Cielito Lindo Recipe – Hungarian Chef

Last Updated on October 24, 2023

Cielito Lindo, a name that translates to “Beautiful Sky,” is not just a beloved Mexican serenade but also a delectable layered dip that has been making waves in culinary circles. Originating from Mexico, this recipe offers a delightful blend of flavors, textures, and colors, much like the country’s vibrant culture and scenery.

Whether you’re hosting a casual get-together or looking for a savory snack, Cielito Lindo is a versatile dish that caters to different tastes and dietary preferences. It’s a melody of flavors that sings directly to your taste buds, much like the sweet notes of the song it shares its name with.

So, let’s dive into the world of this delicious Mexican dip and explore the various ways to bring the ‘Beautiful Sky’ to your dining table.

cielito lindo recipe

What is Cielito Lindo? 

Cielito Lindo is a traditional Mexican layered dip that consists of layers of refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and cheese. The colors of the ingredients represent the colors of the Mexican flag – green for the avocado in guacamole, white for the sour cream, red for the salsa, and yellow for the cheese.

This dish is often served as an appetizer or snack, but it can also be a satisfying meal when paired with tortilla chips. It’s easy to make and requires minimal cooking, making it a perfect dish for any occasion.

The origin of Cielito Lindo is believed to date back to the early 1900s in Mexico City. It was created by a street vendor, Senor Quirino Mendoza y Cortes, who sold it as a tasty and filling snack to passersby. The dip quickly gained popularity and became an iconic dish in Mexican cuisine.

In 1937, the owner of a restaurant called “La Cucaracha” started serving Cielito Lindo in a small cup with a wooden spoon, making it easier for customers to eat while walking around the busy streets. This unique presentation style became a trademark of the dish and remains popular to this day.

Why You’ll Love This Cielito Lindo?

Cielito Lindo is more than just a delicious dip; it’s a mix of savory, spicy, and creamy flavors that leave a lasting impression. The combination of beans, guacamole, salsa, and cheese offers an explosion of flavor in every bite.

One of the reasons why people love this dish is its versatility. You can customize the layers according to your taste and preference. For example, if you’re a fan of heat, you can add jalapenos or hot sauce to the salsa layer. If you prefer a vegetarian option, you can skip the meat in the bean layer.

Another great thing about Cielito Lindo is that it’s easy to make and requires minimal ingredients. You can whip up this dish in no time and impress your guests with its deliciousness.

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How Does It Taste Like?

Cielito Lindo offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The bottom layer of refried beans provides a creamy and earthy base, while the guacamole layer adds a refreshing and tangy flavor. The salsa layer brings in some heat and acidity, which cuts through the creaminess of the other layers. Finally, the sour cream and cheese layers add richness and depth to the dish.

When all the layers come together, they create a harmonious blend of flavors that will leave you wanting more. The crunchy tortilla chips complement the creamy dip and offer a satisfying textural contrast.


  1. Ground Beef: Ground beef is the primary protein source in the Cielito Lindo recipe. It adds a rich, savory flavor to the dish and gives it a hearty consistency. The beef is typically cooked with spices, enhancing the overall taste of the dish. Plus, it’s an excellent source of essential nutrients, including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
  2. Onion: Onion is a fundamental ingredient in many Mexican dishes, including Cielito Lindo. It provides a pungent yet sweet flavor that enhances the taste of the other ingredients. When cooked, onions become softer and develop a sweet, caramel-like flavor that complements the savory ground beef perfectly.
  3. Tomato: Tomatoes add freshness and a subtle acidity to the dish, balancing out the rich flavors of the ground beef and cream cheese. They also contribute to the vibrant color palette of the layered dip, making it visually appealing.
  4. Lettuce: Small lettuce is used in this recipe to bring a crunchy texture and a fresh, slightly bitter taste. It contrasts nicely with the creaminess of the cheeses and the richness of the beef. Lettuce also adds a bright green layer to the dip, enhancing its visual appeal.
  5. Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is a key ingredient in Cielito Lindo, contributing to its creamy, luxurious texture. It has a mild, slightly tangy flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients. In addition, cream cheese helps bind the layers together, ensuring every scoop gets a bit of everything.
  6. Shredded Cheese: Typically, a blend of different cheeses is used to top off the Cielito Lindo. The cheese melts under heat, creating a deliciously gooey layer on top. It also provides a sharp, salty flavor that complements the other ingredients.
  7. Nachos: Nachos serve as the vehicle for the dip. They add a crunchy texture to the dish and their corn flavor pairs perfectly with the rich, creamy, and savory flavors of the dip. Plus, they are perfect for scooping up every layer of the Cielito Lindo, ensuring a perfect bite every time.
cielito lindo

Step by Step Directions 

Step 1: Cook and Season the Ground Beef

  • In a large skillet, place the ground beef over medium heat and cook it until it turns brown.
  • Add finely chopped onions, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to the cooked beef. Continue cooking until the mixture becomes fragrant. This combination of flavors forms the foundation of the dip’s savory layer.

Step 2: Prepare the Salsa Layer

  • In a blender or food processor, combine diced tomatoes, chopped onion, fresh cilantro, and, if you desire some heat, jalapeno. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt to this mix.
  • Blend these ingredients until they come together harmoniously, creating a vibrant and zesty salsa layer. Set this salsa aside for assembly.

Step 3: Prepare the Guacamole Layer

  • In a bowl, take ripe avocados and mash them with lime juice and a touch of salt until you achieve a creamy consistency.
  • Into the mashed avocados, fold in diced red onion, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, and finely diced tomatoes to craft a delectable guacamole layer.

Step 4: Prepare the Bean Layer

  • In a saucepan, warm up refried beans. As they heat, introduce a pinch of cumin and chili powder to enhance their flavor. Stir well to ensure the spices are evenly distributed within the beans.

Step 5: Assemble the Layers

  • In a glass dish or a serving bowl, commence the layering process. Begin with the cooked and seasoned beef at the base.
  • Layer the zesty salsa on top of the beef, creating a vivid contrast of colors and flavors. Follow this with the creamy guacamole layer and then the well-seasoned refried beans.

Step 6: Top with Shredded Cheese

  • To add a layer of gooey, melty indulgence to your dip, generously sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the layers.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy

  • Present Cielito Lindo with warm tortilla chips that are perfect for scooping up the rich layers of flavors.
  • Whether you serve it immediately or refrigerate it for later enjoyment, this delightful dip promises a burst of taste and a crowd-pleasing appetizer for your gatherings.


  • Customize the salsa layer by adding your favorite spices, such as cayenne pepper or chipotle powder.
  • To make it spicier, add diced jalapenos to each layer or drizzle hot sauce on top before serving.
  • Make sure to use ripe avocados for the guacamole layer for a creamy and flavorful dip.
  • For a healthier option, use baked tortilla chips instead of fried ones.
  • Double or triple the recipe to make a larger batch for parties or gatherings. Just make sure to use a large enough dish to accommodate all the layers.
cielito lindo

Nutrition Information 

How to store Cielito Lindo?

Cielito Lindo can be stored in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. Before serving, make sure to stir it and add fresh toppings, such as chopped cilantro or diced tomatoes, if desired. This dip is best enjoyed fresh, but you can also freeze it for longer storage. Just thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.

What other substitute can I use in Cielito Lindo?

There are many substitutions you can use in Cielito Lindo to make it your own or accommodate dietary restrictions. Some ideas include:

  • Ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef for a lighter option.
  • Black beans, pinto beans, or lentils instead of refried beans for a different flavor and texture.
  • Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a healthier option.
  • Add in your favorite veggies, such as diced bell peppers or corn, for added flavor and texture.
  • For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free tortilla chips or serve with veggie sticks instead.
cielito lindo

Cielito Lindo Recipe

Cielito Lindo, a name that translates to "Beautiful Sky," is not just a beloved Mexican serenade but also a delectable layered dip that has been making waves in culinary circles.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cielito lindo recipe
Servings: 8
Calories: 759kcal


  • Mold
  • Saucepan
  • Serving Plates


  • 2 kilograms of ground beef
  • 1 packet of Nachos
  • 4 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 1/2 onion
  • 3 jars of cream cheese
  • 2 tomato
  • 4 small lettuce


  • Cook ground beef in a skillet until browned. Add onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper; cook until fragrant.
  • Blend tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt to make salsa. Set aside.
  • Mash avocados with lime juice and salt. Stir in red onion, cilantro, garlic, and tomato to make guacamole.
  • Heat refried beans, and add cumin and chili powder for flavor.
  • Layer beef, salsa, guacamole, beans, and cream cheese in a dish.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
  • Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later.


  • Customize the salsa layer by adding your favorite spices, such as cayenne pepper or chipotle powder.
  • To make it spicier, add diced jalapenos to each layer or drizzle hot sauce on top before serving.
  • Make sure to use ripe avocados for the guacamole layer for a creamy and flavorful dip.
  • For a healthier option, use baked tortilla chips instead of fried ones.
  • Double or triple the recipe to make a larger batch for parties or gatherings. Just make sure to use a large enough dish to accommodate all the layers.


Calories: 759kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Q: What type of ground beef is best for the Cielito Lindo recipe?
A: For the Cielito Lindo recipe, it’s recommended to use lean ground beef. The leaner the beef, the less fat will be left in the pan after cooking, which can make the dish less greasy. However, if you prefer a richer flavor, you can opt for ground beef with a higher fat content.

Q: Can I substitute the cream cheese with another ingredient?
A: Yes, you can substitute the cream cheese with other creamy ingredients if you prefer. Some possible substitutes include sour cream, Greek yogurt, or even a soft tofu for a dairy-free option. Just remember that each substitute will slightly alter the taste and texture of the dip.

Q: How can I make a vegetarian version of Cielito Lindo?
A: To make a vegetarian version of Cielito Lindo, you can substitute the ground beef with a plant-based alternative like lentils, mushrooms, or a pre-packaged meat substitute. You might need to adjust the cooking time and spices to suit the substitute.


Cielito Lindo is a delicious and versatile layered dip that can be customized to your taste preferences. It’s perfect for parties, gatherings, or just as a tasty snack at home. With its combination of savory ground beef, creamy layers, and fresh toppings, this dip is sure to become a favorite in your household. So grab some tortilla chips and get ready to enjoy this flavorful and visually appealing dip!

Please share your experience with us in the comments below. We would love to hear how you made this recipe your own and any tips or variations you tried. Happy dipping!

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Author Profile
Rebecca Novak, Registered Dietitian & Chef

Rebecca Novak is a trained chef with over 10 years of experience in the food industry. She has worked in both fine dining and casual Hungarian restaurants and specializes in creating dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. She also loves exploring different cuisines worldwide, which allows her to bring unique flavors and ideas to the recipes she creates for Read more

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