Creamy and luscious Pav Bhaji Dip that's made with bell peppers, peas, cream cheese, sour cream, and cheese. A party favorite!
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 off 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 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'l 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.
How to make Pav Bhaji Dip step by step
1. Chop green chilies, ginger, garlic, onions, green bell peppers, and red bell peppers. Set aside.
2. Chop tomatoes and set aside.
3. Chop cilantro. Run frozen peas under warm water, drain, and set aside.
Make the Pav Bhaji Dip
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.
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.
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.
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 cayenne pepper.
17. Now your mixture should be slightly runny. This is what we want.
1. Pour the dip into a baking dish.
2. Top with another cup of cheese.
3. 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.
4. This is what you should have. Garnish with fresh cilantro and pomegranate. Wait about 10-15 minutes before serving so your dip can settle.
Tips to make Pav Bhaji Dip
- Gather all your ingredients and chop everything ahead of time. You won't have much time in between steps to chop.
- Do not overcook the onions and bell peppers. We don't want to brown the veggies, they should just be translucent golden.
- Add the milk little by little to the creamy hot mixture else your cheesy mixture will curdle.
- 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.
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
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 peas in this recipe, it adds 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 ½ a cup of frozen corn that has been rinsed and drained.
Cheese - Instead of Mexican Cheese Blend, you may use mild/medium cheddar cheese.
Spice - This Pav Bhaji Dip is spicy! There is a ¼ 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.
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.
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.
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.
I love using the Our Place pan for this dip, however you can use stainless steel or dutch cast iron.
You can use mild/medium cheddar cheese. Pepper Jack Cheese would also work, however the color may be slightly lighter.
Pin & Enjoy!
Pav Bhaji DipVegetarian, Gluten-Free
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ inch ginger, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 green chilies, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ¾ cup green bell pepper, chopped
- ¾ cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cups plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¾ cup frozen peas, rinsed & drained
- 4 tablespoons pav bhaji masala
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 cups Mexican cheese blend, divided (1 cup for creamy mix / 1 cup on top)
- ½ cup milk
- fresh pomegranate
- chopped cilantro
- 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 cayenne pepper.
- Now your mixture should be slightly runny. This is what we want.
- 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.