How many calories in a tablespoon of spinach artichoke dip?

Spinach artichoke dip is a creamy, cheesy dip made with spinach, artichoke hearts, and a variety of other ingredients like mayonnaise, sour cream, parmesan cheese, and garlic. It’s a popular appetizer served at parties and get-togethers. But like many dips and appetizers, spinach artichoke dip can be high in calories, especially when eaten in large quantities. So how many calories are actually in a tablespoon of this tasty dip? Let’s take a closer look.

Calories in Spinach Artichoke Dip

The number of calories in spinach artichoke dip depends on the specific recipe and ingredients used. Most recipes call for mayonnaise or sour cream as the base, along with cheese, spinach, artichokes, and seasonings. Some recipes use reduced fat or nonfat ingredients to lighten it up. The serving size also affects the calories per tablespoon. Here are some general nutrition facts on spinach artichoke dip calories per tablespoon:

– A 1 tablespoon serving of traditional spinach artichoke dip has around 80-100 calories
– Lightened up versions with low-fat dairy can have 50-70 calories per tablespoon
– Smaller 1 teaspoon servings would have 25-50 calories

So in most recipes, a single tablespoon of this rich, creamy dip contains about 80-100 calories. When served as an appetizer for dipping breads, chips, or vegetables, those tablespoons and calories can add up quickly!

Calories from Main Ingredients

To understand where those calories come from, let’s look at the main ingredients in spinach artichoke dip:


Mayonnaise is the typical base for spinach artichoke dip, providing creaminess and tangy flavor. Regular mayonnaise has about 90-100 calories per tablespoon, while light or reduced fat options are around 35-50 calories.

Sour Cream

Sour cream adds even more creaminess and richness, with about 30 calories per tablespoon for regular full fat sour cream or 15-20 calories for light versions.


Cheeses like parmesan, cheddar, and cream cheese provide the cheesy flavor. Parmesan has about 20 calories per tablespoon when shredded. Cheddar or cream cheese add about 50 calories per tablespoon.

Spinach and Artichokes

These flavorful vegetables add important nutrients but not many calories – just 5-10 calories per tablespoon.

Garlic, Onion, and Seasonings

Garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and herbs add lots of flavor for minimal calories, around 5 calories per tablespoon total.

Oils or Butter

Some recipes include olive oil or butter, adding about 120 calories per tablespoon.

So the high calorie ingredients like full fat dairy and oil are what drives up the calories in spinach artichoke dip. Choosing lower fat options for the mayo, sour cream, and cheese can lighten it up.

Nutrition Facts for 1 Tablespoon

Based on standard spinach artichoke dip recipes, here are the approximate nutrition facts for a 1 tablespoon serving:

Total Calories: 80-100 calories

This can vary based on specific ingredients used. Lightened up versions may have around 50-70 calories per tablespoon.

Total Fat: 8g

Most of the calories come from fat in this dish. Regular cream-based dips get a good portion of calories from saturated fat.

Carbohydrates: 1g

There are minimal carbs from the small amounts of vegetables. Net carbs are around 1g.

Protein: 2g

You get a few grams of protein mainly from the cheeses.

Sodium: 150-200mg

Expect moderate sodium levels from cheese, condiments, and seasonings. Light versions may have less.

So the majority of calories and nutrients in a tablespoon of spinach artichoke dip come from the various high fat dairy ingredients. There are also some contributions from vegetables and seasonings.

Serving Size and Total Calories

Now that we know there are about 80-100 calories per tablespoon of spinach artichoke dip, how many total calories are in typical serving sizes?

2 Tablespoon Serving

A small dipper portion of 2 tablespoons contains about 160-200 calories.

1/4 Cup Serving

A 1/4 cup serving, which is about 4 tablespoons, provides roughly 320-400 calories.

1/2 Cup Serving

At parties, it’s easy to scoop up a hearty 1/2 cup portion which would have 640-800 calories.

1 Cup Serving

Some recipes call for a full 12-16 tablespoon cup of dip, totaling 960-1,200 calories!

So while the dip may seem light at first, the calories can quickly climb with just a few more tablespoons. Even if you stick with sensible 2-4 tablespoon portions, it all adds up if you go back for seconds and thirds.

Here is a helpful chart of total calories per serving size of spinach artichoke dip:

Serving Size Tablespoons Total Calories
2 tablespoons 2 160-200
1/4 cup 4 320-400
1/2 cup 8 640-800
1 cup 16 960-1,200

Tips for Lightening Up Spinach Artichoke Dip

Fortunately, there are easy ways to make spinach artichoke dip a bit lighter without sacrificing that delicious creamy texture and flavor. Here are some healthy tips:

– Use reduced fat or nonfat Greek yogurt instead of some or all of the mayo or sour cream. Greek yogurt provides creaminess and cuts about half the calories.

– Choose lighter versions of cream cheese and cheeses like parmesan or cheddar. You’ll save calories and fat per tablespoon.

– Increase the amount of spinach, artichokes, garlic, and onions to bulk up the dip with extra low cal veggies.

– Squeeze some lemon juice over the dip for a bright, tangy flavor so you can use less cheese.

– Use olive oil instead of butter, and go light on the amount added.

– Season generously with herbs and spices instead of salt for maximum flavor with no calories.

– Serve with lots of cut up raw vegetables like celery, carrots, radishes, and bell peppers for healthier dipping options.

With some simple substitutions and veggie additions, you can definitely lighten up this party favorite appetizer. Just be mindful of portion sizes.

Health Benefits of Spinach Artichoke Dip

While spinach artichoke dip is high in calories, fat, and sodium, it does provide some nutritional value. Here are some of the health benefits of the main ingredients:


Spinach offers vitamins A, C, and K, magnesium, iron, and antioxidants like lutein. These nutrients support eye and bone health and help regulate blood pressure.

Artichoke Hearts

Artichoke hearts are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Artichokes contain antioxidants such as quercetin and gallic acid that may help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


The various cheeses in the dip provide protein, calcium for strong bones, and B vitamins. Full fat cheese offers more vitamin A and vitamin K2 compared to low fat varieties.


Garlic provides the bioactive compound allicin which has antibacterial and antifungal properties and may help boost the immune system.

So amidst the high calorie content, you are getting nutrients from the spinach, artichokes, cheese, and garlic that can positively impact your health when enjoyed in moderation.

Nutrition Comparison to Other Dips

How does spinach artichoke dip compare nutritionally to other popular dip choices like hummus, guacamole, and traditional onion dip? Here is a nutrition comparison per 2 tablespoon serving:

Dip Calories Total Fat Protein Carbs
Spinach artichoke 160-200 16g 4g 2g
Hummus 80 4g 4g 7g
Guacamole 90 8g 1g 3g
Onion dip 140 14g 1g 2g

Spinach artichoke dip is one of the higher calorie options due to its creaminess and fat content. Going for hummus or guacamole can slash the calories in half for the same size serving. But spinach artichoke dip does provide more protein compared to guacamole or onion dip.

So just be aware of portion sizes when indulging in this creamy appetizer. A few tablespoons with some veggie dippers make a great option for an occasional treat.

Recipe Ideas

Here are some tasty and lighter spinach artichoke dip recipe ideas to try:

Greek Yogurt Spinach Artichoke Dip

– 1 cup Greek yogurt
– 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
– 1/4 cup Parmesan
– 1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
– 2 cups fresh baby spinach
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– Salt, pepper, onion powder to taste

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

– 1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
– 10oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
– 1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
– 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 3 cloves garlic
– 2 tsp dried onion flakes
– 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip

– 1 10oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
– 1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
– 1 cup Greek yogurt
– 1/2 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella
– 1/4 cup Parmesan
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– Juice and zest of 1 lemon
– 1/4 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder

Healthy Serving Tips

To keep your spinach artichoke dip calories in check, follow these healthy serving tips:

– Stick to sensible 2-4 tablespoon servings. Measure out a portion rather than free dipping.

– Avoid double dipping chips and veggies back into the dip bowl, as this spreads germs.

– Surround the dip with a platter of fresh veggie dippers like celery, carrots, jicama, radishes, bell peppers, and cucumber slices.

– Swap out buttery crackers, breads, and chips for whole grain toast points, pita crisps, or multi-grain crackers.

– Offer the dip in individual ramekins for better portion control.

– Try artichoke “chips” by thinly slicing and baking seasoned artichoke hearts.

– Look for lightened up spinach artichoke dip recipes and enjoy it just occasionally as a treat.

With smart portions and veggie dipper choices, you can savor this party favorite without overdoing the calories, fat, or sodium.


Spinach artichoke dip can seem deceptively light at first glance, but a tablespoon of this creamy, cheesy appetizer typically packs around 80-100 calories. The main calorie culprits are the mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, and oil. Just a 1/2 cup serving dishes up 640-800 calories total. However, there are easy ways to lighten it up by using nonfat Greek yogurt, low fat dairy, increasing the veggies, and going easy on the oil. Compared to hummus or guacamole, spinach artichoke dip is one of the higher calorie dips due to its richcreaminess. But it does deliver more protein and nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Overall, spinach artichoke dip can be enjoyed as an occasional treat in sensible portions paired with fresh vegetables for dipping. This provides a more balanced appetizer option to savor at your next party or potluck.

Leave a Comment