Kitchn Love Letters

The 2-Ingredient Cream Cheese Dip My Sister Has Been Making Every 4th of July for 30 Years

published Jul 2, 2024
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Two-Ingredient Cream Cheese Dip in a bowl surrounded by Fritos.
Credit: Lindsay Funston

My sister Kelly has always loved a good recipe hack. She regularly relies on rotisserie chicken to save time on dinner, she always knows the best Trader Joe’s shortcut groceries, and let’s not forget about her instant mashed potato era. But perhaps her hack that’s most famous in my family is her two-ingredient dip. She thinks she learned how to make this brilliant concoction all the way back when she was in middle school (we’re talking 31 years ago!). It was truly the first recipe she ever learned how to make — if this even qualifies as a recipe.

Credit: Lindsay Funston

Here’s what it is: One block of cream cheese mixed with one can of chili. I know it sounds simple — because it is! — but this is one of those dips that once it’s put out, it’s gone in minutes. It’s got a Tex-Mex vibe from the chili and supreme creaminess from the cream cheese. My sister swears by vegetarian chili for this. And make sure it’s thick — you don’t want a soupy chili that’s not packed with beans because then the texture of the dip will be too thin. 

Credit: Lindsay Funston

To make it, you simply combine the block and can into a saucepan or skillet (or you can throw them into a microwave-safe bowl; it just might take a few minutes to nuke). Stir up the mixture until it’s combined and warmed through and then transfer to a serving bowl. My sister always serves this dip with corn chips, like Fritos or the dippers from Trader Joe’s, which is the perfect complement to the simple combo with their salty flavor and ideal crunch.

Credit: Lindsay Funston

We’re suckers for dressing up cream cheese at The Kitchn — and are continually amazed by the versatility of the humble foil-wrapped block. This 2-ingredient recipe of raspberry pepper jelly and cream cheese is guaranteed to be the biggest hit of the party, and our bruschetta cream cheese dip is one of our favorite summer cookout tricks. 

Have you tried making a dip with cream cheese and chili? What’s your favorite way to use cream cheese? Let me know in the comments below! (I’m always looking for a new way to use it.)