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After following my Caramelized Onion Dip recipe from scratch, I guarantee you will never take the shortcut with a store-bought version again. It’s so fresh and utterly delicious!

a bowl of caramelized onion dip garnished with rosemary and more caramelized onions on a table with a bowl of potato chips.

Easy and creamy, sweet yet tangy, Caramelized Onion Dip is perfect for your next get-together! Who doesn’t love perfectly caramelized onions in a creamy base of mayonnaise, cream cheese, and sour cream?

My delicious homemade caramelized onion dip is an excellent appetizer to bring along to your next tailgate party, holiday party, or neighborhood potluck. Just add some potato chips, and you’re set!

Looking for more crowd-pleasing dips? Check out my Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Dip, this classic Layered Taco Dip, or this festive Pumpkin Dip Recipe.

ingredients for caramelized onion dip on a table.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Caramelized Onion Dip

  • Butter and olive oil — Unsalted butter and olive oil are perfect for caramelizing fresh onion slices. If preferred, you can use only olive oil and eliminate the butter.
  • Onions — I like to use yellow onions for caramelized onion dip because of their sweetness. However, you can use just about any type of onion.
  • Sugar — While onions have natural sugars that are brought out in the caramelizing process, I like to add a little more sugar to produce a little extra-sweet result.
  • Cream cheese — Mild cream cheese is just one of the three ingredients that make for the perfect creamy base in this recipe. You may substitute with plain Greek yogurt for a healthier twist.
  • Sour cream — Sour cream gives the dip a lighter and fluffier texture while adding some tangy notes.
  • Mayonnaise — Mayonnaise is the final creamy ingredient of the base in this onion dip recipe. It helps to bind the other ingredients and adds more tang to the overall flavor.
  • Garlic powder or Cayenne pepper — Depending on your preference, you can season the dip with cayenne pepper for some heat or garlic powder for a rich flavor.
  • Worcestershire — Mix in more savory notes that complement the sweet caramelized onions with a bit of Worcestershire sauce. Soy sauce works similarly if you’d rather use what you have on hand.
  • Chives — Fresh chives are optional. However, I absolutely recommend stirring them into the mix for added flavor and texture.

How to make Chip Dip with Caramelized Onions

This recipe will make you a believer in homemade dips of all kinds because it is easier than you might imagine. Grab a bowl and a skillet, and let’s get started!

STEP 1 | Chop ingredients

Of course, with most recipes, there is a little time required to prep the ingredients. For this onion dip recipe, you have a bit of chopping to do.

Start by setting the cream cheese out to soften. Then slice the onions nice and thin and dice the chives.

process steps for making caramelized onion dip: slide onions with mandoline; add onions to skillet with butter; sprinkle sugar on onions.

tips

  • Don’t slice your onions too thin Try to cut slices about 1/8th inch thick for the best results. When the portions are too thin, they can stick to the pan or quickly burn.
  • Try not to use only butter — Butter can also easily burn, so it is best to use a mixture of butter and olive oil for caramelizing.

STEP 2 | Cook the onions until soft

To start, melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. And just like French Onion soup, add the onion slices next.

As the fragrance fills the house, cook for only a few minutes until they’re softened and golden translucent.

stages of caramelized onions in a cast iron skillet at 15 minute intervals.

tips

  • Use the right-sized pan — When the pan is a little too small, the onions are two crowed to caramelize quickly and adequately.
  • Be patient — Remember, it takes time to slowly cook down the onions. Turning up the heat to try to make the process faster will only burn the onions.

STEP 3 | Add sugar and caramelize

Caramelized onions are the gem of this recipe. To properly achieve caramelization, sprinkle some sugar over the onions and reduce the heat to medium-low.

This is the slowed-down portion of the recipe. Continue cooking for 40 to 60 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the onions are golden brown and caramelized. It takes a little time, but is so worth it!

tip

  • White wine addition Add a splash of white wine to the onions near the end of cooking for an even more interesting flavor!

STEP 4 | Remove from heat and chop

Next, remove the skillet browned onions from the heat and let them cool for a few minutes. Then, give the caramelized onions a rough chop, so there are no long strips to weigh down your chips!

beating together ingredients in a bowl for caramelized onion dip.

STEP 5 | Combine the creamy ingredients

Mix the softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Then, beat the ingredients until the texture is smooth and creamy.

Finally, stir in the remaining ingredients — the Worcestershire sauce, caramelized onions, and chives.

tips

  • If you prefer a thicker caramelized onion dip, allow the completed recipe to chill in the refrigerator for some time before serving. As the dip cools, it will thicken.
  • Remember to set out your cream cheese before beginning the recipe. Working with room temperature, softened cream cheese is much easier when combining with other ingredients — resulting in a silky smooth texture rather than lumpy.

Step 5 | Serve!

Serve the dip immediately, at room temperature. Or chill the dip in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Now, all you need are some potato chips, crackers, or veggie sticks for dipping.

For a picture-perfect presentation, sprinkle some chopped chives and additional caramelized onions on top!

Frequently asked questions

Is this a good recipe to make ahead of time for an upcoming dinner or party?

Holiday season is right around the corner, and if you’re like me, you’re already planning the menus. This caramelized onion dip recipe is perfect for preparing ahead of time when you have loads of other dishes to create.

Since caramelizing the onions is the most time-consuming step in the recipe, it may be wise to get this out of the way on another day. You can store them in the refrigerator and microwave them for a few seconds before adding them to the other ingredients.

Also, the completed dip should last in the refrigerator for about three or four days.

Is there an easier way to caramelize the onions for this dip?

For a hands-free alternative, you can caramelize the onions in the oven or in the Instant Pot.

caramelized onion dip in a bowl with a spoon.

Serving suggestions

My caramelized onion dip recipe pairs beautifully with chips, veggies, and other dippers:

  • Kettle-cooked potato chips
  • Veggie tray with celery, carrot sticks, and more.
  • Crackers of any kind
  • Pita chips
  • Tortilla chips
  • Or my homemade-hit,  Air Fryer Sweet Potato Chips!
a bowl of caramelized onion dip with a potato chip.

Behind the recipe: The Best Onion Dip

Dips are nothing new— the Greeks and Aztecs were dipping foods in recipes like tzatziki sauce, hummus, and salsa!

Of course, it took some time for chips and dip to become as popular as it is today at any typical gathering, like a family party, open house, or office potluck.

Here are some fun chip and dip facts for your entertainment or perhaps your next heated trivia game:

  • 85% of the American population enjoys eating potato chips. I mean, have you ever heard someone say they don’t like potato chips?
  • Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most popular days to serve all kinds of chips and dip combinations! French onion dip and caramelized onion dip are two family favorites.
  • The official state snack of Texas is tortilla chips and salsa.
  • Usually, double dipping is frowned upon because of the passing of germs.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

a bowl of caramelized onion dip garnished with rosemary and more caramelized onions on a table.

Caramelized Onion Dip

After following my Caramelized Onion Dip recipe from scratch, I guarantee you will never take the shortcut with a store-bought version again. It’s so fresh and utterly delicious!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 236 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives optional

Instructions
 

  • Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue cooking for 40 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and caramelized.
  • Remove the onions from the heat and let cool slightly, then give them a rough chop.
  • Beat the softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and garlic powder until creamy.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, caramelized onions, and chives, if using.
  • Serve the dip immediately, at room temperature, or chilled with potato chips, crackers, or veggie sticks.

Notes

Nutrition values do not include potato chips.
  • Don’t slice your onions too thin — Try to cut slices about 1/8th inch thick for the best results. When the portions are too thin, they can stick to the pan or quickly burn.
  • Try not to use only butter — Butter can also easily burn, so it is best to use a mixture of butter and olive oil for caramelizing.
  • White wine addition  Add a splash of white wine to the onions near the end of cooking for an even more interesting flavor!
  • If desired, reserve a few of the onions and chives to garnish the top.
  • The dip may thicken as it chills.
  • Caramelized Onion Dip should last in the refrigerator for about three or four days.

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 2gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 138mgPotassium: 157mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 461IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword dip, onion
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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