Easy + Cheesy Southwest Bean Dip

Easy + Cheesy Southwest Bean Dip

10 mins read

It’s that time of year again. Time to start thinking about football food.

Summer has officially dwindled and if you’re like me (living with my husband) I’m now stuck inside each Sunday glued to our TV listening to Joe Buck.

Look, I know many of us aren’t interested in the game, but rather in the food, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Appetizers and game day food should be taken very seriously because we don’t want a bunch of HANGRY people screaming at the TV.

That’s why I’m here with a simple savory solution: easy CHEESY southwest bean dip. With southwest-inspired flavors like red chili, enchilada sauce, corn, bell peppers, and onion! Can I get a yum?!

The best part? It only takes around 30 minutes from start to finish.

southwest bean dip in a skillet topped with avocado and cilantro

Everything you’ll need to make this southwest bean dip

This bean dip is made with a few simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry and fridge. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pinto beans: we’re using delicious pinto beans instead of black beans this bean dip recipe! I love the texture of pinto beans and they make the dip extra creamy.
  • Sauce: you can either use your favorite enchilada sauce or salsa (mild or medium).
  • Spices: we’re packing in the flavor with paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt.
  • Veggies: this southwest bean dip is packed with sneaky veggies like bell pepper, corn, and onion.
  • Cheese: it’s not a CHEESY southwest bean dip without the cheese! I like to add shredded Mexican cheese on top.
  • To garnish: top the dip with freshness from a jalapeño, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, and lime, plus a little extra savory goodness from cotija or feta cheese.

blending ingredients for southwest bean dip

Customize your southwest bean dip

Because this dip is made up of pantry staples, you can easily customize it to your taste preferences. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Try other beans. I like to mix it up with pinto beans in this recipe, but you can also use black beans.
  • Get spicy. If you like a kick of heat, try using a medium or spicy enchilada sauce or salsa, leaving the seeds in your jalapeño, or even adding some hot sauce.
  • Choose your cheese. Feel free to top the bean dip with shredded cheddar cheese or pepper jack cheese if that’s what you have on hand. You do you!
  • Make it vegan. Simply top the bean dip with your favorite shredded vegan cheese and bake it up as directed.

sautéing vegetables in a skillet to make a vegetarian southwest bean dip

Add a boost of protein

This southwest bean dip packs almost 10g of vegetarian protein as-is, but you could amp up the protein and savory flavor by mixing in cooked, shredded chicken or even cooked chorizo before baking it.

layering an easy southwest bean dip in a skillet

How do you make the southwest bean dip?

What I love the most about this southwest bean dip is that it’s easy to throw together when you’re having a party, can be made ahead of time, and is great for serving a crowd. It’s chunky yet still creamy, savory, cheesy and so ridiculously simple! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Prep the beans. First you’ll process one can of pinto beans with some enchilada sauce (or salsa) and delicious spices in a blender or food processor. This is so we have a nice creamy bean base! Pour it into an 9×9-inch baking pan greased with cooking spray. Stir in another can of pinto beans that have NOT been processed.
  2. Add the veggies & cheese. Saute corn, bell peppers, and onions in a skillet for a few minutes, then stir into the bean mixture that’s already in the pan. Top with shredded cheese and cover with foil.
  3. Bake, garnish & serve. Bake for 20-25 minutes until nice and bubbly and cheese is melted. Top with jalapenos, avocado, cilantro, cherry tomatoes and whatever else your heart desires. Serve with tortilla chips!

cheesy southwest bean dip in a skillet next to tortilla chips

Make it ahead of time

If you want to prepare this southwest bean dip ahead of time, you totally can! Simply mix all ingredients together in the pan as directed and cover with cheese. Place foil over the top of the pan, then place it in the fridge until ready to bake. You may need to add a few extra minutes of baking time, but rest assured the bean dip will still be delicious! Bean dip can be prepared up to 3 days ahead of time.

scooping southwest bean dip out of a skillet with a tortilla chip

Our favorite ways to serve it

The options are truly endless when it comes to serving up this southwest bean dip. Here are some of our fav ways to dig in:

  • Dipping tortilla chips (of course) or toasty pita chips
  • Adding it to tacos, burritos, or enchiladas
  • Serving it with rice (my green rice would be perfect), quinoa, or cauliflower rice for a delicious, high-protein dinner

high-protein southwest bean dip in a skillet with tortilla chips

Storing & reheating tips

  • To store: if you have leftovers simply add it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To reheat: heat the southwest bean dip in 30-second intervals in the microwave, or reheat it in a saucepan, stirring frequently until it’s heated through.

More dip recipes you’ll love

Get all of my dip recipes here!

I hope you love this cheesy southwest bean dip! If you make it be sure to leave a comment & a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Easy + Cheesy Southwest Bean Dip

southwest bean dip in a skillet next to tortilla chips

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 35 minutes

Serves10 servings

Truly the BEST easy southwest bean dip full of savory flavors and layers of melty cheese. This vegetarian southwest bean dip is great for serving a crowd with your favorite tortilla chips, pita chips, veggies, and more! Perfect for game day and any of your fall party needs.


  • For the bean dip:
  • 2 15.4 ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce or your favorite salsa (mild or medium)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
  • 1 ½ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • For garnish:
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons diced cilantro
  • A few sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Cotija or feta cheese
  • Lime wedges
  • For serving:
  • Tortilla chips


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Grease a 9×9 inch pan with oil or cooking spray. Set aside.

  • Add one can of pinto beans, enchilada sauce or salsa, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder to a blender or food processor and process/blend until smooth. Pour it into prepared pan. Stir in the remaining beans from the other can. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

  • Add olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add diced onion, bell pepper and corn and saute for 3-5 minutes until onion and peppers cook down a bit. Add mixture to the pan with the beans.

  • Gently stir all the ingredients in the pan together so that they are well incorporated. Add shredded cheese on top, then cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes until bean dip is bubbling along the edges and cheese is nice and melted. Garnish with jalapeño slices, avocado slices, cilantro, sliced cherry tomatoes and crumbled cheese. Serve immediately with tortilla chips for dipping. Serves 10.

Recipe Notes

See the full post for tips, tricks, and ways to customize this dip!


Serving: 1serving (about 1/3 cup)Calories: 161calCarbohydrates: 19.9gProtein: 9.9gFat: 4.9gSaturated Fat: 2.2gFiber: 5.7gSugar: 2.4g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

This post was originally published on September 4th, 2019, and republished with new photos on September 28th, 2023.

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