you need to consider several different dietary restrictions. If you serve this recipe with raw veggies for dunking, this is a perfect low carb, gluten free, and vegetarian appetizer to serve for your friends.
This hot spinach and artichoke dip is extra delicious because of a few surprising ingredients.
Here's what you need to make it:
- Frozen Chopped Spinach: Thawed frozen spinach works best in this recipe, fresh baby spinach has too much water content still in it and would make your dip watery.
- Jarred Artichokes: Artichoked in a jar are often marinated with extra seasonings. They add more flavor to the dip than plain canned artichokes.
- Sweet Onions: Like Vidalia if you can find them. Regular onions would work since you'll be caramelizing them anyway.
- Fresh Lemon
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese: I also like to use an Italian cheese blend since I feel it melts so well.
- Cream Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Heavy Cream
- Minced Garlic
- Lemon Pepper: If you don't want to use lemon pepper, you could zest the lemon before you juice it and just increase the black pepper.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Hot Sauce
- Black Pepper and Kosher Salt
Easy Caramelized Onions
The first step to making spinach and artichoke dip the most delicious it can be is to caramelize the onions.
If you've never tried this before, you're going to love just how easy this part is to do.
First, melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. You don't want the butter to get too hot because the onions shouldn't cook too fast or they'll char instead of caramelize.
Add the chopped onions, sugar, and just 1 teaspoon of the salt. Stir it all together.
Normally you wouldn't add sugar to caramelize onions but this does help speed things up a bit for this recipe prep.
Continue to cook the onions and stir just occasionally so they have a chance to turn a deep golden brown like this:
Do not let the onions begin to char, you just want them nice and soft and sweet.
Remove them from the heat and scrape them into a bowl so they don't continue to cook.
Mix the Spinach and Artichokes
Before you use the frozen spinach in this dip, you need to remove as much water from it as possible to avoid having watery dip.
Start with completely thawed spinach. Then, open the packages and wrap the block of spinach in a few layers of paper towel.
Squeeze as much moisture out of the spinach as you possibly can. It's best to do this over the kitchen sink.
Add the drained spinach to a mixing bowl.
Drain the artichokes from the liquid in the jar and give them a rough chop.
Toss the spinach, artichokes, and caramelized onions together:
Make the Cream Cheese Base
In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and heavy cream.
Beat them together with a hand mixer until smooth.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, the minced garlic, lemon pepper, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and hot sauce.
Beat it again until smooth.
Add the shredded parmesan to the bowl and stir it together with a spatula.
Finally, scrape the prepared onions, spinach, and artichokes into the cream cheese and fold it together with the spatula.
Make Ahead Tips
At this point, you can stop and refrigerate the dip for up to 24 hours if you want to use this as a make ahead recipe for your special event.
You can either store it in the mixing bowl covered in plastic wrap or scrape it into baking dishes and cover those with plastic wrap.
Do not try to freeze the recipe, the vegetables will release too much liquid when it thaws and ruin the texture of the dip.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the prepared spinach and artichoke dip into one 9x13-inch baking dish or two 8x8-inch baking dishes.
Bake for 10 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown around the edges.
NOTE: If you made the recipe in advance and stored it in the fridge, I suggest you let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes before baking so that the baking dish and cheese have a chance to come closer to room temperature. This helps with more even baking and browning.
Cold Spinach Dip: My easy cold spinach dip is a fast recipe you can beat together in just minutes. It's a great spread for bagel chips or tortilla chips.
Jalapeño Artichoke Dip: My baked jalapeño artichoke dip doesn't have any spinach but has loads of bell peppers and green onions for color and flavor. Serve it with a hearty cracker like Triscuits.
Everyone loves a hot spinach and artichoke dip for a party appetizer.
For your friends who want a low carb or need a gluten free recipe, serve it with fresh bell peppers and celery sticks for dunking.
You could also serve it with tortilla chips, hearty crackers, or even chunks of bread for a filling snack. I'd suggest wedges of my homemade brown bread as a perfect pair.
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
- 8 tablespoon (1 stick) butter
- 2 sweet onions chopped
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 (12 oz jar) marinated artichoke hearts drained and chopped
- 2 (10 oz) packages frozen chopped spinach thawed and completely drained
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon hot sauce like Texas Pete
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, sugar, and just 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook and stir occasionally until the onions begin to brown and then turn golden brown. Watch so they don't burn.
- Transfer the caramelized onions to a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped artichokes to the bowl and set aside.
- Wrap the thawed, drained spinach in several layers of paper towel and squeeze as much liquid out as you can. Add the drained spinach to the mixing bowl with the onions.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, cream. Beat them together with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Add the minced garlic, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, black pepper and lemon pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Beat them together until smooth.
- Add the parmesan cheese to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture and stir it in with a spatula.
- Scrape the cheese mixture into the bowl with the caramelized onions and stir everything together until evenly combined.
- Transfer the dip to a large 9 x 13-inch baking dish or two smaller 8 x 8-inch baking dishes and smooth the top in an even layer.
- Bake the spinach and artichoke dip until bubbly and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with raw veggies and crackers.
Make Ahead TipsThis hot spinach and artichoke dip can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Prepare the dip as directed but do not bake it. Cover it with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. Then just bake before serving.
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