Caramelized Onion Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip

In case you need an appetizer for Thanksgiving, I thought I’d post one last recipe before the “big day”. I think that an appetizer on Thanksgiving day is great because it keeps everyone’s mouth busy with something to eat while the cook is busy trying to finish preparing the feast.

This particular recipe was inspired by Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), but I have made a number of changes to her original recipe to personalize it for my own preferences.  Therefore, I give Ina credit for the inspiration.

Caramelizing the onions takes about 40 minutes.  It is not difficult; it just takes a little time, but oh my goodness, what a wonderful reward in flavor is given for your time.  You will never look at onions at the same way again.

Make this dip today and serve it tomorrow.  You’ll get rave reviews and applause from your family or guests.  They’ll think you are a genius!

The caramelized onion dip can be served with raw vegetables such as carrot and celery sticks, cherry/grape tomatoes, broccoli florets, radishes, etc.  It would also be delicious with bread cubes, especially with sourdough bread.

The ‘light’ versions of cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise can be used. I would hesitate to use ‘fat free’, but low fat is fine.

Caramelized Onion Dip

Recipe by Terri @ that’s some good cookin’, inspired by Ina Garten’s Pan Fried Onion Dip
Printable Recipe


  • 3 medium sized yellow onions
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated or powdered garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


For the Onions:

  1. Cut the onions in half.  Peel off the papery skins.  Slice the onions into about 1/4-inch slices.
  2. In a large, flat bottomed saute pan, over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil.
  3. Add the onions and salt. Stir until the onions are well coated with the butter and olive oil.
  4. Cook the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The onions will soften and begin to lightly brown.  Lower the heat to medium low at this point.
  5. Continue to cook, stirring every few minutes until the onions are a dark golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.  Do not let the onions burn!  They will have reduced in volume by at least half.  If they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, simply de-glaze the pan by pouring in a little water.  This will loosen the onions.  Allow the water to evaporate during the cooking process.
  6. Remove the onions from the pan and allow them to cool.
  7. When cool enough to handle, put the onions on a chopping board and do a rough chop on them.  This will make them a nice size for mixing into the dip.
  8. There is a beautiful photo of caramelized onions on Simply RecipesI had a lot of family over at my house when I was caramelizing the onions and well, I just didn’t get around to taking a photo.  So, click on over to Simply Recipes to get a look at her photos!

For the Dip:

  1. In a large bowl, place the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise.  With an electric mixer, blend until smooth.
  2. Add the granulated garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper and mix well.
  3. Add the chopped caramelized onions and mix well.  Taste and correct the seasonings.
  4. Chill until ready to serve, at least 2-3 hours.  Overnight is even better.
  5. Put into a serving dish, sprinkle lightly with red pepper flakes for garnish, if desired.


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