Benedictine Spread Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
This Benedictine spread is an old-fashioned recipe from Kentucky made with cream cheese, cucumber and dill. It's great as a dip with crackers or spread on sandwiches.

Updated: Mar. 14, 2024

Creamy, fresh and easy to make, Benedictine spread is the old-fashioned app missing from your snack time. Of all the cream cheese dip recipes, this one may not be widely known outside of Kentucky, but it has existed for more than a century. Today, it’s synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, along with other favorite Derby Day recipes. Yes, it goes great with a mint julep!

Fresh cucumber, dill and a bit of onion heighten the cream cheese and mayo base. You’ll most likely see smooth and creamy Benedictine spread as a dip served with assorted vegetables or snack rye bread. However, historically, it was often used as a filling for cucumber sandwiches. Whether you dip, dunk or spread it, crowd-pleasing appetizer recipes like this one will be a hit on any party table.

Why is it called Benedictine spread?

Benedictine spread gets its name from the creator of the recipe, Jennie Carter Benedict, a cookbook author and restaurateur from Louisville. She developed the recipe during her early years as a caterer, or possibly for her eponymously named tearoom, Jennie Benedict & Co., which she opened in 1900.

Benedictine Spread Ingredients

  • Cream cheese: Thick cream cheese is the primary base for this simple dip. It gives the recipe some body that holds up well to the water content of the cucumber. It also lends the spread a little subtle tang. Make sure to soften it up a bit for easier mixing.
  • Mayonnaise: While some variations opt for sour cream, we love the added richness mayonnaise gives the recipe. It’s such a small amount, you can use either one, or even Miracle Whip.
  • Cucumber: Cucumber is the star of this dip, but which cucumber varieties should use for Benedictine spread? American slicing cucumbers are fine, but be sure to pat them dry to remove some of the excess moisture so the dip does not become too watery. Long English cucumbers are sweeter and have fewer seeds.
  • Onion: A bit of onion cuts through the sweetness of the cucumbers and gives the dip a subtle bite.
  • Dill: Dill and cucumber were made for each other (hello, creamy dill cucumber salad). Dill complements the cucumber and infuses the dip with additional freshness and flavor.
  • Green food coloring: This traditional ingredient provides Benedictine spread its signature hue. You may omit it like we did (or try one of these natural food dyes), as it does not alter the taste of the dip, only its appearance.

Directions

Step 1: Mix

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, salt, white pepper, dill and green food coloring (if desired). Beat until smooth and creamy.

Step 2: Add the cucumber and onions

Next, add the cucumber and onion and stir until combined. Serve with an assortment of vegetables (this would be a great dip for a crudites platter), snack rye bread, pita bread or crackers.

Benedictine Spread Served with an assortment of vegetables, snack rye bread and pita bread.TMB Studio

Editor’s Tip: Benedictine spread is best enjoyed chilled. Serve immediately; otherwise, cover and keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.

Benedictine Spread Variations

  • Swap in Greek yogurt: For an extra dose of protein and tang, you may switch the mayonnaise for an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt.
  • Add heat: In Ms. Benedict’s traditional Benedictine spread recipe, a dash of cayenne pepper is included to give the dip a little kick.
  • Brighten it up: While not traditional, a small squeeze of lemon juice or a pinch of lemon zest would pair well with the dill and cucumber flavors in Benedictine spread.

How long does Benedictine spread last?

Benedictine spread should be enjoyed within three days for the best taste and freshness. Keep it refrigerated and stored in an airtight container. Note that the cucumbers will release water as they sit in the spread, so give the dip a stir before serving to marry everything back together again.

Can you freeze Benedictine spread?

No. Because this spread is made mostly from dairy and cucumbers, neither of which freeze well, we don’t recommend freezing Benedictine spread.

Benedictine Spread Tips

Benedictine Spread Served with an assortment of vegetables, snack rye bread and pita bread.TMB Studio

Do you need to peel the cucumber for Benedictine spread?

No. While peeling the cucumber for Benedictine spread is traditional, you can choose to leave the skin on the cucumber for some added color and fiber. Just note that the texture of the dip will change slightly with some skin in the game.

How can you make sure your Benedictine spread isn’t watery?

Our recipe for Benedictine spread is the perfect consistency—but if your cucumbers are extra watery, consider removing the seeds before starting the recipe. Simply slice each cucumbers in half lengthwise and run a spoon down its middle like a spade. A grapefruit spoon works like a charm, but any small spoon will do.

How do you serve Benedictine spread?

You can serve Benedictine spread as petite cucumber sandwiches: Spread a little on a piece of bread (with the crust trimmed off to keep it fancy). Place thinly sliced cucumbers on top of the spread, and top with another piece of crustless bread and voila—cucumber tea sandwiches. And consider pairing this classic spread with other Derby Day favorites like mini hot browns and Kentucky Derby cocktails such as mint juleps.

Benedictine Spread

Prep Time 15 min
Yield 1-3/4 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 drop green food coloring, optional
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped peeled cucumber, patted dry
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • Optional: Snack rye bread, pita bread wedges and assorted fresh vegetables

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, salt, white pepper, dill and, if desired, food coloring; beat until smooth. Stir in cucumber and onion. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with snack rye bread, pita bread wedges or vegetables as desired.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 65 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 17mg cholesterol, 98mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

This version of a traditional Benedictine spread comes from our Test Kitchen. Serve it as an appetizer dip or sandwich filling.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen