Onion Dip from Scratch

Onion Dip from Scratch

According to American culinary legend, an unknown Los Angeles chef devised onion dip back in the 50s by mixing Lipton soup mix with sour cream. Maybe … maybe not. What we know is that the folks at Lipton’s picked up the ball and ran with it to the point that more of their dehydrated soup mix was going into the dip bowl than the soup bowl. I have nothing against using manufactured mixes, but look, after the zombie apocalypse strikes, and the megamart shelves are stripped bare … what do we do then? Those of us with this recipe in our go-bags will survive to dip another day. Food for thought people, food for thought.

Onion Dip from Scratch
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  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 pound onions, diced
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  4. 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  5. 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  6. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
  1. Place the oil, onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 10-inch saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Place the remaining ingredients and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium mixing bowl, add the cooled onions and stir to combine.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and stir again before serving.
  1. This dip is even better when made a day ahead. Just make sure that you cover it well with plastic wrap because fats (like sour cream) take in flavors and aromas hanging around the refrigerator like crazy old grandmas collect leftover gift wrapping.
ALTON BROWN http://altonbrown.com/


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  1. 3

    Just made this to bring to a birthday party cookout. It already tastes great and it’s sitting in the crude waiting to wow my in laws. Thanks Alton. Your recipes never disappoint.

  2. 5

    I used two medium sized onions. I bought a third just in case. I have a digital scale, so I just diced and weighed my onions until I reached 16 oz. I did weigh the three onions at the store, and their scale said 1.3 lbs.

  3. 8

    I’ve made this at least 6 times over the past few months. First just as written, then using fat free Greek yogurt, light mayo, reduced the oil and salt by half. The only reasons for my changes is to reduce calories, sodium and fat due to changes I’m making in my diet. We love this and it was a huge hit at both parties we took it to over the holidays. Hubby experimented with some and added ranch dressing. It was a great onion-ranch dip!

    • 10

      He’s assuming you’ll do the leg work if you want to make the basic ingredients like mayo on your own. I’m absolutely certain a simple Google search will turn up plenty of lovely recipes for sour cream and homemade mayonnaise.

  4. 15

    Now you only need some good chips. Have you heard of “Maui Chips”, the real thing not the knock-offs. Maybe you could develop a recipe and share it!

  5. 23

    Thanks. I was gazing at the premade tubs of onion dip in the market the other day but refuse to buy a lot of “ready” foods because of added junk and how those products make it too easy to pack on pounds. Gotta make myself earn those naughty snacks!

  6. 25

    My favorite chip dip was always the French onion bacon dip. I wonder how difficult it would be to incorporate bacon into this recipe without it overpowering and stealing the show…

    • 26

      Hey AB,
      Great recipe but I have a friend who is allergic to olive oil. Would canola or vegetable or be an ok substitute to saute with? I like the idea of bacon fat!

      • 27

        I’d recommend doing a 50/50 combo of another oil and butter. Veg and canola have very little flavor compared to olive — butter would add a little more flavor. (I’m just an amateur, though.)

    • 28

      I would think that cooking some good-quality (nitrate-free) bacon and using the rendered fat to cook the onions would be a way to incorporate some of the bacon flavor without it being too overpowering. You could also finely chop some uncooked bacon, cook until crisp, and then add in the onion (adding olive oil as needed). An extra step, but it would allow you to adjust the amount of bacon/fat/flavor in the finished dip.

      • 29

        There is no such thing as nitrate free bacon. Bacon that claim to have no added nitrates or nitrites will have an asterisk that mentions either celery juice or celery powder usually. During the process of curing, these items create nitrates – and often at even higher levels than regular cured bacon. Cooks Illustrated tested these “nitrate free” bacon not too long ago and this was their results.

  7. 31

    Alron, have you tried making this dip with your microwaved caramelized onion recipe? I have and my question is how much of the liquid to retain or pour off?

  8. 34
    Jennifer Sabatino

    liptons has been a family fav for all of my chip eating years. I will be trying this very very soon. Can you tell me what the mayo does for it? It’s not something I would have thought to add to sour cream:)

  9. 37

    You’d have a hard time convincing a New Zealander that the recipe is allowed to be anything other than reduced cream and Maggi brand Onion Soup mix… that’s how my mother made it, that’s how her mother made it. However, we’ll excuse the idea that it was invented in America… Australians do the same by trying to claim they invented the Pavlova 😉

  10. 39
    Aileen Perna

    To Alton Brown: Before my better half passed away he used to make the best dill dip. I can not for the love of money remember it. Would you happen to have one using fresh dill?

  11. 41

    I haven’t made onion dip for a long time because of the salt levels of onion soup Mix (although it does taste great). This mix sounds delicious. I only object to the deleterious reference to crazy old Grandmas… Only because I am one 😀

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