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

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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

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.

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121 comments on “French Onion Soup”

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

  2. Pingback: Soup Recipes You Definitely Want to Save for Later

  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.

  6. Pingback: 5 Recipes For the Snow

  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!

  12. Pingback: Soup Recipe Roundup: 35+ Hearty Soup Recipes - Shasher's Life

  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. 5 stars
    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!

    • 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

  25. Pingback: Favorite Fall Recipes - The Fashionable Wife

  26. 5 stars
    This was excellent, quick & easy to make!

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

  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. 5 stars
    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!!!

  32. 5 stars
    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!

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

  34. Pingback: Cold Weather Comfort Foods

  35. 5 stars
    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.

  36. 5 stars
    All I can say is Yum!!

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

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

  39. Pingback: 150 Best Fall Soups - Prudent Penny Pincher

  40. 5 stars
    Easy to prepare and has a great taste.

  41. Pingback: Menu #22 | mich's menu menagerie

  42. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I love it :) I love your blog it’s my go to delicious food blog!

  43. 5 stars
    So so good! My family loves this recipe. Made exactly as described

  44. This is my first attempt at French onion soup and I am way happy ☺. I looked at many recipie s on Pinterest and this looked like the best one. I was right! Thanks so much for the recipi e !😊

  45. 5 stars
    Really goes well with quiche – I like spinach and bacon.

  46. I’m loving your recipes, and the thought of doing a veggie French onion soup excites me!
    I’m the only carnivore in a household of 3 (one of whom is also dairy intolerant 😫!), so am really looking forward to trying this out. I particularly love the thought of dropping the egg into the soup!! Fab twist, and the cheese would not be missed! 😁
    I’m not going to rate this just now as I haven’t tried it yet, but hope to return before too long to do so. 🤗😁

  47. Hi Ali…Love your posts/// Very intrigued by the Barcellonian addition of a poached egg ! Any chance of you elaborating on those how-to’s ?

  48. Hi! Love your recipes. In the email sent you mentioned something about making onion soup Spanish style with a poached egg on top. That sounds amazing! This may sound silly but do you still top with toast and cheese or just leave them out completely when you poach the egg in the soup? Would love to see a demo if you have time.

  49. Hello!! I love your blog and am so glad I found it!

    I just made French onion soup yesterday evening, but I will definitely try your version next.

    All the best to you guys!!

  50. 5 stars
    My favorite soup, next to She Crab soup. This was wonderful!