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Every respectable Super Bowl party has good food. It’s the key element to fuel the festivities, a must if you want to bring even non-football fans into the fold. Yes, the commercials are fun and the half-time show is entertaining (at least in alternate years), but good food is a universal constant. This year, with my team in the game (!!), I may be too absorbed in the on-field action to eat much, but I know I’ll have some quality snacks ready if I get hungry: spicy gochujang wings, maybe chili or pulled pork, a sturdy cocktail and this fantastic onion dip. Most of us know onion dip, but too often it’s a packet of onion-scented dust stirred into sour cream. I’m here to change all that, take your Super Bowl spread from good to The Best: my caramelized onion dip is perfectly balanced, elegant-but-classic, and tasty, tasty, tasty.

Making caramelized onions in the slow cooker is one of my favorite kitchen tricks. It takes about 8-10 hours to do, but requires less than 10 mins. of active work/prep time before you sit back and let your appliance do the hard work. They don’t burn, they cook evenly, and they smell positively heavenly. My onion dip uses about half of the yield of one batch of caramelized onions, leaving you plenty left over for soup, quiche, pizza or whatever you choose. You can certainly use caramelized onions prepared traditionally on the stovetop, or a store-bought product. If you’re caramelizing the onions yourself, make sure they cool completely before making the dip.

This recipe makes a Super Bowl-sized amount of dip, just shy of 3 cups. That’s great if you’re hosting a crowd, and leftover dip is surprisingly versatile; try using it as a sandwich spread with turkey, roast beef or sprouts, or mix a little with cubed cooked chicken, steamed broccoli and pasta or brown rice. The recipe can be halved easily if you prefer not to make a lot. That said, there’s a chance you won’t have any left over from a full recipe; onion dip tends to be a popular draw. Make sure to buy enough chips, carrot sticks or other dip vehicle of your choice.

Regardless of your football loyalties, whether you’ve been waiting for this game for two weeks or struggle to name the teams involved, caramelized onion dip is a necessary addition to your Super Bowl spread. The decadently sweet onions are balanced perfectly with spicy black pepper, savory Worcestershire sauce and the refined bite of a balsamic vinegar. It tastes a lot like the pre-made stuff you can buy, but *so much* better– why not take a few extra steps and make some? I can’t recommend this dip enough, so I’ll give you a mini, football-style pep talk: It’s time to step up your game! Lose the packaged dip mix. Wow your guests. You’ve been working hard all year and you deserve this. Your guests deserve this. You can do it! On three…

caramelized onion dip

Caramelized Onion Dip (makes about 2 1/2 c.)

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 c. caramelized onions
  • 2 tsp. crushed dried parsley
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • lots of black pepper, preferably freshly ground
  • extra caramelized onions to garnish (optional)

By hand: Mix the softened cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl until completely smooth. Get the lumps out now, since it will be progressively harder to do so as you add ingredients. Add the parsley, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt and several cracks of fresh black pepper (at least 1/2 tsp.) and mix. If your caramelized onions are long and stringy, turn them out onto a cutting board and chop roughly into smaller pieces. Set a few aside to garnish, if you want, and fold the rest into the dip. Cover and refrigerate the onion dip for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to let the flavors meld. This is a necessary step– it really needs the time to mellow out and combine properly. Do not skip the waiting step!

Remove the dip from the refrigerator and taste; add more salt and pepper if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with extra caramelized onions if you set them aside and a few extra cracks of black pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour before serving for best flavor.

In a blender: Reserve 1/2 c. caramelized onions. Add the remaining ingredients to the jar of your Blendtec or similar blender and pulse at speed 4 to combine, about 20-30 seconds. Transfer the dip to a clean bowl and fold in the reserved onions, saving a few to garnish if you want; cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. (See the note above.) Remove the dip from the refrigerator and taste; add more salt and pepper if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with extra caramelized onions if you set them aside and a few extra cracks of black pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour before serving for best flavor.

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