Make Ahead

Caramelized Onion Dip

January 16, 2011
17 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

This recipe is very simple and so delicious. You will never go back to pre-made onion dip after you have this. I prefer to eat this with potato chips, but would be great with veggies as well. It is amazing how much sweetness is created through the natural caramelization of the onions. - ADRIENE —ADRIENE

Test Kitchen Notes

Patience pays off here—take your time caramelizing the onions. First, the onions will give off a lakeful of liquid. Let it boil off slowly, and by the time the onions begin to caramelize— it took ours at least an hour—they'll be as soft as pudding and deeply concentrated in flavor. Their sweetness infuses the entire dip, and while the rest of the ingredients are the classic onion dip foundation—sour cream, cream cheese, and chives—this one will be better than any you've had before. Note: We halved the recipe and had plenty for 6-8 (not ravenous) dip eaters. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Caramelized Onion Dip
  • 5 pounds Spanish onions
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 bunch chives
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Peel and cut the onions in a small dice. Get a large pot on the stove with the olive oil and throw in the diced onions. Cook on medium to low heat until they are caramelized (a nice golden brown color). This should take somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Put the cooked onions, cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and zest (if your lemon is large, you may want to start with half of each and add to taste) in a food processor. Blend until combined well. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. Mince the chives, fold the chives into the dip and sprinkle some on top to garnish.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LeeLeeBee
  • jilladavis
  • briankling
  • Michael Mosca
    Michael Mosca
  • THEToughCookie

63 Reviews

Sheryl C. February 15, 2022
Firstly - I would like to meet the person that can finely diced 5# onion in 5 minutes - it took me much longer. This makes a TON of dip - half for 6 people is enough. It is definitely sweet - not savory so next time I will try another suggestion of the Worcheshire and Soy addition - I do prefer savory but the kids all liked the sweetness so to each their own I suppose.
Geraldine December 21, 2019
How far ahead can this be made in advance?
Chris G. January 9, 2019
Here is another technique you might try, that will produce onions with lots of flavor and
not much sweetness. My wife loves roasted veggies. This past weekend we did roasted
veggies and I cut 1 onion into "1/16's. Separated it into pieces and roasted them on a
cookie sheet, with parchment paper, at 400 degrees. They have a very different taste with lots of "onioniness," and not much sweetness! You have to watch them really carefully, they get brown/black quite quickly! (Lots of great onion flavor though.) I'm thinking of experimenting with using "some" onions from each technique?

& if you are into experimenting, just a thought, maybe you might try one or all three of
these for your onion dip?



5 Tips for How to Make Crispy Fried Garlic Topping

(the shallots, ginger or garlic in the dip, that is as a granish or main ingredient???)
Karen June 23, 2018
Sounds like a winner but I was so disappointed. I guess I thought this would be a savory dip, maybe a high end version of the super market kinds. Well, it was just too sweet, my mistake because it is carmelized onions. So it’s not a savory dip, but a weirdly sweet oddly unexpected dip. At least the store bought chips were ok.
LeeLeeBee June 20, 2017
I counteracted the sweetness by adding about 2 to 3 tsp of soy sauce and about 1 to 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce to the caramelized onions and then letting them cook an additional 5 minutes. The saltiness and umami balanced the sweetness well.
jilladavis February 5, 2017
SAVED! If yours ends up too sweet, here's how to save it.

Put back in blender. Add and blend:
a garlic clove, crushed
all the green onions that you already folded in (oops)
additional lemon juice, salt and pepper
jilladavis February 5, 2017
Warning: if you use yellow onions as I just did, this dip will be really, really sweet. I should've used Spanish Onions as the author indicated.
briankling September 24, 2016
Wow I wish I had read the Food 52 Review comments. Yes it makes enough for 16-20 and you really have to keep cooking down the onions to get the liquid off. I have just made onion dip soup and I only used half the cooked onions :-( Please please update the recipe itself to reflect the quantity and that you need to cook the onions down more, "golden brown" is too early, should be a darker brown.
Michael M. January 4, 2016
I made this for a New Year's Eve cocktail party and was terribly disappointed. The dip was cloyingly sweet, otherwise not very tasty, and the consistency was thick, not creamy. I doctored it a bit by adding in more chives, some sour cream, salt & pepper to half of the dip. The rest I tossed. Echo everyone's comments that the original recipe makes enough for a huge crowd.
THEToughCookie September 5, 2015
I made this dip for the first time today. It will more than suffice for two evenings' no she's with cocktails.

It's criminally delicious!!!

I used 5 lbs of onions and began caramelizing them by keeping them in one covered pot on a very low flame til they were utterly limp. I removed the cover and raised the flame to cook off the liquid the onions released. As they began to take on color, I raised the heat til the onions turned mahogany. All in all, the process took probably over a hour, but you'll get no complaints out of me!!!!!!
ghainskom August 5, 2014
This was nice, if not outstanding. I halved the recipe and still had A LOT of it so watch out.
Danny February 4, 2014
I am an onion dip addict from birth, so I was intrigued by the recipe creator's comment that I would never buy onion dip again. I loved making this dip—loved how the onions cooked down into a pudding-like substance, just like she said. And I found no problems with the measurements at all, though it did make an insane amount of dip. But it's not accurate to compare this to other pre-made dips because this is sweet and those are savory. My eyes see onion dip, but my mouth tastes sweetness and it doesn't work for me, no matter how many chipfuls I eat. Glad I tried it, though. It's got me thinking about ways to work caramelized onions into other presentations.
Nathan G. February 2, 2014
Great recipe! It makes a ton of dip though. I don't think that seven of us are going to get through all of this.
Marina M. January 29, 2014
This recipe was great! It was an absolute hit, and so easy to make! A great app for football parties, pic nics, etc. Thank you for sharing.
LeeLeeBee July 6, 2013
Loved this recipe. I used the full five pounds of onions, and was glad I did. Since I had a lot of time to cook them but didn't want to be bothered to chop, I just sliced them thickly and caramelized them for about two hours. I blended about 2/3 of the onions with the other ingredients, and then stirred in the other third for a textural contrast.
Kwelicakes February 4, 2013
I made this for the Super Bowl. The crowd went ((((wild))))! They loved it! I tinkered with it a bit, after reading the comments. I cut the onions. I added pink Himalayan salt and Red Rooster hot sauce. I blended it -- just enough to remove major lumps. Oh! I used a Meyers lemon. This dip was fabulous!
Muse February 3, 2013
Will have to whip some up quick today before the Super Bowl...thank you for posting the recipes!
Summer O. November 1, 2011
I made this for the cookbook party, total hit. By request I'll be making it again for an open house next weekend. I also did not use all of the onions 3-4 lbs. would be enough. Loved the lemon in there.
KitchVega June 25, 2011
I loved it! I used two large onions and about two cloves of garlic. Very delish. Having it tomorrow for pre party for the Trueblood premiere! Thanks!
Chicago M. April 2, 2011
One tip that has worked well for me to caramelize onions faster is to place a piece of parchment paper directly on top of onions as they cook. Read this in the newer Gourmet cookbook by Ruth Reichl. Not sure why it works but it's something I will always do now when caramelizing onions.
ADRIENE April 16, 2011
Great tip, I never heard of that!