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This intensely delicious bean dip recipe takes literally 5 minutes. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this party favorite!

Bean dip
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This recipe happened by accident. That’s where many great recipes come from, right? Happy accidents. From this most recent accident came our famous 5-Minute Bean Dip recipe! It’s not superlative when I say it might be the very easiest recipe we’ve ever created. Beans, salsa, and cheese come together into the creamiest, gooiest piping hot mess. Dunk in crunchy chips and it tastes remarkably like the queso from your favorite Mexican joint. A 3 ingredient recipe, the flavor is more irresistibly complex than you’d imagine. But to really understand the magic here: you’ve got to taste it.

Ingredients in the fastest, easiest bean dip recipe

Alex whipped this up on a whim one night to go with some tacos, and it was so unexpectedly delicious that we decided it needed to go public. We’ve made this so many times, we’ve lost count. The greatness is in its simplicity, because all you need is 3 ingredients (plus salt):

  • Canned borlotti or pinto beans
  • Salsa
  • Shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese
Borlotti beans recipe

Pinto beans vs borlotti beans

Oddly enough, we first made this bean dip recipe with a unique variety of beans: borlotti beans! Alex found them on a whim at our local grocery and we accidentally loved them. This bean dip tastes amazing with the creamy, meaty texture of borlotti beans, but they can be hard to find. Pinto beans work just as well as a substitute! Here’s some info about both:

  • What are borlotti beans? Borlotti beans are a bean related to kidney and pinto beans. They’re common in Italy and Mexico, and also referred to as cranberry beans or cacahuate beans (in Mexico). In their dried state they’re a beautiful dappled white and pink color, but when cooked they look the same color as pinto beans, a sort of pinkish brown. We found them in 13-ounce jars in our local grocery.
  • Pinto beans are the best substitute for borlotti beans! You can easily make this dip with pinto beans and it tastes just as good!
Bean dip recipe

How to make bean dip: the fast way

This dip couldn’t be easier or faster. (Have we emphasized that enough yet?) In fact, you don’t even need to drain or rinse those beans. Yep, just use them right from the can! Here’s the brief overview of how this bean dip recipe comes together:

  • Dump beans, salsa & cheese into a saucepan. Don’t drain or rinse the beans: the can liquid is important to getting just the right texture.
  • Heat until the cheese melts. You’ll see it go from mostly melted to becoming a sort of liquid cheese. That’s when it’s ready! Serve when it’s piping hot.

Can you substitute cooked dry beans?

Usually we’re all about cooking dried beans. But in this bean dip recipe, we do not recommend substituting cooked dry beans. Why? Canning beans makes their membranes very tender, almost mushy. Canned beans also have thickened can liquid, which is impossible to obtain at home when you cook from dry. You need both of these things in order for this bean dip to come together so quickly with just the right texture. Save those beans for one of these bean recipes!

Bean dip

Add a garnish for some flair

Typically we serve this bean dip without a garnish. But if you want to take it over the top for parties, add a garnish! Throw a few chopped veggies in the center of the dip, and the color contrast looks lovely. Here are a few ideas for the garnish:

  • Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Red onion or green onion, finely chopped
  • Cilantro
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Hot sauce (like Cholula)

Vegan variation (and healthy option!)

Wait, you don’t want a gooey cheesy bean dip? We’ve got an option for you too. This Easy Refried Bean Dip is vegan and full of flavor! You’ll use storebought canned refried beans instead of whole beans, and mix it with green chiles and seasonings. It’s terrifically delicious and a smidge healthier than this bean dip recipe, if you’re looking for something lighter.

How to make bean dip

What to pair with bean dip

That’s it! You’ve got your bean dip faster than the time it takes you to read this article. Lastly, here are a few things we’d pair with bean dip. You can likely think of these yourself, but we wanted to point to a few specific dips for chips:

More great dip recipes

We love to dip, over here! Here are some of our top favorite dip recipes if you’re looking for more inspiration:

This bean dip recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the substitutes above.

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Bean dip

5-Minute Bean Dip

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

3.6 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
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This intensely delicious bean dip recipe takes literally 5 minutes. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this party favorite! 


  • 2 15-ounce cans or jars borlotti or pinto beans*
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese**
  • 8 ounces mild or medium salsa
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Tortilla chips, for serving


  1. Drain the beans and measure out 1 cup of the can liquid. 
  2. Add the beans, cheese, salsa, salt, and 1 cup can liquid to a medium saucepan. Warm it over medium heat until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Mash beans gently with a masher if you’d like a smoother texture. Taste and add another pinch of salt if necessary.
  3. Serve immediately with tortilla chips. If desired, you can garnish with chopped veggies: we used a bit of finely chopped tomato, red onion and green onion with a drizzle of Cholula hot sauce.


*We used 2 13-ounce jars of borlotti beans we found at our local grocery, but pinto beans work just as well!

*For a healthy spin, use half the cheese or go to Refried Bean Dip (no cheese). 

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Kimberly Winningham-Geary says:

    This was good. I didn’t use a whole cup of liquid and I also put the pinto beans and the salsa in the food processer to blend it all up and then put it on the stove and added the cheese. It was really good. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Muff says:

    Can this recipe be made ahead and reheated?


    1. Making ahead and reheating this should work! We have not tried it, but in theory this should not present a problem. Make sure to heat until the cheese melts (we’d use the stovetop over medium to low heat).

  3. Barbara P says:

    2 cups or 8 ounces grated cheese. Eight ounces by weight, grated? 2 cups = 16 oz.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      By weight!

  4. Jill says:

    Made as directed; used canned borlotti beans, I believe the cans were more like 18 oz though. 1 cup of liquid was the entire amount of the two cans, so save yourself some trouble and just dump it all in!

    Used store brand mild salsa and 2 cups of Monterey Jack & jalepeno cheese.

    Mixture looked liquidy at first – give it a couple minutes to set up! Ended up perfect! Dip was a hit, and is a great base to start making your own tweaks as well.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I have made this twice now and loved it. I used pinto beans because barlotti beans were hard to find. The different brands had different amounts of beans/ liquid so I do think the amount of liquid used could affect the recipe depending on which brand of beans are used. It is simple though to adjust the liquid depending on the brand or personal preference. Topped it with green onions and tomatoes. My friends loved it! Thanks!!

  6. Helen Vast says:

    Too liquidy and bland, looked nothing like the picture. I ended up spooning the pinto beans into a mixer to blend them into a dip consistency, mashing them was inconsistent and lumpy.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      We are so sorry this happened to you! This is likely due to differences in bean can liquid amounts. We have updated the recipe to include the exact amount of bean can liquid to use. So sorry and thank you for letting us know about this. Let us know if you do try it again!

  7. Diana Sauls says:

    This was disappointing. Followed the recipe using pinto beans. More like bean soup than dip. Very liquidy.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      I’m sorryit didn’t work for you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    This was so watery!! How do you thicken it up? The cheese also melted really weirdly and stuck to everything.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Did you use the borlotti beans, or pinto beans? Which brand of beans? I’m thinking we may need to specify an amount of can liquid to pour in since all brands of beans are different — so let me know. Also did you mash the beans with a masher as well? This helps with the texture. Let us know!

    2. Aardman says:

      I always use canned vegetarian refried beans to thicken everything including fusion. Never flour or corn starch. Doesn’t take much. Also, I prefer Italian cannellini beans almost always. Also anything that comes out of a can is always heavily salted already. I never add additional salt without tasting the final product. As far as the liquid out of the can, always read the ingredients first. especially the salt content.

  9. Stephanie says:

    This looks amazing! Do you have any recommendations on the salsa type/brand? I’m guessing the jarred ones might be better here, but curious what you like to use!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Hi! We’ve made it with many brands with good luck. Any jarred type without too big of chunks will work great.

    2. Andrea Morgsn says:

      Your recipe says add beans and liquid to saucepan. Warm until cheese is melted. No mention of adding cheese, salsa or salt. Is everything added at once and the heated. Thanks.

      1. Sonja Overhiser says:

        Our apologies — in a previous edit to this recipe some words got deleted. We’ve updated the recipe accordingly — thank you so much!