Mexican Layered Dip

The Boat Galley
By Carolyn Shearlock

I’ve always loved 7-Layer Dip and variations on it . . . but it took cruising for me to decide to make my own. I was surprised at how easy it is — and it’s perfect for a special get-together!

If I know a get-together is going to last through the dinner hour and snacks are going to stand in for a meal, I often make it with a layer of meat. Use ground beef, ground turkey, shredded chicken (or even soy crumbles) and prepare it just as you would for tacos. A can of chicken can also be shredded and mixed with the taco seasoning.

I also like this recipe because I can use whatever “layers” I happen to have on hand . . . sometimes, it’s a 9-layer dip, other times only 4. And since Dave is allergic to dairy, I just make him a separate plate with no sour cream (you can substitute mayonnaise if you want) and no cheese. And if you make your own taco seasoning, it’s gluten free, too (commercial taco seasonings often have gluten).

You can also do variations with no ingredients that require refrigeration (see following sour cream recipe).

Oh — and if you have to transport the dip (especially by dinghy) or need to refrigerate it for several hours in a crowded refrigerator, make it in a Lock & Lock container as I did. The high sides and secure lid will make it easier than trying to manage a plate covered with plastic wrap!

Mexican Layered Dip

Prep Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 25 mins

Looking for a “special” appetizer with lots of variations? Mexican Layered Dip is great when appetizers will stand in for a meal!

Course: Appetizers & Snacks

Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Mexican/Southwestern, No Refrigeration

Servings: 8

Calories: 220 kcal


Layers – choose as many as you wish

  • 1 cup sour cream (make your own sour cream) OR mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 pound taco meat OR sauteed mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, such as cheddar
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes or substitute 1/2 cup salsa
  • 4 tbsp green onions, thinly sliced or substitute 1/2 cup diced red or white onion
  • 1/4 cup minced sweet (bell) pepper any color OR spicy pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives


  1. If using meat or mushrooms, mix 1/2 the packet of taco seasoning with the refried beans. If not, mix the entire packet with refried beans. Let sit while preparing other layers.
  2. If using meat or mushrooms, saute until browned and then add the remaining taco seasoning and water (if needed). Cook until ready to be used and set aside.
  3. To assemble, spread refried bean mix on the plate or other serving container.
  4. Spread or sprinkle other layers over the top in the order given — use however many layers you want.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve — may be refrigerated up to 4 hours (after that, some of the veggies may wilt, but it’s still fine to eat).
  6. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Notes, Substitutions and Variations

Times and servings are all approximate as they depend on the layers used.

DAIRY FREE Omit the sour cream and cheese layers.

GLUTEN FREE naturally. None of the suggested layers have gluten. Use veggies or other gluten-free items to dip.

NO REFRIGERATION make your own sour cream from non-refrigerated ingredients. Omit cheese layer. Other ingredients do not need to be refrigerated.


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