French Onion Soup

My all-time favorite French Onion Soup recipe — surprisingly easy to make, and full of the best flavor.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Can you tell that I have been craving caramelized onions lately?

After posting tutorials this past week for how to make caramelized onions the traditional way (on the stovetop) and my still-can’t-believe-it-works modern way (in the slow cooker), I thought it was only appropriate that I pull up an old recipe from the archives for classic French onion soup.  Also known as — the ultimate ode to caramelized onions.

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I initially posted this recipe in my third month of blogging back in 2009, but French onion soup and I actually go way way back.  Like, back to my days in high school and college when a can of Campbell’s French onion soup was one of my favorite after-school snacks.  I didn’t know much about cooking, but I could whip up a batch of the canned stuff like a pro.  When I lived with an oven, I would pop a slice of sandwich bread on top with some shredded cheese and toast up a bowl to melty perfection.  And even when I lived in a dorm without ovens, I quickly figured out how to improvise with a hot piece of toast sprinkled with cheese that tasted about the same.  I loved French onion soup.

And of course, I still do.  But nowadays, my pantry is happily free from overly-processed cans of soup, and I have learned instead how much more delicious this soup is when made from scratch with homemade caramelized onions.  So if you love it too, join me and let’s make a batch homemade.

Easy French Onion Soup Recipe | 1-Minute Video

French Onion Soup Ingredients:

The good news is that classic French onion soup only requires a few simple ingredients.  You will need:

  • Yellow Onions: You can use white, yellow or red onions for French Onion soup.  But to make it the classic way, you will need 5-6 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Butter/Flour: To help thicken the soup.
  • White Wine: To help deglaze the pan.
  • Beef Stock: Which is classic, or you could sub in veggie stock to make vegetarian French onion soup.
  • Garlic, Worcestershire, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Salt and Pepper: These classic seasonings are a must. :)

Caramelized onions for the best French Onion Soup recipe

How To Caramelize Onions:

The first step to making traditional French onion soup is to transform that big pile of onions into the decadent, sweet, irresistibly caramelized onions that will form the rich base of this recipe.  It’s a really simple process, but it does take some time.  So turn some music on, maybe grab a glass of wine, and get ready to hang near the stove for awhile as we work some onion magic.

To make the caramelized onions, simply melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add your onions, and toss so that they are coated in the butter.  Then let them cook for about 5 minutes, give them a stir.  Cook for 5 more minutes, give them a good stir.  And continue this rhythm — stirring the onions every 3-5 minutes or so — until the onions are dark golden brown.  (Feel free to read more details about the stages of caramelizing onions in this post.)

Add the wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of those delicious browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Then the rest is easy!

How To Make French Onion Soup

How To Make French Onion Soup:

Once your onions are caramelized and ready to go, simply:

  1. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir the stock, Worcestershire, bay leaf and thyme to the onions.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Then reduce heat and simmer the soup for about 10-15 minutes, to let all of those flavors come together.  Discard the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.  Then taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
  2. Prep your bread.  While the soup is simmering, go ahead and prep your toppings as well.  If you’re going the traditional route with a slice of bread, toast it in the oven or in a toaster until it is nice and golden.  And get your grated or sliced cheese all ready to go.
  3. Broil your toppings.  Then place your oven-safe bowls on a thick baking sheet, and ladle the soup into each of them.  Top with a baguette slice and your desired amount of cheese (I used about 1/4 cup shredded cheese for each).  Place on an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat and broil for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly, keeping a close eye on the cheese so that it doesn’t burn.
  4. And…serve!  Nice and hot, while the cheese is still melty, of course. :)

Homemade French Onion Soup Recipe

French Onion Soup Toppings:

That said, a quick note on toppings!  If you don’t happen to have oven-safe bowls for this recipe, or if you would just prefer to skip the oven part of the recipe all together, you can also just use a toaster to toast your slices of bread.  And then sprinkle the cheese on top of the bread while it’s still hot, to make it nice and melty.  Then just top your soup with these cheesy toasts.  It’s not exactly the same as the classic method, but it’s a delicious shortcut.

As far as the bread itself goes, feel free to use any kind that you love.  (French baguettes are traditional, or you could also sub in some crispy croutons.)  And as for the cheese, Gruyere, Asagio, Swiss, or Mozzarella would all be delicious.

The Best French Onion Soup Recipe

What To Serve With French Onion Soup:

Looking for some good side dishes to serve with this recipe?  Here are a few of my faves:

Enjoy, everyone!

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French Onion Soup

This classic recipe for French Onion Soup is comforting

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (approximately 5-6 large onions)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups of beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs of thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • a few generous pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • baguette
  • grated cheese (Gruyere, Asagio, Swiss, or Mozzarella)

Directions:

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute until well browned and caramelized (but not burnt), about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 1 minute.  Stir in the wine to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the stock, worcestershire sauce (optional), bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, partially-covered.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  While the soup is simmering, slice the baguette into 1-inch thick pieces and arrange them in single layer on baking sheet.  Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the bread is toasted and golden around the edges.  Remove and set aside.
  4. Switch the oven to the broiler.  When ready to serve the soup, place your oven-safe bowls or crocks on a thick baking sheet.  Ladle the soup into each of them, then top with a baguette slice and your desired amount of cheese (I used about 1/4 cup shredded cheese for each).  Place on an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat and broil for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove and serve immediately.

*If you do not have access to a broiler or would like to save time, I also love just topping this soup with croutons and shredded cheese.

(Recipe updated in January 2015.)

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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

French Onion Soup Recipe with Melted Cheese

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110 comments on “French Onion Soup”

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of Healthy Frugal Soups (Slow Cooker and Freezer Friendly) - Simple Made Pretty

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  3. About forty years ago I got a recipe for French Onion Soup from our local newspaper. One of the comments was to use rusks instead of bread for the top. I have been doing this ever since and receive favourable comments every time. They float nicely when the cheese is added.

  4. OMG this soup was so flavorful.  Be patient with the onions. Let them brown.  I used red wine just because it’s what I had on hand. Mmm 

    • We’re so happy you loved it, Nicole! And mmmm, red wine is definitely a lovely idea for this! :)

  5. Sorry, but the stock didn’t send me.  Much rather use boillon.

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  7. Pingback: French Onion Soup (take 1) – kelspresso

  8. I have been craving soups recently. I found your French onion soup recipe on Pinterest. I made it and my husband and I loved it. Thank you! I’ll be making it again several times every winter. 

  9. Can you use additional 1/2 cup of stock instead of wine? 

    • We think you could do that, but we’d make sure to use a stock with less sodium and make sure you don’t over-salt. We hope you enjoy!

  10. Want to make this vegetarian and gluten free, can I replace with veggie low sodium stock and use no flour or coconut flour? Love all of your recipes! Thanks!!

  11. Thank You for the delicious recipe!  Made this tonight for dinner and we licked our bowls clean!  I had made homemade beef bone broth & used that as my stock it was wonderful!  Thanks again!

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  13. I just love french onion soup. I worked in restaurants most of my life. Not cooking, but waitressing. I would go traight to the soup. Thanks for the recipe. Can’t wait to make it.

  14. I have some mushrooms to use up, could I add these to this soup?

    • Yes, most definitely, we think they would be a yummy addition to this soup! We hope you enjoy!

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  16. This is so decadent and deliscious!  The onions turn so sweet.  Love, love!

  17. The best French soup I have ever made. Followed your recipe exactly. Your instructions are fantastic. My onions did not caremelise as well as your picture but I am sure with practise and the right timing I will get there. Thank you so much..yum

  18. Hi I think my comment got deleted somehow :(  Really want to make this.  Looks delish!  I like short grain rice too but no luck with it. I  had bought the organic short grain sushi rice but it turns out gloppy. I  rinse it till almost clear and soak 30 minutes then in fridge overnight. Doesn’t work for me. Can you offer any tips and or special brand? Really want to make this. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Sarah! We’ve never tried this with rice, so we’re a bit confused. Did you mean to comment on a different recipe?

  19. Yes I’m so sorry.  I  was commenting on the fried rice recipe. Can you help on that? Thank you so much!

  20. My husband said ” This is the best I’ve ever had. My mom would be proud of you. She loved this stuff”! His mom was very picky :) That was a huge compliment!

    I started out caramelizing the onions in the slow cooker, but they didn’t finish in time because I was to late starting, so I cooled them for the night and finished them on the stove. It worked out great. This is the only recipe I will ever use. Awesomesauce!

  21. Pingback: Get To Know What Goes Best With Your French Onion Soup, Read On! - FamilyNano

  22. Whatever you do – don’t use Vidalia onions – they made the soup way too sweet. I had to doctor it up with some yellow onions, as the recipe called for, and it helped. Otherwise, this soup is tremendous!

    Rating: 5
    • Yeah, that’s why we use the yellow ones, unfortunately. :( We’re glad you still enjoyed it though!

  23. This is so delicious, will make it again, and again.

  24. Pingback: Homemade French Onion Soup | Pink Lemonade

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  26. This was excellent, quick & easy to make!

    Rating: 5
  27. Pingback: A twist on French Onion Soup – A Sprinkle of Delicious

  28. About to put this in the oven with my new ramekins and it smells wonderful! I did sneak a taste, yummy! It’s so cold in New England today and into this coming weekend. Hoping it will warm us up as I dream of summer! Thanks.

  29. I made this tonight. The temperature is 9 degrees and falling. The soup was wonderful.

    Rating: 5
  30. I don’t know what I did wrong but I made this and it has a very strange/bitter taste… I don’t know if maybe it was the Worcestershire or the white wine? I will defiantly try it again and leave out the Worcestershire.

  31. This is a fantastic recipe. After the onions were cooked I did add the garlic, thyme, salt pepper and Worcestershire sauce and wine and cooked for about 10 minutes. I then threw it all in the crockpot and left it on low overnight. About 8 hours. I turned it off and put it in the fridge when cool for 2 days to let the flavors develop. It was awesome!!!

    Rating: 5
  32. This is the bomb recipe for onion soup. I think I’ll always like it best with beef broth ( how I first met it in Paris), but, made it with chicken broth with a touch of concentrated veggie base to darken and add depth of flavor. Fish sauce, vinegar! Yes!!

    Have my cup of soup, melted Gruyere and white cheddar and sitting dow nto watch Sound of Music, soothing and SOOooooo goood!

    Rating: 5
  33. I made this with red wine. It was lovely. The key, I think, is to give the onions time to do their thing.

    Rating: 5
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  35. Made it tonight and it was super easy to follow and make. Plenty of leftovers for two. Gong to enjoy the tasty again tomorrow night.

    Rating: 5
  36. All I can say is Yum!!

    Rating: 5
  37. Delicious and simple! My husband loved it! Definitely going to be a regular menu item :)

    Rating: 5
  38. Very tasty
    Definitely need to be patient with the onions

    Rating: 5
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  40. Easy to prepare and has a great taste.

    Rating: 5