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Hot Cheesy Caramelized Leek Dip

Delicious, hot, and cheesy, this caramelized leek dip is a quick and easy appetizer that is perfect for any occasion.  This creamy leek dip is made with three cheese types, fresh chives and garlic. The sweet caramelized leeks and cheese create a rich and flavorful dip that is delicious with sliced baguettes or sourdough bread, chips, pretzels, or veggies. Serve up a dish of this hot, cheesy dip for your next appetizer night.

Cheesy leek dip in a small casserole dish with sliced baguette.
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What is Caramelized Leek Dip?

Caramelized leek dip is a hot, cheesy dip loaded with caramelized leeks, chives, and garlic.  It is creamy, rich, decadent, and perfect for serving with crackers, potato chips, sliced baguettes, sourdough bread, or a platter of veggies.

This savory dip comes together quickly and is perfect for serving during the holidays or on game day with an assortment of appetizers. 

Like artichoke dip, this dip is made with an assortment of cheeses, including sharp cheddar cheese and parmesan, giving it a rich flavor that balances nicely with the sweet caramelized leeks.  You can add a can of chopped artichoke hearts if you like. 

This is a great dip for get-togethers, as you can make it ahead of time and pop it in the oven when you are ready to serve.  You serve it in the dish you bake it in, so there is no need to get out an extra serving bowl, which saves on dishes, too.

Cheesy leek dip in a small casserole dish with sliced baguette.

Ingredients

For a full list of ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Ingredient notes & substitutions

Leeks – You will need two cups of sliced leeks, or between one to two leeks, depending on their size. You will use the white and light green parts only.

Cream cheese – Cream cheese forms the base of the dip.  You can use full-fat or low-fat.  Spreadable or softened brick cream cheese both work fine.

Mayonnaise – Regular or low-fat mayonnaise is fine. Do not confuse this with Miracle Whip, which has a different flavor and will change the taste of the dip.

Sour Cream – Sour cream helps balance the flavors and richness of the dish.  You can substitute plain Greek yogurt if you like.

Shredded cheese – We use a mixture of sharp cheddar, Monterey jack, and parmesan cheese.  Depending on what you have on hand, you can easily switch things and use mozzarella, sharp white cheddar, or Swiss cheese.  It is important to shred the cheese yourself, rather than using store-bought pre-shredded as pre-shredded cheese has added ingredients that prevent it from melting correctly and will alter the texture of the dip.

Chives – Fresh chives are best, but dried chives can be used in equal measure if you can’t find fresh.

Garlic – fresh garlic cloves are best, but you can use garlic powder or granulated garlic.  Avoid garlic salt, as the cheese provides more than enough salt for this dish.

Optional Ingredients or Substitutions

If you want to change things up, there are a few things you can do:

Seasoning – Adding a seasoning such as powdered ranch, Italian seasoning, or some cracked black pepper can add extra flavor. I recommend using low-sodium seasonings as the cheese provides more than enough salt.

Fresh herbs – In addition to the chives, fresh herbs such as parsley or thyme leaves add a nice flavor to this dip.

Caramelized onions – If you can’t find leeks, caramelized onions can be used to create this dip. I would suggest a yellow or sweet onion for the best flavor.

Ingredients for leek dip.

Step by Step Instructions

Begin by slicing and washing the leeks.  

The easiest way to clean leeks is to slice them and then add them to a bowl of water.  Give them a swish to remove any dirt and debris, then drain and blot dry on a paper towel. 

A pile of sliced leeks on a cutting board.

After washing the leeks, heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add the butter.  Once the butter is melted, add the leeks.  

Sautee the leeks for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they are not getting too crispy.  You are looking for a nice golden brown color.  When you are done, you will have about ¼ of the volume of leeks you began with. 

Sliced leeks in a skillet before and after cooking.

While the leeks are cooking, stir the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and crushed garlic in a medium bowl.

Stir in the sauteed leeks and chives to the cream cheese mixture, then add the shredded cheese.

Caramelized leeks added to a bowl of cream cheese and a second image with shredded cheese and chopped chives.

Spread the cream cheese leek mixture into a small casserole or other shallow oven-safe dish and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese bubbles.  

Then, turn the oven to broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the top.  Watch closely to ensure it doesn’t burn.

Mixed leek dip in a bowl, and a second image spread into a small casserole dish topped with shredded cheese.

Making Hot Leek Dip in the Air Fryer

This creamy leek dip recipe can easily made in the air fryer.

Follow the directions above, spreading the dip into a dish that will fit into your air fryer basket or rack. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to divide this into two dishes.

Set the air fryer to 320°F and cook the dip for 8-10 minutes until bubbly and the top is light golden brown.

Slice of baguette dipped in hot cheese dip with melty cheese pulls.

Equipment

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Skillet – You will need a medium-sized skillet to caramelize the leeks.

Mixing bowl – A medium-sized mixing bowl is all you need for this recipe.

Small casserole dish – You will need a small casserole dish or similar oven-safe dish to bake the dip. A shallow pie plate works well.

Serving Suggestions

This dip is best served hot, fresh from the oven.  

Our favorite way is to serve it with crusty baguettes or chewy sourdough bread. But you can also serve it with a big bowl of potato or Tortilla chips, your favorite crackers, bagel chips, or a platter of veggies. 

Casserole dish of melty cheese dip with crackers.

Top Tips & FAQS

  • Don’t overheat the dip. Overheating will cause the fat in the cheese and mayonnaise to separate, creating an oily, gritty texture.
  • Wash the leeks well. Leeks have lots of nooks and crannies that store dirt and soil. Give them a good wash before starting.
Can I make hot cheese dip ahead of time?

You can easily make this recipe ahead of time. Mix the dip, place it in an oven-safe dish, top it with cheese, and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake and serve.

Can I freeze cheese dip?

If you want to make this dip ahead of time and freeze it, you can. Make sure the dish you use is both oven and freezer-safe. Then follow the directions above, but freeze it before baking. When you are ready to serve, remove the dip from the freezer, allow it to thaw, and then bake.

More Dip Recipes

Recipe

Cheesy leek dip in a small casserole dish with sliced baguette.

Hot Cheesy Caramelized Leek Dip

Hot and cheesy, this caramelized leek dip is a quick and easy appetizer perfect for any occasion. Delicious with sliced baguettes or sourdough bread.
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 ¼ cup
Calories: 450kcal
Author: Deanna

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sliced leeks white and light green parts only
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • ¼ cup (1 oz) shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup (2 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoon chopped chives

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Begin by slicing and washing the leeks. The easiest way to clean leeks is to slice them and then add them to a bowl of water.  Give them a swish to remove any dirt and debris, then drain and blot dry on a paper towel. 
  • Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add the butter.  Once the butter is melted, add the leeks. 
  • Sautee the leeks for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they are not getting too crispy.  You are looking for a nice golden brown color.  When you are done, you will have about ¼ of the volume of leeks you began with
  • While the leeks cook, stir the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and crushed garlic in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Stir in the sauteed leeks and chives to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Add the shredded parmesan, cheddar, and half of the Monterey jack. Stir to combine.
  • Spread the dip into a small casserole dish or other shallow oven-safe dish, then top with the remaining Monterey Jack.
  • Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble. Then turn the oven to broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the top. Watch closely to avoid burning.
  • Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Notes

This recipe makes approximately 2 cups of dip.

Nutrition

Estimated Nutrition Facts
Hot Cheesy Caramelized Leek Dip
Amount per Serving
Calories
450
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
41
g
63
%
Saturated Fat
 
20
g
125
%
Trans Fat
 
0.1
g
Sodium
 
611
mg
27
%
Carbohydrates
 
7
g
2
%
Fiber
 
0.4
g
2
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
15
g
30
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES.