This easy to make Halloween dip is briny, creamy and cheesy with two distinct layers. It’s decorated to look like a spooky graveyard scene. Dip into this flavorful “graveyard” combo with tombstone-inspired crackers, crudité or pita chips for a flavor that’s very different from the other layered dips you’ll find on the web. Make this cream cheese olive dip ahead of time for your Halloween celebration. It’s spook-tacular!
Halloween turns everyone into a kid again. From decorating with cobwebs and witches, to dressing up in outlandish costumes and of course — fashioning recipes into creepy iterations of your worst nightmares. I’ve got a bunch of themed cocktails, appetizers and desserts for this peculiarly morbid holiday.
Inspiration for Halloween dip
This yummy graveyard dip is a kitsch throwback to those dirt and worm cakes from when you were a kid. But since you’ve got a more grown up palate now — the “dirt” portion of this dip is a briny, flavorful black olive tapenade and the gummies have been swapped for mild pimento peppers – a respectable stand-in for earthworms, I think.
You’ll love this spooky cheese and olive dip recipe because it uses everyday ingredients and is very easy to assemble in advance.
Ingredients for graveyard Halloween dip:
- Cream Cheese
- White Cheddar Cheese
- Hot Sauce (use your fave)
- Fresh Scallions
- Jarred Pimento Peppers
- Black Olive Tapenade (recipe here)
Layers for the graveyard dip
Cheese makes up the first layer of the spooky Halloween dip. Instead of plain cream cheese, I’ve blended it with finely grated sharp white cheddar, a solid dose of hot sauce, chopped green onions and pimento peppers.
It’s a savory, creamy, lush combo that you’ll want to eat on its own (kind of reminds me of pimento cheese). TBH – I’d serve this cream cheese olive dip anytime — not just for Halloween.
How to make the cheese layer
- Use the small side of a box grater to shred the cheddar cheese very finely.
- Combine the grated cheddar and cream cheese in a food processor with hot sauce and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the cream cheese mix to a small bowl and add the chopped scallions and pimento peppers (save some for garnish). Fold the veggies into the cheese until the well blended.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of a shallow dish and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Refrigerate the dip until firm (about 1-2 hours).
The dirt layer of the graveyard dip
Spoon the olive tapenade over the cream cheese layer and use a clean offset spatula to spread the “dirt layer” over the cheese, being careful not to blend them together.
I think the olive tapenade has a grainy look to it which resembles dirt or even a muddy graveyard. That’s just the look we want for this Halloween dip.
Decorating the Halloween graveyard dip is the fun part
After smoothing the “dirt” for the graveyard landscape, use a few reserved pimento peppers to make creepy blood red “worms” to garnish the graveyard. A spattering of green onion and dark green parsley (kinda looks like weeds) were the finishing touches to my presentation, but you can get as creative as you like.
The pièce de résistance are the tombstones for the graveyard dip. I used Townhouse crackers for their natural oval shape and food grade black ink pens to spell out “RIP” on the grave markers.
Note: you can also use a regular sharpie — but warn your guests that the “tombstones” in the dip are for decoration only. Serve the edible crackers on the side.
As we get closer to the end of October, you may be able to find some Halloween themed crackers that would also work for headstones, ghosts or scaredy cats in this recipe. Since I made this batch of dip in August — I couldn’t find Halloween crackers. D’oh!
How does the cheese and olive graveyard dip taste?
This is one of the best olive cheese dips I’ve ever tried. It’s creamy and briny with a soft mouth feel that melts across the tongue. It’s also got a bolder punch of flavor than most Halloween layer dips and goes great with a glass of wine.
Scott and I munched on the graveyard dip with cocktails before dinner and he declared it a delicious success.
Whether you’re going to a Halloween party or hosting your own, be sure to have this spooky tombstone dip on the buffet table. For a tasty cheese and olive dip or spread, skip the tombstones and serve it up with an array of crispy pita chips or water crackers.
What to do with leftover Halloween dip
We did end up with some leftovers (there’s only 2 of us in the house, after all) but I put them to good use by stuffing chicken breasts with the “dirt and worms” dip, lightly breading them with panko and baking them in a hot oven. OMG! Cheesy, olive-y, chicken-y goodness.
More savory Halloween appetizers you might like:
- Cheese Olive Eyeballs
- Spooky Halloween Deviled Eggs
- Black Bean Dip
- Black Olive Tapenade
- Bacon Cheese Chile Dip
- mini food processor
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 4 ounces white cheddar finely grated
- 2 tablespoons favorite hot sauce (or to taste)
- 2 scallions chopped (save a few for garnish)
- 4 ounce jar sliced pimenton peppers drained and patted dry (save a few for garnish)
- 1 cup black olive tapenade
FOR TOMBSTONE GARNISH AND FOR SERVING:
- Town House Crackers
- Food Grade Markers
- chopped parsley
- pimenton "snakes"
- In the work bowl of the food processor, combine the softened cream cheese and grated cheddar. Pulse several times to combine.
- Add the hot sauce and blend until well mixed. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the scallions.
- Reserve a few pimenton peppers for garnish and set aside. Roughly chop the remainder of the peppers and add to the cream cheese mixture. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the cream cheese blend to a shallow serving dish (about 4" x 7"). Spread the cream cheese blend into an even layer with an offset spatula or knife.
- Refrigerate the cream cheese layer so that it can firm up before adding the tapenade. (You want the layers to remain separate).
- After the cream cheese has chilled, dollop a thick layer of the tapenade over the cream cheese and carefully spread it over the cheese mix.
DECORATE THE TOMBSTONE DIP:
- Lay the remaining pimenton peppers on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice them vertically, to resemble long thin snakes. Arrange them over the top of the tapenade dip. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and parsley.
- Using the food grade markers, write "RIP" or other headstone epitaphs on the Town House crackers and sink the headstones into the graveyard.
- Cover and chill. When you're ready to serve, remove the dip from the refrigerator for about 20 minutes so it can soften. Serve with extra Town House crackers on the side.