This French Onion Soup is a classic recipe that takes time but is easy to make and taste delicious.

Onions are caramelized on the stove and then cooked in a savory broth. It’s all topped with some crispy bread and cheese and broiled until melted and bubbly!

It’s easy to master a classic French Onion Soup recipe!

cups of Homemade French Onion Soup with a spoon in one

What is French Onion Soup?

This flavorful soup originated in Paris, France in the 18th century and first appeared in New York in a restaurant in 1861. French onion soup has sweet golden caramelized onions in a rich brown broth. It’s all topped with cheeses broiled over a thick baguette slice.

  • This soup takes a bit of time to make but the steps are easy.
  • A richly seasoned hearty broth is accented by softened onions sautéed in butter and served with bread or croutons under a topping of cheese.
  • French onion soup freezes well for future meals so double or triple the recipe if you’d like (more on freezing below).
  • Serve as a side, an appetizer, or a light dinner.

ingredients to make Homemade French Onion Soup

Ingredients for French Onion Soup

ONIONS – This is where the flavor comes from! We think the best onions for French onion soup are either sweet white onions or yellow onions. Vidalia or Walla Walla are great choices. The onions will cook low and slow and caramelize to a beautiful golden color.

BROTH – Beef broth or beef stock and a splash of dry white wine mixed with Worcestershire sauce give the soup a deep, rich, flavor.  For white wine in this recipe, choose a chardonnay, Pinot Gris, or Sauvignon Blanc. You can leave the wine out but it is recommended for the best flavor.

CHEESES – Our favorite includes a combination of Gruyere and parmesan broiled over the soup-soaked bread. Gruyere is a mildly flavored swiss cheese. Other cheeses include Emmental, mozzarella, or gouda.

How to Make French Onion Soup

  1. Caramelize the onions in butter until soft and golden brown, this should be done low and slow.
  2. Add the broth, seasonings and herbs per the recipe below. Simmer.
  3. Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls and top with dry bread and cheese.
  4. Broil until melted and bubbly. Serve immediately.

steps for making French onoin soup

Bowls for French Onion Soup

Ceramic bowls are the best option for French onion soup. The bowls with the handles you see in the images here were purchased at the dollar store, they’re not expensive and I have had them for years! I serve other things in them too (like individual casseroles that bake in the oven, other soups etc).

You can purchase French onion soup bowls online but almost any ceramic bowl should be oven-proof, check the bottom of the bowl as it will usually indicate if it is oven safe.

No French Onion Soup Bowls? No Problem! 

Place the dry bread or crostini on a sheet pan and top with cheese. Broil until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to transfer the bread to top a bowl of soup.

cooked Homemade French Onion Soup in bowls

Tips for a Great Soup

  • Choose sweet Vidalia or Walla Walla onions or yellow onions for this recipe.
  • Onions will reduce down to a small amount but you’ll need a large pan or dutch oven to begin.
  • Cook the onions very slowly, this step should take 30-40 minutes at a low temperature. This is where the flavor comes from.
  • I toast baguette slices under the broiler for French onion soup but leftover chunks of dry bread will work well too.
  • Place the bowls on a baking sheet, this makes them easier to transfer in and out of the oven.
  • French onion soup freezes beautifully. Cook and cool the onions and broth and then place in freezer bags. Thaw in a pot on the stove until hot and then top with bread and cheese and broil.

More Classic Soups

Did you make this Homemade French Onion Soup? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

plated Homemade French Onion Soup with bread in the background
4.85 from 52 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Homemade French Onion Soup

This flavorful French Onion Soup has rich beef broth filled with caramelized onions and topped with a golden bubbly cheese.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients  

  • 3 large sweet onions peeled
  • cup unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar optional
  • 8 cups beef broth 64 oz
  • cup dry white wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dry
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry optional
  • 1 baguette
  • 3 cups gruyere cheese
  • 6 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Slice onions ¼" thick. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, over low heat in melted butter (with sugar if using) until golden, about 30-45 minutes.
  • Add beef broth, wine, thyme, bay leaf, black pepper, Worcestershire, dry sherry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf and thyme (if fresh) and discard.
  • Meanwhile, slice bread and brush with olive oil. Broil 2 minutes per side or until golden. 
  • Ladle soup into ceramic bowls. Add 2 slices of bread to each bowl. Divide cheeses over bowls and broil until golden and bubbly.

Video

Notes

  • Choose sweet Vidalia or Walla Walla onions or yellow onions for this recipe. Sweeter varieties of onions may not need the sugar.
  • Onions will reduce down to a small amount but you'll need a large pan or dutch oven to begin.
  • Cook the onions very slowly, this step should take 30-40 minutes at a low temperature. This is where the flavor comes from.
  • For white wine choose a chardonnay, Pinot Gris, or Sauvignon Blanc. You can leave the wine out but it is recommended for the best flavor.
  • Leftover chunks of dry bread will work well as the bread in this recipe too.
  • Place the bowls on a baking sheet, this makes them easier to transfer in and out of the oven.
  • French onion soup freezes beautifully. Cook and cool the onions and broth and then place in freezer bags. Thaw in a pot on the stove until hot and then top with bread and cheese and broil.

 

4.85 from 52 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 552 | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 1264mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1005IU | Vitamin C: 5.3mg | Calcium: 780mg | Iron: 1.8mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine American, French

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Hi Holly, I noticed you have 2 French onion soup recipes, regular and slow cooker. This might seem like asking you to choose a favorite child, but which do you think is best?

    I lived in Montreal for a short time and had outstanding French onion soup there. It didn’t compare to anything I’d ever had before and I’d like to have something like that, if possible. I’ve never made it myself, but you have such delicious recipes, I’d like to try it.5 stars

    1. Hi Susan, they are both delicious but I like the slow cooker because you can do the onions in the slow cooker overnight and make the soup the next day with the onions. But either is great!

  2. Oh My God!! This was so GOOD!! I made a few tweaks to the recipe – I replaced two cups of the beef broth out of the container with beef broth I had slow cooked a roast in to give it that extra flavor, and I used 1/3 cup of cooking sherry instead of white wine because that’s what I had on hand. I also used two bay leaves instead of one, and topped it off with parmesan and havarti instead of the gruyere. Sooo Goood! I shared it with my mom and she loved it too. I will make this recipe again and again.5 stars

  3. Outstanding, beats any high end restaurants French Onion Soup we’ve had. Did need to add some bouillon for better beef flavor bur it’s a winner for sure!5 stars

    1. Hi Lana, We have only made this recipe as written but I am sure you could. I would brown the beef before adding it to the soup in step 2. You will have to let us know what you think!

    1. Hi John, we have only made this recipe as listed. But it should be fine, it will change the flavor though.

    2. John, like you, we don’t eat red meat…thus, no beef broth. Holly’s recipe is delicious if you use Lipton Onion Soup mix, made according to pkg. directions instead of beef broth. Then, follow Holly’s recipe and “tips.” Enjoy!

  4. I have made this soup many times…with enough to give away and freeze! So far everyone loves it! Thank you for sharing the recipe!5 stars

  5. I have tried this amazing homemade onion soup recipe and i found this recipe really eays to make and very delicious in taste. I love this recipe.5 stars

  6. This smelled and tasted like muscle rub or medicine. At first the onions smelled amazing, but after adding the wine, worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaf it turned. I will absolutely not be making this again.1 star

    1. Sorry it didn’t work out for you. None of the additions would be expected to have a medicinal smell. What type of wine did you use?

  7. Love this soup! We make it all the time. It is easy and so delicious, with or without the bread and cheese. I use vidalia onions and always add extra!5 stars

  8. I have tried this amazing homemade french onion soup recipe and i found this soup recipe really easy to make and very delicious in taste. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us.5 stars