This Taco Dip is made without Cream Cheese and is one of my favorite cold appetizers to whip up when company arrives.
I use cottage cheese and add a packet of taco seasoning and veggies so it's packed with taco flavor while still being super rich and creamy. Guests are usually VERY surprised that it has cottage cheese in it! (Happily surprised.) Best of all, it's softer than cream cheese dips so it will not break your tortilla chip! Yay!
I love a good taco dip, especially one that is quick to layer and can be served COLD! Plus, it's hard to find a good store-bought taco dip these days.
This dip is perfect to make either last minute or a day in advance since it can be pulled out of the fridge quickly. It's NOT a 7 layer dip so it's much easier to assemble and just as tasty!
Using cottage cheese in this taco dip is something I never would think would taste good but guess what? It DOES!!!
It adds creaminess while providing a simple base to which you can add all kinds of flavor to! Plus, cottage cheese doesn't harden like cream cheese does. So when you pull it out of the fridge, it will be cold AND soft enough to scoop or dip!
I prefer serving this year-round but ESPECIALLY for a football tailgate, Cinco De Mayo or in the summer time! Stick with the Tex-Mex theme and serve your dip with a tall pitcher of my Classic Margaritas or a more unique Avocado Margarita. I promise, your guests will be happy.
If you love cold dips, check out these last minute party dips!
- Cottage cheese: I try to use the BEST cottage cheese I can find since this is the foundation of our taco dip. Use a full fat brand name one as opposed to a 2% generic version.
- Shredded cheese: I prefer to use a blend of Mexican cheeses. You can purchase them pre-shredded in a bag or shred your own fresh cheese!
- Lettuce: I only recommend ICEBERG lettuce since it is crunchier and doesn't wilt as quickly as romaine.
- Scallion: Scallions add a ton of flavor and are the only onion I recommend.
- Taco seasoning: I love the store-bought taco seasoning packets for convenience like Ortega's Taco Seasoning but if you want to make your own, here is a homemade seasoning recipe.
Step 1: Mix together your cottage cheese and taco seasoning in a small to medium bowl and spread an even layer onto the bottom of a shallow serving dish with sides.
Step 2: Begin layering your taco dip by adding shredded iceberg lettuce over top of the cottage cheese mixture.
Step 3: Next add your diced tomatoes.
Step 4: Last, sprinkle shredded cheeses and chopped green onions to finish it off.
📃 NOTE: You can print the FULL recipe with all ingredients & detailed instructions below!
👌 Cottage Cheese Tips
Cottage cheese is a cows milk cheese curd product that is creamy and mild in flavor so it really does make a good base for this taco dip kinda similar to the way cream cheese does.
When choosing your cottage cheese, like I always recommend when purchasing cream cheese, look out for quality brands that are not low fat or 2%. Those are watered down and you will not get as rich of a dip. Generic brands don't taste the same either. I like Daisy, Breakstone or Cabot brands best.
❔ Why No Cream Cheese?
My love for cream cheese based dips shows in my Hot Crab Artichoke Dip and my Beer Cheese Hard Pretzel Dip BUT cream cheese is not always the best for making COLD dips especially when the cream cheese is not mixed with anything.
Cream cheese, when cold, is HARD. So if you plan to pull this right out of the fridge, you may have a lot of broken chips in your dip and probably some frustrated guests too.
Most cream cheese taco dips will need to be left out at room temperature for about an hour to soften before serving. But if you don't have time to wait and want a taco dip that can be scooped into RIGHT AWAY, this one is it!
Cottage cheese is perfect because its chunky consistency gives it substance as opposed to sour cream, mayo or yogurt, which are more watery.
📝 Taco Dip Variations/Substitutions
This dip is versatile in that you can add different seasoning or veggies into the mix if you prefer. Here are some delicious additions I recommend!
✔ black olives- adding these to the top of your taco dip is very traditional. You could also use green olives.
✔ peppers- either finely chopped bell peppers, chili peppers, poblanos or jalapenos (for some heat), they ALL would be delicious.
✔ refried beans- this is VERY common in classic taco dips. If using, I recommend spreading on the bottom of the dish BEFORE adding your cottage cheese mixture.
✔ guacamole- using avocados or straight guac is a great addition that adds a pop of color and flavor! Use store-bought to make things easy.
✔ herbs- fresh cilantro is perfect but if you're not a fan, try using fresh parsley or even chives if you don't have scallions.
✔ salsa- Many people like to add salsa in their dip but since I use fresh tomatoes, I don't think it's needed. If you want to replace the tomatoes with salsa, go for it!
✔ cheese- If you can't find a Mexican cheese blend, you can use cheddar, Monterey jack or colby jack cheese.
Don't forget to check out one of my most popular cold dips that has sour cream AND cream cheese in it!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
I love serving taco dips with Tostitos scoops so you can actually SCOOP the dip out but any tortilla chips work great! Blue corn tortilla chips add a pop of color while tasting the same. Other dipping options are pita bread or corn chips like Fritos! Those are my favorite. They have Fritos SCOOPS too!
If serving nachos or taquitos, this is a great appetizer to serve alongside of them!
Check out this list of cold appetizers perfect for making the day before!
💬 Frequently Asked Questions
Cottage cheese is lower in fats, carbs and higher in protein than cream cheese making it a better health option for any dip.
I recommend a small casserole dish or pie dish less than 9".
I recommend no more than 2 days in advance since the tomatoes will release water and the lettuce will begin to wilt. Make sure to cover with saran wrap and refrigerate!
More Cold Dips You Will Love!
Cold Taco Dip Without Cream Cheese
- 16 oz. cottage cheese (*full fat is best)
- 3-4 tablespoon taco seasoning (*any store-bought packet)
- 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded (*or cheddar cheese)
- 1 cup iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
- ¾ cup diced roma tomatoes
- 1 scallion, chopped finely
- Mix together taco seasoning and cottage cheese in a medium bowl. Use 3-4 tablespoon of seasoning. More if you like strong flavor, less if you want a milder dip.
- Spread cottage cheese dip onto a casserole dish, pie dish, or in shallow bowl that is not more than 9" wide.
- Layer your lettuce, followed by the diced tomatoes, then your shredded cheeses.
- Finish with green onions and serve cold with tortilla chips for dipping.