For a long time, I thought there were only two ways to make onion dip. Either stand at the stove for an hour or more, babysitting onions as they slowly cook down with the fear that they might dry out or, even worse, burn. Or, buy one of those French onion dip powder packets. The first is usually my preferred method, but given the time and focus commitment, I’ve made onion dip maybe two times in the last five years. Which is sad because onion dip is a classic and it tends to disappear fast when it’s offered as a snack-y treat at get-togethers. People love it.
A few years ago I used my slow cooker to caramelize onions because I wanted a way to make French onion soup on a weeknight and the slow cooker technique proved an effective way to caramelize onions without all the standing around at the stove. At the time I thought I would try the same for onion dip, but it kept getting shuffled to the back of the to-do list until a few years went by and then, just after Christmas, I finally pulled the slow cooker out to give it a go.
In all fairness, I’m not opposed to the old-fashioned way of caramelizing onions. When the right mood strikes, I enjoy babysitting onions on the stove, but when faced with preparing an appetizer for a holiday meal or snacks for a game-day get-together moods can fluctuate wildly and any romantic ideas about caramelizing onions go right out the window. That’s where the slow cooker saves the day (and mood). With a smidge of advanced planning, it’s as simple as leaving sliced onions with some butter in the slow cooker until they’ve melted down into a soft sweetness. From there it takes all of ten minutes to pull the dip together.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
- The best kind of onion to buy is a large white onion. Smaller yellow onions, which I use in so many recipes, don’t tend to caramelize well. You need a hefty 12 ounce one.
- I add some garlic cloves to the slow cooker so they’d slowly cook down with the onions imparting a subtle garlic flavor to the dip.
- The base of the dip is a simple sour cream and mayonnaise combo.
- I like to add some chopped parsley for freshness and color.
- I garnished my dip with some chopped crispy bacon, which is totally optional.
The best plan of action is to give the onions and garlic at least 10 hours in the slow cooker. Cooking them overnight works well so in the morning all you have to do is give them a quick chop and stir with the other ingredients. Pop the dip in the refrigerator until ready to serve, ideally at least a few hours in advance.
You don’t need to stand at the stove caramelizing onions for over an hour to make this dip – instead, pull out your slow cooker and let it do all the work for you. Plan to make this dip a day in advance. I like to cook the onions on low overnight in the slow cooker and make the dip the next morning so it has time to chill before serving.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 (12-ounce) white onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1 slice cooked bacon, finely chopped for garnish (optional)
- Place the butter, onions, and garlic in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, or up to 12 hours. Stir the onions once or twice during the cook time to ensure they cook evenly.
- Once the onions are caramelized, remove them from the slow cooker (along with the garlic) and chop them into small pieces.
- In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and 1/2 tablespoon of parsley. Add the onions and garlic and stir until well combined. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours to allow the flavors to marry.
- Before serving, check the seasoning. If needed, add more salt to taste. Garnish the dip with the rest of the chopped parsley and chopped bacon. Serve with crackers or chips.
Nutrition estimates do not include the optional bacon garnish.
- Serving Size: About 1/3 cup
- Calories: 140
- Fat: 13.6g
- Carbohydrates: 3.8g
- Fiber: 0.4g
- Protein: 1.1g