Taste Test: The Best Dips
We taste-tested dozens of grocery store-bought dips and spreads to find the party hits and our favorites.
BEST FRENCH ONION
Marie's Roasted French Onion Dip
Panelists raved over the "natural, fresh" flavor, saying this refrigerated dip "tastes just like chopped onion." The onions are oven-roasted then added to sour cream, resulting in a "great balance of sweet and salty." Tasters were also impressed by the thick texture: "It doesn't drip off the chips!" ($3.60 for 15.5 ounces, at grocery stores)
Tostitos Medium Salsa Con Queso
Judges said this cheesy dip is "just right for nachos," not too thick, not too thin. The smooth blend, made from monterey jack cheese and two kinds of chiles -- jalapeño and anaheim -- isn't for the weak, however: "It packs some serious heat." ($3.20 for 15.25 ounces, at grocery stores)
Garden Fresh Gourmet Zesty Guacamole
This company has perfected mass-market guacamole by blending fresh avocado with spices and vacuum-sealing the mix. Judges correctly noted that the dip "tastes real, like it was scooped from an avocado." The guac also won for its "balance of cilantro and garlic" and "nice tomato chunks." ($4 for 9 ounces, 866-725-7239 for stores)
Whole Foods Market Spinach and Artichoke Dip
This chunky blend of artichoke and spinach won over the judges with its "strong Mediterranean flavors" (the recipe includes lemon and red bell peppers) and "slight jalapeño kick." Tasters said the dip, unlike supercreamy competitors, "actually tastes healthy. It's like dipping into a bowl of pureed vegetables." ($6 for 12 ounces, at Whole Foods Market stores)
Classy Delites Pistachio & Roasted Pepper Dip
The recipe -- poblano peppers and crushed pistachios with cilantro and jalapeño -- sounds odd but tastes great. Panelists said the nutty combo "would be great on pita bread or a burger" and praised the unique Latin taste and balanced heat: "The spiciness doesn't overwhelm the flavor." ($6 for 12 ounces, classydelites.com)
This "supersmooth" chocolate dip was a hit, and the prep was pretty sweet, too: Just microwave the Dolci Frutta chocolate wafers in the container, stir and serve. Judges said the warm chocolate "is an ideal match for fruit" -- and it hardens at room temperature, "perfect for chocolate-covered strawberries." ($3 for 8 ounces, 800-373-7226 for stores)
Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in December 2007.