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Spicy & Creamy Pav Bhaji Dip is made with bell peppers, green peas, cream cheese, sour cream, and cheese. This quick & easy dip is a party in your mouth with all those traditional pav bhaji flavors with a modern twist. A holiday & party favorite!

Pav Bhaji Dip with a chip scooping up the dip.
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As I’ve shared plenty of times before, I love Pav Bhaji. It’s my favorite Indian Street Food. It’s spicy, flavorful, comforting, and just hits the spot, especially on those cold winter days.

There is something about the pav bhaji masala combined with butter and mashed veggies that makes it so mouthwatering.

What is Pav Bhaji Dip?

Pav Bhaji is essentially a vegetable medley cooked in butter along with onions, tomatoes, and lots of Pav Bhaji Masala.

My Pav Bhaji Dip is a quick and easy version of the real thing. The bhaji is mixed in with cream cheese and sour cream. The creamy mixture is then topped off with cheese and baked in the oven.

Typically, Pav Bhaji is served with buttered buns, however for this recipe, I recommend serving this dip with tortilla chips. Of course, you can also serve it with buttered buns, but since this is a party appetizer, I find that chips work better.

Ingredients

Ingredients for Pav Bhaji Dip.
  • Red & Green Bell Peppers – You’ll need both kinds, but definitely use green bell peppers. You may use yellow or orange peppers as a substitute for the red bell pepper. Also, make sure you don’t brown the veggies, just cook them until translucent.
  • Onions – Chop your onions and cook until translucent, not browned.
  • Plum Tomatoes – You’ll need 3 cups of tomatoes, you may use plum or Roma tomatoes, any kind really.
  • Tomato Paste – This adds color and a more concentrated tomato flavor.
  • Frozen Peas – Wash, rinse, and drain your peas well.
  • Ginger, Garlic, and Green Chilies – These ingredients add a ton of flavor, you’ll need to chop these and add them.
  • Avocado Oil & Butter – Can’t make Pav Bhaji without butter, so you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of butter for this dip.
  • Cream Cheese & Sour Cream – Make sure both these ingredients are at room temperature so they melt into the sauce easily.
  • Milk – You’ll need whole milk, make sure it’s at room temperature. To avoid curdling, slowly add the milk to the cheese mixture and mix it in.
  • Mexican Cheese Blend – Ideally, use a Mexican Cheese Blend for this recipe, however mild/medium cheddar cheese works too.
  • Pav Bhaji Masala – You can find Pav Bhaji Masala at any Indian grocery store or even Amazon. I like Roopak, Everest, and MDH for Pav Bhaji Masala.
  • Fresh Cilantro – Chop the leaves – they had a ton of flavor. You’ll also need finely chopped cilantro as a garnish.
  • Pomegranate Seeds – This makes a festive garnish.

*See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.*


Substitutions

Bell Peppers – I wouldn’t substitute green bell peppers with anything since this is a lovely flavor in pav bhaji, however you may use orange or yellow bell pepper in place of the red bell pepper.

Peas – I love green peas in this recipe, they add a nice texture to this dip. If you want to skip peas, you may use diced carrots, however this may affect the flavor as carrots tend to be sweeter.

Other Additions – You may add 1/2 a cup of frozen corn that has been rinsed and drained.

Cheese – Instead of Mexican Cheese Blend, you may use mild/medium cheddar cheese.

How to make Pav Bhaji Dip Recipe

1. Heat up a pan on medium heat, and add butter and oil.

2. Once the butter melts, add green chilies, ginger, and garlic. Cook for a minute.

3. Add onions and season with salt. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add red and green bell peppers. Season with a little salt. Cook for about 7-8 minutes.

Saute garlic, onion, bell peppers.

5. This is what you should have once the bell peppers are cooked.

6. Add the tomatoes. Season with a little salt and stir.

7. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on low heat.

8. Add tomato paste. Stir.

Add tomatoes and cook down until the water evaporates.

9. Add pav bhaji masala and peas. Stir.

10. Add cream cheese and sour cream.

11. Stir. This is what you should have.

12. Add fresh cilantro.

Add pav bhaji masala, cream cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.

13. Add 1 cup of Mexican shredded cheese.

14. Mix and this mixture should be cheesy, but not runny.

15. Now add milk, a little at a time while continuously mixing. Do not add the milk all at once else your creamy mixture may curdle.

16. Add red chili powder. Your mixture should be creamy, but slightly runny.

Add cheese and a little milk to make it extra creamy.

17. Pour the dip into a baking dish.

18. Top with another cup of cheese.

19. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes uncovered. Then broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is slightly golden.

20. This is what you should have. Garnish with fresh cilantro and pomegranate. Wait about 15-20 minutes before serving so your dip can settle, else it’ll become liquidy.

Cover dip with foil and bake it for 20 minutes.

Tips to make Pav Bhaji Dip

  • Prep before Cooking – Gather all your ingredients and chop everything ahead of time. You won’t have much time in between steps to chop.
  • Don’t Overcook Veggies – Do not overcook the onions and bell peppers. We don’t want to brown the veggies, they should just be translucent golden.
  • Temper Milk – Add the milk little by little to the creamy hot mixture else your cheesy mixture will curdle.
  • Wait before Serving – Wait about 10-15 minutes before serving the dip. The dip should settle after coming out of the oven. If you serve too quickly, the dip may be runny.

Serving Suggestions

Pav Bhaji Dip may be served with:

  • Yellow Corn Chips – my recommendation and a personal favorite!
  • Slider buns that have been toasted
  • Celery Sticks and Baby Carrots – for a healthier option

Variations

Spice – This Pav Bhaji Dip is spicy! There is a 1/4 cup of pav bhaji masala which you need for that pav bhaji flavor. To tone down the spice you can skip the cayenne pepper.

Party Tips to Make Ahead

You can prep all the ingredients a few days in advance. Additionally, you can make this Pav Bhaji Dip up to 2 days in advance, however do not bake it. On the day of your event, bake this dish 45 minutes prior to serving.

Top Tip

Do NOT add the milk to the hot creamy mixture all at once, but rather, add the milk little by little to the creamy mixture to avoid curdling.

FAQ


1. How can I make Pav Bhaji Dip vegan?

Since this dip consists of lots of dairy, you’ll be making lots of changes. For a vegan option – use vegan cheddar cheese that melts, vegan cream cheese, vegan sour cream, and vegan milk.

2. Is Pav Bhaji Dip gluten-free?

Yes! This recipe is completely gluten-free. Keep in mind that most store-bought Pav Bhaji masalas are gluten-free, but double-check just to be sure.

3. What brand of Pav Bhaji Masala do you recommend?

I used Roopak Pav Bhaji Masala, however I also love MDH and Everest. All these Pav Bhaji Masalas are delicious. Note: the spice level may vary.

4. What pan can I use to make this Pav Bhaji Dip?

I love using the Our Place pan for this dip, however you can use stainless steel or dutch cast iron.

5. What can I use instead of Mexican Cheese Blend?

You can use mild/medium cheddar cheese. Pepper Jack Cheese would also work, however the color may be slightly lighter.

Overhead shot of Pav Bhaji Dip garnished with pomegranate and cilantro, and surrounded by fall leaves and chips.


5 from 3 votes

Pav Bhaji Dip

By: Nisha
Spicy & Creamy Pav Bhaji Dip is made with bell peppers, green peas, cream cheese, sour cream, and cheese. This quick & easy dip is a party in your mouth with all those traditional pav bhaji flavors with a modern twist. A holiday & party favorite!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
Servings: 16 servings

Equipment

Ingredients 

for dip

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ inch ginger, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, rinsed under hot water & drained
  • 1/4 cup pav bhaji masala
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend, divided (1 cup for creamy mix / 1 cup on top)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

for garnish

  • fresh pomegranate, optional
  • chopped cilantro
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Instructions 

Prep

  • Chop green chilies, ginger, garlic, onions, green bell peppers, and red bell peppers. Set aside.
  • Chop tomatoes and set aside.
  • Chop cilantro. Run frozen peas under warm water, drain, and set aside.

Make the Pav Bhaji Dip

  • Heat up a pan on medium heat, and add butter and oil.
  • Once the butter melts, add green chilies, ginger, and garlic. Cook for a minute.
  • Add onions and season with salt. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add red and green bell peppers. Season with a little salt. Cook for about 7-8 minutes.
  • This is what you should have once the bell peppers are cooked.
  • Add the tomatoes. Season with a little salt and stir.
  • Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on low heat.
  • Add tomato paste. Stir.
  • Add pav bhaji masala and peas. Stir.
  • Add cream cheese and sour cream.
  • Stir. This is what you should have.
  • Add fresh cilantro.
  • Add 1 cup of Mexican shredded cheese.
  • Mix and this mixture should be cheesy, but not runny.
  • Now add milk, a little at a time while continuously mixing. Do not add the milk all at once else your creamy mixture may curdle.
  • Add red chili powder.
  • Now your mixture should be slightly runny. This is what we want.

Bake Dip

  • Pour the dip into a baking dish.
  • Top with another cup of cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes uncovered. Then broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is slightly golden.
  • This is what you should have. Garnish with fresh cilantro and pomegranate. Wait about 10-15 minutes before serving so your dip can settle.

Notes

This recipe was first published on November 14, 2022, and has been updated and republished since.
  • Prep before Cooking – Gather all your ingredients and chop everything ahead of time. You won’t have much time in between steps to chop.
  • Overcook – Do not overcook the onions and bell peppers. We don’t want to brown the veggies, they should just be translucent golden.
  • Temper Milk – Add the milk little by little to the creamy hot mixture else your cheesy mixture will curdle.
  • Wait before Serving – Wait about 10-15 minutes before serving the dip. The dip should settle after coming out of the oven. If you serve too quickly, the dip may be runny.

Nutrition

Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 217mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1004IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian Fusion
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @honeywhatscooking or tag #honeywhatscooking!


Hi, I'm Nisha!

I'm a foodie who is passionate about healthy-ish living and mindful eating. You'll find a bit of everything here. I use mostly organic real ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce in my cooking. I believe food is medicine. Join me on this soul-searching journey as I share my love for good food, and I hope I inspire you to eat better somewhere along the way.


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6 Comments

    1. Hi Sanigta, You can find them at an Indian grocery store. I was able to get mine in NJ, i don’t see them here in california. That’s okay – Everest brand is amazing, you can also use MDH or Badshah. You can also try Amazon. These brands have great pav bhaji masala. Hope that helps!