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A bowl of real sour cream and onion dip aside Ruffle potato chips

Real Sour Cream & Onion Dip

  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1.25 cups


Inspired by a recipe in Sally Schneider’s The Improvisational Cook

Notes: When researching recipes for this dip, I came across a ton of variations, many of which called for additional ingredients such as goat cheese, mayonnaise, dried onion powder, etc. While I thought for sure the goat cheese variation would win me over, none of the variations I tried was as good as this simple combination of equal parts caramelized onions and sour cream, some sort of member of the green onion family — scallions, chives, etc — and a little freshly squeezed lemon juice. I know how hard it is to resist trying out those flashy recipes, but I highly recommend giving this simple recipe a go first.

Side note: As far as classic dip ingredients go, sour cream is really on the light side: 2 tablespoons contains 60 calories. Just 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, in contrast, contains 100 calories. Just a thought.


for the caramelized onions:

  • 4 cups diced onion (from about 3 to 4 small to medium onions)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, anything you have on hand
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

for the dip:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 scallions* or a bunch of chives, thinly sliced (to yield about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, season with a pinch of salt and cover the pan. Cook covered for about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the cover, and increase the heat slightly. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the onions are not sticking. Sprinkle the sugar overtop and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, stirring more frequently now, until the onions have turned a nice deep brown. Pour in the vinegar, turn off the heat, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to remove any browned bits. Take pan off the heat and transfer onions to a large bowl to cool.
  3. This mixture should yield about 1 heaping cup of onions. When the onions have cooled, stir 1/2 cup of them into the sour cream. Taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in scallions or chives. Add the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, lemon juice or more caramelized onions if desired. Save any remaining caramelized onions to add to omelets or pasta or more sour cream-and-onion dip.
  • Category: Dip
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: real, sour, cream, onion, dip