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If you are an onion lover, this caramelized onion dip is going to rock your world. Sweet yellow onions are delicately caramelized to bring out the full depth of natural flavor. They are then infused with white wine, Worcestershire, and fresh herbs before being whipped together in a silky base of sour cream and cream cheese.
Whether you are gearing up for a potluck, a game night, or simply a Thursday night, this recipe for caramelized onion dip is a total crowd pleaser. It only takes around 30 minutes to prepare, and you likely already have most of the ingredients sitting in your pantry. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make and delighted when you realize just how versatile it is.
This delectable dip is great served up alongside your favorite crackers and veggie slices. The fun doesn’t have to end there, though. I like to have a batch of this delicious dip around to use as a sandwich spread or bagel topper. I find it particularly yummy on an onion or everything bagel with a handful of sprouts and a tomato slice.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Onions – I recommend yellow onions for this recipe. They are the sweetest and take kindly to caramelization. White or red onions are acceptable if they are what is available, but results may vary.
- Butter – Adds a richness and depth of flavor while being the vehicle for the onions to cook. Vegetable oil or a butter/oil mix also works.
- Sugar – Adds sweetness and amplifies the natural sweetness in the onions. Regular white sugar is best.
- Salt – Kosher salt enhances flavor and helps balance the moisture of the dish. Other salt varieties can be substituted.
- Thyme – Balances the savory richness of the dish with a dash of earthy, woodsy, and bright flavor.
- White Wine – Adds a concentrated dose of savory and sweet with a pop of acidity. Balsamic or white wine vinegar can be substituted if needed.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Adds a powerful punch of salty, savory umami flavor to the dish.
- Sour Cream – Creates a rich, velvety texture for the base of the dip.
- Cream Cheese – Smooth and creamy, this brings unparalleled richness and tanginess.
- Parsley – Provides a brilliant flash of green color while adding a fresh, peppery lightness.
HOW TO MAKE CARAMELIZED ONION DIP
1. Peel and Slice Onions. Remove the outer layer of skin and thinly slice the onions.
2. Sweat the Onions. Place a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, and add the onions. Quickly toss to coat in butter before covering with the lid. This technique, known as “sweating,” helps cut down on cooking time. Cook for 5 minutes and reduce the heat to low. Stir the onions and place the cover back on to cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Stir in Flavor. Uncover your skillet and add in the sugar, salt, thyme, wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir thoroughly and cook on low, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes while stirring often. You want your onions to turn a rich golden to dark brown color. Then, you can remove from the heat to cool.
4. Process the Caramelized Onions. Either transfer the caramelized onions to a cutting board to be diced or use an immersion blender to process them. Transfer them to a bowl along with the sour cream, the cream cheese, and one tablespoon of chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly.
5. Chill the Dip. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for the dip to chill, set, and firm up.
6. Serve and Enjoy. Transfer the dip to a fresh serving bowl. Top with plenty of cracked black pepper and the rest of the chopped parsley. Serve alongside your favorite chips or crackers.
What is the Difference Between Caramelized Onions and Sauteed Onions?
The primary difference is the cooking time. Caramelized onions, like the ones in this caramelized onion dip, are cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. This creates super sweet, super tender onions that taste reminiscent of caramel candy.
Sauteed onions are cooked over higher heat for a few minutes until softened, and they are often used as the base of sauce, soups, and other dishes.
Why Are My Caramelized Onions Mushy?
They won’t be crispy, but the most likely culprit is the thickness of your onion slices. If sliced too thick, we could end up with onions that are mushy on the outside before being fully cooked on the inside. Conversely, slicing the onions too thin can cause them to cook too fast and burn before achieving caramelization. I recommend keeping your slices between ¼ to ⅛ of an inch thick.
You can also end up with mushy or burnt onions if you walk away from your skillet at the wrong time. The process is a low and slow one, but the transformation can happen in seconds. Watch it closely for the best caramelized onion dip possible.
What Type of Pan is Best For Caramelizing Onions?
The best type of pan for caramelizing onions for caramelized onion dip is a stainless steel or cast iron skillet that is wide and thick bottomed.
Caramelized Onion Dip
- Peel and thinly slice onions.
- In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter and then add the onions. Toss to coat with butter and cover with lid. We need to "sweat" the onions to cut down on cooking time. Cook for 5 minutes and then turn heat to Low, stir and continue cooking covered for another 5 minutes.
- Remove lid, add the sugar, salt, thyme, wine and Worcestershire sauce. Stir through and continue to cook uncovered on Low for another 15 minutes, stirring often. Onions should be a rich golden to dark brown. Remove from heat to cool.
- Either use an immersion blender to puree the onions or transfer to cutting board and dice. Mix the caramelized onions and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley with the sour and cream cheese mixture in bowl. Mix thoroughly.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to set and firm up.
- Transfer to serving bowl and top with fresh cracked black pepper and remaining parsley. Serve with chips or crackers of choice.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.