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French Onion Soup

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My favorite homemade French onion soup recipe that’s easy to make and full of the richest caramelized onion flavors.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Who’s ready for a cozy bowl of homemade French onion soup? ♡

We actually just arrived home late last night from spending a week in Provence with our parents. And amidst the most delicious week of meals together around the table in our little cottage — with fresh croissants and baguettes picked up from the local bakery, farmers market wild mushrooms and artichokes the size of your head, approximately one million French cheeses, herby olives, fresh raspberry tart, plus the loveliest crisp local rosés — I also channeled my inner Julia Child and simmered up a batch of my favorite French onion soup for dinner one evening. And it was delightful.

I actually first shared this recipe here during my very first year of blogging — now ten years ago! — and have made it countless times since. And it’s always, always a winner. Nowadays, I tend to make it vegetarian (using veggie broth instead of traditional beef broth) so that both my husband and I can enjoy it. And after living in Barcelona for a few years, we’ve also come to love the Spanish twist on this recipe as well, which includes cracking an egg into each soup bowl and then broiling it (with or without cheesy toast) until the egg is perfectly poached on top of the soup.

However its made, French onion soup is a classic and will forever remain one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. So if you’re looking for a well-tested recipe to add to your repertoire, I can vouch that this one’s a keeper!

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:

  • 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: The tastiest (French) way to caramelize those onions. Although feel free to use vegan butter (or just olive oil) if you are avoiding dairy.
  • Flour: To help thicken the soup. I typically use all-purpose, but you’re welcome to use a gluten-free flour blend. Or just omit the flour if you don’t mind having a thinner soup broth.
  • White wine: To help deglaze the pan. If the onions start to burn a bit on the bottom of the pan while they are caramelizing, feel free to add in an extra few splashes of wine along the way to help lift up those browned bits.
  • Beef stock: The classic base for French onion soup, although we often sub in veggie stock in our house to make this soup vegetarian.
  • Worcestershire, garlic, bay leaf, fresh thyme, salt and pepper: For seasoning. Feel free to tinker around with the amounts of each. And if you don’t have fresh thyme on hand, you’re welcome to sub in dried thyme (or some herbs de Provence).
  • Bread and cheese: For the cheesy toasts on top. Feel free to use whatever kind of bread (I recommend a crusty baguette) and shredded or sliced cheese (Gruyere, Asagio, Swiss, Gouda, Mozzarella, etc) that you prefer.

Full ingredients/instructions listed in the recipe below.

How To Make French Onion Soup with Caramelized Onions

How To Caramelize Onions:

The first step to making traditional French onion soup is to transform that big pile of raw onions into the decadent, sweet, and irresistibly caramelized onions that will form the rich base of this recipe. Caramelization is actually a really simple process, but it does take some time. So turn some music on, maybe pour yourself an extra glass of that white wine we will be using, and get ready to spend some quality time by the stove 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. Let them cook for about 5 minutes, until they start to turn a bit golden on the bottom, and then give them a stir. Repeat for another 5 more minutes, then give them another good stir. Then continue this rhythm — stirring the onions every 3-5 minutes or so initially, then every 1-2 minutes near the end — until the onions have caramelized into a rich chestnut brown color. (Anytime the onions look like they are starting to burn on the bottom of the pan, just add in a splash of wine or water and use a wooden spoon to scrape up those browned bits on the bottom of the pan.)  Then stir in a half cup of wine to fully deglaze the bottom of the pan once the onions are ready to go.

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 together in a large stockpot, then let the soup continue to cook until it reaches a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Then remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf, give the soup a taste, and season as needed with S&P.
  2. Toast the 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.
  3. Broil. Place your oven-safe bowls on a thick baking sheet. Then once the soup is ready to go, ladle the soup into each bowl, top with the toasted bread and your desired amount of cheese. Place the baking sheet 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! While the cheese is freshly-melted and the soup is hot and bubbly. Yum.

Classic French Onion Soup Recipe

Possible Variaions:

There are all sorts of tweaks, shortcuts and additions that you are welcome to use to customize your own French onion soup recipe. For example, feel free to:

  • Skip the broiling step. If you don’t happen to have oven-safe bowls for this recipe, or if you would just prefer to skip the broiling part of the recipe all together, feel free to just top your soup with the hot slices of toast and then sprinkle the cheese on top. (Or you can bake up cheesy toasts in the oven, and then add them to your soup.)
  • Use croutons. In lieu of toasting slices of bread, you could also save time by using store-bought or homemade croutons.
  • Use dried herbs. If you don’t have fresh thyme on hand, feel free to substitute a teaspoon of dried thyme instead. Or I also sometimes like to use herbs de Provence instead for extra flavor.
  • Make it vegetarian. Use veggie stock (plus vegan Worcestershire, if you would like).
  • Make it vegan. Use vegan butter (or olive oil), veggie stock, vegan Worcestershire and vegan cheese.
  • Make it gluten-free. Use gluten-free flour (or just omit the flour entirely) and gluten-free bread.

French Onion Soup in Bowls with Melted Cheese and Thyme

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!

BEST French Onion Soup Recipe

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French Onion Soup Recipe

French Onion Soup

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x


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


  • 4 pounds yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (approximately 56 large onions)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups of beef stock (or veggie stock)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • baguette
  • grated or sliced cheese (such as Gruyere, Asiago, Swiss, Gouda or Mozzarella)


  1. Caramelize the onions. In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until well for about 30 minutes until caramelized (but not burnt), initially stirring every 3-5 minutes, then about once a minute near the end of caramelization to prevent burning*.  Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.  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. Simmer the soup. Add the stock, Worcestershire, bay leaf, and thyme and stir to combine. Continue to cook until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Discard the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.  Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Toast the bread.  Preheat oven to 400°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. Broil the topping. Switch the oven to the broiler.  Once the soup is ready to serve, place your oven-safe bowls on a thick baking sheet.  Ladle the soup into each bowl, 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, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  (Keep a close eye on them so that they do not burn.)  Remove from the oven and serve immediately while the soup is hot and bubbly.

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249 comments on “French Onion Soup”

  1. I made a prime rib and used the bones to make the broth, I also took the meat from the bones and added it to the soup, also using boxed beef stock instead of broth, otherwise I followed the recipe. It’s delicious!

  2. Made this tonight and we LOVED it….very easy and delicious.! Followed directions exactly;however, we added so additional spices of basil, rosemary and umami…Will make again!

  3. Really enjoyed this even though I was out of butter and garlic. I just read the review which mentions nutritional yeast and I will definitely try that next time.

  4. Can’t wait to try it.

  5. I don’t want to try to Source vegan Worcestershire sauce. Is it possible to leave that out, or is there something else that can be substituted that is similar?

    • Instead, you can use miso paste and dilute it with water or use soy sauce with ketchup for some umami notes.

  6. Excellent recipe. I used a cup less broth to make it thicker and made my onions chunkier. The flavor was exceptional. I toasted the bread in chunks before topping the soup, rather than a whole slice. Much easier to eat. The next day I ate it with a grilled cheese instead of topping it. Just as good!

  7. Great recipe. I used Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base. Outstanding.

    • I cooked the onions on high, initially covered the pan and it took about an hour. I used only 4 cups veg broth and added a tablespoon cognac prior to the bread-cheese broil. It was delicious, thank you for a delicious meal

  8. Hi , Have you ever used Feta cheese on top

  9. The weight of the onions is incorrect. It should be 2#. As this recipe follows Julia Childs and 5-6 onions is not 4#

  10. Followed the recipe with the exceptions of using water in place of wine and not adding bread. One of the best French onion soups we’ve had in a long time! Will definitely be a keeper at our house!
    Thank you!!

    • Thank you for sharing. I wondered what I could use instead of white wine and now I will use water. Making this tonight!

    • Instead of just plain water, try using extra broth and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. It adds a nice depth of flavour without having to buy a whole bottle a wine for one recipe. 😁

  11. Delicious!

  12. Awesome and easy! Great tip for cutting bread bite size. Onions took quite a while to cook down, like an hour. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Loved it made it lots of times

  14. I love French onion soup but I had never attempted to make it before today. Oh my! It is so good. Such depth in flavour. I used red wine and gruyere. I also used equal parts of full sodium and zero sodium beef broth. Absolutely delicious. I will be making this again soon.

  15. Great recipe!!

  16. Haven’t made french onion soup in several years because last time my husband didn’t like it. I have gotten a lot more cooking skills since so I thought to take another go at it. I used homemade beef broth and I added some carrots and potatoes so it wouldn’t be “just onions” which was the critique I had last time. It turned out so good and my husband liked it too, thank you for this simple but delightful recipe!!

  17. Made this recipe and have to say I was completely underwhelmed. I followed the directions as stated and it tasted bland, too sweet, and definitely not the satisfying French onion soup I was after. Sadly I will not be making this again.

  18. I do not understand how somebody could rate this recipe bad! It was perfect! If it turned out “bad” for you – you have not followed the recipe. I own 5 restaurants & will be adapting to this much simpler recipe! Great Freaking Job!

  19. Our family makes this soup regularly and everyone loves it! Thanks for another great recipe. :)

  20. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I have never made French Onion Soup from scratch before and your directions and recipe were fantastic! I will be making it again for sure!

  21. The soup was amazing! But 30 minutes to caramelize onions? Took me an hour and a half. I probably stirred too frequently and didn’t deglaze enough while cooking.

  22. I love this soup – but here is a thought for anyone who may have a loved one who has dental work and cannot eat much – make this soup – but cut the onions up smaller. Then add in some finely diced mushrooms towards the end of the onion caramelization. Make the rest of the soup normally. It will give your loved one a yummy soup that has just a little more substance.

  23. We liked this recipe, but made a few tweaks.

    When I tasted the soup at the beginning of the long simmer part, it was too sweet. I added about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and LOTS of black pepper (we like pepper here). I also put a sprig of rosemary in the simmering soup for about 5 minutes, then took it out for a bit of extra depth.

    After that, I simmered the soup longer than indicated because we wanted it a bit thicker.

    I highly recommend using salt-free beef stock, then salting to your own preference. If you’re going to cook it down, don’t do it until the end.

    Came out great! We made mozz/tomato panini and dipped them in the soup like an au jus sauce.

  24. I’m retired. Cooking was in the past. In a Pyrex, 2 cup measuring cup, pour Campbell’s French Onion Soup, 10.5 oz can, add V-8, 5.5 oz can. Microwave to your heat liking. (I only heat two minutes.) On a paper plate, put favorite roll. (I use a Kaiser roll.) Place two slices of favorite cheese on roll. (Been using Mozzarella, but going to try provolone.) Microwave only 30 seconds. Peel cheese off roll and put in soup. Serve. Dip roll in soup. So good! And easy clean up!

    • I’ve tried several other French onion soup recipes over the years and this is the only one that turned out well! For those posting that their soup didn’t taste good, I can almost guarantee you didn’t caramelize the onions and cook them long enough. You need to make sure they get that deep golden brown or else the soup won’t have any flavor. All the flavor is in the onions! It def takes more than 30 minutes, but it’s worth the time. As you deglaze the pan with white wine, have some for yourself!

  25. I love this soup, but just wanted to add that it takes more like an hour to caramelize the onions, not 30 minutes.

  26. I love French onion soup but I have a hard time standing for the length of time it takes to Carmelize the onions to perfection. I bought a small crockpot and cook my sliced onions with butter and olive oil for 8 hrs on low. Perfect onions every time and so much easier for seniors or disabled folks. Other then that I follow the recipe to the T.

  27. Delish!

  28. I followed the directions to the best of my ability. Perhaps my ability failed me. It was a bland and buttery sad soup. If I were to think of this in a historical context, as in like “wow if I was a poor peasant in 16th century France or whatever” then yea I’d probably enjoy this. I’d love trying something historically accurate. Perhaps people like food this bland? Where was the flavor? Maybe the suggested cheese wasn’t a good fit? If I was a rich person capitalizing off niche diet trends I’d add this to “eat like a peasant, they were super skinny”. (I do not mean to make light of the poor) But overall, yea I agree with those who say this wasn’t a good recipe. Feel free to leave tips below.

  29. Awesome recipe! We loved it, and will absolutely be making it again!

  30. I only had Vidalia onions on hand and was worried about it being too sweet. So I used a little less butter (2 tablespoons instead of 3), cooked them down pretty hard (browned them), and went heavy on Worcestershire and added a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with the salt & pepper. Used regular toasted baguette and thick layer of Havarti cheese. It was fantastic – some sweetness but also with some savory depth. Fantastic with a good dry white wine (we paired it with Sauvignon Blanc) and some extra toasted baguette for dipping. My wife LOVES it and we will be making it regularly, including with dinner guests as part of a French country theme. Fun! Next time will also include some mushrooms – I bet that will be great too!

  31. Can this soup be frozen at the pre bread and cheese stage, for a later date?

  32. This was the first time I had tried this. It took a long time to make but it was worth it.!

  33. Hi,

    I made the soup today….really good and easy! Thanks!

  34. I didn’t have fresh thyme, and I used ground thyme instead. 1 Teaspoon was way too much, and overpowered all the other flavors. I’ll try 1/2 that much at most next time. Otherwise, loved this and will definitely make it again.

  35. Made it tonight. It was delicious 😋

  36. Beyond great. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. It was perfect 😊

  37. Love the recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it 😊

  38. Perfect! The instruction to prepare the onions was spot on, I finally got it right! This was the perfect soup. I left out the bread and skipped a few garlic cloves, but the result was perfect. I added one peeled tomato, a trick I learned from my old landlady ;)

  39. I will follow up tomorrow evening. Every Wednesday my entire family comes for dinner including the Fur Babies. Decided to make something I’ve never served. Out to dinner they most all order French Onion Soup. I’ve actually searched for 2 days for a Unique Recipe. Frustrated and ready to scrap idea. Suddenly your post appeared!! No more searching and Soup will be served tomorrow evening. I’m actually excited. Something new I’ve never made. Know family are Fans. You might ask why the big deal. Because I’m 81 years old. Thank you. Bea

  40. This soup tasted amazing! Just as delicious as restaurant served French onion soup.

  41. Great recipe as-is. I used better than bullion no-beef base and loved it. I’ve never made French onion soup before, and my family will definitely be having this again! Thanks for sharing.

  42. This was my first time making french onion soup. My husband and son loved it. We topped with Havarti cheese. Delicious!

  43. Love soup in general and this type especially.
    Toni Tip;
    I use dark red miso instead of beef brotnot because I don’t eat meat but because it’s a good flavor. Add miso cautiously, I usually add a tablespoon taste, tablespoon, taste tablespoon taste and so on until I get just under the taste I like as it intensify’s slowly. You can add but you cannot take out so taste every so often.

  44. Simply delicious! Be patient with the onions. Watch the quick video. It clearly shows you what they should look like! Again Simply delicious!

  45. Can this be made earlier in the day to eat for dinner later?
    BTW this recipe ROCKS

  46. My first time making a French onion soup. I think this is about the tastiest thing I’ve ever made. I did add a few basil leaves as someone else recommended.

  47. Great soup, I also added a little sherry,
    Great flavor!!

  48. Omg i just tasted the soup ! Best I ever had . I use Vadalia onions in everything, soo good! Kudos to you !pinning for ever

  49. We loved it, Ali!