Caramelized Onion Dip
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This caramelized onion dip is sure to be a crowd pleaser! The best part is you can make it ahead of time for parties and gatherings!
Creamy, cool sour cream and cream cheese, swirls of balsamic caramelized onions, and salty potato chips to scoop it all up. Its cool ranch meets a sophisticated caramelized onion dip all scooped into a pretty dish and put out with an assortment of scoopable ingredients. Be it potato or bagel chips. But if you want to grab a spoon and just go to town on the dip, hey, that’s cool. I won’t judge.
Caramelized onions hold a special place in my heart during the holidays. A few years ago, I shared a hot caramelized onion dip made in the slow cooker. The onions can be caramelized and popped in a container until you’re ready to put the dip together. Then, you just let it bubble away for a few hours and what you’re left with is a crockpot full of gooey, stretchy cheese mingling with onions that are golden and sweet. The bestie and I have made that dip for housewarming parties, baby showers, and get-togethers and without a doubt, it’s always a hit. People were gathered around the crockpot because no one could bear to be away from the contents.
But I’ll be honest; there’s something so beautiful about completing a recipe for a get-together and having it ready to go at least a day before the event. And if it can taste better as it sits, then that’s just an added little bonus that tips me further in its direction.
As a child, one of my favorite afternoon snacks was those french onion dips that you find in the dairy section of your grocery store. You know, the one with the bright green container with stripes on the lid. Side note: they haven’t changed the packaging on that stuff in 30 years. But while all the other kids were nuts about Doritos and Cheetos, I was dipping my bugles (remember those?!) into containers full of french onion dip.
And until this day, I’ll choose a caramelized onion dip with salty potato chips over nachos and cheese any day!
Somethings never change.
Since this is an excellent recipe for make-ahead, I certainly suggest taking your time when you’re caramelizing the onions. That step is the bread and butter of this recipe. If it takes you an hour, so be it. Set aside sometime earlier in the week and make the onions right. This caramelized onion dip will treat you exceptionally well if you let the onions do their thing right.
If you guys have made any of my other one-million caramelized onion recipes, you know I love adding a little balsamic vinegar near the end of the caramelizing process. The vinegar adds a nice level of complexity. One that’s sweet and tangy and hard to pinpoint. It’ll keep your guests guessing all night long.
I like to caramelize the onion in my cast iron skillet with a knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Let those onions sweat; and shrink. We’ll sprinkle them with thyme, a couple teaspoons of sugar, and just stir them now and then as they cook down for 35-45 minutes. Near the end. we’ll deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar and give the onions a few minutes to soak it all up.
At this point, you can let the onions cool and pop them into an airtight container if you want to make the caramelized onion dip later. Or you can finish off the dip then refrigerate.
If you choose to make the dip right away, you’ll need to make sure you allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature for at least an hour or two before you proceed. It’s really difficult to blend the cream cheese with the other ingredients if it hasn’t had time to soften.
And this is the part that’s super easy: just combine the cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and ranch dressing mix in a bowl. YES. You read that right; there’s ranch seasoning mix in my caramelized onion dip. Can your mind’s mouth taste that cooler ranch/caramelized onion goodness meshing together into one addicting dip?
There are no more words.
Hot-diggity this is good!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons ranch seasoning mix
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- caramelize the onions: In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with a small drizzle of olive oil. Add the onions and sauté them for 5 minutes or until they start to sweat and shrink a little. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the dried thyme and the sugar and continue to cook for 35-45 minutes or until the onions start to turn golden and caramelize. Make sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so. If the onions are caramelizing too fast, turn down the heat a little more. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, and season with salt. Allow the onions to soak up the vinegar. Remove from heat and allow the onions to cool to room temperature. At this point, you can either refrigerate the onions or complete the dip then refrigerate.
- make the dip: Once the onions have cool, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, onions, garlic powder, Worcestershire, and 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning. Once smooth, stir in the caramelized onions and chopped parsley. Taste and adjust with additional ranch seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste. Let the dip rest for at least an hour before serving so the flavors have a chance to blend. You can also make this a day in advance. Just be sure to let the dip come to room temperature for a bit before serving.
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