Benedictine Spread

This Kentucky staple is easy to make at home.

Benedictine Spread - Southern Living

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist:Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins

If you haven’t visited the state of Kentucky, it’s likely you’ve never come across (or even heard of) Benedictine Spread. The green-hued, cucumber-based concoction is a refreshing and herb-forward blend of cream cheese and sour cream to be enjoyed on bread or with crudite.

While it has certainly become a Derby party staple, the flavorful dip can be made year-round for tailgates, house parties, picnics, and any type of get-together that demands a delicious and interactive appetizer.

Why Is It Called Benedictine Spread?

The historic recipe for Benedictine Spread was originally created by Jennie Carter Benedict, an iconic Kentucky restaurateur, cookbook author, and philanthropist. In addition to operating Jennie Benedict & Co, a much-acclaimed Louisville restaurant and tea room, Benedict also cooked for some of the early 20th century's most distinguished figures, such as President Theodore Roosevelt. 

Missing from Miss Benedict's Blue Ribbon Cookbook, published in 1902, is her recipe for Benedictine, her famed cucumber and cream cheese sandwich spread. Food historians aren’t sure if she wanted to keep it a secret, but an updated version of the famous cookbook (released in March 2022) now includes the famous recipe.

Ingredients for Benedictine Spread

In this recipe for Benedictine Spread, we forgo green food dye—often used to color this eye-catching dip—in favor of chives, which add natural color and a lovely onion flavor.

It's also primarily composed of cream cheese and grated cucumber. Squeezing the excess liquid out of the cucumber keeps this dip creamy rather than watery and sour cream adds a note of tang.

Be sure to not skimp on the salt, which elevates the taste of each ingredient and prevents the dish from tasting too heavy. 

ingredients for Benedictine Spread - Southern Living

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist:Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

How To Make Benedictine Spread

  1. Grate the cucumber: First, you’ll want to grate your cucumber and then use a paper towel to squeeze out any excess moisture.
  2. Blend dip ingredients: Combine the cucumber with cream cheese, chives, sour cream, salt and pepper in a food processor and mix for about 60 seconds. This should yield a silky-smooth consistency that can easily be transferred to a serving bowl or applied directly to a bread slice with a knife.  
benedictine spread in food processor

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist:Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

How To Serve Benedictine Spread

This dip can be enjoyed on its own or used as a spread for cucumber sandwiches or canapes. Serve it as suggested with mixed vegetables or, for a twist, with radishes, which add a spicy element to the dish. You can also pair with the ever-faithful potato chips for an added crunch and carbohydrate. 

When it comes to temperature, the dish is best served cold to maintain the bright and refreshing notes of the cucumber. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Have even more questions about the Kentucky classic? We've got answers:

What makes Benedictine Spread green?

Though the original recipe requires a few drops of green food coloring to give it a neon, almost artificial-looking appearance, we’ve swapped the dye for chives to preserve its color in a more natural way.

How should you store Benedictine Spread?

Due to Benedictine Spread’s high dairy content, avoid freezing any leftovers——the texture will become rubbery, watery, and gritty when reheated or left to dethaw. 

You can, however, store the dip in an air-tight container to be refrigerated and enjoyed for up to three days.

What type of cucumber should you use?

We prefer English cucumbers because they're slightly sweeter and have much smaller seeds than American cucumbers.

Editorial contributions by Joey Skladany.


  • 1 large (about 12 ounces) English cucumber, peeled

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish (from 1 [1-ounce] package)

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper 

  • Serving options: carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber spears


  1. Prepare cucumber:

    Grate cucumber, wrap tightly in paper towel, and squeeze out excess liquid.

    squeezing moisture out of grated cucumber

    Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist:Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

  2. Blend dip:

    Combine cucumber, cream cheese, chives, sour cream, salt, and pepper in a food processor, and process until combined, about 60 seconds. Transfer to a container, cover, and chill at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

    ingredients for Benedictine Spread in food processor

    Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist:Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

  3. Garnish and serve:

    Remove from refrigerator, garnish with chives, and serve with carrots, celery, and cucumber.

Additional reporting by
Joey Skladany
Courtesy of Joey Skladany

Joey is a writer, editor, TV/radio personality, lifestyle expert, former entertainment publicist, and author of Basic Bitchen. His work has appeared in People, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Allrecipes, Food52, Apartment Therapy, and more. 

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