"Theta" Swiss Cheese Dip - So Simple, So 1970's, So Effing Good.

To some of you, you may be wondering, what IS that goop in that bowl?

To others, you might no EXACTLY what this cheesy, oniony, creamy dip/spread is.

If you guessed Party Marty's (my Mom's) Swiss Cheese Spread, you guessed correct.

In which direction I would have to send you to find the origins of this recipe I haven't a clue. I grew up only knowing this spread was brought to a dinner by one of my Mom's sorority sisters in the 1970's, and from then on it was referred to in my house as the "Theta Cheese Dip" (Party was a Kappa Alpha Theta at USCB, and I only add this because she was very proud of her time spent there).

Thanksgivings, Christmases, birthdays, impromptu cocktail get togethers and other cocktail parties, luncheons, even just to have around: I cannot tell you how many times my Mom has made this spread/dip over the years, only to be followed by rave reviews and equally fanatic following fans of the Theta Cheese Dip.

And, I have watched Party make it many of these times, knowing just how easy it is, and knowing just what ingredients go into it. But, as many can say about watching our mothers or grandmothers cook from memory rather than a recipe, it can be a daunting task to try to make it on your own and have it taste "as good as Mom makes it".

Recently, Party was going to yet another holiday party and yet another friend dearly requested she bring the infamous cheese spread. As I saw her pulling out the ingredients from the fridge, I immediately asked if I COULD MAKE the dip with her looking over my shoulder so I would know exactly how much of this and that to add. She happily obliged.

Now, I must say that this dip isn't labor intensive nor a laundry list of ingredients, or, to add, "crazy ingredients". You might have all of the necessary components in your fridge and pantry right now!

Shredded Swiss cheese, chopped green onions, mayonnaise, sour cream, Lawry's Seasoning Salt, and Lawry's Garlic Salt.

Yep, that's it.

But, it is so cravingly delicious!

So, how much cheese, Party?

Now remember, there are VERY few and far between moments that she does measure anything, let alone follow a recipe. So, this is all from "eyeballing".

2 "blocks" of swiss cheese, shredded

...about 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced

I like to slice the white part of the green onion down the middle to get smaller cuts of the onion.

then, add the sour cream (left of photo) and mayo (right of photo) - it was about 3/4C to 1C of sour cream and 1 1/2 C mayo for this mix, but once again everything was eyeballed. You are looking for the consistency not to be too wet. Mix together and taste - yes taste! I know you haven't added the two salts yet, but taste because the mayo, cheese, and sour cream all have trace amounts of salt in them, so you want to understand where the flavors are going before OVER seasoning it.

Now, I actually did the seasoning, but I wanted to get a pic of Party looking as if she was making it all herself...

I would start with 4-5 "shakes" of each the seasoning and garlic salt, mix, and then taste. Keep adding salt as you think needed. This dip will need to sit for about an hour (or longer) to let the flavors marry and melt together - just keep that in mind!

And, "voila" - um, yes, it is not the most attractive mixture, but it is OOOH so good. The sweet nuttiness of the swiss cheese, the creamy tang of both sour cream and mayonnaise, the oniony crunch (let alone color) from the green onions, and the balance of seasoning and garlic salt make this an irresistible spread/dip for any occasion. The emphasis on showcasing the texture of the cheese rather than making it uber-creamy is the key.

And, a few hours later, my Mom sampled my try at her recipe, called, and reported "just as good as mine". Seal of Approval from Party Marty = two thumbs up.

As a chef that has many times tried to think outside the box for holiday appetizers, this one takes the cake for simple, satisfying, and so so sooooo good. Enjoy!


  1. Definitely going to have to give this a try!

  2. What do you serve with the dip? Bread, veggies crackers.

  3. Usually my mom serves it with Triscuits, but it is equally good with quality restaurant style tortilla chips.

  4. lay out a loaf of tiny cocktail-sized rye or pumpernickel breads on a baking sheet lined with foil.
    put a teaspoon of this Yummy Cheese Dip on each slice of cocktail bread.
    cook til bubbly and golden.

    remove and serve hot, and watch your guests swoon in delight!