185,220 Ways to Make Seven-Layer Dip

refried bean layer dip

Question: What happens when you have a dip with seven layers arranged any way you like plus a variety of options for each individual layer?

Answer: A dip that could be made 185,220 different ways.

I know what you’re thinking. You think seven-layer dips go in the same category as cheese balls. You think both are steeped in corny 1970s and 1980s American dinner party culture. You know that both dips have enough calories to count for a meal.

I know all this too, but I don’t care. They taste great!  Who’s with me?

A good friend of mine has a seven-layer bean dip that she makes for every occasion. She makes it every time, because it kills every time. Not in the literal sense, of course. What I mean to say is that everyone loves it–every time.

Alli’s Seven-Layer Bean Dip Recipe

*2 cans refried beans

*1, 8 oz. container sour cream

*1 package of taco seasoning

*3 tablespoons salsa

*3 cups cheddar cheese

*2 cans sliced black olives

*1 bunch scallions, chopped

*3 plum tomatoes, chopped

Directions: Combine salsa and refried beans in sauce pan and place on low heat for 10 minutes. Let cool. In a bowl, mix sour cream and taco seasoning. Before chopping tomatoes, remove seeds. Pepare the remaining ingredients. Layer (from bottom to top): bean mixture, sour cream mixture, cheese, tomatoes, cheese, scallions, olives.


I followed Alli’s recipe pretty close, except that I didn’t use a second layer of cheese. Yes, that makes mine a six-layer dip–you caught me! I used a spicy refriend bean variety and wish that I had added more jalapenos to the mix. I like it spicy.

Can you guess what served as the dippers for this snack slash feast?








tostitos whole grain tortilla scoops

Tostitos, of course.

Options for Your Seven-Layer Dip

While making this special dip, I couldn’t help but think about all the different possibilities of a classic Tex-Mex seven-layer dip, which is exactly what prompted the headline for this post. I sat down and made a list of all the available ingredients for each of the layers, and then I recruited the help of Jason (the math brains behind this operation) to figure out the true number of ways that you could create and layer the dip. Like I said, there are at least 185,220 combinations for a Tex-Mex inspired seven-layer dip.

Below you’ll find my list, which I know only mentions some of the possible ingredients. Keep in mind that the last category is made of up spices and herbs, so we did not include this category in the equation that got us to 185,220.

I list the layer categories here in the order in which I would layer them, but not a single one is necessary; just make sure the heaviest is on the bottom. I know there are only six layers mentioned, but it’s assumed that you would use multiple layers of cheese or multiple layers of veggies to make up the difference.

Happy dipping!

Bean layer options

Any of the following could be whole, refried or blended (in combination with a cream or liquid substance for texture)

Black beans

Pinto beans

Red beans

Creamy layer options

Sour cream

Sour cream and mayo/Miracle Whip combo

Cream cheese

Cream cheese and mayo/Miracle Whip combo

Tofutti vegan cream cheese


Meat layer options

The meat layer is always optional

Bacon, crumbled

Vegetarian meat substitute

Spicy sausage

Any of the following could be shredded or ground




Cheese layer options


Sharp cheddar

Monterrey Jack

Pepper Jack

Queso blanco

Saucy or dippy layer options


Cheese and salsa combo…think queso dip

Pico de gallo

The following can be used as individual layers or as a combo with another layer

Enchilada sauce

Adobo sauce


Tomatillo salsa

Veggie layer options

Bell peppers (red, yellow, or green)

Spicy peppers (anaheim, jalapeño, chipotle, habanero, or whatever hotness you can stand)

Onions (scallions, white, or yellow; raw, softened, or caramelized)

Tomatoes (cherry tomatoes halved, all others chopped, diced, or minced)

Black olives



Spice, herb, and other flavorings

Since any or all of these could be incorporated in any of the layers, this is not part of the math equation.

Taco seasoning mix





Garlic salt

Lemon and lime juice

Salt and pepper

Chili powder

Any other possible ingredients for a seven-layer dip? Please do share.


  1. Wow, I am so impressed with the math in this post. Who would have thought there are so many ways to make one dip?

    My husband makes a seven-layer dip for parties. Funny thing is that I try to make something more exciting for my dish, but that seven-layer dip is almost always the bigger hit. Classics rule, i guess!

    1. Classic does rule!

      I wish I could take credit for the calculations, but that’s all Jason — the husband.

  2. So yes. Seven layer dip is ALWAYS a winner. I love bringing it to parties because I know I will be one popular lady. And I love your idea of using yogurt instead of sour cream. A plain greek yogurt would be great (and much healthier too!)

  3. Can’t go wrong with this at all…I am one of those people who would stuff their face and “kill” this dip at a party…Lol. Stopping by to read and say hi-
    – Butter

  4. Monet, Joanne, and Butter – Glad I’m not alone here. I’ve got my mind on making a few other 7-layer dips next week for Dipstock. What’s not to love!

  5. I love Alli’s 7 layer dip! I think I may create a 7 layer combination for one of my Dipstock recipes in my NEW kitchen!! YAY!

  6. I never put much thought into the fact that you could make thousands of variations to this dip. This is probably one of my favorite dips though, not only is it easy to make but now that I know, there are over 185,220 different ways to make it.

    1. Good call on the spicy rice. I’ve got a few other layered dips that I’m working on and I think rice would work well.

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