Sour Cream

The One Ingredient That Changed My Sour Cream Dip Game Forever

Korea's version of Lipton onion soup mix.

September  3, 2018

It is very nice and satisfying to tear open a packet of Lipton onion soup mix, stir it into a tub of sour cream, and call it a day. Served alongside Ruffles chips (because, let's be real, Ruffles chips are the best), French onion dip aka "California dip" can feed large, hungry crowds in one fell swoop. Plus, it's freaking delicious.

I've spent much of my early dinner-party-throwing years trying too hard with pureed soup shooters, salades composées, and hors d'oeuvres that take forever to prepare. But when I look back, sour cream dip is the one thing I still make today in my adult life for my adult friends, in my adult kitchen. It's what people want.

Delicious though French onion dip is, I wanted a dip that was

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When I think, What is "me"? (which isn't hard for an egotist like myself), the flavor notes that come to mind are rice vinegar, sesame oil, and roasted seaweed snack—Korean-style salted, cooked nori. Maybe because they encompass how I like to season my food: with acid (rice vinegar), with salt (roasted seaweed snack), and with nuttiness, or what the Koreans call gosohan mat (sesame oil). Over the years these ingredients have crept their way into most of my recipes, to the point where it's a running joke here that I'm casually developing a nori column.

A Love Letter to Nori

This is how I crudités. Photo by Rocky Luten

I present to you my Nori Sour Cream Dip. A sour cream dip all the same, but Korean-inflected and with nuance. Instead of Lipton onion soup mix, that deliciously desiccated "maraca-shake of onions rattling in a paper packet," as Amy Thielen once called it, mine calls for a couple packets of those roasted seaweed snacks that I grew up eating, and that have been in vogue among the Trader Joe's generation as of late. It's the secret ingredient in much of my cooking, gives everything a savory note that hits all the pleasure centers of the brain.

It's what people want.

This dip is salty, creamy, and umami-rich, makes you want to eat vegetables (which I don't do very often). Though it tastes great with bitter, crunchy veg like radishes, radicchio, and endive (sweet carrots and cucumbers are very good, as well), more often than not I eat it with potato chips, roast chicken, heck, even fried rice. Nori sour cream dip is versatile, and in its versatility lies its charm as a dip-slash-sauce-slash–dinner party savior.

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Top Comment:
“My favorite sour cream dip is a dill recipe that includes Beau Monde, a seasoning that adds a great dimension to the flavor and is especially good with crudites.”
— Jaye B.

It's one of those recipes that people always ask me for. Even when I've seem to have cooked a thousand other more complicated, more delicious things, this five-minute dip is the one everyone seems to remember most.

What's your favorite sour cream dip? Let us know in the comments below.

Dip These

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jem Robbs
    Jem Robbs
  • Eva Castle Goodman
    Eva Castle Goodman
  • Jaye Bee
    Jaye Bee
  • Nan G
    Nan G
  • Karen Lusby Lewis
    Karen Lusby Lewis
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.


Jem R. September 10, 2018
The thing I wasn't expecting in the comments: finding my people. Ruffles! I get them almost every time I'm at a non fancy grocery store. They're my reward for avoiding more expensive impulse buys.
Eric K. September 10, 2018
Welcome home, Jem.
Eva C. September 7, 2018
Even if I didn't consider myself a foodie, all my friends do, so who am I to disagree? I grew up in the day before every flavor imaginable chip. Good, old-fashioned fried chips with salt was it. Wise brand, on the east coast, was THE chip, forget about anything from Lay's. Until Ruffles. Ruffles with rrrridges. Right! OMG, I can't have them in my home to this day because they won't last the night. Definite addiction. The only hope is complete abstinence. Lipton's onion soup dip was also the only dip around. I was never big on dip, gilding the lily, IMHO. Although, your nori dip has piqued my taste buds. I'm overdue for a trip to TJ's. Completely out of their Corn no tomato Salsa. Ruffles would sing with TJ's Corn Salsa!
Eric K. September 8, 2018
Eva, Ruffles rule. I just bought a bag last night and polished it off after dinner.

Just kidding, it never made it home.
Jaye B. October 13, 2018
Eric - for a real old fashioned potato chip with an actual potato flavor, may I suggest mail ordering Sterzing potato chips from Iowa. I discovered this company after a family owned business in Gary, IN that made the absolute best potato chip (Peerless) closed. It's expensive to mail order something like potato chips, but I do it a couple times a year just to indulge in a chip that is unlike any other.
Jaye B. October 13, 2018
Eva - I agree with your "gilding the lily" comment. I'm a purist (and fiend) when it comes to potato chips and never eat them with a dip. But I'd try this nori dip for raw veggies.
Jaye B. September 7, 2018
I'm suspicious of any foodie who thinks Ruffles are the best potato chip. My favorite sour cream dip is a dill recipe that includes Beau Monde, a seasoning that adds a great dimension to the flavor and is especially good with crudites.
Robin J. October 12, 2018
Jaye B. - I love Beau Monde seasoning! I thought my mother, sister and I were the only ones who used it. It’s a game changer on sautéed mushrooms. Would love to get your dilly dip recipe.
Jaye B. October 12, 2018
Robin - Happy to share! 2/3 c. mayo, 2/3 c. sour cream, 2 TBsp dried parsley, 1 TBsp dried green onion, 1 tsp dried dill (or to taste - I usually add a bit more), 1 tsp Beau Monde. Make a day ahead, refrigerate, and feel free to use fresh herbs if you wish. I've had this recipe for at least 25 yrs and, of all the dill dips I've had in that time, this one tastes better to me and I attribute it to the Beau Monde. Hope you like it, too. I always use Beau Monde in tuna salad and now I'm going to try it on sauteed mushrooms, so thanks for that tip. Maybe we should form a Beau Monde fan club. :D
Robin J. October 13, 2018
Thank you! Will try it out soon...along with the tuna salad tip! I hope Spice Islands never stops making Beau Monde - for all of us fans!
Brooke B. February 3, 2019
Thank you so much for the recipe! Ow I have TWO to try!!
Nan G. September 6, 2018
Worcestershire sauce has been my go-to for adding to a sour cream/Lipton's Onion soup dip.
But these ideas of Asian additives make sense when veggie chips are on the table.
I'll definitely try nori or sesame oil soon.
Eric K. September 6, 2018
Veggie chips are a great idea w/ nori dip.
Karen L. September 6, 2018
Sounds amazing. Love all nori-esque flavors. Love the onion dip so this is a must-try! :)
Eric K. September 6, 2018
Let me know how it goes!
sandra September 6, 2018
I grew up in the beach are of Southern Cailf. The go to dip was clam dip with Ruffles potato chips
Eric K. September 6, 2018
Ha! That's exactly what HalfPint said below.
Picholine February 1, 2019
Classic Upstate NY Clam Dip
1 can minced clams
1 8oz pkg cream cheese softened
1 T grated onion
Touch of Worcestershire sauce
Squeeze of lemon
Mix and serve with of course Ruffles
Anyone else scoop the dip and sandwich between another chip? Lol !
Eric K. September 4, 2018
Yup, it's called "Roasted Seaweed Snack" (looks like this: https://www.traderjoes...), and I believe it's in the snacks section. For this recipe you'll want the original flavor, not Teriyaki.
Eric K. September 6, 2018
Hi Kapcooks, it's this: Let me know how it goes!
Lee September 4, 2018
So the roasted seaweed snack is called just that? Where in Trader Joe’s would I look for that, the chip isle?
Eric K. September 4, 2018
Yup, it's called "Roasted Seaweed Snack" (looks like this:, and I believe it's in the snacks section, yes. For this recipe you'll want the original flavor, not Teriyaki.
Eric K. September 6, 2018
Hi Lee, it's this right here:
Joann M. September 7, 2018
It's by the crackers
HalfPint September 3, 2018
Clam dip. I grew up in Connecticut and clam dip with Ruffles (yes, they are best for dipping)was my favorite. I haven’t had it in years since I moved to California and no one here seems to know much. Get a lot of strange looks when I ask, so I stopped asking. Would love a great recipe if you have it :)
Eric K. September 4, 2018
Yum, clam dip! Never heard of it. Does it taste like clam chowder by chance? I'll get on that recipe...

P.S. Ruffles. I go through at least one bag a week. It's my deep, dark secret as a food editor. Can't get enough of them.
HalfPint September 4, 2018
Clam dip flavor: creamy and briny. So yes, almost like chowder. You gotta like worcestershire sauce because other than the clam juice, there's really no other flavoring.
Eric K. September 4, 2018
Love Worcestershire, of course. Sounds delicious; will test recipes and report back.
Rosebud September 9, 2018
Check the New York Times recipe from Sam Sifton
Eric K. September 9, 2018
Thank you!
HalfPint September 10, 2018
Thank you, Rosebud!
Tessi September 13, 2018
This recipe is intriguing. I have one question. Is the sesame oil from toasted sesame seeds or just regular sesame oil? Many recipes I see in a variety of places to not specify, so I never know which one to get. Thanks in advance for your response.