I'm a private chef who tried 20 of Aldi's dips, and I'd buy at least half of them again

I'm a private chef who tried 20 of Aldi's dips, and I'd buy at least half of them again
  • I'm a private chef who loves Aldi, which has tons of dip options.

  • The chain's hummus and salsa options were some of my favorites.

  • Many of the seafood and creamy refrigerated dips fell short for me.

I'm a chef and a huge fan of Aldi, which often has quality food at a low price.

The chain has an especially wide array of dips, so I decided to put all of the ones I could find — seasonal options and year-round staples — to the test.

Fortunately, I was mostly impressed. Here's how they stacked up.

Specially Selected mild chimichurri salsa was interesting.

Aldi mild chimichurri salsa
Specially Selected mild chimichurri salsa contains oregano and tomatoes. Tori Hazelett

Aldi's Specially Selected mild chimichurri salsa contains fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, parsley, oregano, and red jalapeños.

It had a lovely unctuousness and presented more like a sauce than a dip. I would classify this salsa as much spicier than mild.

I'd definitely add this to a burrito or drizzle it over tacos. I also believe it could be tasty spooned on top of chicken breast or used as a pre-grill marinade.

The street-corn dip impressed me cold and warm.

Aldi street corn dip
The street-corn dip is tasty when heated up in the microwave. Tori Hazelett

Aldi's street-corn dip is packed with fire-roasted corn, cilantro, sour cream, and multiple cheeses.

It was creamy, with the perfect amount of spice, and whole sweet-corn kernels. The cheesiness factor is even more pronounced if you warm this dip, just transfer it to a microwave-safe dish first.

Park Street Deli's medium fresh deli-style salsa was great.

Aldi salsa in plastic container
Park Street Deli's medium fresh deli-style salsa would be great with nachos. Tori Hazelett

This medium deli-style salsa was refreshingly delicious, with a delightfully crunchy texture from the onions, and a kick from jalapeño.

It's perfect as a stand-alone dip or a topping for anything from nachos to enchiladas. It was rated highly by my 8-year-old, too.

This salsa also comes in a mild variety, which I recommend if you're not a spice fanatic. I thought it tasted even spicier the next day after we opened it.

Simply Nature's thick and chunky hot salsa delivered on the chunk.

Aldi salsa in jar
Simply Nature organic thick and chunky hot salsa was pretty chunky indeed. Tori Hazelett

Chunky salsa lovers, this one's for you.

A bit on the sweet side, this Simply Nature hot salsa tasted very tomato-y and cumin-forward.

I would categorize this as more of a medium spice level than hot, though. The Park Street Deli medium tasted notably spicier to me.

The Park Street Deli garlic-dill hummus is also kid-approved.

Aldi garlic and dill dip
Park Street Deli usually has a few flavors of hummus on offer.Tori Hazelett

When I visited Aldi, Park Street Deli had a lot of fun hummus flavors available. I grabbed garlic-dill because I'd never seen that combo before.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the garlic and dill flavors were both prominent and fresh without overpowering the smooth chickpea flavors of the dip.

My older son consumed half the tub in one sitting.

The olive-tapenade hummus was one of my favorites I tried.

Aldi olive tapenade
Park Street Deli's olive-tapenade hummus actually had hummus flavors.Tori Hazelett

Park Street Deli also blew me away with its olive-tapenade humus.

Often, I've found that flavored hummus is just plain hummus with one small plop of an additional ingredient in the center. This dip actually had bits of olive incorporated throughout while still being perfectly creamy.

It would make a perfect addition to a homemade mezze board or appetizer spread for a party.

Casa Mamita's medium salsa con queso was what I'd expect from a jarred queso but slightly elevated.

Casa Mamacita queso from Aldi
Casa Mamita's medium salsa con queso has bits of pepper. Tori Hazelett

This Casa Mamita salsa con queso variety had more flavor than the classic cup that accompanies ball-game nacho chips.

Actual chunks of peppers added some great texture to this dip.

The spinach Parmesan tzatziki with Greek yogurt was a simple hit.

Aldi Tzatziki dip
The spinach Parmesan tzatziki with Greek yogurt was surprisingly light. Tori Hazelett

The tzatziki was a surprisingly tasty, kid-approved, lighter alternative to the heavier dips we sampled.

It has a nice Parmesan flavor to it, and the spinach didn't taste bitter or overpowering. I'm also pleased to report that it doesn't taste like yogurt, either.

This dip pairs well with garlic-herb pita chips, though it was a bit bland on a cracker. I could definitely see myself spreading this onto a veggie wrap for a creamy alternative to mayo — it's only 50 calories per 2 tablespoons.

The chorizo-style fundido dip was OK.

Aldi Chorizo-style fundido dip
In a pinch, the chorizo-style fundido dip is just fine. Tori Hazelett

This cheesy chorizo-style dip wasn't bad, but it was odd to me that the ingredients don't list chorizo sausage — hence the word "style" on the label.

The dip has the zesty bite of chorizo, though, and contains small bits of beef.

The directions say to heat and eat so it's served hot like traditional queso fundido, but I found it lacked the undeniable cheesiness of the real thing even when warmed.

Frankly, I'd sooner make my own fundido with a roll of chorizo and a package of Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese rather than purchase this again. But in a pinch, there's nothing wrong with this dip.

Aldi's bacon-cheddar dip lost me as soon as it hit room temperature.

Aldi Bacon Cheddar dip
The bacon-cheddar dip isn't for you if you don't love bacon. Tori Hazelett

Upon first taste, I thought this was pretty good. It clearly contains actual bacon, and I saw shreds of cheddar. The texture was creamy and soft.

When I tried it a second time, it was almost too creamy, as it quickly thinned as it reached room temperature. It kind of reminded me of the Miracle Whip my grandmother would spread on sandwiches instead of mayo in the 1990s.

Bacon enthusiasts might like this dip, but definitely keep it on ice during a picnic.

I was pleased with the restaurant-style chipotle guacamole.

Aldi Chipotle guac
In a time pinch, I would absolutely grab a tub of this guacamole from Aldi.Tori Hazelett

In terms of store-bought guacamole, I couldn't have been happier with this chipotle version from Aldi.

It had a wonderful smoky edge that didn't overpower the avocado flavor. It also lacked the bitterness I sometimes taste in packaged guacamole.

It was on the spicier side, too, which was a welcome quality for me.

The Buffalo-style chicken blue-cheese dip lost me once I heated it up.

Buffalo-style chicken dip from Aldi
Aldi's Buffalo-style chicken blue-cheese dip had bits of blue cheese and chicken. Tori Hazelett

This dip seemed to contain a ton of shredded chicken and real bits of blue cheese, which I appreciated.

Eating cold Buffalo-chicken dip felt kind of strange, but I didn't think it was great after I heated it up. The spice level was nice, but it was heavy on the hot sauce, so ended up tasting overly sharp.

This got points for the ample chicken and cheese, but I wouldn't get it again.

Grillo's Pickle de Gallo would be great on a hot dog.

Pickle de gallo dip in container
Grillo's Pickle de Gallo is sold at a few grocery chains.Tori Hazelett

Grillo's Pickle de Gallo isn't an Aldi exclusive, but the chain had it in stock when I visited. Don't let the name of it fool you — it doesn't have typical salsa-style spices.

We're a family of pickle fanatics, and this dip received high marks as expected. I thought it might be too vinegar-forward, but it was mellow enough even for my 5-year-old.

As a dip, I thought it was tastier on a potato chip than on a tortilla chip. I wouldn't purchase this for dipping purposes again, but would absolutely spoon it onto a hot dog, burger, or hoagie.

The Emporium Selection fondue let me down.

Aldi fondue package
Emporium Selection fondue comes in an easy-to-heat packet. Tori Hazelett

I adore fondue, and thought having it come vacuum-sealed and ready-to-heat was brilliant. I still think the concept is smart, but this product didn't impress me.

The texture of the fondue was lovely, but I thought the cheese mixture needed salt and lacked flavor save for a decidedly unappealing funkiness.

Alouette soft spreadable cheese in the toasted-everything flavor tasted like a bagel.

Everything dip from Aloutte in bowl
The Alouette soft spreadable cheese I tried had everything-bagel seasoning. Tori Hazelett

Alouette soft spreadable cheese is not exclusive to Aldi, but the chain had a few varieties in stock when I visited.

First off, this dip was adorable: It was packaged in a white ramekin-style tub, and the soft cheese was prettily piped with a star tip.

I tried the toasted-everything flavor, which tasted exactly like a bagel, but was quite heavy on the caraway seeds.

If you're a fan of those seeds, full steam ahead. If not, Aldi also sells garden-vegetable and garlic-herb varieties that are probably just as creamy.

I love seafood, but the crab-rangoon dip missed the mark.

Aldi crab rangoon dip
The crab-rangoon dip uses imitation crab.Tori Hazelett

As a lover of all things seafood, I had high hopes for the next two dips.

Unfortunately, the crab-rangoon dip missed the mark for me. On a club cracker, this dip was almost dessert-level sweet, and even a salty kettle potato chip didn't complement it.

It should also be noted that — predictably, as it's under $4 — the crab in this dip is imitation. I wouldn't get this again.

I didn't care for the lobster-roll dip, either.

Aldi lobster roll dip
Aldi's lobster-roll dip was too sweet for me. Tori Hazelett

The lobster-roll dip was better than the crab-rangoon one, with large chunks of seafood, and a more nuanced flavor profile.

But again, this dip's overwhelming sweetness prevented me from enjoying it. I believe it could be improved with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chives and Old Bay seasoning.

Even though it wasn't expensive, I wouldn't purchase this dip again.

The Happy Farms pimento-cheese sandwich spread in zesty jalapeño was also surprisingly sweet.

Happy Farms pimento cheese dip
I was immediately taken aback by just how sweet this Happy Farms pimento spread was.Tori Hazelett

I love pimento cheese, so I was eager to try this zesty jalapeño dip from Happy Farms.

Unfortunately, I was immediately taken aback by just how sweet this spread was. Upon closer look, the fifth ingredient in this dip is high-fructose corn syrup, which I didn't love.

Although I've had and enjoyed homemade pimento spreads containing sweeter ingredients like sweet pickle relish, this one missed the mark for me.

Read the original article on Business Insider