This make-ahead warm spinach and artichoke dip is a drool-worthy appetizer that everybody loves!
With creamy spinach and artichokes, and a melted cap of Comté cheese, this warm spinach and artichoke dip is one of my favorite appetizers ever. Best of all, it can be entirely prepped the day before, and then baked off right before your guests arrive. (New video below!!)
I dip, you dip, we dip
While I love entertaining and planning menus, I often struggle with the appetizers. After all of the dinner prep, and the cleaning of the house (i.e. stuffing of kid socks and doll clothes in bins), and the setting of the table, the appetizer inevitably takes backseat to the rest of the meal planning. BUT, I truly love offering my friends a bite of something delicious when they arrive—something that smells and tastes irresistible, and that can pair well with a cocktail or glass of bubbly.
That’s where this warm spinach and artichoke dip swoops in like superwoman. It’s elegant enough to serve at a holiday party or special occasion meal, yet laid-back enough to set out during a football game or potluck. In other words, it’s the Meryl Streep of appetizers. Everybody loves it, and best of all, it can be made the day before. Meaning, I can check the appetizer off my list before the dinner prep has even started (!!).
Fresher is better
While I grew up on spinach dips that used gobs of mayonnaise and frozen spinach, this version takes an lighter, elevated approach with loads of fresh spinach, cream cheese, a touch of crème fraiche and Comté cheese. Comté is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) raw cow’s milk cheese from the Jura Mountain region of Eastern France. It has a nutty, sweet flavor that I love (in fact, Comté was the first cheese Ella knew by name!). I use it in everything from grilled cheese sandwiches, to salads (like this kale salad), to my favorite fondue, to this sweet potato soufflé and these stuffed honeynut squashes. You can find it at specialty supermarkets (such as Whole Foods, some Krogers stores and Costco), as well as at most cheese stores.
Dinner made easy
While the warm spinach and artichoke dip is a party favorite, it also makes for a fun weeknight supper. I’m always looking for ways to switch up our dinnertime routine, and serving the dip as the mealtime centerpiece, with crusty bread and a big salad alongside, is always a hit. In fact, it’s one of the few ways that both of my kids happily shovel down spinach (Juniper literally eats the dip with a spoon)! It’s an easy meal that can make an average Wednesday feel festive.
Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip Tips:
- The recipes alls for either 10- or 11-ounces of spinach, as the packaging can differ (you can use either two 5-ounce containers or one large 10- to 11-ounce container). It looks like a ton of spinach, but it cooks down considerably! Start by cooking half, and once that’s wilted add the rest.
- It’s important to squeeze the liquid out of the spinach after it cooks (otherwise the dip will be watery). Scrape the cooked spinach mixture into a strainer or colander, let it cool slightly, then use paper towels to press firmly, squeezing out the liquid. Check out the video below to see how I do it!
- You can find Comté at grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Wegman’s and even Costco, as well as at specialty cheese shops. While any age of Comté will work in this recipe, I prefer something in the 8- to 12-month range. It will melt beautifully but still have lots of flavor. If you can’t find Comté, try a mild Gruyere instead.
- The dip gets baked in a 1 quart baking dish. I use this dish, but any small shallow dish will do (you could even use an 8-inch cast iron skillet).
- Serve the dip with crackers or toasted baguette slices. To toast the baguette slices, brush them lightly with olive oil, then bake them in a 375 degree oven until golden, about 6-10 minutes.
Thank you to the Comté Cheese Association for sponsoring this blog post! While I was compensated for the post, all opinions are mine alone. (Yes, Comté is seriously my favorite cheese!)
Watch the Video!
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Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Comté
- Butter for baking dish
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 10-11 ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)
- 1 14- ounce can whole artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- 6 ounces Comté cheese, shredded (about 2 cups shredded)
- Toasted baguette slices and/or crackers (regular or gluten-free), for serving
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 1-quart baking dish.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and light golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add about half of the spinach and cook until wilted, then add the remaining spinach. Cook until all of the spinach is wilted (it will take about 4 to 5 minutes total). Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a large strainer or colander and let cool slightly. Using paper towels, press firmly on the spinach to remove any excess liquid.
- Transfer the spinach mixture to a large bowl, and add the artichoke hearts, cream cheese, creme fraiche, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, grated nutmeg and half of the Comté. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Comté over top (at this point, the dish can be covered and refrigerated for up to a day). Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with baguette slices and/or crackers.
Do Ahead: Once assembled (before baking), the dip can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.