I Still Miss Barber’s, but This French Onion Dip Recipe Fills the Void

As we enter prime entertaining season, consider this simple favorite for feeding your guests

A white platter holds potato chips, a spoon, and a small dish with a creamy dip inside.

Photo: Courtesy of Frenchie's

I’ve always liked French onion dip, but I had no brand loyalty; any cold, creamy mix reminiscent of French onion soup was sufficient. I was shown the error of this way the first fall after my June wedding, when my new husband scribbled it on my grocery list. He wanted the dip for snacking while watching Ole Miss football. I presented him with a tub I’d likely chosen because it was the first one I saw (or was on special) and got a frown in return.

“I wanted Barber’s Party Dip,” he said. 

“Oh. Is that French onion dip?” I asked. 

“No. It’s the French onion dip.” Lesson learned. 

From that day forward, even if it meant an extra trip to another grocery store when my usual spot was out, I never bought another kind. Until early 2021, when Barber’s Party Dip disappeared from our Montgomery, Alabama, shelves completely.

At first I thought, “It’s pandemic-related supply chain issues; no need to panic.” But my anxiety increased when, week after week, every roll down the dairy aisle revealed a blank space where the dip should be. By that time, I was as devoted to its blend of sharp onion and tangy sour cream balanced with a hint of sweetness as my husband. But the real difference maker was its consistency—velvety smooth but thick enough to break even the heftiest ruffled potato chip if the dipping approach angle was wrong.

Months into the dip drought, a Google search delivered bad news. Founded in Alabama as Barber’s Pure Milk Company in the 1930s, Barber’s was once the state’s largest dairy business. It was sold in 1997 and continued to change hands but still put out Barber products before ultimately ending up part of Prairie Farms, which, in 2021, closed multiple Alabama processing facilities. It’s still unclear if this recent shuttering led to the dip being discontinued, but the timing seemed right. (I never heard back when I reached out to a media contact at Prairie Foods.)

As I accepted that the dip was gone, I nearly shed a few tears. I know. Don’t cry over lost dip. But I’d been deprived of more than a favorite flavor. Despite its name, I rarely enjoyed Party Dip at raucous festivities. It was most often eaten by a party of two, just me and my hubby, straight out of the container (with zero double-dipping judgment) as we watched college football, sci-fi movies, or maybe just the ten o’clock news when hit with late-night munchies. It was “our dip.” 

I wasn’t the only one upset. More than four hundred people liked and followed a “Bring Back Barber’s Party Dip” Facebook page. Bloggers bemoaned its absence, ranking other brands on how close they came to Barber’s taste and texture. Others posted copycat recipes. (I tried one; it didn’t match my memory.)

Then, in June 2023, Frenchie’s restaurant opened in Montgomery. My first taste of the cozy bistro’s offerings was a house-made chip heavy with its French onion dip. It was love at first bite. It didn’t taste just like Party Dip. It was better.

I immediately asked chef Eric Rivera for the recipe, which he happily shared along with some dip backstory. “It was one of the first things we decided on for the menu,” he says. “We wanted the French bistro dishes but also items familiar and comforting; French onion dip ticked all those boxes.”

While it stays safely inside classic French onion dip confines, there is a standout seasoning. “A touch of fresh thyme brings warmth, especially when added to the heat of the caramelizing onions,” Rivera says. “Its flavor blooms and adds depth that pairs well with the old-world wines we have.” And for those all-important golden onions, Rivera preaches patience. “Take your time. To do them right can take a while, but it’s worth it.”


  • Frenchie’s French Onion Dip (Yield: 2½ cups)

    • 1½ cups raw onions, sliced thin (the cooked result should be ½ cup caramelized onions)

    • 1 tbsp. canola oil

    • 1 tbsp. thyme leaves

    • 2 tbsp. butter

    • 2 cups sour cream

    • 1¼ tsp. kosher salt

    • 1¼ tsp. white pepper

    • 2 tsp. chopped chives


  1. Thinly slice onions and place in sauté pan with oil, thyme, and butter. Cook over medium heat until golden brown and soft.

  2. Remove onions from heat and let cool.

  3. Place all other ingredients in food processor; add cooled onions and blend until well incorporated, approximately 30 seconds.