Caramelized onion dip: it ain’t no looker, but it’s one of the most deceptively delicious dip-a-thons waiting to happen.
You know what else about it is sneaky as all hell? The cook time on any recipe floating around the internet for caramelizing onions.
If a recipe touts that their caramelized onions take less than thirty minutes, you’re gonna need to keep on clicking. Because they sit on a throne of lies.
The bad news about caramelizing onions: it. takes. time. You’re gonna want to put aside an hour. Sorry, not sorry.
The good news: caramelizing onions is simple. You’ve just gotta let them do their thing. First, they’re gonna sweat. Sounds sexy, no?
Then they’re going to cook off that water. You’ll need to turn down the heat and let them hang out, stirring often, as they slowly slink their way towards a glossy, golden color that lets you know things are starting to go down in that skillet.
At this point, I like to throw in something flavorful – white wine, home made broth, fancier liquors if you happen to have ’em – and scrape up all the golden, browned up bits on the bottom of the skillet.
Now watch: keep stirring and splashing a little extra liquid here and there when needed and you’ll have beautifully, deep-ambered onions, bright in their sweetness but not cloyingly so. An hour is a small price to pay for such goodness.
And while the caramelized onions are – of course! – the star of any caramelized onion dip, I like to play up the savory side of things, too. Unlike ready-made versions, this recipe avoids that over-sweet flavor profile by adding a touch of umami-rich coconut aminos, a deeper tang of dried minced onion and a hint of celery salt, garlic & black pepper to round things out.
The result is a truly glorious caramelized onion dip that every other dip you make or dunk things into in the future will be compared to.
The classic pairing with this dip is a lovely, thick cut potato chip, flecked with salt and ridged, all the better for holding on to that precious dip. These chips have a simple ingredient list – potatoes, avocado oil & salt – and really held up to the caramelized onion dip, as you can see in the photos!Print
Everybody Lies About Caramelized Onion Dip
This simple caramelized onion dip takes its time and lets the sweet & savory onions headline this party favorite. You won’t regret making a double batch!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus chilling time
- Category: gatherings, party, sharing
- Method: stovetop, blender
- Cuisine: dairy free, gluten free, paleo
For the caramelized onion dip base:
- 1 cup / 140 g raw unsalted cashews, I like these
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml very hot water
- 1 cup / 100 g frozen cauliflower rice
- 2 tsp / 10 ml white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp / 5 ml coconut aminos, this is my favorite
- 1 tsp / 4 g dried minced onion, like this
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
For the caramelized onions:
- 2 tbsp / 30 ml oil or fat of choice
- 1 lb / 454 g large dice yellow and / or sweet onions, about 2 medium
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml dry white wine, chicken broth or water
- Salt, to taste
SOAK: Measure the cashews into the pitcher of a high powered blender and pour over enough just boiled water to cover them well. Loosely place the lid on top and let the cashews soak while you start caramelizing the onions.
SOFTEN: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high. Once the skillet is hot, add the oil or fat and tilt to coat the surface of the pan evenly. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and translucent, but not browning, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to low medium.
REDUCE: Continue to cook, stirring often, until the onions are golden and glossy, about another 30 minutes. Pour in the wine or broth and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. By now the onions will have reduced to about half the original volume.
CARAMELIZE: Continue to cook, stirring often and adding a splash or two of water to scrape up the fond every 5 – 10 minutes or so. The onions are fully caramelized when their color deepens to a rich golden brown all over, about 20 – 30 minutes in total. Remove the caramelized onions from the heat and let them cool slightly in the skillet. Season with salt, to taste, and stir through.
BLEND: Drain and rinse the soaked cashews, then return them to the blender pitcher. Pour in the very hot water and blend – leaving space for the steam to escape – until the cashews are rich, creamy & smooth. Add the frozen cauliflower rice and white wine vinegar, then blend once more until super creamy.
MIX: Transfer the caramelized onions to a mixing bowl. Add the coconut aminos, minced onion, granulated garlic, celery salt, ground black pepper and the cashew cream from the blender. Stir to combine into a creamy, caramelized onion dip.
CHILL: Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight for the flavors to come together. When you’re ready to serve, you can serve it chilled from the fridge, at room temperature or warmed through very gently. Serve with classic thick cut ruffled chips or whatever else you like for dipping!
Cashews are a Stage 3 AIP reintroduction. Celery salt & black pepper are a Stage 1 AIP reintroduction.
Frozen cauliflower rice is pre blanched, so it’s soft enough to blend up straight from the bag. If you’re substituting fresh, you will need to steam or par boil the florets before blending.
I always double up the onions in the caramelizing step to make extra & stash in the fridge for other things – it takes about the same amount of time, so you may as well do all that stirring for greater rewards!
If serving the caramelized onion dip chilled, please note that the texture will be thicker when it’s cold. I like to add a a splash or two of warm water and stir well to keep the caramelized onion dip nice and creamy, just like you see in the photos above.