Skip the packets of Lipton dry onion soup mix and make this homemade version instead. You need just 4 simple ingredients and you probably already have them in your pantry!
Growing up, my mom would almost always have a box of Lipton dry onion soup mix in the pantry.
I remember pretty clearly her using it for roasts and dips. Honestly, there’s a good chance that anything that tasted good likely had a packet of dry onion soup mix in it.
You could call it a childhood classic, or a home-style favorite. A lot like stove-top mac and cheese.
You can also call it unhealthy.
Sure, there are a lot of other unhealthy things we could be eating, but transitioning to a real food diet has to start somewhere. For me, it started with boxes of cake mix and saltine crackers.
Or maybe it’s just looking at the tiny bag of store-bought dry onion soup mix and saying no more. No more fake stuff, no more packages, no more ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Is dry onion soup mix healthy?
Let’s take a look at the typical packet of Lipton onion soup mix:
Onions, salt, corn starch, onion powder, sugar, soy sauce (fermented soybeans, wheat, salt), caramel color, maltodextrin, corn syrup, yeast extract, high oleic sunflower oil, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate.
I’m going to be honest and admit that before writing this post, I had no idea what disodium guanylate or disodium inosinate were. So let’s set those aside for a moment and talk about what we can recognize right off the bat.
First, maltodextrin and yeast extract are fancy names for MSG (monosodium glutamate, a.k.a. glutamic acid).
You can find a full list of other fancy names for MSG here.
MSG is also number 5 on my list of top ingredients to avoid because it’s an excitotoxin, meaning it ramps up your nervous system.
It also causes a whole range of side effects, including headaches, nausea, drowsiness, and fatigue. For some people, MSG has the same side effects on the digestive system as someone who is gluten-free would have when they eat gluten!
Second, corn syrup.
Anytime I see “corn syrup” I automatically think “sugar.” People argue whether corn syrup is as bad as high fructose corn syrup, whether it’s really sugar, or whether it’s harmful at all.
But here’s my stance. Corn syrup is made in a factory, by man and NOT found in nature. To me, that means it’s not real food (and is ultimately processed sugar.)
Third and finally, disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate.
According to Wikipedia, both are food additives that always appear with MSG. The former is not safe for babies under 12 weeks and should be avoided by asthmatics and people with gout.
Let’s ditch the package and make this from scratch, okay?
We can have classic, home-style cooking that IS healthy! Plus when you make food from scratch, you almost always save money.
One of the core principles of my course Grocery Budget Bootcamp is making food from scratch when it makes sense. Homemade soup mix fits the criteria!
Dry Onion Soup Mix Ingredients
The main players in dry onion soup mix are all easy to find pantry ingredients:
- Onion Flakes. Also known as dehydrated onion and come in various sizes, depending on the store you’re shopping at.
- Onion Powder. Also known as granulated onion. This is a super fine powder that looks like garlic powder if you don’t read the label properly. (Ask me how I know!)
- Ground Celery Seed. Not SUPER common, but necessary if you want that classic flavor that only packaged dry onion soup mix can give. If you have whole celery seed, you’ll want to grind them up with a mortar and pestle before making this recipe. (You can use celery seed in homemade chicken stock and in homemade breakfast sausage too.)
- Beef Bullion. Be sure to check the ingredient list on your bullion for chemical ingredients. Even some organic brands I’ve seen have MSG in them. You can also use a homemade beef bouillon cube recipe.
You may notice that I only listed 4 main ingredients so far. That’s because that’s all you REALLY need to make dry onion soup mix. All the other ingredients are optional.
I do, however, recommend adding the other ingredients listed because it really is good!
The only item I’d still consider “optional” would be the salt. Whether or not you add it depends on the type of bullion you’re using, and what you’re making. Remember that you can always add more salt, but once it’s in, you can’t take it out!
Additional Homemade Onion Soup Mix Tips
- If you use this recipe for instant soup, use homemade stock or beef broth instead of beef bouillon and avoid the too-much-salt situation entirely.
- To make this dry mix vegetarian or vegan, substitute vegetable bouillon instead of beef.
- One ¼ cup serving is the equivalent to one envelope of dry onion soup mix.
- This recipe is a bigger batch. Not massive, but you’ll get at least 3 servings out of it.
- I like to make a big batch and store it in the spice cabinet in a re-purposed jar. Then I scoop out 4 Tablespoons (equivalent to ¼ cup) for whatever recipe I’m making (here’s how to remove the labels off your old jars).
How to Use Homemade Dry Onion Soup Mix
Use this healthy substitute for dry onion soup mix in any of these recipes:
- Classic Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- The Best Burgers Ever
- Basic Roasted Potatoes
- Mix with sour cream or plain greek yogurt to make a french onion dip!
- ¾ cup onion flakes
- ⅓ cup powdered beef bullion
- 4 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp ground celery seed
- 1 tsp granulated garlic (opt)
- 1 tsp salt (opt)
- ½ tsp pepper (opt)
- ¼ tsp sugar (opt)
- ¼ tsp paprika (opt)
- Combine all ingredients in a glass jar.
- Use ¼ cup (4 Tbsp) in lieu of one packet of dry onion soup mix.
- Store in a cool pantry.