Creamy Artichoke Habanero Dip

Creamy Artichoke Habanero Dip

Creamy, rich and delicious with just the right amount of kick - Man, was this good!

I wish I knew the name of the lady I was chatting with in line at the San Jose Airport week before last. She gave me the idea for this wonderful dip. We were talking about food and how we both liked spicy things and then she was telling me how she likes to mix cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and habanero peppers to make a dip. My mind instantly went to artichoke dip and I thought wow, that would make a nice variation. The only problem was - I've never worked with habanero peppers before.

Habanero Peppers
Heat range between 150,000 to 575,000 Scoville units
compared to Jalapenos at 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units

So, I'll be honest...the habanero peppers scared me. I used gloves when working with them (actually I just used a plastic sandwich baggie to cover my hand and it worked just fine). I also marinated them in a vinegar mixture thinking this would mellow them a little, and the result was fantastic.

marinating in distilled white vinegar with garlic and kosher salt

I simply cut up a couple of them, put in a bowl with some fresh chopped garlic and a heavy pinch of kosher salt, then covered with distilled white vinegar. I covered the bowl and let it set out on the counter for several days. The beauty of this was that not only was I able to use the peppers in this dip but the vinegar mixture is quite hot and very tasty now, and would be great sprinkled over cooked spinach or other greens (it's a southern thing).

Special prep: Marinate the fresh habanero peppers for 1-3 days in advance. If you don't want to do this, or don't have time, just use fresh or jarred jalapeno peppers.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

Oven 350 degrees F

4 ounces cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 7.5-ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and rough chopped (reserve liquid)
1 teaspoon diced marinated habanero peppers, seeds removed (or use 1 to 2 Tablespoons minced jarred or fresh jalapeno peppers)
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon good mayonnaise (I used Best)
2 Tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 teaspoons reserved liquid from marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
chopped fresh chives for garnish (or you could use green onions)

In medium bowl mix all ingredients together except fresh chives. Mixture will be the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes. Spoon mixture into medium baking dish and spread evenly.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until hot, bubbly and lightly browned. Garnish with fresh chives and serve with raw veggies, tortilla chips, french bread, pita bread, or whatever strikes your fancy.

All I had on hand were a few tortillas,
so I cut them up and served alongside

so good it disappears!

luckily there was still more :-)

Thank you for the inspiration, nice lady at the airport!


  1. I MUST make that because my mama would love it. She loves spicy food and she loves artichoke dip! Thanks so much for the recipe. :)

  2. Hey Lindsey! I could've eaten the whole dish! Hope your mom likes it!!

  3. I'm always on the look-out for different ways to use peppers...this sounds great. Just picked up some more peppers at the farmer's market that the vendor assured me were spicy...this might be a good use.

  4. Hi Karen - Hope you enjoy it and thanks for stopping by!

  5. Great idea for a dip. Could have used it this weekend for sure.

    Smart to use gloves when working with Habaneros, I do all the time.

  6. Thanks Lazaro - Good to know you wear gloves, too. Those things should come with a warning label ;-)

  7. I love artichoke dip and I love spicy so I am aving this one!

  8. Isn't it fun when you stumble on to an inspiration! Thanks for the glove warning - important safety tip indeed! Dip looks great . . . Cheers, Michelle

  9. Me, too, Carolyn! I'm headed up the coast to visit family later this week and I think we will have to make this again! I just have to figure out how to get my marinated habaneros on the plane!

  10. Hey Michelle - I was just looking at your cucumber margarita masterpieces! I think the fam may be making these later this week, too. Great way to cool off the heat of the mighty habanero!

  11. That looks outstanding. Artichokes heated up with Habanero sound wonderful. Glad to meet a fellow blogger who used to live in Austin.

  12. Aw thanks Dee and thanks for stopping by!

  13. Hi Veronica, the dip looks yummy. I can't wait to meet at the festival. Good luck with PFB, I see you are entering too, can't wait to read all about you!

  14. Thanks Gina! I'm looking forward to meeting you as well. I'm still noodling on my posting for PFB, it has proved to be quite a "challenge" for me!

  15. Wow, this looks like an awesome dip. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Wow, I'm going to have to try this one!!

  17. hi! nice blog .. and nice pics

    man, i wish i can do desserts so good ... but i am gonna keep tryin ... and yr recipes look really wonderful!

  18. Thanks Lauren!!
    Thanks Ian - very nice of you to say!

  19. Looks delicious! It is funny where we find our inspiration. Good luck with PFB!

  20. Wow what a dip!! Those peppers are so pretty, too. Great photos.

  21. Hi Casey - it is so funny and thank you!
    Thank you Kristen!!

  22. This sounds so yummy! So ooey gooey! Yum!!!

  23. Did someone say habaneros?! You have my attention. :D

    Habaneros can be intimidating at first but once you cook with them a few times you learn how to reign in the heat while providing some great habanero flavor. Of course you can remove the ribs to tame them a bit but all that delicious cheese counteracts some of the heat anyway.

    What a fun recipe. A bowl of that wouldn't stand a chance in a room with me. You can color it GONE.

    Matt Kay

  24. Hi Matt - Coming from a foodie and chile-head such as yourself - I'm honored! This recipe really is fabulous. We made it again yesterday for a party and everyone raved about it. Marinating in the vinegar helps and you're right, the 2nd time around I felt much more comfortable using!

  25. I definitely need to prepare this! This chilehead aficionado has written about chile peppers for 12 years. May I share your recipe in my New Mexico food column? Sunny Conley

  26. Hi Sunny - that would be wonderful - if you would please just link back to my site and attribute the credit to me. Also, can you send me to the link to your column - I'd love to read it! Thanks so much!

  27. Oooh, habaneros! They're great as a spice, and serve as a good hot sauce. With a dip like that, it's best to put some focus on the flavor. The pepper covers the hot and spicy parts after all... Still, from the looks of it, you seem to have gotten the flavor covered with the ingredients of your dip. Yum!