Your Spinach and Artichoke Dip Needs Some Pepper Jack

Illustration for article titled Your Spinach and Artichoke Dip Needs Some Pepper Jack

Photo: Graficam Ahmed Saeed (Shutterstock)

Hot spinach and artichoke dip—or, in my case, Brussels sprout and artichoke dip—requires a large amount of cheese. But what kind(s) should you use? Cream cheese is a given, and parmesan, mozzarella, pecorino, and gruyere are common, but pepper jack is usually what’s missing.

I’m gonna level with you: I don’t usually think about pepper jack cheese that much. It’s fine, I simply don’t have a ton of uses for it in my day-to-day existence. But one day I had a spinach and artichoke dip that changed things for me. It was the perfect mix of creamy and cheesy, offering good cheese pulls and a faint, sweet heat that kept my taste buds engaged in the dip-eating process.

The secret ingredient was—as you probably have guessed—pepper jack cheese, and I don’t understand why it’s not listed as an ingredient in every single hot spinach and artichoke dip recipe. It melts like mozzarella and adds flavor by infusing the dip with subtle heat (or, if you use something like Tillamook’s habanero jack, not-so-subtle heat). Really, it is perfect.

And, much like our Brussels sprouts hack, there’s no need to invent a completely new recipe to use it—just add up the amount of shredded cheese in your recipe, and replace some (or all) of those cheeses with pepper jack. If you’re worried about throwing off the consistency and mouthfeel of the dip, just replace the shredded mozz—mozz and pepper jack behave very similarly in a hot dip situation.

If you don’t want to give up any of your other cheeses, that’s fine too—an extra handful of shredded pepper jack won’t do your dip any harm. No one I know has every complained about “too much cheese” in a cheese dip, because that would be absurd. (Pepper jack also bubbles and browns very nicely, so make sure you throw some on the top of your dip before broiling it.)