Last year, we posted a home-made onion dip that far surpasses the onion-soup-mix version. In this honest recipe, real life onions and garlic are cooked in a pan, not dehydrated and coated in chemicals. The resulting dip is fresh and bright. In this updated version, to add some kick, white pepper and hot sauce are being contributed. Onion dip is often so “smooth” that it just flows from bowl to stomach. The kick here is to give you little pause as you chew, a tad bit of surprise as you bite.

What onion to use?  It’s up to you. White, red, Vidalia,  Spanish, … Honestly, my palette — scarred by decades of sugar and chocolate — just can’t detect much difference. The same with garlic. I have gone to the Saugerties Garlic Festival for years, bought several varieties, planted them, harvested them, eaten them, and truly shaken my head. The differences are modest and often lost in the mix with the other ingredients. Suzen’s palette is far more refined and she is sensitive to the differences. She shakes her head, too, but not at the food.

I’m used to it.

In the picture above, I do show spring onions, which offer a more mellow flavor that even I can appreciate. You might, might, encounter some early samples in your market from Florida or points further south of the Snow Line.

Spiced Onion Dip

Yield: serves 6


  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 medium onions [or equivalent volume of shallots]
  • 2 shallots
  • Olive oil
  • 1 package cream cheese [4 to 6 ounces depending on your taste]
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon [or more] hot sauce


Roast the garlic heads in foil at 400°F for 1 hour.

Skin and slice the onions and shallots. Put on a half sheet pan covered with foil. Sprinkle with olive oil and roast at 350°F for 40 minutes.

Allow the roasted garlic and roasted onions to cool to room temperature. Put into the bowl of a food processor. Add half the cream cheese and half the sour cream. Process until smooth. Taste test and add additional cream cheese and sour cream to achieve the consistency and flavor you desire.

Stir in the pepper, adjust to taste. Then the hot sauce, again adjusting to taste.

Source: Brian O’Rourke