Caramelized Onion Dip

Balsamic caramelized onions mixed with sour cream and mayo for a flavor-filled onion dip.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I’ve always been a fan of onion dip, have you? Especially with ruffled potato chips. Most of the flavor in the onion dip with which many of us are familiar comes from a package of dried onion soup, which works if you have only 2 minutes to put together a dip. But if you are looking for something a little more special, you can make your own onion dip from scratch. The key is to caramelize the onions first.

When onions cook for a long time, their natural sugars start to caramelize. The onions lose their harshness, their sweetness intensifies, and they turn a deep, rich brown color, loaded with flavor. If you cook them with a little balsamic and a touch of brown sugar, it not only speeds up the process, but the flavors are even more intense.

This dip is easy to put together. The only thing that takes time is caramelizing the onions, which you can do on a back burner while preparing something else. You can also prepare the onions a couple days in advance if necessary.

I love the way this dip turned out. You know the sign that the dip is good? Your hand reaches for another chip with some dip without you even noticing. And you have to consciously tell yourself to stop. Do you make your own onion dip from scratch? If so, tell us about it in the comments.

Caramelized Onion Dip Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 cups of dip

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (from about 2-3 onions)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Method

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1 Heat olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed deep pot (I used a 5-quart Dutch oven) on medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent and starting to color, about 10 minutes. If at any point during the cooking of the onions they start to dry out, add a tablespoon of water to the pot. Stir in the brown sugar, balsamic, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat and cook gently, uncovered, for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are nicely caramelized. Then set aside. (You can caramelize the onions up to 2 days ahead and chill until you make the dip.) Let cool a bit before adding to the other ingredients.

2 In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream and mayonnaise (a rubber spatula works well for this). Stir in the caramelized onions. Sprinkle with garlic salt and stir to incorporate. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.

Chill until ready to serve. Serve with potato chips.

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Links:

Caramelized onion dip with sour cream and Greek yogurt from Heidi of 101 Coobooks

Caramelized onion dip with cream cheese, sour cream, lemon and chives from Food52

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Showing 4 of 32 Comments

  • Vera

    I used this recipe as a base, and tweaked it to suit my personal preferences. I was very pleased with the results.

    • Same amount of olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, SMALL diced (I decided to reduce the amount of onion based on some of the other comments, and I was glad that I did).
    • Same amount of brown sugar
    • Same amount of Balsamic vinegar
    • Same amount of salt
    • Decreased pepper to ¼ tsp
    • Same amount of sour cream
    • Same amount of mayo
    • Added 3 slices of diced precooked bacon (I added the bacon after the onions were cooked for 20 minutes)
    • I doubled the Worcestershire sauce
    • Instead of garlic powder, I used dried garlic from a mill, a bit more “fresher” and not so fine in texture
    • I mixed the garlic and Worcestershire sauce into the sour cream/mayo before adding the onion/bacon
    • Chilled for one hour – taste tested – good. Waited another hour and tasted great!
    • I used this to stuff mini bell peppers and celery

    Have fun with this one. I plan to experiment with other dried herbs in place of the garlic.

  • Gayle

    I made this as a raw veggie dip. I altered it to make it dairy-free for my daughter, using vegan mayo and non-dairy “sour cream”. There were way too many onions, for my personal liking (it was so chunky, it didn’t even look like dip, but more like onions in a thick sauce), so I used a strainer to remove them–after leaving it in the fridge overnight, so that the wonderful caramelized onion flavor throughly permeated the dip.

  • George

    I’ve got only one question.For how long can you keep it in the fridge?

  • Shelby

    Wonderful! We made this dip this afternoon. We used 2 1/2 onions and it was a lot of onion, but the dip was savory and sweet. Ate with Wavy Lays. What a treat!

  • Mike

    This is good, notably more tastey than the Lipton’s freeze-dried recipe. However, it’s a dip for chips in front of a TV football game, not a dinner party appetizer; don’t think the significant extra effort is really warranted. Slightly different: Ruffles used to be the best, but lately they are mostly crumbs–in a 16oz bag, you get about 20 decent-sized chips and the rest are just bits, suitable only for baked chicken pieces. I did a comparison with Lay’s Wavy chips, which were a lot better for dipping.

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