French Onion Soup

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 with Cheesy Bread

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

Print
French Onion Soup Recipe

French Onion Soup

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

Description

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


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  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.

This post contains affiliate links.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

121 comments on “French Onion Soup”

  1. my mom always says to use 1/2 swiss and 1/2 parmesan. The swiss melts better but the parmesan browns better. :)

  2. I always toast my “croutons” (slices of french bread) in the oven broiler. I put some butter on them and sprinkle parmesan chees on. Brown on both sides, then add to the soup, put cheese over and brown again. So delicious.

  3. Pingback: Valentine’s Day Love | Emilee's Journey

  4. Pingback: French Onion Soup Recipes That Make Us Actually Excited For Winter | Gymrat Fitness

  5. Ali,
    I tried the soup without the wine to start and OMG my picky eating pixies ages 7 & 10 loved it.  Even more my MIL who doesn’t like food that is not fast, as in onions are only supposed to be rings – really loved it.  I am going to switch out the chicken broth to beef and roast the onions with bacon.  No pix since the soup disappeared before I could get back with the camera!
    Thanks for an awesome recipe.
    T

  6. I have actually never even had French Onion Soup!
    And, the worst food blogger award goes to me.  I totally need to try this, except using my broiler always sets the fire alarm off in my apartment complex.
    But, for this, my neighbours will understand ;) Pinned!

  7. Your French onion looks perfect!! I adore this soup. Definitely need to try this recipe!

  8. I’ve always been a French onion soup fan. I remember when I was about 13, going to a restaurant with some friends. Everyone ordered pizza and burgers, but I got the French onion soup. Everyone thought I was a freak, but I just enjoyed my soup :) 

  9. Any chance you know of a good substitute for beef broth? Do you think some sort of mushroom/veggie broth could possibly work? I’ve actually NEVER had french onion soup but I’ve always wanted to try it! Maybe I’ll give a veggie version an attempt soon :)

  10. You are officially the queen of french onion soup. Can I come over?

  11. This is my husband’s all time favorite but I’ve ever made it at home! This is happening, ASAP :)

  12. I sooo love French Onion Soup! This looks so cheesy and delicious!

  13. Do you think you could make this using onions you had caramelized in the slow cooker? How do you think the taste/texture would differ?

  14. I have never craved french onion soup more than I am craving it at this very moment. It looks incredible and oh so satisfying!

  15. I love french onion soup ahhh. You make it look so simple! Love this. Can’t wait to try this :)

  16. We just love french onion soup, I will have to try your variation sounds fantastic!  Yes I can tell your craving onions lately!  :)  

  17. I have recently been placed on a Gluten Free diet and am curious if the soup would turn out as well using Gluten Free flour. Have you ever tried it Ali? If not, I will follow up with pictures via Instagram within a week or two and let you know if it worked!

  18. I can still remember the first time I had french onion soup — life changing. I don’t think I ever knew that soup could taste so darn delicious — and cheesy. Looks awesome! 

  19. Love French Onion Soup! 

    I was wondering if the soup would taste different if I omitted the flour? I can’t have flour or corn at this time…

  20. In the words of Rachael Ray – YUMMO! Could you possibly use red wine in this recipe? Or is it better to use white? I just wondered if the red would give it a different flavor or deepness.  I guess I’ll have to try it to find out! Love the: recipe, pictures, and you!

  21. Oh my word! This soup looks amazing!!!

  22. I’m so excited to try this recipe. So delicious!  So inspirational!

    http://www.trangscorner.com

  23. I haven’t made French Onion Soup in eons and have now, thanks to this deliciousness, decided this needs to be remedied pronto. I’d like to go on the record, though, as a strong supporter of using the baguette and cheese… we all know that’s why we love French onion soup anyhow ;)

  24. Swooning over this! French Onion soup is seriously hands down my favorite soup on this earth! LOVE! Could eat it every day, well maybe not every day, but gosh darn close! Can’t wait to try your version girl! This pics are beautiful, but would I expect anything less? Nope!

  25. I made this soup last night and it was amazing!  I had never made it before.  I didn’t realize how easy it would be.  Can’t wait to make it again, soon!  Thanks, Ali, for a great recipe!  

  26. OMG! This looks fantastic. I feel like every time I want a classic French onion soup, I want it immediately and  am too lazy to make it. But with this snow storm that is supposed be taking over the east coast, I just might be able to give it a try this time!

    Best,
    Mo

  27. Pingback: Red Lentil Soup Recipe - Rachel Cooks

  28. Pingback: Soups on!

  29. Pingback: French Onion Everything! |

  30. Pingback: Easy Dinners To Impress Your Friends | WORLD Warotter

  31. Pingback: 23 Deceptively Easy Dinners That’ll Make You Look Like You’ve Got Your Shit Together - Seatbelt Guitar

  32. Pingback: 23 Deceptively Easy Dinners That ll Make You Look Like You ve Got Your Shit Together - Ice Trend

  33. Pingback: 19 Easy Gourmet Recipes To Fake Your Culinary Skillz | FoodEagle

  34. Pingback: 23 Cenas fáciles de hacer que te harán ver como un experto | Impacto Actual

  35. Pingback: FRENCH ONION SOUP | smartdiyideasandrecipes

  36. Pingback: Boho Pins: Top 10 Pins of the Week: Boho Weddings - UK Wedding Blog for the Boho Luxe Bride

  37. Pingback: French Onion Soup | DeliciousFooddy

  38. Pingback: Top-10 French Onion Soup Recipes - RecipePorn

  39. i plan on making this tonight, 1 hour seems a little short on cooking time though.  would this be bad if i cooked it longer?  like 2-3 hours?

  40. Pingback: French Onion Soup | TOOGOODTOBEEATEN

  41. Pingback: 20 Soups to Keep You Warm This Winter | Share My Recipe

  42. Pingback: French Onion Soup

  43. Pingback: Winter Soups - The Fashionable Wife

  44. Pingback: Homemade French Onion Soup – alyssa's breakfast café ?

  45. Pingback: Day 22: French Onion Soup – 365daysinacookbook

  46. Looks delish! I’m making some later, just got about six pounds of onions that were on sale and now I need to cook something with them.

  47. Ether I’m eating this right now – or I died and went to heaven. Thanks for sharing!

  48. Pingback: European Cooking - Belonging Everywhere

  49. Could one use Sherry rather than wine. If so how much.

    • Hi Nancy! Yes, you can use sherry instead of wine (still use 1/2 cup). We hope you enjoy!

  50. Hello! I have red wine on hand, can I sub for the white wine?

    • Hi Emily — yes, most definitely! It will be just as delicious! We hope you enjoy! :)