Pepper Jack Cheese Dip

My most requested recipe. The easiest cheese dip made better thanks to monterey jack cheese with jalapenos and roasted sunflower seeds. Pepper Jack Cheese Dip is the appetizer or party dip recipe you’ll be asked to bring time and time again.

fluted pie dish with baked cheese dip with sunflower seeds and tortilla chips

Right after graduating from college, I sold pharmaceuticals. Yes, the legal kind. I sat in a lot of doctors’ offices…waiting. And waiting. The waiting turned to skimming magazines which brought me this Pepper Jack Cheese Dip recipe that literally changed my life.

You ask…”changed your life? Really?” When you have a recipe that practically everyone loves and you can bring it anywhere—for any occasion, I think that classifies as life changing. (And for another super easy appetizer, check out my Whipped Ricotta Toast with Roasted Figs…another holiday superstar!)

Don’t you?

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The best cheese dip recipe

I know —it’s a bold claim. But here’s why this monterey jack cheese dip is the best dip recipe:

  • Memorable. There are only 5 ingredients. You’ll make it so often you’ll be able to make it in your sleep. Even after too many margaritas.
  • Easy. Not only is it easy to put together, the ingredients are easy to shop for and keep on hand.
  • Big flavor with lots of texture. Spicy, creamy, crunchy. This dip has got them all.
  • Portable. You’ll literally bring this dip everywhere. See further down for a list of serving suggestions and location.
overhead shot of green onions, grated cheese, bowls of mayonnaise, sunflower seeds and garlic with a block of cheese

What is pepper jack cheese?

Closest probably to havarti, monterey jack is a semi-soft cheese that melts beautifully thanks to its creamy texture. Pepper jack is just an amped up monterey jack spiced with peppers like habaneros, jalapenos and more. Different brands use different peppers so the spiciness of your cheese dip recipe will vary depending on the brand you use. I find Kraft or a store brand is the mildest and the hot habanero pepper jack cheese from Cabot is the most flavorful if you can find it.

The unexpected ingredients

While there are only 5 ingredients, two of them make this dip. One subtlety and the other boldy.

Bottled garlic. I know – I’m Italian. Using a minced garlic in a jar doesn’t make any sense. The original recipe actually called for it and at the time, I was young so I used it. But it does makes a subtle difference in the recipe (probably that garlic infused water it’s in). If you already have fresh garlic, by all means chop it up and put it in!

Roasted sunflower seeds. They add the perfect amount of salty crunch and nuttiness without overpowering and are a bold and unexpected twist. Totally all about that.

Easiest dip ever

Assembling this dip is as easy as:

  1. grate the jack cheese into a bowl (1)
  2. scoop out the portions of mayo and sour cream (1)
  3. stir in the bottled garlic and flour (2)
  4. spread in a dish and rim with sunflower seeds and green onions (3).
  5. bake for 30 minutes.
white pie plate of jack cheese dip with sunflower seeds and green onions on it

Serving ideas

hand holding a chip with pepper jack cheese dip and a margarita with a lime in the background

What to serve with spicy cheese dip

  • Tortilla chips – because you can scoop up a lot of dip with a nice big chip.
  • Cubed bread like a pumpernickel or dark rye adds unexpected flavor
  • Hard veggies like carrots or jicama; thick cucumber slices
  • cheese crackers because cheeeeese

Where to serve it

Storing, Freezing, Reheating

Make ahead

Pepped up cheese bake (that’s what we call it) can be made the day before or the day you plan to serve it. Add the sunflower seeds and onions right before baking.

Storing

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Also refrigerate any leftovers either in the original pan covered with plastic wrap for up to three days.

Freezing

I don’t recommend freezing this cheese dip.

Reheating

To reheat, sprinkle on a few more sunflower seeds and pop in the oven until melted. Or microwave in the pan for 5 minutes if 1/2 pan or more is left. Reduce the time is there’s less in the pan.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


white pie plate of jack cheese dip with sunflower seeds and green onions on it.
5 from 3 votes

Pepper Jack Cheese Dip

The easy dip recipe you'll want to take everywhere for every event. A spicy, crunchy creamy dip perfect with your favorite tortilla chips.
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:35 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grate the cheese into a medium sized bowl. Gently stir in the flour with a fork.
  • To the bowl, add the next three ingredients ending with the sour cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely combined.
  • Evenly spread the dip into a pie plate (approx 8-9" works).
  • Sprinkle the sunflower seeds around the edge of the pie plate creating a 1-2" thick band.
  • Fill the center with the green onions.
  • Sprinkle with a little paprika for color, if desired.
  • Bake at 350° for 30 minutes until golden.

Notes

Roasted salted sunflower seeds notes.
  •  In my grocery store, they’re typically near the nuts, baking or popcorn section of the store. Sometimes they’ll be in the baking aisle or even available to buy in bulk.
  • If the sunflower seeds have an “off” or paint like smell, don’t use them as it will affect the taste of the dip.
Make ahead. Pepped up cheese bake can be made the day before or the day you plan to serve it. Add the sunflower seeds and onions right before baking.
Storing. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Also refrigerate any leftovers either in the original pan covered with plastic wrap for up to three days.
Freezing. I don’t recommend freezing this cheese dip.
Course: Appetizer, Party food
Cuisine: Southwest; Tex-Mex
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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6 Comments

  1. Lori- this dip was devoured! I made a batch and brought it to a family party. It was creamy, just the right spice, and so easy to make. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. This is a “Top 5” app recipe. Easy, unique and flavorful! Love it with JP’s Chex Mix too! Cheese and crunch.5 stars

  3. Ok Lori.. I’m making this and will report back how it goes🤔 I had planned to make Black Forest Cake (my Dad’s was delicious) but I chickened out and ordered it from a local greenwich bakery that is knows for their version. I still want ya to do a weekend of cooking with me once we can travel and your new digs are finished!!!
    Love and miss ya
    Marg