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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip


Forget the sour cream.

Forget the cream cheese.

Spinach dip made with mascarpone cheese is an absolute winner! Lighter (texture…sorry…not in calories) and I bet you’ll love it.


I’m normally all over anything served warm, spreadable and dippable, but I had never met a spinach dip to fall in love with, that is until now. Most recipes that I’ve seen call for sour cream and cream cheese, and the combination of the two heavy ingredients make the spinach dip too thick and hides the flavor of the spinach. Which is good if you’re like my husband and don’t like spinach anyways and is in it only for the warm oozy cheese…but just so-so for Popeye fans.

The solution that I found was in a cookbook called “In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen” by Allison Hooper, founder of the Vermont Butter and Cheese company. They not only sent me a cookbook to test recipes from, but also included a selection of their artisan cheeses, including a mascarpone cheese, which I used in their Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip recipe.

Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip Recipe - final shot

Simply fantastic. The mascarpone cheese made the spinach dip so much lighter!

(screeeetch!) Wait. I didn’t say the dip was lighter in calories (I haven’t counted, and I probably won’t) as mascarpone is made of butterfat. But um, perfect warm spinach dip? Who’s counting?! The texture of the dip is lighter than if you used sour cream/cream cheese combo…and bonus…I can taste the spinach!

Oh and by the way, I’ve just realized that I’ve been pronouncing Mascarpone wrong all these years.

My way (i.e. the wrong way): mar-ska-pone

The right way: mas-car-pone


Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip Recipe

Servings: 8 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yields 2 cups
adapted from In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen by Allison Hooper

I think the original recipe lacked a crucial step - and that is to squeeze out all of the water from the frozen spinach. I like to serve the spinach dip with sliced french bread, celery sticks or warmed pita bread triangles. I've also used two small ramekins, each ramekin holding 1-cup of the spinach dip comfortably. Oh, I've also added freshly grated nutmeg to the original recipe too.


16 ounces frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if you have)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Take a handful of the defrosted spinach and squeeze and discard the water from the spinach. Squeeze as much of the water out as you can, you should get about a little less than a cup of spinach water.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes (take your time, if you do this over high heat, the onions will burn and become bitter). Add the spinach and saute until the spinach is warm, but still bright green about 30 seconds.

4. Season and toss with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone cheese and the grated parmesan.

5. Pour into 2 small ramekins (or other oven-safe dish) and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm with pita chips, bread or celery sticks.

43 Responses to “Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip”

  1. Judy — 12/22/09 @ 8:08 pm

    heartbreaking! I love that first picture. Enough to make me run out to the supermarket RIGHTNOW and get the ingredients. naughty! christmas is coming and I’m already down with the pre-holiday weight but I’m going to try this anyway =D

  2. That is a neat twist on regular old spinach dip! Delicious!

  3. Patsy — 12/22/09 @ 10:52 pm

    wow… this looks like a wonderful way to make this dip! I bet it would be hard to stop at a couple scoops!

  4. Mmmm This could be the death of my calorie-counting streak!

  5. the lacquer spoon — 12/23/09 @ 2:05 am

    I’m always searching for a good friend with sliced baguettes. Here it is :)

  6. Anything with mascarpone is a winner in my book! This looks lovely and perfect for a quick snack!

  7. Impromptu Diva — 12/23/09 @ 10:49 am

    I love spinach dips… and this is definitely a must try!
    Happy Holidays Jaden… I feel like I found a new friend in you, I hope you stay as sweet as you are!

  8. Asianmommy — 12/23/09 @ 3:37 pm

    Ooh–looks wonderful!

  9. kiss my spatula — 12/23/09 @ 4:30 pm

    ohhhh, i’m such a fan of warm dips. yum yum yum on this one.

  10. Chris — 12/23/09 @ 6:52 pm

    I don’t need any bread slices, just hand me a spoon please;)

  11. The Teacher Cooks — 12/23/09 @ 8:43 pm

    Spinach dip is a favorite of mine. This has a different twist! It does look a lot lighter. Always good with bread . Yummy!

  12. Anna — 12/23/09 @ 10:02 pm

    I think the Olive Garden uses mascarpone in their spinach artichoke dip – which is by far the best I’ve had at any restaurant. Yum!

  13. Lauren — 12/23/09 @ 10:54 pm

    This looks heavenly Jaden! My mom always makes a spinach artichoke dip whenever we have people over, but I’m sure this would be a fabulous (but not too drastic) change every once in awhile!

    Happy Holidays!

  14. Mike — 12/23/09 @ 11:06 pm

    I just made a cheddar and walnut cheese ball, but now I’m seriously wishing I had made this instead. Might just have to make a trip to the store tomorrow to squeeze it in.

  15. auntbear — 12/24/09 @ 1:25 am

    This is what I want for Christmas.

  16. the domestic mama — 12/24/09 @ 7:50 am

    mmm…New year eve appetizer for me! Thanks !

  17. Dawn — 12/24/09 @ 11:31 pm

    So glad to see this recipe, Jaden — you’ve validated me!!! My usual spinach and artichoke dip was made with cream cheese, which I can no longer eat due to food allergies. So this year, I used goat cheese and mascarpone as a substitute and everyone thought I was crazy. Now I can say, “See, Jaden used it, too!”

  18. meeso — 12/25/09 @ 12:48 am

    Oh yeah, Mascarpone cheese blows them others away! This has got to be freakin’ amazing!

  19. janelle — 12/25/09 @ 5:56 pm

    Brilliant! I cannot wait to try it!

  20. Yum! Can I eat this for breakfast? :) I think this would qualify for getting my greens in at breakfast like I’m supposed to do this pregnancy.

    Of course we ate all of my bread recently, so I’ll have to make some more French bread, too. . .

  21. Cynthia — 12/26/09 @ 5:30 pm

    All the best to you and the family for the holidays!

  22. Sounds perfect, totally my kind of dip! I’ll be trying it very soon :-D

  23. Rachelle — 12/26/09 @ 8:56 pm

    This is just evil. Pure evil. What am I going to do when my marathon training is over in January? I’m gonna have to sign up for another race so I can keep eating all these tasty morsels … that’s what I’m gonna have to do! :oP

  24. Pingback: Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip Recipe | Food and Recipes

  25. Barbara Kiebel — 12/27/09 @ 9:34 pm

    Looks delicious…delicious enough I’m making it for New Year’s party I’m having; thanks!

  26. Dawn — 12/28/09 @ 7:30 pm

    Dang American rules that require aging raw cheese 60 days! I need to find someone who will smuggle some raw Mascarpone into the country for me, just so I can make this. And those pictures. Drool-worthy. Really wish I hadn’t skipped lunch.

  27. TDrake — 12/28/09 @ 8:39 pm

    Made this for Christmas Eve and everyone loved it…Very Yummy!!! Thanks for a new twist on an old dish! Love you site!

  28. This looks so good. I’ll definitely bookmark this for my next grocery shopping trip!

  29. Misty — 1/3/10 @ 11:14 pm

    OMG – this stuff is sooo crazy good! Thank you so much for the recipe (I blogged about it). I had forgotten how much I love mascarpone. However, Bel Giorno brand that you can get at regular markets, not so good. I have to head back over to Whole Foods for the stuff I can eat by the spoonful.

  30. Making this tonight for my boys watching the Fiesta Bowl!

  31. Chef Chuck — 1/5/10 @ 10:57 pm

    That is a unique blend to me, “Mascarpone” I must try ! Thanks For sharing. :)

  32. gowns — 7/17/10 @ 2:45 pm

    Wow is all I can say. I have tried this with cream cheese and it was very good. Your recipe takes the flavor to a higher level and I love it. Mascarpone is made for this recipe,Thankyou for this wonderful idea.

  33. Rose — 10/2/10 @ 6:24 pm

    If I make this, how long could I safely refrigerate it before baking?

  34. Fabiana — 1/13/11 @ 6:04 pm

    This looks so good!! I gonna try this tomorow!

  35. Matt — 11/18/11 @ 12:02 pm

    No recipe? What’s the point of the blog post?

  36. Yolanda — 11/19/11 @ 4:38 pm

    Where is the recipe for Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip?

  37. Mary y — 12/5/12 @ 8:57 pm

    He pics look amazing. Can this be done on a min slow cooker too?

  38. Mary y — 12/5/12 @ 8:58 pm

    The pics look amazing! Can this be done on a mini slow cooker too?

  39. jon sanders — 8/21/13 @ 9:00 pm

    Why not use fresh spinach instead of frozen?

  40. RosSumiati — 12/30/13 @ 8:09 am

    Is there any chance i can make the substitution for the spinach? It looks delicious, but i want to change the spinach instead. Thank you, best regards

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