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Bring an iconic Kentucky spread to life at home with our Benedictine spread recipe, and enjoy this wonderfully creamy dish as a dip, filling, or topping in so many different ways.
Benedictine Spread Recipe
In particular, the Kentucky Derby is a great time to whip up a batch of this luscious spread and lather it on crackers, in sandwiches with crispy bacon, and in plenty of other ways.
But let’s be honest, any time of day or occasion is a good time for Benedictine spread. While modern recipes have evolved from the early 1900s version of this spread, that classic combination of cream cheese and cucumber still remains the bedrock of this Kentucky favorite to this day. It’s thick, slightly earthy, and unapologetically green and creamy!
What is Traditional Benedictine Spread?
Traditionally, Benedictine spread, the brainchild of caterer Jennie Carter Benedict from Louisville, Kentucky, was a thick and viscous spread of cream cheese, cucumber juice, onion juice, and a smidge of cayenne pepper, all seasoned generously with salt.
Its iconic green color came from the use of a couple of drops of green food coloring. The entire spread was made by mixing these ingredients together with a fork.
In time, however, many recipes, including ours, have adapted and substituted different ingredients to make different types and styles of Benedictine spread.
Green color: Originally, as mentioned above, food coloring was used to give the spread its green color. However, if you don’t want to add artificial food coloring to your spread, our recipe uses green onion, dill, and cucumber to help give the spread a lovely shade of green.
Cream cheese: Arguably, this should be the base ingredient on which you build your spread. Variations, although not traditional, do exist that either add or substitute cream cheese with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Cucumber: We, as many other people have, have used chopped (or grated) cucumber in our recipe instead of juice.
Onion: As above, modern versions instead use chopped onion instead of onion juice. To help aid in the green color, we have used green onion in our recipe. Other recipes use chopped yellow or white onion, and/or scallions.
Cayenne pepper: Some people add, or substitute cayenne pepper with hot sauce, to add a dash more heat to the spread.
Additional ingredients: Dill, as we have used, is a common addition in many of today’s recipes. Some people also like to add a splash of lemon juice to their spread.
Mixing: As Benedictine spread was originally mixed with a fork, the use of juices made this possible. However, modern recipes, like ours, use a food processor, meaning you can use chopped ingredients instead and still achieve a creamy, spread-like consistency without chunks.
To make our Benedictine spread, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Cream Cheese – 8oz (220 grams) full-fat cream cheese (about 1 cup)
- Mayo – 1 tbsp mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s mayo)
- Cucumber – 1/2 medium English cucumber (deseeded)
- Green Onion – 1 green onion
- Dill – handful dill (1/2 tbsp when finely minced)
- Cayenne Pepper – a pinch
- Salt – 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- Pepper – 1/4 tsp black pepper
Step 1 – Roughly chop the cucumber, green onion, and dill.
Step 2 – Add everything to a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely mince it with a chef’s knife or use a small blender.
Step 3 – Mix all the ingredients in the food processor until smooth (about 30 seconds, depending on the processor). If you finely minced the ingredients using a knife, just mix everything with a fork or a spatula. Taste and add any additional salt, black pepper, or cayenne pepper to taste.
Step 4 – Dollop your spread into a bowl, ready to be used as a dip or filling.
Now here comes the fun part! There are plenty of ways to enjoy Benedictine spread, some of which we have tried and tested below.
You could serve your spread as a dip as is (or by adding a couple tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt), with chopped veggies or crackers.
As you can see, this makes for a wonderful centerpiece when serving up for a large feast or spread, especially if you have plenty of party or grab-and-go foods.
Benedictine spread is also a great filling for tea sandwiches. In Kentucky and other parts of the US, this spread is used in cucumber sandwiches.
For the bacon fiends out there, use this spread in some crispy bacon sandwiches for an utterly indulgent combination. Lunch and snack time will never be the same again!
Benedictine Spread Recipe Card
- 1 cup (8oz or 220 grams) full-fat cream cheese
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s mayo)
- 1/2 medium English cucumber (deseeded)
- 1 green onion
- handful dill (1/2 tbsp when finely minced)
- a pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Roughly chop the cucumber, green onion, and dill.
- Add everything to a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely mince it with a chef’s knife or use a small blender.
- Mix all the ingredients in the food processor until smooth (about 30 seconds, depending on the processor). If you finely minced the ingredients using a knife, just mix everything with a fork or a spatula. Taste and add any additional salt, black pepper, or cayenne pepper to taste.
- Dollop your spread into a bowl, ready to be used as a dip or a filling for sandwiches.
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