Onion dip…

Onion dip doesn’t HAVE to be made out of a packet of dried soup mix. Really.

Onion dip can go from plebeian to Paradise with the simple step of slowly frying fresh onions and garlic till golden brown, then combining them with sour cream and cream cheese. A touch of salt, a hint of Worcestershire, and there you have it:

Gourmet onion dip.

And no, that’s not an oxymoron!

Are you ready to move beyond the blue box? Let’s get started.

You’re going to need a few cloves of garlic, so I figured this was a good time to show you the easiest way to peel this aromatic bulb-let.

Press down HARD on the clove with the flat side of a knife, a measuring cup, or some other flat surface.

Bingo! The clove breaks, and the skin slips off easily.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil olive oil or garlic oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan set over medium heat.  Add 2 medium yellow onions or 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups diced onions); and 2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled and chopped.

Sauté slowly, stirring occasionally, till the onion is soft and golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup white wine or sherry to the onions. Yes, you can use all water or all wine, if you like.

Continue to sauté gently till the liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring frequently, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Notice how all the liquid is absorbed. This extra step both adds flavor (if you use wine), and softens the onions nicely.

Remove the pan from the stove, and transfer the onion and garlic to a plate to cool.

Gently beat the following till smooth:

1 cup sour cream
1 cup (8-ounce block) cream cheese, at room temperature*
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

*Yes, at room temperature. Cold cream cheese will make lumpy dip. Can you use whipped cream cheese? Of course.

Add the cooled onions.

Stir to combine.

Season to taste with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce; and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional).

Serve with chips, of course. But this dip’s also awesome on bread – especially a nice, tangy Russian rye.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Onion Dip.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Fran

    Basically, the recipe is pretty much the same as Barefoot Contessa’s – without the garlic. The carmelized onions are just wonnnnderful in that dip.

  2. SMJ

    Awesome! I have been wanting some onion dip, but I am trying to eat healthy (so I can eat more baked goods! :). I bet it would still be good using low fat versions of the ingredients. Can be a very good dip for raw veggies.
    I think you’re right, anything made at home is better than commercial! Molly @ KAF

    1. Barbara Macey

      I am a CANCER SURVIVOR & would iIke to share information from 3 different doctors.

      My Radiology Oncologist to our group_—-> NEVER EVER eat LOW Or FAT FREE products. Why do you think there are so many heavy Americans? Dr. Z’s question, not mine.

      My 2 oncologists—–>We American Eaters know so little of what is in Low or Fat Free Foods that it is frightening. Their thoughts were that we eaters feel we can eat more or those products than regular foods thus gaining more weight.

      I’ve wanted to write this for a long time but was afraid of how it would be interpreted. I didn’t share this to hurt anyone’s feelings but for thought.

  3. Leslie Limon

    I was just looking for a good onion dip recipe. Now I know what I’m having while watching the inaugural game of the World Cup! 🙂

    Who are you cheering for (besides U.S.?) I’m thinking Ivory Coast… 🙂 PJH

  4. Katherine

    That looks awesome. Would it be detrimental to omit the mayo?

    Fine to omit the mayo, Katherine – enjoy. PJH

  5. Carrie

    How long will this last in the fridge?

    As long as sour cream or cream cheese usually lasts – not that long, maybe a week? PJH

  6. Dana

    I’ve also had good luck with a similar recipe using Trader Joe’s lowfat Greek yogurt. (Not regular yogurt, but the thicker Greek kind, which has a texture more like sour cream.)

  7. FRAN S

    WOW! KAF you folks never cease to amaze me!! I would never have expected to see DIPS in your blog. I grew up on onion dip made with soup mix, it never occurred to me that it could (or should) be made from scratch, but I do make hot dog onions from scratch. Follow the same instructions as above but instead of all the creamy stuff add a little bit of brown sugar and a little bit of tomato paste or ketchup. simmer till nice and thick. You have never had a hot dog until you’ve had it with these onions!
    But back to dip… my mother used to make a dip with a block of cream cheese, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a small diced onion. Yum.
    I can’t wait to make my own onion dip from scratch! How long do you suppose it would keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge?

    Love the hotdog onions, Fran – thanks for sharing! Dip should last a week or so – it’s just like plain sour cream or cream cheese, once you open it you should use it fairly soon, as there are no preservatives. – PJH

  8. Terri A.

    I’m thinking maybe a little fried bacon added to this would be good. I’m loving the dips!

    Bacon – oh, YEAH… 🙂 PJH

  9. Alexis

    Is there anything that can be substituted for the cream cheese? I have never liked it, but I don’t want to ruin the texture. Thanks so much!

    Alexis, you could try using the drained yogurt, as shown in the tzatziki blog. Similar texture, albeit much more tangy. PJH

  10. Sarah

    This looks DELICIOUS!

    I’m totally rooting for USA, and I can’t wait for us to kick England’s a** on Saturday morning!!!! That being said, I’m betting Brazil or Portugal will win the cup. It’ll be an interesting month! 🙂

    Sarah, someone mentioned Argentina, too – yes, they call USA’s beating England in 1950 World Cup one of the greatest sports upsets no one’s ever heard of! PJH

  11. Sheila

    Wow, it’s only 8am in the morning but this recipe sure has set off my desire for chips and dip RIGHT NOW! Thanks for this awesome onion dip recipe.

    Sheila, you HAVE to wait till lunchtime… 🙂 PJH

  12. Sue E. Conrad

    Ah, yes, the ubiquitous “California Dip”; who of us of a certain age can ever forget when it first came on the scene!!! I have an “upmarket” version of the dip that was published in the Boston Sunday Globe magazine a few years ago – it features olive oil, a thinly sliced large Spanish onion, salt and freshly ground black pepper, dry sherry (dry Marsala would also work), mascarpone, sour cream, freshly grated (of course!!) Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh thyme, a pinch of either ground chipotle or cayenne pepper, and thinly sliced fresh chives. There’s also a recipe for pita chips…..YUM-M-M-M!!! Just love collecting appetizer recipes as you can put on a party with nothing but!

  13. vel

    I’ve done much the same but used a bit of a short cut. I took dried onion flakes and toasted until brown in a dry skillet. Then I cut them into the sourcream and cream cheese. They absorb some of the moisture in the dairy and come out very nice. Less sour cream and more cream cheese, and you have a lovely cheap! version of the expensive gourmet cheese products yuo can find in little plastic packs in the grocery store e.g. Boursin or Alouette.

  14. Carolyn

    The moment I saw this on the blog I knew I had to eat it. I came home and made this for dinner, substituting half of the cream cheese for ricotta cheese (it was just what I had in the fridge), added a ton of garlic and diced jalepenos, and then when I mixed it all together, added some hot sauce.


    DIVINE. It was even better after it had a night in the fridge to really let the flavors get nice and acquainted. Yes, I did have it for dinner. There were carrot sticks so it counts.

  15. Sara

    Amen! Onion dip does not need to come from a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch. I enjoy the way you provide pic-by-pic description of your steps, especially the chips at the end. The dipping is the best part, and Kettle Chips are my second favorite food to dip with.

  16. DQ

    Please continue with the pictures: they remove the uncertainty of guessing what color properly cooked ingredients should look like.
    Also, I very much appreciated the garlic demonstration! In all my years of cooking, and in all the cookbooks I own I have never seen this mthod…how easy!

  17. Emily

    Thank you! This was a hit at our cookout last night (and I finished it off for breakfast). It fits nicely into Michael Pollan’s food rule: “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” I used a vidalia onion which was plenty sweet. Next time I’ll try regular old yellow onions.

  18. milkwithknives

    Terrific dip! I made it on Thursday night to take to a bridal shower today, and came home with just a little bit left. What a hit! That trick with straining plain yogurt is genius (used that instead of sour cream), and I sauteed my vidalia onion in half a cup of water and a bit of ham base, which gave it a nice, bacony undertone. I can’t wait to try spreading the leftovers on sandwiches this week. Thanks!

    Glad you liked it as much as I do… 🙂 PJH


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