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White Bean Dip Help

I'm looking for recipes and technique tips for a good white bean dip. I am particulary interested in something that serves as a dip for carrot sticks and other vegetables. I tried to make one last weekend with canned beans, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and chili powder and didn't like it at all. Any tips are appreciated. Do you reserve liquid from the can? Does anyone use dried beans? Olive oil or another kind of oil? Vinegar or lemon juice?


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  1. I've had similar experiences and wanted to move your post nearer the top. When I've made it I had to throw it away, all the individual ingredients were discernable - and I like all the ingredients: white beans, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary - but the end result has been surprisingly bland.

    My plan when attempting it again is to try adding a cheese such as feta. But I haven't yet come close to striking the right balance, there must be something we're missing...

    1. Caramelized onions have worked very well for me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: milklady

        Great idea, I'll try that. Thanks.

        Also it sounds simple but I think I need to add more salt & pepper. I'm often amazed by how this makes all the difference.

      2. Rosemary and roasted red peppers with olive oil and garlic work nicely w/ drained/rinsed canned white (great northern) beans. Good w/ toasted pitas, vegetables or as a sandwich spread.

        1. To answer one of your questions, always rinse canned beans (unless they're in a sauce, of course), because the liquid they're packed in is kind of gross. It's salty and weirdly slimy.

          Specifically which kind of white beans were you using? There are several different types, and different beans might have different properties. My wife has made a really good dip with cannellini beans, for example.

          1. I love this dip w/ fresh veggies and toasted pita chips.

            White Bean & Artichoke Dip

            1 Can cannellni beans, rinsed
            1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed
            1 garlic clove, minced
            2T fresh lemon juice
            2T olive oil, plus more to drizzle
            3T Fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
            1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
            cayenne pepper to taste

            Process beans, art. hearts, garlic & lemon juice until smooth. Stream in oil. Add cheese & rosemary and season w/ S&P. Serve at room temp. topped off w/ a sprinkle of cayenne & a drizzle of olive oil.


            1. i make a white bean dip that everyone goes crazy for - try adding some soaked sun-dried tomatoes, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil or oregano....and you can never go wrong with a generous scoop of roasted garlic ;)

              1. I use one can of fresh cannellini beans, an entire bulb of roasted garlic, olive oil (including the oil that the garlic was drizzled with while roasting), the juice of a few lemon slices and tons of fresh sage. I love it!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jetgirly

                  I fine the cannellini beans makes a fine dip using the recipe for hummus. The chickpeas are very grainy while the cannellini beans makes a smooth dip.

                2. Your tastes may be different, but I've usually found that bean dip or cooked vegetable recipes usually need more acid to wake up the buds. IMO so many hummus and baba ghanoush recipes need way more lemon juice!
                  The other suggestions are good, especially if you like more chile or garlic flavor.
                  More citrus juice or vinegar, please.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DiveFan

                    I agree and once I discovered the microplane, I began grating the zest off lemons and limes before I juice them. In many instance, like this, I add that to the dish for some real flavor. Part of the reason for the BostonZest !

                  2. I like Mollie Katzen's Pesto-Bean Dip from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest:

                    Beans, pesto, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper. Divine!


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mamaciita

                      I'll bet sun-dried tomato pesto would make a killer bean dip, too. . .