Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This dip is a warm version of the beloved caprese salad. It’s really easy to make and you can make it ahead, too.

How long it takes: 10 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake.
Equipment you’ll need: small baking dish, oven
Servings: 8

Dip in a blue baking dish made with cheese, basil, and tomatoes.
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Confession: I could eat this entire dish of hot caprese dip. It’s dangerously good.

I’m the first to admit my shortcomings and my weaknesses. It’s a good characteristic to have, you know. Admit your weaknesses so that you can be proactive and avoid them.

Well, one of my weaknesses just so happens to be hot, melty, cheese. I know, rare and unusual, right? I’m sure not a single one of you shares that weakness. I’m sure I’m the only one that goes back for “just one more bite” a few more times than I should.

Fellow cheese lovers: if you’re like me and can’t get enough cheesiness, try white queso in the slow cooker! No Velveeta, but plenty of dippable cheese. A couple more winners are Mexican spinach dip and crab rangoon dip.

About this hot caprese dip

This luscious hot caprese dip recipe starts off with a layer of creamy cream cheese mixed with shredded mozzarella and lots of fresh basil.

(Majorly long side note: My mom and I debated about the cream cheese layer for quite some time. I was insistent, even though it isn’t a traditional component of caprese, and since this is Rachel Cooks and not Bonnie Cooks, my opinion wins. She ultimately admitted I was right. But she still wins for the best person to debate recipes with. Some of “my” best ideas come from conversations with her.)

Anyways, that creamy layer is topped with plenty of fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. That’s right – lots of cheese. Is there any other way? You know I love a good quinoa salad but there’s nothing better than ooey, gooey melted cheese. Like I said, it’s one of my weaknesses.

What You’ll Need

  • Cream Cheese: For creamy dips, full fat cream cheese is usually the best bet. You’ll need an 8 ounce package. Make sure you take it out of the fridge an hour or two before you make this recipe so it has a chance to soften up.
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese: You’ll only need a half cup (or so) but don’t skip it. It provides the stringy cheesy pizza texture to the dip.
  • Fresh Basil: There’s really no substitute for fresh basil in this dip. It’s what makes it a caprese dip, along with the fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. You’ll need extra to garnish the dip, too.
  • Grape Tomatoes: Any type of sweet small tomato will work. When they roast, they burst and become sweeter and juicy. So good!
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: Look for fresh mozzarella in the deli section of the grocery store. It’s packed in clear liquid which is a by product of the cheese-making process and sold in plastic containers.
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Just a little black pepper is really all the seasoning this dip needs. All the fresh flavors really shine on their own.
  • Dippers: Crackers, fresh baguette rounds, crostini, or whatever you like.

How To Make This Dip

Prepare: This dip is really easy to make. You’ll need a shallow baking dish, about 8 inches square, that will also be used to serve the dip. A round pie dish works too. Turn the oven on to preheat.

Soften the cream cheese. Hopefully you remembered to take your cream cheese out of the fridge to soften. If you didn’t, don’t despair. Remove it from the packaging, cut it into small squares, and it will be soft in 10 to 15 minutes. Or, put the whole block (with foil removed) on a small plate and microwave it in 10 second increments at High power until it feels soft.

Make first cheese layer. In a medium size bowl, mix the cream cheese with the shredded mozzarella cheese, a few grinds of pepper, and fresh chopped basil until blended. Spread the cheese mixture evenly in the bottom of the baking dish.

Add tomatoes and fresh mozz. Next, arrange the tomatoes on the cheese layer (be sure to wash and pat them dry first). Cut the fresh mozzarella cheese into small pieces and arrange the pieces on and around the tomatoes.

Bake. Pop the dish into the oven and bake it until it’s warm and melty. The tomatoes should look a little wrinkled and be starting to split and burst.

Garnish. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy! It’s also excellent with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Wait, there’s a warning! Make sure to let the caprese dip cool down for a few minutes prior to digging in or those cherry tomatoes will explode like hot lava bombs in your mouth and you’ll end up a burnt mouth. And then you’ll do it again because it tastes so good. Don’t ask me how I know.

Piece of bread dipping into melted cheese and warm tomatoes.

Make It Your Own

Bake it in a cast iron skillet: Not only is this a pretty presentation, but it will keep the dip warm as the cast iron stays warm longer.

More Caprese

If you love caprese, you may want to try caprese couscous stuffed tomatoes, caprese pasta salad, or chicken caprese quinoa bake.

Make-Ahead Ideas

You can prep the dip up to a day ahead of time. Store it in the baking dish, covered, in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve it, remove the dish from the fridge, uncover it, and preheat the oven. Bake as directed. You may have to add a minute or two to the baking time since the dish is chilled.

Storage & Reheating Tips

This dip is really best served immediately. If you do happen to have leftovers, store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. That’s assuming the dip hasn’t sat out for more than two hours on the counter. In that case, you’re probably better off discarding it.

To reheat, the best method is the microwave. Just heat it gently until it’s warmed through.

More Delectable Dips

Recipe

Hot Caprese Dip Recipe

4.50 from 56 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
With melty cheese and fresh tomatoes, hot caprese dip recipe is winning appetizer. Perfect for summer entertaining.
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Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup shredded low-moisture part skim mozzarella
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnishing
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, more to taste
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes (10 oz. pkg.)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, patted dry and cut into small pieces
  • bread or crackers for dipping

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mozzarella, chopped basil, and pepper. Spread into bottom of prepared baking dish.
  • Arange grape tomatoes evenly on top of the cheese layer. Arrange the fresh mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with more pepper if desired.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and bubbling and tomatoes are starting to burst.
  • Let stand for 10 minutes and then serve topped with additional fresh basil.

Notes

  • Nutrition information is for dip only and does not include crackers.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare dip in baking dish, cover and refrigerate up to a day ahead. Bake as directed (remove cover), adding a few minutes because the dish is chilled.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 209kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 312mg, Potassium: 156mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 956IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 231mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.50 from 56 votes (50 ratings without comment)

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55 Comments

  1. victorine says:

    Awesome. Wonder if it would be too much to have this for an appetizer and have Whole Foods handmade caprese sausage with pasta for the main course? They only make the sausage at this time of the year.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      There’s no such thing as too much caprese. :) Sounds like I need to make a trip to Whole Foods!

      1. Tam says:

        Two questions….I have no grape or cherries but a lot on other tomatoes growing in the garden. Can I sub?  Can left overs be had cold or does it need reheating. Thanks. This looks soooooo amazing!

        1. Rachel Gurk says:

          It should work just fine with any kind of tomato, it might just be a little juicier – I would recommend seeding them a bit before adding them. I have never tried leftovers cold, but hey, why not! ;) Otherwise just warm it up a bit in the microwave until it is melty again.

  2. Shara says:

    Um….it’s wrong to say I LOVE YOU to a complete stranger. But…I LOVE YOU for introducing me to this recipe!!! IT ROCKS!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you like it!!! <3

  3. Kristen says:

    Did you make this in a 9×13? Planning to make this for a party for a friend. I have waaay too much basil!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      My pan was smaller than a 9×13 – I think a 9×13 might work but you’d have to spread the cream cheese mixture out more and that might be tricky. It would be great doubled and put in a 9×13!

  4. Sandy @ RE says:

    This looks to die for, Rachel. Perfect party appetizer!

  5. Carla says:

    I love anything caprese as tomatoes, basil, and cheese are heaven! Confession – I wouldn’t share this dip at all and probably make it my dinner ;)

  6. Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons says:

    Good compromise :) I also have a creamy, decadent dip to photograph soon, and I timed it right before my parents come up to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. Here you go Dad – DIPPPP!

    I just love that you kept the tomatoes whole for this! I love how deeply flavorful they get when they are roasted. And who can resist that mozzarella?

  7. Amy Basso says:

    oooh, this is my kinda dip! Cheesy-gooey-goodness!

  8. denise says:

    ps. you may want to try it with roma tomatoes, too

  9. denise says:

    I love the cream cheese addition. Why not drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top?

    My brother wouldn’t like the cream cheese–he considers himself to be a caprese aficionado after living in Italy. He grudgingly shared his “secret” recipe with me. He’d add a bit of vino, though, to yours.

  10. Amanda says:

    This recipe is my love language!!! Gotta go get the ingredients so I can make it!