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French onion dip facts for kids

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French onion dip
French onion dip topped with caramelized onion.jpg
Homemade French onion dip topped with caramelized onion
Alternative names California dip
Type Dip
Place of origin United States
Invented 1954
Main ingredients Sour cream, minced onion

French onion dip or California dip is an American dip typically made with a base of sour cream and flavored with minced onion, and usually served with potato chips as chips and dip. It is also served with snack crackers and crudités. It is not French cuisine; it is called "French" because it is made with dehydrated French onion soup mix.


French onion dip, made of sour cream and instant onion soup, was created by an unknown cook in Los Angeles in 1954. The recipe spread quickly and was printed in a local newspaper. The Lipton company promoted this mixture on the television show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts in 1955, and early on, it was known as "Lipton California Dip", but soon simply as "California Dip". A Lipton advertising campaign promoted it on television and in supermarkets. The recipe was added to the Lipton instant onion soup package in 1958.

About the same time, a similar recipe, but made with reduced cream, was created in New Zealand and became very popular.

The name "French onion dip" began to be used in the 1960s, and became more popular than "California dip" in the 1990s.


The original recipe consisted of sour cream and dehydrated onion soup mix.

There are now many mass-produced, pre-mixed versions, such as Ruffles French Onion Dip and Frito-Lay French Onion Dip. Commercially prepared products include additional ingredients to thicken, stabilize, and preserve the mixture.

Home-made versions may use caramelized onions.


French onion dip is often served at parties and as a "classic holiday party offering". It has also been described as "an American classic".

It may also be used on other foods, such as hamburgers, sandwiches and tacos.


Alternative bases include mayonnaise and cream cheese. Common flavorings are salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic, garlic powder, parsley, chives, Worcestershire sauce and others.

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