The Great NZ vs USA Onion Dip Showdown

Kia ora, e hoa! Glad you could join me for today’s post, which I had to rope my boy into for taste-testing and hand-model purposes. It is a Very Important day indeed, as two great onion dips face off for the title of BEST ONION DIP IN THE WORLD. In the USA corner we have The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten’s onion dip, purportedly served yearly at her Superbowl party. In the NZ corner, the reigning champion: the great Kiwi Onion dip, world famous in New Zealand.

Kiwi onion dip is so revered by New Zealanders that it would probably beat Bill English in a Colmar Brunton preferred PM poll. It’s literally three ingredients: a can of NESTLÉ Reduced Cream, a packet of MAGGI Onion Soup Mix, and a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar. I like to add a lil garlic powder, salt, and sometimes MSG and finely diced pickles, but for the purposes of this experiment I stuck to the original recipe.

It was good. REAL good. It always is – truly, no surprises there. Kiwi onion dip is exceptional because it’s easy as hell and delicious as hell – three ingredients, chucked together, too easy. Ina Garten’s version, on the other hand, sounded like building some kind of delectable onion spaceship when compared to the three-step foxtrot of ingredients entailed in the kiwi recipe.

Making Ina Garten’s onion dip wasn’t particularly pretty, aesthetically speaking, so have a gander at my nails instead. Nice job hey? Sometimes it pays to have a fellow creative type as your partner. Anyway, back to the dip – it basically involved sauteing onions in butter and then mixing them up with a bunch of salt, pepper, and cayenne in a sour cream, mayo and cream cheese base. I couldn’t help but feel like it was a long and complex way of making kiwi onion dip. Maybe I’ll send Ina Garten a packet of onion soup mix?

The verdict? Ina Garten’s dip was pretty delicious – Scott reckons “it was good, nice and caramelly. Needed a bit more vinegar.” I agree. The sweetness of the onions and mayo needed a little more acid to balance it out, but perhaps that’s just American tastebuds? Often I find recipes from the US are particularly sweet, or that the flavours are off, which is probably just ‘cos their palettes are cooked from all the Twinkies.

I think I’d have my citizenship revoked If I didn’t say I prefer the original kiwi onion dip, so I’m not even gonna pretend like Ina Garten’s version had a chance in the first place. Caramelised onions are alright, but the nostalgic taste of BBQs back home is gonna win out every time. Nonetheless: I have a confession. After I took all the photos, Scott & I indulged in a Sapporo and decided to mix the two dips together. I have to admit that it was VERY GOOD. What one lacked, the other made up for. I’m not gonna say it was as good as kiwi onion dip alone, but it sure as hell came close.

What do you reckon? What’s your best dip recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Hi! I'm Elese, a blogger/philosopher/dubious advice-giver/PhD student/MUA/designer lady based in Brisbane, Australia.
  • Ooooooo finely diced pickles sound like an amazing addition to onion dip!!! Must try that sometime. I sometimes add a bit of regular cream with my reduced cream, but I don’t really deviate much from the original recipe. Ina Garten’s version sounds like too much work IMO but I wouldn’t be surprised if I see her version pop up in Auckland cafés served alongside some bougie hand cut chips haha

    • It’s so good! It makes it taste like Big Mac sauce or something, truly. I might try adding cream with mine next time! OMG yes that’s got to be a new trend hahaha. Thanks for reading bud <3