Frugal Gourmet: When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

If you only have a few dollars to spare and just a few minutes of time before your big party or potluck, don't be a dip - make dip! They are easy enough for beginners, and also easy on your wallet.

Simple Spinach Dip

A bowl of spinach dip topped with a row of round crackers.
credit: Rachel Whetstone

You can gather all you need to make this dip for under $5 and it will serve 10 people.


1 cup sour cream

1 1.0 oz packet onion soup flavoring

1 15 oz can spinach

Directions: In a large bowl, mix together sour cream and onion dip powder until well blended. Press and drain spinach, removing as much water as possible. Stir spinach into dip until well blended. Serve hot or cold, with bread, crackers, or chips.

Southwestern Chip Dip

Tortilla chips dipped in sour cream, corn, black beans, hot sauce, and shredded cheese.
credit: Rachel Whetstone

This is also super cheap at right around $4 for 8 servings.


1 cup sour cream

1 cup canned black beans, drained

¼ cup canned corn, drained

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

3 tbsp hot sauce or salsa

Directions: In a large bowl, blend all ingredients until well mixed. Serve hot or cold with tortilla chips.

Baked Pizza Dip

A bowl of gooey mozzarella cheese dip topped with pepperoni, and a tortilla chip taking a scoop, pulling up strings of cheese.
credit: Rachel Whetstone

Technically, this under $4 dip will serve 6 people, but let's be real: You're eating it all yourself.


2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

½ cup marinara sauce

¼ cup sliced pepperoni

Directions: In an oven-safe dish, stir together marinara sauce and shredded cheese, until cheese is coated with sauce. Stir in half the pepperoni, then smooth out the top of the mixture. Top with another layer of pepperoni slices, like a pizza. Baked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until cheese is well melted. Serve hot with tortilla chips or crispy toasts.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dip

3 butter cookies covered with peanut butter dip and chocolate chips, with chocolate chips spilling out onto the plate.
credit: Rachel Whetstone

This dessert dip will serve at least 8 people and will cost you less than $3.


1 cup peanut butter

1 cup whipped dessert topping, thawed

½ cup chocolate chips

Directions: In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter and dessert topping until well blended. Smooth out the top of the dip, and top with chocolate chips. Serve at room temperature with cookies, pretzels, or apple slices.

Luscious Lemon Cookie Dip

A stack of windmill butter cookies with a scoop of dip, next to half a lemon.
credit: Rachel Whetstone

This is the cheapest thing ever, ever, ever and makes 16 servings. 16! For right around $3.


2 cups whipped dessert topping, thawed

1 fresh lemon

Directions: Scoop whipped dessert topping into a large bowl. Slice lemon in half, and squeeze juice onto dessert topping. Whisk together until well blended. Serve cold with butter cookies, or use as topping for pancakes or crepes.