Pizza Dip

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Pizza Dip

My sister makes a pretty mean batch of stuffed shells. A blend of herbs, spices, and three cheeses make the cheese stuffing not only incredibly cheesy (in the best kind of way), but also more flavorful than most that I’ve had.

One Sunday afternoon not too long ago, we were at my parents’ house and she was whipping up a batch for a family dinner. It happened to be getting close to dinnertime (yet dinner was not close to being ready!), and I was in serious need of a snack.

Pizza Dip 2

I swiped a cracker into the stuffed shell filling and then placed a dollop of tomato sauce on top. Let’s just say that after that, it was hard to wait around for the stuffed shells (amazing as they may be) when the pre-dinner snack was that delicious.

After that day, of course I wasted no time making a legitimate dip (read: a dip that won’t get my hand slapped away because it’s supposed to be for dinner! ;) ) out of the whole concoction.

Pizza Dip 3

For this dip, I make a chunky tomato sauce that comes together from start to finish in less than 10 minutes using a can of diced tomatoes. You can look for pre-made chunky pizza sauce at the grocery store, but it may not have the thickness we need for this dip (this homemade sauce is thickened up with a bit of tomato paste). Also, I like a decent amount of garlic and herbs in my sauce, along with the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors (and I have yet to find a pre-made sauce that is perfect in every way…it could always use a dash of salt or a pinch of sugar or some sautéed garlic…or just something). Really, by the time you’re finished doctoring up a jar of pre-made sauce, you could have probably made this sauce twice, lol.

Every year on Christmas Eve my family feasts on huge spread of appetizers for dinner…this dip will definitely be making an appearance this year! It’s also perfect party or game day food.

Pizza Dip 4

Pizza Dip
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: Yields 1 (8 by 8-inch square or 9-inch round) dish, about 8 to 10 servings
Chunky Tomato Sauce (yields about 1 cup):
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with about ⅓ of the juice drained off (I used Redpack)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (I used Redpack)
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
Pizza Dip:
  • Butter, to grease the baking dish
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup Chunky Tomato Sauce
  • Fresh chopped basil or parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Crackers or bread, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 400F; grease the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch square casserole dish or a 9-inch pie pan with butter.
  2. For the Chunky Tomato Sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato, tomato paste, Italian herb seasoning, sugar, salt, and pepper, and cook (uncovered) until thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and using a wooden spoon to break up the tomato pieces a bit. Set aside.
  3. For the Pizza Dip, mix together the cream cheese, ricotta, half the mozzarella (reserving the remaining half to sprinkle on top), Italian herb seasoning, salt, and garlic powder. Spread in the prepared dish, then spread the Chunky Tomato Sauce on top. Sprinkle on the remaining half of the mozzarella.
  4. Place the dish onto a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown in places, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle on the basil or parsley, if using; serve warm with crackers or bread.


Now for the fun part: the giveaway! A while ago I had the opportunity to work with Red Gold/Redpack (a company that takes their tomatoes seriously!), and they are generously sponsoring another giveaway on An Edible Mosaic! This time of year canned tomatoes are a staple in my kitchen, and I find their canned tomatoes to be consistently high quality.

One winner will get the following: 1 large storage tin that’s made to look like a can of Redpack tomatoes, 1 (28 oz) can of whole peeled tomatoes in thick puree, 1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes in thick puree, a pizza cutter, a pasta utensil, a rubber spatula, a can opener, a couple magnets, and a few recipes featuring Redpack products.

To participate, you can do any or all of the following; please leave a separate comment for each so I can count it as another entry:

  1. Leave a comment here letting me know your favorite thing to make with canned tomatoes.
  2. “Like” me on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know.  (Or just let me know if you already like me on Facebook.)
  3. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know.  (Or just let me know if you’re already a follower on Twitter.)

You don’t need to have a blog to enter this giveaway! This giveaway ends Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 9PM EST; after that the winner will be randomly chosen and notified by email. Good luck to all!

Disclaimer: I received a sampling of Redpack products to try for free from Red Gold, and they are also sponsoring this giveaway; as always, opinions stated are my own.

Update (February 1, 2015): I made this dish again and perfected the recipe and snapped a few pictures, so I decided to update both the recipe and the photos in this post.

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  1. Sarah G says

    I’ve made this dip for a party and it was AMAZING! I loved the flavors, and the tomato sauce was perfect. Thank you!

    Could this be adapted to make stuffed shells? I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before, but it seems like it could work. Put the cheese in the shells and top with sauce (most likely a double batch) and more cheese? Hmm. Suggestions?

    • says

      Sarah, I’m so glad you enjoyed the dip! :)

      My inspiration for the dip was stuffed shells, so I love that you want to use the dip as stuffed shell filling! Depending on how many shells you want to make, you could double both the dip recipe (to use as stuffing) and the sauce recipe. Also, you could add an egg to the dip recipe if you want (my mom always adds an egg to her stuffed shell filling). If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  2. Denise Matthews says

    I love using can tomatoes to smoother my pork chops or steaks after I braised them. I put them on low heat and let them simmer. The steak of pork comes out so tender there’s never any seconds.

  3. Gwen Ivanic says

    A good can of tomatoes would greatly enhance my fave eggplant roll-ups! Thanks so much for the recipe for your pizza dip … will be making this for my family this Christmas.

  4. maggie says

    Oh m y gosh I used canned tomatoes in my Roast, gumbo and chili. I use them all the time! I love to cook, have a pot of gumbo on the stove as we speak!!! I cannot wait to try your pizza dip! Thanks for posting.
    I am going to like you on Fb ;)

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