[Recipe] Basic Bean Dip/Spread

Mmmm, bean dip. It is a nice addition to any sports viewing party, alongside the staples of salsa and guacamole.

This basic bean dip is great for parties or potlucks, or just for a snack when you get home. It can go well with chips, crackers, or toasted bread. It is super easy and quick even though these instructions might look intimidating!


  • beans (try any kind of beans! here I used kidney beans, but black beans also are great for this)
  • garlic
  • onions (yellow or red work here, can also use shallots)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • other spices (optional, I usually add cumin!)
  • cayenne or chili powder or chopped up chili peppers (optional)
  • red or green bell peppers (optional)
  • tomato paste or sauce

Eyeball the proportions to what you think feels right, but generally, a can of beans could use about 1 clove of garlic and a small onion (or half a medium onion).

You can use canned or dried beans. Canned beans will not require cooking before making the dip, so it might be more convenient. Just drain and rinse before using.

Using dried beans

I used dried beans here. Dried beans require soaking overnight or at least 4 hours, then cooking in water for 45 minutes or more depending on the beans. Do not use the water you soaked them in to cook them! The gas causing and indigestible complex sugars are in that water. Dump that water out, rinse the beans, and fill the water to at least 1-2 cm above the beans. Heat until boiling then reduce heat so that it simmers. Add water if it gets low. You can add salt to the beans while they are cooking, but only in the last 10 or 15 minutes. Adding the salt too early can make the beans too hard and then your beans will never be tender. Ideally for this recipe, the beans are soft enough to be mashed but not falling apart yet.


1. Chop the onions and garlic really small.
2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan with medium heat.
3. Sautee the garlic for a few seconds until fragrant.
4. Add the onions and let them cook until translucent. Move them around with a wooden spoon so they cook evenly.
5. Add the drained beans and stir to mix thoroughly.
6. Let it cook for a few minutes while stirring.

7. Turn the heat down to low.
8. Start mashing the beans!
9. Add salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.
10. Turn the heat off and keep mashing the beans.
11. Add olive oil if the mixture is looking dry, or add tomato sauce or paste. Another alternative is peanut butter but I haven’t tried this yet.

Finishing touches

Get it to the right consistency that you are looking for depending on what you will be eating it with. With chips, you might want it to be easily scoop-able. For spreading on crackers and bread, you can keep the consistency a bit thicker (See photo!). If you want to, garnish with some spices that you used or chopped up bell peppers.


If you are using red or green bell peppers, chop them up really small and add them in when the onions are about done and let them cook a bit to get tender. You don’t need too much, and definitely much less than the amount of onions you are using (maybe by half?).
Different beans will have different flavor profiles, so experiment with them and try different things. Some beans will have a naturally milder flavor and may need some more spices to give it a boost, while others can stand pretty much alone and taste great. You could also use fresh cherry tomatoes chopped up instead of tomato sauce or paste. Another tip is adding feta cheese (or any other crumbly cheese that melts well) in at the end to give some cheesy flavor and creamy texture. I’ve done this with cannellini beans!

This dip will be really good served hot, but can be served cold too. It will keep in the fridge for at least 1 week, but may not need to last that long 😛 This is a really quick and easy snack or appetizer, but interesting enough to impress your friends! Enjoy and let us know your thoughts in the comments! Also, let us know any requests for future recipes and how-tos!