Big Little Recipes

Why This Garlic Dip Is Even Better Than Onion Dip

September 17, 2019

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. Psst—we don't count water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (specifically, 1/2 cup or less of olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, we’re making an onion dip doppelgänger, just without the onions.

You can’t rush caramelized onions. Yes, you can mimic slow-cooked sweetness with sugar or balsamic vinegar. Yes, you can speed things up, sort of, with a lid or baking soda. And, yes, you can straight-up cheat with this hacked version. But the fact is: Classic caramelized onions take time—an hour, give or take.

Such is the hurdle between me and onion dip. Which is a bummer, considering that onion dip is a dish that just about everyone likes. It is creamy, savory, and unpretentious. It is best devoured via potato chip. And, if you’re making it from scratch (delicious in its own way, just as the soup-mix route is delicious in its own way), onion dip is time-consuming.

The good news: It doesn’t have to be. A few months ago, I was cooking from Made in India (a 2016 Piglet finalist!), when I stumbled upon a shortcut that would lead me toward infinite dip, infinite potato chips, infinite happiness:

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Grew up on a similar dip but with cream cheese instead of yogurt and the juice of a lemon! Yum! Has to be eaten with wavy Lays or Ruffles. Can’t wait to try this recipe! ”
— Barb

Skip the onions altogether and use garlic instead.

In Made in India, author Meera Sodha shares a recipe for Golden Garlic Raita. Basically, you fry garlic and red chile in oil, add these (and, bonus, the infused oil) to Greek yogurt, then finish with a squeeze of lemon.

The garlic imparts “a lovely deep, sweet, smoky flavor, which infuses really well into yogurt,” she writes. “This raita takes just minutes to whip up but is tastier the longer you leave it to infuse.”

Sodha developed the recipe with curries in mind, but my brain hopped, skipped, and jumped right to onion dip (uh, not-onion dip?). So I nipped and tucked and created a Big Little version, perfect for potato chip–dunking.

Greek yogurt? Check. Garlic? Check. More garlic? Check. Photo by Ty Mecham

To zoom in on the garlic flavor, we’ll ditch the chile and lemon, and bump up the amount of garlic, too. We’ll also use garlic two different ways: 1) Minced and toasted in oil until golden, then stirred into yogurt (whole-milk, please—it’s full and rich, like sour cream, but still super tangy). 2) Thinly sliced and fried in oil until crisp, then sprinkled as a crunchy garnish. Finishing with a drizzle of garlic-infused oil may seem like overkill but—guess what?—it’s not.

If you’re in a rush, you could eat this right away. It will be garlicky and good. But the longer you let it hang out in the fridge, the bigger the flavor (and isn’t big flavor the whole point?).

In short, a little planning and eight-ish minutes of cooking yields a dip that’s just as rewarding as the oniony original, which asks you to hover by the stove for an hour. The only question is: When’s your next party, and what else can I bring?

This post contains products that are independently selected by our editors, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission. What’s your favorite party-ready dip? Share in the comments!
Order now

Put down those long grocery lists. Inspired by the award-winning column, our Big Little Recipes cookbook is minimalism at its best: few ingredients, tons of flavor.

Order now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Barb
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Barb September 18, 2019
Grew up on a similar dip but with cream cheese instead of yogurt and the juice of a lemon! Yum! Has to be eaten with wavy Lays or Ruffles. Can’t wait to try this recipe!
Emma L. September 18, 2019
Yay, hope you enjoy!