This spicy cannellini bean dip is so full of flavor with roasted garlic, Calabrian chilis, fresh rosemary, and a squeeze of lemon juice. It’s a great vegetarian dip appetizer with an Italian flare that’s perfect for any time of year or occasion. Serve with toasted bread, crudités, or crackers.
Some pretty simple ingredients are needed for this creamy white bean dip, hopefully most you have on hand! The full ingredients list with quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Cannellini beans: 2x cans of cannellini beans, a mild, creamy bean that when blended is nice and smooth in texture.
- Garlic: A whole head of roasted garlic really transforms the flavor of this dip. Roasting the garlic before putting it in the dip mellows out the flavor and gives it more of an umami taste.
- Calabrian chilis: Either chopped Calabrian chilis or full chilis can be used. From the jar of chopped it’s 1 tsp, from full it’s 1-2 chilis. To avoid spice all together, just omit this ingredient.
- Fresh rosemary: This brings an earthy herbaceousness that is delicious.
- Lemon juice: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds acidity and brightness, and balances out the dip. The bottled stuff really is just not the same, so avoid it if you can.
- Extra virgin olive oil: A good extra virgin olive oil is best here because aside from the garlic, it’s not cooked, so the robust flavor from EVOO will add to the flavor of the dip.
- Salt & pepper: A good pinch of kosher salt and crack of black pepper is key to bring all the flavors to life.
If you don’t have or don’t like any of the above, below are some good ingredient substitutions that can be used in this cannellini bean dip recipe.
- Beans: Any white beans should be fine to swap here. Great northern beans, navy beans, butter beans, etc. You can even use a combination of two different beans if you’d like.
- Spice: Instead of Calabrian chilis you can simply add some red pepper chili flakes or cayenne pepper.
- Herbs: Rather than rosemary, a lot of other fresh herbs would be great – thyme, oregano, or parsley, for example.
- Acid: A splash of white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar would do the trick.
Step by step instructions
One of my favorite things about this homemade white bean dip recipe is that it’s a super hands off simple recipe. Aside from cutting off the top of the garlic clove, you really just throw everything into a food processor and let it do all the work!
1. Roast the garlic. Cut the top ¼ off the garlic head. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Place in the oven and roast for 50 minutes at 400°F.
2. Blend everything together. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the roasted garlic (squeeze the garlic cloves out of the wrapping), drained and rinsed beans, Calabrian chilis, rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pulse until you get a smooth and creamy texture. Transfer to a small bowl for serving.
Tips and tricks
- Make sure you drain and rinse your beans. We don’t want that additional liquid in the dip.
- Make the dip as smooth or chunky as you’d like by pulsing the food processor less or more.
- If you want the dip thinner, add more olive oil or even a tablespoon of water at a time to thin it out.
- If you want to infuse even more flavor into this creamy bean dip, cook your own beans as opposed to using canned beans! You can use my brothy beans recipe. One can of beans equals 1 ¾ cup of cooked beans.
- If you love the sharper flavor of fresh garlic, grate a few cloves of that in as opposed to roasting the whole head.
How to serve
This white bean dip is so good scooped up or served with just about anything for an appetizer or delicious snack, but below are my favorite ideas.
- Drizzle olive oil or the infused oil from the Calabrian chili jar on top of the dip for nice presentation
- Serve with crusty bread or crackers (sourdough, baguette, french bread, pita chips, pita wedges) as a dip
- Spoon some onto bread yourself and serve as a little crostini
- Serve with fresh veggies (carrot sticks, bell pepper, celery sticks, cucumber sticks, snap peas)
- If you have leftover dip:
- Use it as a white bean spread on a sandwich or wrap
- Use it in place of hummus in a layered dip or veggie grain buddha bowl
To store, transfer dip to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Before serving take it out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes to come down to room temperature.
To freeze, put in an airtight container leaving a little room for expansion. To defrost, put it in the fridge overnight. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Given the nature of the dip, the best way to thicken it is to add more beans.
Yes! You can use a high powered blender instead.
More delicious dip recipes
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Spicy Roasted Garlic White Bean Dip
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon chopped Calabrian chilis
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 3 teaspoon lemon juice about ½ a lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Cut the top ¼ off the garlic head. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Place in the oven and roast for 50 minutes at 400°F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the roasted garlic (squeeze the garlic cloves out of the wrapping), drained and rinsed beans, Calabrian chilis, rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pulse until you get a smooth and creamy texture. Transfer to a small bowl for serving.