Sour Cream and Onion Dip

Barbara Curry
by Barbara Curry
10 servings
1 hr 10 min

Take a classic appetizer to the next level with this from-scratch Sour Cream and Onion Dip. Fresh ingredients and caramelized onions make it so much better than anything you get from a dried seasoning packet. It’s sure to be a hit!

French onion dip in a bowl next to tortilla chips.

We’ve all done it — grabbed a packet of French onion soup mix, stirred in some sour cream and mayonnaise, and taken it to a last-minute party. But with a little extra prep time you can make a homemade dip that is so much better than the seasoning packet version.

The secret to this sour cream onion dip’s addictive flavor is the caramelized onions. Even though caramelizing onions takes about an hour, you won’t be tied to the stove the whole time.

Once the onions are cooking you only need to stir them every once in a while. (You can do this months in advance and grab them from the freezer)

How to make caramelized onions
Tongs holding caramelized onions over a skillet.

The trick is to cook them slowly, in a little oil over low heat. As a reward for your efforts, you’ll get irresistibly sweet and buttery onions. And as an added benefit, your whole house will smell amazing.

Don’t get impatient and turn up the heat, you’ll burn the onions and the sweet taste will not come through.

After the onions have cooked for 20 minutes or so, you’ll notice they start sticking to the pan. At this point, let them brown a bit before stirring. If you stir them too often they won’t brown. And you want to stir them often enough so they won’t burn. If the onions start to stick too much, add a little more oil.

You’ll know the onions are done when they turn a rich shade of brown and are soft but not mushy.

How to store caramelized onions

Any extra onions you have can be refrigerated in a tightly covered container for up to a week.

You can also freeze caramelized onions in a zip top bag or other freezer safe container. For individual portions, freeze them in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to an airtight container. Caramelized onions will stay fresh in the freezer for up to three months.

If you have leftovers, you can use them to add extra flavor to so many recipes. Try caramelized onions on pizza, patty melts, in a quiche or make French Onion French onion crostinis. Stir them into pasta or hummus. They’re also great in puff pastry bites or breakfast sandwiches.

A chip full of onion dip.
What do you eat with onion dip?

It’s hard to beat ruffled potato chips loaded with french onion dip. Crackers, pretzels and pita chips are other great options. You get all the best flavors and textures in one bite: fresh, salty, garlicky, creamy and crunchy.

If you’d rather eat your dip with something healthier, it’s delicious with vegetables. Here are some options:

Baby carrots

Celery sticks



Sliced peppers

Snap peas



More ways to use this French onion dip recipe

Serve it with bacon potato wraps

Swap ketchup for onion dip on burgers, hot dogs or brats

Drizzle a bit over roasted potatoes

Try it with chicken tenders or pork tenderloin

Why you’ll love it

  • Over-the-top caramelized onion flavor
  • A short ingredient list and simple instructions
  • It’s a no-fail appetizer perfect for game day or movie night
  • You can’t top the addictive combo of crispy chips and creamy dip
  • Make this ahead of time, the flavors just get better overnight

What you’ll need
The ingredients you need to make onion dip.

Onion – use yellow or Vidalia onions for the best flavor

Shallots – these have a mild onion taste and when added to the rest of the onions, they provide a more complex flavor

Sour cream – full-fat sour cream makes the richest dip

Pro tip: it’s easy to make homemade sour cream with only three ingredients. Whisk together 1 cup of cream with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Pour it into a jar and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then stir in ¼ cup of milk. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours until thickened.

Greek yogurt – its thick consistency is perfect for this recipe, you can just use all sour cream but the yogurt adds a tangy flavor.

Lemon juice – one medium lemon will be enough or if you prefer, you can leave it out

Garlic – buy bulbs with firm cloves that aren’t too dry

Vegetable oil – for cooking the onions. You can substitute canola oil or olive oil

How to make homemade onion dip

Step 1 – cut the veggies

Slice the onion and shallots into thin pieces and chop the garlic.

Sliced onions and shallots on a cutting board.
Step 2 – heat the oil

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Step 3 – cook the onions

Add the onion and shallot slices to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Once the onions soften and turn a bit brown, reduce the heat to low. Keep cooking and stirring occasionally for about 40 more minutes.

Sliced onions and shallots in a skillet.
Slightly cooked onions in a skillet.

Pro tip: When caramelizing onions use a heavy pan, like a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. As you get to the end of the cooking time the onions are more likely to burn, so keep a close eye on them and stir more frequently until they are dark brown, but not black.

Step 4 – chop the cooked onion
Caramelized onions in a skillet.

Remove the onion and shallot slices to a cutting board and use a sharp knife to finely chop the cooked veggies. Let them cool slightly.

Step 5 – make the dip

Add the onions and shallots to a large bowl. Stir in the rest of the ingredients: sour cream, yogurt, lemon juice and garlic. Add extra salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chives if desired.

The ingredients for onion dip in a glass bowl next to a lemon.

While making onion dip with a dried seasoning packet is not bad, once you try adding caramelized onions, you’ll never go back.

A bowl of sour cream dip with caramelized onions next to a bowl of chips.
FAQs and tips for making the best French onion dip

What is the difference between onion dip and French onion dip?

French onion dip gets its name from the French onion soup mix that some recipes call for. However, the recipe is often the same as those for sour cream and onion dip or California dip.

How long does onion dip made with sour cream last?

Caramelized onion dip can last up to a week. Cover it with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the fridge. For the best flavor, let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and stir before serving.

Can you freeze French onion dip?

Since sour cream changes consistency when frozen, I don’t recommend freezing this dip.

More easy dip recipes

Pimento Cheese Dip

Vidalia Onion Dip

Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe

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Recipe details
  • 10  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 1 Hours Total time: 1 hr 10 min
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  • ▢ 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ▢ 1 large Onion thinly sliced – 4 cups
  • ▢ 2 shallots thinly sliced
  • ▢ 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • ▢ 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ▢ 1/2 teaspoon garlic minced

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and shallots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions have started to soften and turn slightly brown, about 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally so that they don’t cook too much. Continue to cook until they are a dark brown but not black, about 40 minutes.
Remove from heat and finely chop.
Add slightly cooled onions to a large bowl and add sour cream, yogurt, lemon juice and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Don’t try to speed up the cooking process, you will just get burnt onions.
  • You can make the onions in advance and freeze or refrigerate until ready to make the dip.
  • The dip tastes even better after sitting for a few hours or overnight.
  • You can leave out the yogurt and just use sour cream.
Barbara Curry
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