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

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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162 comments on “French Onion Soup”

  1. I frequently use your recipes, and I have to say, this might be the very best! I used my Dutch oven, and it worked perfectly!

  2. It’s chilly here in San Diego today. Yum….loved this! My caramelized onions were a nice golden brown and it was delicious. Did not deviate from the recipe. Will definitely make it again!

  3. Made this recipe tonight. My husband and I loved it! Doesn’t always happen that my husband loves a new recipe, but this is a keeper. Thanks!

  4. I need the recipe with the egg!!!!

  5. This was delicious! Thanks for the detailed instructions on the onions. It was perfect!

  6. I have never made French onion soup…..so on my first try with this recipe I have made an amazing dish thank you so much for posting and sharing!

  7. Very good recipe. I need to change my garlic, next time. I didn’t get it chopped fine enough. I’ll probably use my mortar and pestle next time or I’ll just use garlic powder.

    The onions were so sweet. I started with 6 sweet yellow onions. It took a couple hours to carmelize them to a dark chestnut color. My Lodge ceramic dutch oven was awesome for the preparation.

    I made a gruyere cheese toast and baked them until they were crunchy and gooey, i served it alongside the soup, for dipping.

    Not a fast process, but this was one of the best soups I have ever made.

  8. Turned out delicious!

  9. I loved this recipe. The kids ate it and don’t like onions .good for the soul on a chilly day.

  10. I love soups.
    Your soups are fab.
    I am searching for a onion soup recipe made by a gentleman using a
    soup cube for flavour , it took him
    20 minutes to make but was simply rich in taste (it appears) I don’t know but would like to make and try.
    Can you help me locate the recepie
    Thanks

  11. Amazing recipe. I caramalized the onions slow and low and added a bit of brandy to help them along (for about an hour and half ), and the soup was sa deep brown with an incredible depth of flavor. Was a hit!

  12. Absolutely delicious!! I usually don’t follow recipes so closely but I’ve never made Fr Onion and as it’s a favorite of my husband I wanted it to be perfect. I probably used a bit more bouillon than most people and I used a mix of mozz and gruyere. But my husband just said that of all the Fr Onion soups he’s ever had around the world THIS was his all-time favorite!! It was SPECTACULAR and SO EASY!! The best recipes are the simplest. Thank you sooo much!!! I will be making this often!!

  13. A bid thanks for this amazing recipe; my husband and I enjoyed so much definitely I keep making, this is going to be a Magic dish for us ❤️👍 wish I can added my photo:

  14. Great recipe! I just made it now. I didn’t feel like opening a bottle of wine (since I’m sick) so I used a splash of balsamic instead. I also used veggie stock. I also added in some sliced celery as I have loads in the house! I’ll definitely be making this again.

  15. Took the advice of several previous posters and made according to recipe. Turned out great! Family loved it and will become a staple in our menu rotation,I’m certain.

  16. I made it and I didn’t have thyme, I just put in more bay leaves and added a dah not worxhestershire. Still was delish.

  17. My mother is beginning hospice at home. I offered her four different already-prepared soups I’ve made, but she asked for French Onion, so here I landed, with just enough of the ingredients on hand to make 1/5 of the quantity indicated.

    Try this by the book the first time, people! You might just have a mother who, with a greatly-reduced inventory of words, declares it “delicious!” Hearing that was a gift.

    Thanks ever!

    Thank you for getting

  18. Perfect material

  19. Didn’t taste very good, I spent a long time caramelizing the onions, and then followed the recipe, but the soup sure wasn’t anything to write home about. Not sure if it was the Worcestershire sauce, the bay leaf, or what, but the soup was just not very tasty at all.

  20. You can also top with slices of portobello mushrooms instead of bread and add parmigiana cheese

  21. Great recipe but how can it be 10 min prep time when you caramelize for 30 min?

  22. Made this with the hubby… was so yummy yummy yummy…. kids ate it as well. Thanks.

  23. Excellent and easy!! Thank you 😊

  24. This recipe is delicious and easy to make! I used College Inn Culinary Beef Stock and the flavor is so tasty!

  25. I actually used less Worcestershire than the recipe called for and that’s all we can taste. Don’t know what I did wrong as I did everything by the Recipe but we couldn’t eat it. The experience was great as this was my first time making this soup. So sad.

  26. I loved this recipe! Thank you for including all the variations and tips, it is so helpful. I’ve made many more of your recipes and I’ve never been disappointed.

  27. I made this for my boyfriend and I. I used 2 kinds of onions (that’s all I had) and it turned out delicious! The only problem now is that our farts smell EXACTLY like the soup. Like it’s freaky how much they smell like it. No joke. It’s kind of unsettling. Other than that, a fantastic recipe!

  28. Great Recipe! My husband love it! He’s been craving for a delicious French onion soup! And we are not disappointed for trying this recipe! We love it!

  29. Made this tonight and it was yummy!! My fiancé and I ate the whole pot in one sitting.. if I have any recommendations for others, it would be to use half unsalted or low sodium broth and half regular. I used all regular beef broth and did not add any extra salt to the recipe, and my fiancé and I agreed it was a little on the salty side (but still very good!)

  30. Excellent! We all enjoyed this soup.

  31. I made this tonight and it was so good! I used some roasted garlic that I had made earlier and it gave it an extra sweet caramelized depth of flavor that I loved!

  32. LOVED This Recipe! I used red wine and it came out perfect! I also have added beef tips braised separately for a few hours (then shreddded) to the soup for more of a protein meal. Thank you for sharing!

  33. I did decrease the recipe and estimated the ingredients in some ways, but it was so good that I ate a bit before it was even completely done!

  34. Really Yummy. I like the Worcester sauce in it.

  35. Needs to be a bit more beefy. Overall it was tasty. We have a restaurant that serves the best I’ve ever had, if only I could get my hands on that recipe.

  36. I wish there was a note about it possibly taking a very long time to caramelize the onions! I was making this for dinner so after an hour and 40 min of cooking the onions, we just moved forward because we were starving. The onions were lightly browned at that point. The soup was okay but not amazing. Are there any other tips for caramelizing onions faster? Just surprised that the recipe said about 30 minutes and I was at it for over and hour longer than that and was still not that the right level. I want to try this again and give myself more time to get the onions right, but I want to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong here!

  37. Turned out great!! My family loved this – we’ve used different recipes in the past, but will keep using this one. I used one less onion and thus one less cup of broth, provolone cheese because that’s what we had, and mostly eyeballed the ingredients rather than measure – turned out wonderfully! And it makes a ton!

  38. Love it. I use beef broth instead of stock I find it tastes better than the stock. I omit white wine and use beef broth for deglazing

  39. I don’t have white wine. Can I use a mild red wine?