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This classic homemade onion dip is a flavorful blend of sweet caramelized onions, sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice. It’s a simple and easy snack or party appetizer that always disappears fast. Serve a bowl of the creamy French onion dip with potato chips, carrots and celery. Everyone will go back for seconds!

Close up overhead shot of onion dip from scratch with potato chips and fresh chives

French Onion Dip

When I think of the classic party snacks of my youth (you know, those quintessential birthday parties of the 80s and 90s), a bowl of sour cream and onion dip instantly comes to mind. Of course there were also bowls of Skittles, open bags of Doritos, and cans of Coca Cola. But thirty years later, the onion dip and Ruffle potato chips are still a favorite!

A traditional French Onion Dip recipe isn’t actually French at all. Instead, this American dip consists of sour cream and minced onion, and gets its name from the dehydrated French onion soup mix that was originally used to prepare it. We’re kicking it up a notch here, though! Instead of using a packet of Lipton soup mix, this onion dip is made from scratch with just a handful of very basic ingredients. The only hard part is patience, since you’ll need to slowly cook the sweet Vidalia onions until they become soft, golden brown, and caramelized. Once the onions cool, you can stir them into the sour cream base, grab a bag of chips, and get the party started!

Hand dipping a potato chip in a bowl of sour cream and onion dip

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for your own bowl of homemade caramelized onion dip. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Vidalia onions: thinly sliced sweet onions give the dip its classic flavor. If you can’t find Vidalia onions, you can substitute with any other sweet onion variety.
  • Butter, brown sugar, water and Worcestershire sauce: caramelize the onions and add flavor to the dip.
  • Kosher salt and pepper: enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Sour cream and mayonnaise: the base of the dip.
  • Lemon juice: a bright, acidic touch.
Ingredients for sour cream and onion dip from scratch

How to Make Onion Dip from Scratch

Yes, you can make onion dip without onion soup mix — and the end result is WAY better! Prep this easy dip ahead of time so that you can pull it out of the refrigerator whenever your party guests arrive. It’s low-stress, delicious, and always a hit!

  1. Make the caramelized onions by slowly cooking the sliced onions in butter with brown sugar and salt. Add a little bit of water and Worcestershire sauce at the end.
  2. Let the onions cool to room temperature.
  3. Whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  4. Stir in the caramelized onions.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Caramelized onions in a cast iron skillet
Process shot showing how to make onion dip from scratch
Square overhead shot of a tray of homemade French onion dip from scratch with potato chips on the side

What to Serve with Onion Dip

There are so many delicious options to dip in your onion dip! Potato chips are a classic choice, but other good choices include vegetables like carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. You might also want to set out some crackers, pretzels, pita chips, sliced French baguette or toasted bread. Don’t forget that you can use the onion dip as a spread on hamburgers, sandwiches, tacos and more!

Make Ahead

The best party appetizers are those that you can make ahead, and this dip is no exception. You can prepare the caramelized onions up to 3 days in advance, and then keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to stir together the dip.

You can also mix the dip at least one hour in advance (or even the day before), cover it tightly, and store it in the refrigerator until your guests arrive. There’s no last-minute stress or fuss!

Side shot of two chips in a bowl of French onion chip dip

Storage

Properly stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the dip will stay fresh for about 3-4 daysI do not recommend freezing the dip, since the dairy base will “break” or develop an undesirable texture when thawed.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the sour cream and use full-fat plain Greek-style yogurt.
  • For less tang, substitute more mayonnaise for some of the sour cream.
  • Stir extra fresh chives into the dip for even more fresh onion flavor.
  • Swap out the mayonnaise for softened cream cheese. The dip will have richer, thicker consistency.
  • Onion bacon dip: stir in some crispy chopped bacon.
Horizontal shot of a platter of chips with caramelized onion dip

Tips for the Best Onion Dip Recipe

  • Cook the onions slowly over medium (or medium-low) heat. Don’t try to rush the process and cook them faster over higher heat, or they’ll burn and will not achieve that soft, golden, sweet, caramelized texture.
  • Allow plenty of time to let the caramelized onions cool before stirring them into the dip.
  • The flavors in the dip come together and get better as it sits, so let the dip chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, if possible, before serving.
  • Garnish the dip with fresh chives, sliced green onion, or even crispy bacon.
Overhead image of potato chips with caramelized onion dip on a wooden table

More Dip Recipes to Try

Close up overhead shot of onion dip from scratch with potato chips and fresh chives

Onion Dip

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 2 cups total
Calories 60 kcal
This classic homemade onion dip is a flavorful blend of sweet caramelized onions, sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium Vidalia onions, halved and thinly-sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Optional garnish: minced fresh chives, sliced green onion, crispy bacon
  • Optional, for serving: potato chips, crackers, pretzels, carrot sticks, celery sticks

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions, brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the water and Worcestershire sauce. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature, then use in the recipe or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Stir in the onions. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Notes

  • Cook the onions slowly over medium (or medium-low) heat. Don’t try to rush the process and cook them faster over higher heat, or they’ll burn and will not achieve that soft, golden, sweet, caramelized texture.
  • Allow plenty of time to let the caramelized onions cool before stirring them into the dip.
  • The flavors in the dip come together and get better as it sits, so let the dip chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, if possible, before serving.
  • Garnish the dip with fresh chives, sliced green onion, or even crispy bacon.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 60kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 53mgPotassium: 24mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 27IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: caramelized onion dip, french onion dip, onion dip
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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