Monday, September 2, 2013

Cheesy Warm Vidalia Onion Dip

A hot dip made with pepper jack cheese, mayonnaise and sweet Vidalia onions, topped with more cheese, buttery Ritz cracker crumbs and garnished with bacon.

Cheesy Warm Vidalia Onion Dip

You've probably noticed that Vidalia onions are a little smaller now than they were earlier in the season, an indication that the season is winding down and will soon be over until next spring.

There are a variety of ways to preserve Vidalias, with chopping and freezing a favorite for onions intended for cooking. Bag one chopped onion at a time, or chop them all and flash freeze first on a baking sheet before storing in a large freezer bag, keeping them loose and separate.

A popular way to help store them raw, is to hang them whole in a cool, dry area, away from light, tucked into the leg of an old, clean pair of hosiery. A pantry, or the storage closet underneath your staircase are great spots. Knot in between each onion to keep them separated and where air will circulate around them and they will keep for a long time too.

If you have room in your refrigerator, they will last whole for several months, which can carry you through much of the winter season. Wrap each onion individually in paper towels and store in the produce drawer.

I'm still always sad to see the fresh ones go though, because while other sweet onions are always available during the year, and I sure use them, they just aren't the same as a sweet Vidalia. If you live outside of the southeast, you probably have a regional sweet onion you love the best, but for those of us in this region, Vidalia onions from Georgia are the best sweet onion in town.

If you love a good onion dip like I do, I think you'll also enjoy this cheesy, hot version made with those sweet onions. I've been known to make a half batch of this dip for no particular reason other than I wanted it, and... I may or may not consume every single ounce of it all by myself with a bunch of corn chips.

It's super easy to make and is a great addition to any party menu, including those football and tailgating events. Vidalia onions are required though, or whatever sweet onion is best for your region of the country, so please don't substitute white or yellow onions and expect the same results. Of course, when those Vidalia onions are out of season, substitute the sweet onions you can find.

Here's how to make it.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray a shallow 1-1/2-quart casserole dish. Cook 4 slices of bacon and set aside to cool, then chop.

In a large bowl, blend together 2-1/2 cups of chopped Vidalia onion, 2 cups of mayonnaise, and 2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese and a little Cajun seasoning, if you like. I do. Set aside 1/2 cup of the cheese for the top. You can use other cheeses too - I just happen to like the heat from the pepper jack with the sweet onion.

Mix well and transfer to prepared baking dish. I squeezed divided the dip between these two cast iron servers but anything roughly around 1-1/2 quarts will work - a deep dish pie plate or even an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. I like this in the cast iron because it keeps the dip hotter, but that's something to keep in mind too if you're serving this around other folks. Cast iron is hot!

Spread the dip out but don't pack it down too much.

Top with the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese.

Crumble 1/2 package of Ritz crackers and sprinkle them on top.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes or until bubbly and light golden brown on top.

Garnish with crumbled bacon and let rest for 5 minutes before serving warm with crackers or pita, bagel, tortilla or corn chips, my personal favorite. Place casserole dish on a warming tray to keep warm, although this dip is quite good at room temperature also.

Recipe: Cheesy Warm Vidalia Onion Dip

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 25 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 2-1/2 cups of chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 2 cups of mayonnaise
  • 2-1/2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun or Creole seasoning, or to taste, optional
  • 1/2 package of Ritz crackers, crushed, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray a 1-1/2 quart shallow casserole dish. Cook bacon and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, blend together the onion, mayonnaise, 2 cups of the cheese and Cajun seasoning, if using. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle cracker crumbs on top. Bake at 375 degrees about 25 minutes or until bubbly and light golden brown on top. Garnish with crumbled bacon and let rest for 5 minutes before serving warm with crackers or pita, bagel, tortilla or corn chips. Place casserole dish on a warming tray to keep warm.

Cook's Notes: Substitute Swiss or sharp Cheddar cheese, or your favorite shredded cheese for a milder result.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on September 2, 2013
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  1. Mercy this sounds good. We do get some Vidalia onions here in the Pacific Northwest but for a very short time. We have other sweet varieties that I have to use. I sure do miss my Vidalia onions. I just may give this a try this week. I really wasn't sold on staring a diet yet, anyway. :-)

    1. LOL, I try to eat pretty good in between all of this stuff I post, but it sure makes deliberate weight loss hard! Might work better if I enjoyed exercising too. :)

  2. Mm...sweet vidalias, zesty cheese and bacon...what could be better?!? Does the mayonnaise have a strong taste in this dip, though? I'm not a huge fan of mayo but use it in some dishes when the taste isn't too obvious.

    1. Hey Linda! Well... you're talking about a gal who does love her mayo, so that'd be kinda hard for me to judge whether it's obvious or not. This might be a good one to make when you're hosting friends for a football party maybe - then you can have a taste of it to see!

    2. Maybe try substituting Miracle Whip for the mayo. Maybe sour cream would work or possible Ranch or other creamy salad dressing -- although probably not quite so much.
      You could also divide the recipe in half so if you don't like it, there's not as much left over.

  3. WOW well my goodness gracious Mary vidalia onions, cheese and bacon now that is singing a sweet savory song of YUM. Must try this looks wonderful.

  4. in my previous job, I covered North East Florida and South East Georgia and I loved driving through Vidalia during spring. The farmers would just have bags out by the side of the road, you just left the money and took a bag on the honor system. This was back in the 90's so don't know if they still do that.

  5. Can this be made a day ahead then baked?

  6. Can this be made a day ahead then baked?

    1. I have not made it ahead, but it should work fine!


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