We’re all familiar with what is typically known as Mexican seven layer dip, right?  Usually it has a layer of refried beans, maybe guac, sour cream, various cheese and veggies on top.  Ben’s mom has been making a version of this for as long as we’ve been together (over 15 years now!)  I swear, for something so simple, I have never been able to make it taste quite as good as hers whenever I attempt to make it myself.  She has to be the one to do it.  Last week I was pondering all sorts of food ideas, and suddenly I had a major lightbulb moment – why not update that classic dip with flavors that are a bit more interesting?  Don’t get me wrong, I love the original, but it could use some freshening up.

The first order of business was the bean layer. Instead of refried beans from a can (you can do better!), I made my own extra quick version but instead of bacon I used chorizo.  Because is chorizo ever the wrong answer?  No, of course not. Guacamole used to be a sticking point for me but I’m a reformed guac hater turned addict, so a layer of that goes on top of the beans. Next comes a thin layer of fresh tomatillo salsa, followed by a sprinkling of queso fresco, red onion and chopped tomatoes. The finishing touch (and quite possibly my favorite) is a generous drizzle of chipotle lime sour cream.  As much as I love all the components separately, I wasn’t sure whether they would really work all together.  Now that we have tried and devoured it, I can safely say that I think this version is a great improvement. It’s fresh and the flavors all work so very well together. No matter what your plans are for Cinco de Mayo, I’m pretty sure they should include this dip.  Just like chorizo, this is never the wrong answer.

Mix It Up – Some variations to try: 

  • Make it vegetarian – Leave out the chorizo and instead sauté some chopped onion before simmering the beans.
  • Instead of queso fresco, consider coarsely shredded, pepper jack, medium cheddar, monterey jack, or crumbled cojita.
  • Instead of red onions, sliced green onions would be great too.
  • Don’t like onions?  Throw on some extra chopped cilantro.
  • Add more heat by incorporating your favorite hot pepper sauce.


  • Yield about 10-12 servings


For the beans: 

  • 4 oz. chorizo sausage
  • 1½ cups (1 15 oz. can) cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup water, veggie or chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the guacamole: 

  • 2 ripe avocados, split and pitted
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, ribbed and finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. minced cilantro
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 cup fresh tomatillo salsa
Crumbled queso fresco
Diced red onion
Cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered

For the sour cream: 

  • 1/3 cup sour cream (or low fat plain greek yogurt)
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice


  • 01

    To make the bean layer, heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Crumble the chorizo into the skillet and cook until evenly browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the beans and then the liquid.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until the beans are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat.  Smash the beans and the chorizo together in a coarse mash, adding additional liquid if necessary a tablespoon at a time so the mixture is not dry.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper.  Spread the bean mixture onto a large round serving plate.  Chill while you prepare the next layers.

  • 02

    To make the guacamole layer, combine the avocado flesh, lime juice, jalapeño, cilantro and salt in a bowl. Mash together with a fork until fairly smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Spread the guacamole layer over the bean layer on the serving plate.

  • 03

    Continue to layer with the tomatillo salsa, queso fresco, red onion, and tomatoes.  Combine the sour cream with the chipotle and lime juice and blend together with a small food processor or immersion blender.  Drizzle over the top of the dip.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.*

  • 04

    *While many of the components could be made in advance (beans, tomatillo salsa, and chipotle sour cream), it is best to make the guacamole fresh and assemble the dip not too long before you plan to serve it.