How Do I Choose the Best Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce?

Megan Shoop

When you’re choosing a recipe for a cream cheese dipping sauce, it is important to combine flavors carefully. Cream cheese is a tangy, versatile ingredient that can be made sweet, savory, or spicy with the addition of other ingredients. You may also create a tropical, Greek, or Asian-inspired cream cheese dipping sauce by choosing ethnic flavors. To select the right recipe, consider your personal tastes, the event where you’ll be eating the dipping sauce, and what ingredients you already have on hand.

Cream cheese can be combined with crushed pineapple to make a delicious fruit dip.
Cream cheese can be combined with crushed pineapple to make a delicious fruit dip.

The first step in choosing a cream cheese dipping sauce is deciding what flavors you’ll use, based on personal taste. If you prefer a sweet dip, you might add powdered sugar, marshmallow fluff, or brown sugar to the mix. For a savory Greek cream cheese dipping sauce, you could add olives, capers, oregano, and roasted garlic to your recipe. A spicy version might include jalapenos, taco seasoning, hot sauce, or chopped chilies. You might also combine a few of these ideas to come up with a totally original recipe.

Asian dipping sauces usually contain soy sauce.
Asian dipping sauces usually contain soy sauce.

You should also think about the event where you’ll be eating or serving your cream cheese dipping sauce. If you’re making it just for yourself, you can experiment as much as you like. Those taking this sauce to a party might want to check if any attendees have food allergies. Even if you do include an allergen, like peanut butter or pineapples, you can clearly label the dip to make sure everyone knows exactly what is in it.

Another reason for considering the event involves theme. Summer luau parties might call for a sweet and spicy cream cheese dipping sauce. This recipe might include crushed pineapple, chopped jalapenos, hot pepper flakes, finely diced mango, and some toasted coconut. For an Asian-style dipping sauce, you might use ginger, soy sauce, finely chopped green onions, and a drop of orange extract. A really simple Mexican-style recipe could include a few spoonfuls of jarred salsa, accompanied by tortilla chips.

You can also create holiday cream cheese dipping sauce with odds and ends from the kitchen. A Christmas dip might contain crushed cranberries, while a Thanksgiving sauce could feature cinnamon and a dash or two of pumpkin puree. For a springtime dip, you could include cucumbers, tomatoes, and raw onions.

Dippers —the items to be dipped into your sauce — are also an important consideration when it comes to making a cream cheese dipping sauce. For instance, you don’t want to pair overly salty or spicy crackers with an already spicy dip. The dippers should complement the sauce without making the flavors overpowering. For example, if you have a salty dipping sauce, skip pretzels and chips, and use torn, hearty bread bits and fresh veggies instead. A sweet dip might be accompanied by acidic fruits and rich, salty crackers.

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