Benedictine Spread! This Kentucky Derby classic is a cool, creamy spread used for tea sandwiches or served with pumpernickel toasts. It can also be thinned out with extra some sour cream or mayo to form a dipping consistency for crudites, chips, or crackers.

Benedictine Spread for Kentucky Derby in a white bowl with a piece of pumpernickel toast in the foreground slathered with spread.

Note: This post was originally published on May 1, 2013 and updated on April 25, 2020. This post contains affiliate links.

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In Monday’s post, I told you all about my semi-obsession with the Kentucky Derby despite my less-than-appealing experiences with the event, and my extreme excitement over hosting my very first Derby party. {Fun Fact: I have a thing for Southern stuff in general. Did you know that I pretty much only read Southern novels? It’s true. I’m a sucker for a drawl and an antebellum mansion.}

Maybe I like the idea of Derby so much because it lends itself to a theme… and boy, do I love a themed party. The only thing I love more is a recipe with a long standing history, like this Benedictine Spread.

WHAT IS BENEDICTINE SPREAD?

Benedictine or Benedictine Spread is a cream cheese-based dip or spread containing grated cucumber and onion, sour cream, and hot sauce. It’s often tinted green, sometimes naturally with the addition of spinach and other times with a few drops of green food coloring. I gave mine a green tint by adding Green Jalapeno Tabasco and that was green enough for me.

Close up of Benedictine Spread for Kentucky Derby on a spreading knife.

This spread is cool, creamy and perfect for tea sandwiches or served with pumpernickel toasts. You can also thin it out by adding a bit more sour cream and use it as a dip for crudites. No matter how you decide to serve it, you may want to consider mixing up a double batch as it tends to go quickly!

HISTORY OF BENEDICTINE SPREAD

In doing my research for my Southern inspired party menu, I came across the intriguing recipe for Benedictine Spread. I immediately added it to my list of “musts”, after seeing it mentioned over and over again in association with race day. But I just had to know why and how this simple cucumber spread became such a Derby staple.

According to The University of Google {ha.}, Benedictine Spread was created and made famous by a lady named Miss Jennie Benedict… hence “Benedictine”. Duh. {JI-nee, if you’re gonna say it all Southern-like.} She became well known in her neck of the woods for her scrumptious catering business, run out of her 256-square-foot kitchen built in her back yard. Her burgeoning success lead her to later opening a tearoom in Louisville, Kentucky, which was a pretty hoppin’ spot at the time.

Now remember, this was 1893. It amazed me to think that a lady was able to gain such credibility and achieve such success… enough to become the first woman to hold a membership on the Louisville Board of Trade. {Go Jennie!} She was also a proud graduate of Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School {move over, Le Cordon Bleu}, a cookbook author, and a humanitarian for several causes.

I love this lady and I just “met” her.

I can almost picture Miss Jennie in her kitchen whipping up Benedictine tea sandwiches, which happen to be a perfect pairing with Mint Juleps. {I’m sure the cream cheese & cucumber help soothe the burn caused by all that bourbon.}

Close up of Benedictine Spread for Kentucky Derby on a piece of pumpernickel toast slathered with spread.

INGREDIENTS FOR BENEDICTINE

One of the reasons I chose this recipe to include in my Kentucky Derby celebration was it’s simplicity. Despite being one of the more “quick and easy” things I served for the party, it was also one of the most popular! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • English cucumber {because they contain less seeds}
  • White onion
  • Cream Cheese
  • Sour Cream {or Greek yogurt}
  • Hot sauce
  • Salt

You’ll need to grate the cucumber and onion {this grater is my favorite tool for the job}, and then squeeze out the excess water to keep the dip from getting too runny.

HOW TO MAKE BENEDICTINE SPREAD VEGAN

Don’t miss out on all the tasty goodness of this spread, my vegan friends. Simply swap out the cream cheese and sour cream with a vegan version such as Tofutti, Forager, or Follow Your Heart. Everything else can stay the same!

No matter how you serve it up, you’ll be treating your guests to a little taste of history… and with any luck, it’ll be one that Miss Jennie herself would’ve approved of.

Close up of Benedictine Spread for Kentucky Derby on a piece of pumpernickel toast slathered with spread..

KENTUCKY DERBY RECIPES

Looking for more recipes to add to your Derby Day spread? Check out some of my favorites!

Race Day Pie (a.k.a Derby Pie) Gooey, bourbon, walnut and chocolate spiked filling is baked into a pie crust.

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Cornbread Tender cornbread with a surprise savory Pimento Cheese spread filling in its center.

Two-Bite Bourbon & Coke Cakes Rich & fudgy mini chocolate cakes drizzled with a chocolaty bourbon glaze.

Pimento Cheese Biscuits Flaky biscuits speckled with bits of sharp cheddar and pimento.

Kentucky Hot Brown Dip Kentucky’s famous open-faced turkey sandwich turned into a cheesy dip!

Benedictine Spread for Kentucky Derby in a white bowl with a piece of pumpernickel toast in the foreground slathered with spread.

 Print Recipe

Benedictine Spread

Benedictine Spread! This Kentucky Derby classic is a cool, creamy spread used for tea sandwiches or served with pumpernickel toasts. It can also be thinned out with extra some sour cream or mayo to form a dipping consistency for crudites, chips, or crackers.Prep Time20 minsChilling Time30 minsTotal Time35 minsCourse: AppetizerCuisine: AmericanKeyword: Benedictine Spread, cream cheese, cucumber, Kentucky Derby, Southern Servings: 1 cup Author: The Kitchen Prep

Ingredients

  • 1 large English cucumber peeled, halved, seeded and grated
  • ¼ medium white onion grated
  • 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
  • ¼ sour cream {or Greek yogurt}
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce or regular hot sauce
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Place grated cucumber and onion in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Press down to drain of excess water. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and let sit for 15 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator, pressing every so often to drain. {Alternatively, you can place the grated mixture in the center of a clean kitchen towel and twist to wring out as much water as possible.} Discard liquid.
  • In the bowl of a mixer {or in a regular bowl with a wooden spoon}, combine drained cucumber, onion, cream cheese, sour cream and Tabasco. Beat until well combined.
  • Taste and add salt to your liking. {Start with less & work your way up.}
  • Scoop into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if desired.
  • Serve with pumpernickel toasts, veggies, or crackers.

Notes

  • Benedictine usually calls for peeled cucumber, but I forgot to peel mine before grating. With English cucumbers, peeling is optional since they typically come wrapped, without a waxy coating, and have a thinner skin.
  • I grate my veggies & cheeses using my food processor grating disk, but you can do it by hand using a box grater as well. {But who would want to?}
  • Using Green Jalapeno Tabasco Sauce will help achieve that green tint that Benedictine is known for. I prefer this to using food coloring, but if you want to use a drop of green food coloring, go for it. This one is made without artificial colorants.

RELATED POSTS

By thekitchenprep
Filed Under: AppetizersCondiments & SaucesHoliday & OccasionsTagged With: Benedictine spreadcelebrationcucumberdipeasyfood historyKentucky Derbypartyspreadtea sandwichesPrevious Post:« Vanilla-Rosemary LemonadeNext Post:Race Day Pie (Kentucky Derby Pie) »

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  1. Anonymous saysAugust 3, 2015 at 8:22 pmSounds wonderful! I’ll try this with my abundance of garden cucumbers! Thank you.

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