The easiest and most flavorful cream cheese dip I've ever tasted! Perfect for a crowd and always gets gobbled up fast! The combined flavors of fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, and strawberry sauce over the cream cheese is divine!
I'm always looking for new appetizer recipes, especially ones that involve some type of fruit. My Tangy Fruit Salsa With Baked Cinnamon Chips is super delicious but I wanted some type of cream cheese fruit dip. Something light and refreshingly cool. And I was trying to figure out what to do with a bag of frozen strawberries I had in the freezer.
Typically when I'm at get togethers, we see the same ole basic appetizers again and again. Don't get me wrong....that is totally fine. I mean...I love to eat, but I appreciate a unique appetizer. And that's what this cream cheese dip is. It's different. It's unique and I'm crazy in love with it!
Strawberries and cream cheese are amazingly delicious together and when you add some fresh basil to the mix, the party gets started! I've served this cream cheese appetizer at least a dozen times and I've not met one person who hasn't loved it.
Mouth. Watering. Delish!
Only 5 simple ingredients are needed to make this cream cheese dip appetizer:
- frozen strawberries
- Philadelphia cream cheese
- balsamic vinegar
- fresh basil
Basil vs. Thai Basil
Let's talk fresh basil for a minute. I am a lover of all things basil and I always add extra fresh basil to this cream cheese spread. But when I can get my hands on fresh Thai basil, I grab it for this recipe. Thai Basil is a sweet basil and has a tiny little bit of a "spice" to it. It pairs extremely well with the strawberry sauce. Thai basil is actually pretty easy to find. You can typically find it at an Asian market, but you can also buy it on Amazon here.
How To Make Basil Strawberry Cream Cheese Dip
You're only 4 easy steps away from enjoying one of the best appetizer spreads you'll ever eat.
First, let the bag of frozen strawberries thaw at room temperature. I typically buy a 10-12 ounce bag of whole frozen strawberries and pour them into a bowl along with the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Let these ingredient sit in a bowl for up to an hour so the strawberries can thaw and so the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and sugar can marinate. It should take about 45 minutes for the strawberries to thaw.
As soon as the frozen strawberries are thawed enough to mash, get out your hand held masher and press down on the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and sugar until you have a sauce consistency. You want the sauce to be a little bit chunky so don't completely smash all the strawberries.
Open the box of Philadelphia cream cheese and place it on a serving plate. If you are entertaining, this slate plate is perfect and absolutely gorgeous to serve from. Take a spoonful of the strawberry sauce and spoon it onto the block of cream cheese.
Slice the fresh basil into slivers and sprinkle it on top of the strawberry sauce. Grab a cheese spreader knife and slice into the cream cheese.
Grab your favorite cracker and serve!
How Can I Easily Soften Cream Cheese?
The best way to soften cream cheese is to let it sit at room temperature. When making this appetizer, I like to soften the cream cheese at the same time the whole strawberries are thawing. Cut the block of cream cheese from the tin wrapping and set it on a plate. After about 30 minutes at room temperature, it becomes soft and easy to slice into and spread.
Is Cream Cheese Gluten Free?
Typically, cheese is gluten free but it's really important to read the labels because some processed cheeses and spreads contain additives which sometimes contain gluten. Philadelphia Cream Cheese is gluten free. So if you're using this brand, you're good to go! If you're using a different brand, just read the labels if you have concerns about gluten.
Can I Freeze Cream Cheese Dip?
I would not freeze this recipe. When you freeze cream cheese and then let it thaw, the texture is not as creamy and it does not spread well.
Tips for the Best Cream Cheese Dip
- Flavored Balsamic Vinegar - Regular balsamic vinegar works well with this recipe but if you have a flavored balsamic vinegar, use it. I've used a cherry almond and a raspberry balsamic vinegar and the flavor popped even more.
- Spread or Dip - Some people call this strawberry cream cheese appetizer a spread and some people call it a dip. I don't think it matters what you call it...it's a versatile recipe. I spread this Basil Strawberry Cream Cheese on bagels and sometimes, I stir it all together and dip my crackers into it. Eat it however makes you happiest!
- Crackers, Pita Chips, and More! - Pita chips all day with this dip! Triscuits are also fantastic. The crunch and granularity of the cracker really helps bring all the flavors and textures together. Oh and bagels...
- Low Fat Version - If you're looking to cut some fat in this recipe, use a a reduced fat cream cheese.
More Amazingly Delicious Appetizers You'll Love
- Marinated Cheese
- Sausage Balls
- Pesto Chickpea Lettuce Wraps
- Asian Steak Roll Ups
- Chili Lime Chickpeas
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Basil Strawberry Cream Cheese Dip
- 1 ½ cups frozen whole strawberries, thawed and mashed
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 package Cream Cheese
- ¼ cup slivered fresh basil
- In a bowl, combine the frozen strawberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a medium bowl. After the strawberries have thawed, mash ingredients together.
- Remove the cream cheese from the package and place on a serving plate.
- Slowly spoon the berry mixture over the cream cheese.
- Sprinkle with basil. I like to use a lot of basil!
- Serve with your favorite crackers. Store in the refrigerator.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in May 2016, but was re-published with updated step-by-step instructions, pictures, and tips in August 2019.