Pan-Fried Onion Dip

Mad Men, Meatless, Party Food, Tailgating / Saturday, August 15th, 2009


Through her entire pregnancy, my sister craved onions with an intensity typically seen only during Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.

Once, Chili’s ran out of Awesome Blossoms just after she and my brother-in-law got there, and she tied the waitress to her back bumper and drove around the parking lot until she went into labor.

So, about three days before the baby came, I made this Pan-Fried Onion Dip for my sister. Caramelized onions folded into a mixture of cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise.

Since I didn’t want my niece to be born needing a stent, I used low-fat versions of everything, and no one could tell the difference. Really, it’s all background to that pronounced onion flavor. If you’ve ever inhaled an embarrassingly significant portion of Lipton® Onion Dip, you will love this stuff.

P.S. Laney Katheryn was born Thursday afternoon. Her breath is remarkably fresh for a human who must be at least one-third onion.


Pan-Fried Onion Dip

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook”

  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  1. Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.)
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt and pepper, and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Let the onions cool.
  3. Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

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18 thoughts on “Pan-Fried Onion Dip

  1. That is the BEST recipe intro I've ever read! I laughed, I cried, my eyes watered as I could almost smell the (chopped) onions – aaaaaaaaaah :) The recipe sounds awesome … and congratulations on the new niece!

  2. Oh yes. This stuff should be its own food group. I caramelized onions for another recipe last night and regretted they weren't being used for this, their highest calling. Congratulations, Auntie!

  3. Well, dang, I tried commenting on your mini cheesecake post and it wouldn't let me.

    This is actually the second time today that I've seen this (or very similar) recipe. That has got to mean something. Shame I don't like onions.

    Congrats the birth of baby Laney Katheryn!

  4. Well, I'm so glad to hear that the Amazing Onion Baby Laney has lovely breath! That's a relief! The dip looks awesome, btw. I can pass up a cookie or a piece of cake all day, but get a bowl of dip and some crunchy chips in front of me, and you better not get your hands in the way. You might lose a finger. Thanks for tempting me!

  5. i really love the way you write. :) i've always wanted to try this onion dip, it was almost my pick for bb back when it was my turn. i'm going to try to squeeze it in this weekend if i can.

  6. I have been a lurker on your site for awhile. What finally pushed me to write was the word "stint". I'm an engineer that designs stents and it drives me nut when people call them stints. Aaaand…I'm down off the soap box now. Phew, I really needed to get that off my chest. Aside from that, I love your site, especially the photography that makes your recipes look so delicious. Keep up the good work!

  7. Okay, I am really behind on read your posts. I am making this. I am SO making this. I will whip it up next weekend when I will be doing nothing but eating, drinking scotch and playing canasta with my parents at our mountain cabin.

    And I will finally get my ass in gear and start watching Mad Men. From the beginning. I promise.

  8. Just made this! Easy, creamy, yummy!

    I used light sour cream, mayonnaise, and cream cheese too, and still tastes rich as ever!

  9. mmmmmm….onion-ey and delish…thanks for the recipe…love Ina and cook several of her recipe's often…will add this to the roster.

  10. This dip is AMAZING!!!!!! I've made it about 10 times now and always get so many compliments. YUM. The only thing about the recipe that is inaccurate is that carmelizing onions takes much longer than 20 minutes. I think more like 2 hours to really get them properly carmelized. Other than that

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