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March 23 is National Chip and Dip Day and I AM HERE FOR IT. As a New Yorker with proud Midwestern heritage, I feel that chips and dip are my birthright. In my lifetime, the only family heirloom dish that ever had to be rationed for equal opportunity access was my grandmother’s brilliant, simplified take on French onion dip. (Cream cheese and onion salt are involved. Also half and half, best sourced from tiny packages escorted from diners in deep handbags.)

Chips and dip categorically are a perfect food group. The form and the function working in tandem to create a singular bite containing multitudes; a symphony of various textures and tones. Crunchy with creamy. Savory with sweet. Any food that can be made to crunch can be a chip. And any food that can be incorporated into an emulsion and transported to the mouth via chip can be a dip.

But here we discuss the classics. Seven matchups between those particular chips and particular dips that make the category worthy of a national food day to begin with.

Potato Chips and French Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip

Chowhound

This is the paradigm for the form, and I won’t hear any arguments to the contrary. The French are basically the founders of modern Western cuisine, so I must assume that they also had a hand in this. Whether or not you require your potato chips to have ridges, or whether they are kettle-cooked or otherwise is up to you. Additionally the dip form can be sour cream, cream cheese, goat cheese, yogurt, creamy dairy alternative, etc., as long as it’s tangy and redolent with salt and onion flavor. Get our Caramelized Onion Dip recipe.

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Tortilla Chips and Guacamole

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Tortilla chips get around, make no mistake. They also dance well with salsa, queso, 7-layer dip, and frankly, every other dip on this list. If you need one chip to do all of the heavy dip lifting for you, for sure it’s tortilla chips. But at the end of the day, you know tortilla chips are going home with guacamole. They just belong together. Get our Guacamole recipe.

Fritos and Chili

You might argue that chili doesn’t qualify as dip, to which I say…nope, not having it. Fritos are among the sturdiest of chips, more than capable of being the transport vehicle for hearty chilis studded with ground beef and kidney beans. If you can lift it with a chip, it must be a dip. Full stop. Get our Crock Pot Chili recipe.

Pita Chips and Hummus

easy white bean hummus recipe

Chowhound

The beauty of hummus is that it can masquerade as healthy and square off with vegetables. Other than chili, it’s also the dip that can most justifiably be a meal. When you’re approaching it with a chips and dip mindset, though, it’s got to be pita chips, with their common Middle Eastern heritage. What grows together, goes together. Get our Easy White Bean Hummus recipe.

Saltines and Pimento Cheese

pimento cheese dip recipe

Chowhound

Bless your heart, saltines are an honorary chip in cracker form. They deserve chip status for having the absolute honor of being the life partner of one of the most ingenious inventions to come from the American south: pimento cheese, which can be a dip, is often a spread, and in my book is really a lifestyle. Get our Pimento Cheese recipe

Pretzels and Beer Cheese

Joff Lee/Getty Images

There’s a saying that beer is proof that a higher power wants us to be happy, so it follows that beer cheese is proof that it wants us to be freaking ecstatic. Pretzels are the unsung hero of the chip category, in my opinion. Malty, salty, and able to take on a plethora of shapes and textures, they deserve to have a little fun with beer cheese. Get our Blue Moon Bourbon Beer Cheese recipe.

Bagel Chips and Spinach Artichoke Dip

OK, I know I need to fight my corner on this one, but hear me out. My first experiences with spinach dips always saw them served in bread bowls. Preferably pumpernickel. I still believe bread is the correct matchup for this delightful concoction, and bagel chips succeed where other, more delicate chips fail. (As anyone who’s ever gotten frustrated by the structural integrity of a tortilla chip can tell you.) Make it a pumpernickel bagel chip and now we are friends for life. Get our Baked Artichoke and Spinach Dip recipe.

Related Video: Try This Warm Artichoke Garlic Cheese Dip Too

Header image courtesy of Claudia Totir / Moment / Getty Images

Pamela Vachon is a freelance writer based in Astoria, NY whose work has also appeared on CNET, Cheese Professor, Alcohol Professor, and Diced. She is also a certified sommelier, voiceover artist, and an avid lover of all things pickled or fermented.
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