Layered Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips

I like layered dip, but I have found that much like trifle, it looks great in its glass container until someone takes the first scoop.  Then the situation quickly deteriorates to a very messy looking dish.  I assembled and served my dip on a shallow platter.  I find that scooping it up is easier and the result much neater.  To make scooping that substantial dip even better, I fried some corn tortillas for my own sturdy and crunchy tortilla chips.  The little bit of extra effort (and a few more calories) is well worth it.  With a holiday weekend looming, this combo is the perfect snack to offer guests while you enjoy a cool beverage and wait for the grill to heat up.

The components here are familiar:  layers of refried beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa or pico de gallo, and garnishes.  You can season each layer to your taste.  I like spice, salt, and citrus, so I add hot sauce to the beans, lime zest and juice to the sour cream, and lots of seasoning to the avocado.  To top the dip I used chopped ripe olives, sliced scallions, and cilantro leaves.

As you can see, there’s been some dipping here and the plate still looks good.  I’m offering more of a guideline than a recipe; the amounts listed will fill a 9×12-inch platter and serve four to six people as an appetizer or snack.  Make a few more chips than you think you will need, they’ll go quickly!

         Here’s how to do layered dip with your own, homemade tortilla chips.  Enjoy!

Layered Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips

A Mexican-style layered dip, assembled and served on a platter, for easier dipping and a neater presentation.  Homemade fried tortilla chips are the perfect sturdy platform for this substantial dip. 

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American, Canadian, Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Donna


  • 8 small corn tortillas (I use Mi Rancho brand)
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup refried pinto beans
  • Sriracha, or other hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded, sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Finely grated zest of half a lime
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 2 small limes
  • 1 1/2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and coarsely mashed (season the avocado with lots of salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime juice)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa
  • 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried


  1. To make the tortilla chips, stack the tortillas and slice in half.  Then cut each half into 3 wedges.  You will have 48 tortilla wedges.  Heat the canola oil in a heavy pot or skillet that is not too deep, but rather wide.  When the oil reaches 350°F, slip in the tortilla wedges, about 6 at a time.  Let them fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden and crisp.  Carefully remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.  Sprinkle each batch with Kosher salt while they're warm.  When all the tortillas are fried, set them aside to cool.

  2. To assemble the dip, start by seasoning the refried beans with hot sauce to your taste.  Choose a shallow platter about 9x12-inches in size.  Spread the beans on the platter, leaving a little bit of a raised edge all around.  Now sprinkle on the shredded cheese.  Mix the lime zest into the sour cream, and add lime juice to your taste.  Gently spoon the lime sour cream atop the cheese layer.    

  3. Now add the avocado mash and carefully distribute it over the sour cream layer.  Top with salsa or pico de gallo.  Sprinkle the top of the dip with the sliced olives, scallion, and cilantro leaves.   Serve the layered dip with fried tortilla chips and wait for the compliments!  Any leftover dip can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for a day or two.  Tortilla chips should be kept in an airtight container.  They can be re-crisped in a warm oven, if necessary.    

Recipe Notes