Hot spinach ramp dip (or leek dip) is our highly craveable take on hot spinach dip. It gets an extra punch of garlicky, verdant flavor from ramps, also known as wild leeks. You can 100% substitute regular leeks if you don't have ramps available or would rather save them for another use.
Why we love this recipe
Hot spinach dip is a creamy, dreamy classic. Spiking it with regular or wild leeks and some chopped sun dried tomatoes takes it to a whole new level of savory deliciousness. This dip is:
- Creamy, cheesy, and indulgent
- Yet also jam-packed with veggies
- Studded with layers of savory goodness
I first published this recipe here in 2009. I've updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same. If you'd like to read the original story and see a cute photo, scroll down past the recipe card at the end of the post.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
- Ramps have a very short season, and we tend to use them every which way during the few weeks we can find them. Although they go beautifully with the other ingredients in this recipe, a creamy dip is not the first place I would use them during the season. Here are some more of our favorite ways to cook with them. This dip is great with regular leeks too, if you don't have ramps or simply would prefer to serve them a different way.
- You can use fresh or frozen spinach in this recipe. I generally choose frozen spinach since it's always at the ready and more efficient in terms of price and volume. Either way, be sure to drain it as well as possible after cooking.
- I first made this dip with pepper jack way back in 2009 because that's what we had on hand. But you can use any semi-hard shredding cheese that you like. Gruyere would be spectacular, or fontina, or even extra-sharp cheddar.
How to make it
Here's what you'll do to make a great batch of hot spinach ramp dip (or leek dip). You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post. And get all the details in the recipe card below.
- First you'll cook the veggies. If you're using frozen spinach, cook it according to package directions (I use the microwave). Drain very well once cool enough to handle, squeezing out all excess moisture. If you're using leeks, they'll need to cook for 10 minutes or so. Ramps will cook in two or three minutes. If using fresh baby spinach, add to the pan and sauté until wilted. Drain any excess moisture. Leave to cool while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, stand mixer, or food processor, mix together the cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, salt, and pepper until it's all smooth and homogenous.
- Stir in the sun dried tomatoes, cooked spinach, parmesan,, and leek mixture and mix until well combined.
- Place into a skillet, casserole dish, or pie plate and top with the shredded cheese. Bake in the center of a 375°F oven until melty, bubbly, and starting to brown around the edges, about 25 minutes. Serve with crackers, toasted baguette slices, pita chips, tortilla chips, and/or vegetable sticks.
Expert tips and FAQs
They're a wild-growing allium with a verdant garlicky flavor that's intense when raw and mild when cooked. You can learn more here.
You can prep this dip 100% in advance, up to a few days ahead. Keep it right in the baking dish, tightly covered, in the fridge. Bake right before serving.
Once cooled, leftovers will keep tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week.
More favorite dip recipes
- Knorr spinach dip in a bread bowl
- Ranch dip
- Vegan queso
- White bean dip
- Baba ganoush
- Popper dip
- Garlic scape hummus
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 1 bunch (about 4 ounces/113 grams) ramps OR 2 medium leeks
- 10 ounces (283 grams) frozen spinach OR baby spinach
- 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup (120 grams) sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 sun dried tomatoes, minced
- 1 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) shredded pepper jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F with a rack in the center.
- Wash the ramps or leeks well. No need to dry. Trim the ends and slice. Heat the olive oil a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the ramps or leeks, along with half the salt. Sauté for about 3 minutes for ramps, 10 minutes for leeks, until tender.
- If using frozen spinach, cook according to package directions and drain thoroughly, squeezing out as much excess water as possible, before proceeding. If using baby spinach, add it to the skillet and cook until wilted. Let cool slightly, and if there is any excess moisture, drain it.
- Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, remaining salt, and pepper in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Mix or pulse until well combined.
- Add the sun dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, leeks or ramps, and spinach and mix to incorporate well.
- Spread the dip into a medium oven-proof dish and sprinkle with the Pepper Jack cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned around the edges and the dip is starting to bubble a bit. Cool slightly before serving.
- When cooking with leeks, use the white and light green parts only. The dark green parts are too tough. (You can save them to use in stock-making if you like.)
- A 10-inch cast iron skillet, deep-dish pie plate, or medium-sized casserole dish works well for baking.
- Favorite accompaniments include pita chips, crackers, tortilla chips, toasted slices of baguette, and/or carrot, celery, and bell pepper sticks.
- You can prep this dip 100% in advance, up to a few days ahead. Keep it right in the baking dish, tightly covered, in the fridge. Bake right before serving.
- Once cooled, leftovers will keep tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week.
I first published this post here in 2009. I've updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 18gCarbohydrates: 4.2gFiber: 0.9gProtein: 7.2g
Original 2009 text
We are on vacation this week in the rainy, windy Outer Banks of North Carolina. Lucky for us (since we haven’t had the chance to go outside and play much without wearing garbage bags) we brought a houseful of similarly situated friends. Six adults, four little kids, two babies, one dog and — because it’s yours truly here, and what are your thirties for, if not for embracing yours truly — some fugitive ramps and young spinach from our markets in NJ. Who needs to snack on Oreos in the car when there’s the assertive waft of wild leeks to breathe in? Right? Hello?
Even ramps like a good hot spinach dip once in a while
I bought the ramps and spinach with a pungent pesto in mind. But, after an honest assessment of the crowd, a substantial percentage of which is pictured below, it became clear that even vegetables — even highfalutin vegetables that demand to be foraged — need to relax and have some fun on vacation. They’re wild, after all, when you think about it.
While you may feel a twinge of cognitive dissonance the moment those perfectly innocent veggies become one with the cheesy creaminess, won’t it be worth it to see smiles on those faces? And really, who needs more than that?