Homemade French Onion Dip is one of the easiests dips to make and it is so much better than store-bought! You will be amazed and I'll bet this dip is on your next party table!
We aren't big snackers in this house, probably because I always have so much food around we are always full! But... every once in a while, we enjoy some snacks. My favorite is nachos and I must make those soon! Jeff's favorite is bean dip with Fritos.
For some reason, a few weeks ago, I really wanted chips and French Onion Dip. Bad. So, My wonderful husband trecked on over to our neighborhood store and bought some.
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I was jumping up and down for this unusual indulgence and then I dipped my chip into the store-bought dip and it was weird looking. It was weird tasting. It was soooo disappointing. It had this aftertaste that was not pleasant. Chemical like. Yuck. So, I put the lid back on and in the fridge in went. Why I didn't throw it away is beyond me. It's still sitting there and I have no intentions of ever eating store-bought French Onion Dip again.
I still had that craving though, days later! So, I made my own. This wasn't going to be a recipe, just a little snack I threw together, BUT it was just too good not to share with you!
What is store-bought French Onion Dip made with?
Well, that depends. I'm sure the ingredients vary by brand. The store-bought French Onion Dip that my husband purchased is in a jar and has a bunch of ingredients. I don't know what most of them they are! The first ingredient in the brand that Jeff bought is water.
Water? Really? Why? I guess to thin it out and water isn't a bad ingredient, so let's move on.
The second ingredient is sunflower and/or canola oil. Oil? Really? Why? I honestly don't know the answer to this one.
The third ingredient is onions. That makes sense, it's onion dip. However, I didn't see any onions in the dip and I didn't taste a true onion flavor either. It was kind of chemical-like and fake tasting.
In case you aren't aware of this, ingredients are listed in the order of greatest quantity. So, basically the French Onion Dip I bought is water and oil mixed with pulverized onion. Sounds kind of gross to me. Would you ever blend water, oil, and onions and make a dip? Of course not.
The fourth ingredient is whey protein concentrate. What is that? It doesn't sound bad, protein is good, right? I went straight to Google and read over a few articles and it isn't a bad ingredient, but it is found in a lot of processed foods. So, if this ingredient is #4 and it has a lot of protein in it, maybe this dip is not that bad?
I looked at the nutritional value and the amount of protein per serving is less than 1 gm. So, this fourth ingredient, whey protein concentrate, doesn't exactly make this dip a good source of protein. So, why add it? I have yet to find that answer. If you know, leave me a comment!
Then there is a whole list of weird ingredients that make up less than 2% of the total ingredients. So, water, oil, onions, and whey protein concentrate make up 98% of the dip.
The 2% of the remaining ingredients are as follows:
- Modified corn starch- this is a corn starch that has been modified to partially degrade it and is used to make processed foods creamier and sometimes as a thickening agent. All in all, it isn't bad for you; but, is it necessary?
- Salt- okay, this is expected and I'm certainly glad that it isn't ingredient 1-4.
- Sugar- okay, I can live with less than 2%. The nutritional label actually says 0 grams of sugar, so there isn't a lot of sugar.
- Monosodium Glutamate- That's MSG. It's in so many processed foods and it's used as a flavor enhancer. My philosophy is: you don't need a flavor enhancer if you use good food to begin with. I guess water and oil needs help tasting like an onion dip. Here is an article from the Mayo Clinic on MSG if you are interested. What is MSG? Is it Bad for You?
- Onion Powder- This is a fine ingredient, I'm just surprised it's so low on the list.
- Caramel Color- What? Food coloring? Why? Well, I guess oil and water aren't the right color for a French Onion Dip.
- Natural Flavors- What does this mean? Turns out it's a catch-all phrase and very poorly defined. Here is an short Q&A on it from the New York Times.
- Glucono Delta Lactone- Never heard of it! Turns out, it adds a tangy taste to foods. Who knew?
- Lactic Acid- This is a preservative or ph regulator.
- Xanthan Gum- This is a thickening agent or a stabilizer. Perhaps this wouldn't be needed if water wasn't the first ingredient.
- Datem- This is an emulsifier. In other words, it keeps the store-bought French Onion Dip from separating. Oil and water tend to separate and those are the first two ingredients, after all.
If you are ready to ditch the prepared dips and tempted to reach for the packets instead. Take a look at the ingredients in those, too!
Now, I'm not the food police and I will never tell you what to eat or what not to eat. That is completely up to you and, let's face it... I've been known to eat some junk food, full of preservatives, and I'm sure these weird ingredients are found in them, too!
However, when it is super easy to make your own Homemade French Onion Dip, why not give it a try?
What is Homemade French Onion Dip Made with?
Onions, green onions, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, onion powder, and salt. Yep, we can easily pronounce them and they are easily found in every grocery store.
Now, to be fair and to compare apples to apples or, in this case, store-bought French Onion Dip to Homemade French Onion Dip, we must look at the ingredients that make up the ingredients. Was that confusing? I hope not.
What I mean is we need to look at the individual ingredients in the ingredients we are using. The first one is pretty simple, onions.
- Onions: We are using fresh onions from the produce section. No additives or preservatives, just fresh onions.
- Green Onions: These are fresh in the produce section or you could use chives instead.
- Butter: The butter I use is salted, so the ingredients are pasteurized cream and salt. Simple enough.
- Sour Cream: The only ingredients are cultured cream and enzyme. Don't let the word enzyme throw you, it's simply a microbial enzyme that is introduced to provide the velvety texture. Completely natural and safe.
- Cream Cheese: The ingredients in cream cheese are pasteurized milk and cream. Salt. Guar Gum. Now, what is Guar Gum? It's an additive used to thicken the cream cheese. Carob bean gum. Another gum? Yes, it too, is used to thicken the cream cheese. It's an additive, but from what I read, it's a natural additive derived from the carob seed. The last ingredient is xanthan gum. A third gum? Apparently, these gums are the reason our cream cheese is thick and spreadable. Now, I do think you can buy an all-natural cream cheese and avoid these "gums," but I haven't tried any.
- Onion Powder: This is made from dehydrated onions.
- Salt: Salt is Salt.
I don't know about you, but I'm sold on the Homemade French Onion Dip!
Even if you aren't concerned about the ingredients in the store-bought dip, please just make this homemade French Onion Dip once and I promise you, the taste alone, will have you sold, too!
How to make Homemade French Onion Dip
Let the fun begin! This dip is so easy to make, you are going to love it!
Cut your sweet onions in half and remove the paper on the outside. Sometimes you need to remove the first layer of the onion, too. Lay the flat side of the onion down on a cutting board. Cut down the middle towards the root end, but don’t go all the way through the root end. Then cut ⅛″ slices. Each onion strip will be about 2″ long and that works perfectly for this dip.
If you leave the onion slices longer than that, they will be a little stringy in your dip.
Place the butter in the inner pot and turn the sear/sauté on high. Add the chopped onions and salt to the melted butter. Continue to sauté until the onions just start to brown. This takes about 5 minutes.
Close the Tendercrisp lid and Air Crisp on 390° F for 5 minutes. This will finish browning and caramelizing the onions in a fraction of the time it would take on sear/sauté. I love that!
While the onions are finishing up, chop your green onion into ¼" pieces. Use both the green and white part of the green onion. You can also substitute chives. If using chives, chop up about ¼ cup.
Add sour cream and onion powder to the inner pot. Stir to combine so that you equally distribute the onion powder. I found that 1 Tablespoon of onion powder was the perfect amount, but feel free to add less or more.
Add green onions and cream cheese. Break up the cream cheese a little and stir. If your cream cheese is room temp, it will blend in easier, but this is not necessary.
Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to vent. Select the slow cooker function on high and slow cook for about an hour. The default time is 4 hours and you can't select less time. You can always slow cook for longer, but I found the minimum amount of time was 1 hour if the cream cheese is cold. This allowed the flavors to really meld together and the Homemade French Onion Dip came out perfect this way.
If you need your Homemade French Onion Dip in a hurry, skip the slow cook and use the sear/sauté on medium-low. Stir frequently until the cream cheese has melted and the dip is smooth.
Quick Tip: Save your sour cream container and scoop the dip into it for storage.
If serving cold, allow to refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Grab a bag of your favorite potato chips and enjoy your Homemade French Onion Dip!
Homemade French Onion Dip
- Add butter to the inner pot and turn the sear/sauté on high. While the butter melts, cut your onion into thin slices. I cut the slices in half, so they are about 2" in length.
- Add the onions and the salt to the inner pot with the melted butter and continue to sauté until they just start to brown. This takes about 5 minutes.
- When the onions just start to brown, put the Tendercrisp lid down and AirCrisp on 390° F for 5 minutes. The onions should be nice and brown and caramelized.
- Chop up the green onions, both the green and the white part.
- Add the sour cream, onion powder. Stir to combine. Add the green onions & cream cheese. Stir to combine and break up cream cheese.
- Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to vent. Select the slow cook function on high. The default setting is 4 hours, but you only need to cook for 1 hour. This will melt the cream cheese and allow all the flavors to combine and develop in the dip.
- You can serve this dip warm or put it in the fridge to chill.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.