French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup -- classic, simple, and so comforting |

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.  Aka, the ultimate ode to caramelized onions.

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 how much more delicious this soup is when made from scratch with homemade caramelized onions.  And I tend to prefer to keep this soup a little lighter by using whole-grain baguettes or a few croutons for the topping, sprinkled with just a bit of cheese.  But a steaming hot bowl of this soup makes me as happy as it did when I was a 16-year-old, and I’m pretty positive I’ll still be making it when I’m 61.  So if you love it too, join me and let’s make a batch homemade.

French Onion Soup -- classic, simple, and so comforting |

To make this soup the classic way, it does require a bit of time babysitting your caramelized onions as they cook.  So pour an extra glass of some of that white wine that you’ll be cooking with, put on some music, and tap into your inner Julia Child for about an hour or some good French cooking ahead.

French Onion Soup -- classic, simple, and so comforting |

We begin by, of course, caramelizing those onions.  These guys are the rockstar of this soup, so take your time until the reach a deep golden brown color and are nice and caramelized.  Then add garlic, and flour to thicken.  Then deglaze the pan with white wine, being sure to use a wooden spoon to scrape up any of those browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan while you were cooking the onions.  They are full of fantastic flavor.

French Onion Soup -- classic, simple, and so comforting |

Add the rest of your stock and seasonings and let the soup simmer for awhile for those flavors to meld.

French Onion Soup -- classic, simple, and so comforting |

And then when you’re ready, ladle up that soup into some oven-proof bowls or crocks.  Top each with a slice of toasted baguette and some cheese, and pop them under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is perfectly bubbly.

French Onion Soup -- classic, simple, and so comforting |


And serve it up warm, so that you can get a bit of that ooey gooey melted cheese and toasted baguette with every delicious bite of onion soup.  Or if you need a shortcut and don’t have access to a broiler, you can always pop some croutons and cheese on top, and let the hot soup just melt the cheese.  (I often do this for leftovers.)  Or if you’re going the lighter route, you can always skip the bread and cheese all together and just enjoy the flavorful onion soup on its own.

However you make it, this soup is definite comfort food.  And on cold winter months like these, I’m convinced it is the most delicious way to warm up.  Hope you enjoy it!

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French Onion Soup

This classic recipe for French Onion Soup is comforting


  • 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)


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 few 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.

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.

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.

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.)

All images and text ©

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 -- classic, simple, and so comforting |

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97 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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  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!

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  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.

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  27. 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.