Homemade French Onion Soup

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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
4.83 from 46 votes
Review Recipe

Homemade French Onion Soup

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

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

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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.

Recipe 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.

 

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
close up of cooked Homemade French Onion Soup with a title
close up of Homemade French Onion Soup in bowls with writing
close up of Homemade French Onion Soup with writing
ingredients to make Homemade French Onion Soup with plated dish and a title
About the author

Holly

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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. I made this today and it was a beautifully rich soup. I added garlic, used red wine, part beef/chicken broth. I used a garlic bread slice and toasted it under broiler and topped it with fondu cheese. I would have attached a photo but we ate it too fast! I will use this one if I have someone over, they will be impressed.5 stars

    1. That sounds so delicious Sherrill! I can totally understand why you ate it too fast for a photo, I would have too!

  2. French onion soup is a favorite of mine; however, I really don’t like the flavor that wine adds to it. I’m a rarity in that I don’t like wine at all. In a restaurant I always ask if they add wine. Anyway, would it make a big difference in your recipe if I didn’t add the wine?

    1. Hi Lana, we have only made this recipe as listed. You can try leaving out the wine, let us know how it turns out!

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

  3. It was delicious, and I would use only 1/4 t of thyme next time. I tried it with four onions of different varieties rather than three of the same. It took four hours in my soup pot to caramelize them to dark brown, but it was worth it! Thanks.4 stars

  4. This is a terrific recipe. But I did 4 onions and 4 cups of broth and it was enough to fill 3 traditional French onion crocks.

    There is no way this recipe serves 6 unless you are serving in pudding bowls.

    Next time, I am going to TRIPLE this recipe so I can actually feed 5 people.

    1. OK – I’m an idiot – I read that as 8 oz and not cups – so of course my recipe made half ;-)

      I rescind part of my commentary. Amazing recipe. And next time I’ll use 8 CUPS of broth ;-)

      1. Glad you still loved the recipe Alisa! Definitely try it with 8 cups and let us know how it goes for you!

      2. Uh oh! Sorry for the confusion ladies! I have added the oz after the broth to be more clear. I hope that helps!

      3. I love the flavor in this recipe! I added two leak to the onions and only used 6 cups of broth, no sugar. Absolutely delicious, thank you! Would definitely recommend using fresh thyme, if available.

  5. This was very good! I didn’t add thyme or sugar though, and I simply topped the bowl with a slice of toasted Italian bread. The cheese melted nicely in my air fryer. This was not too salty, not too sweet, just lovely. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I made this recipe, having forgotten what recipe I used some 10 years ago when I last made French Onion Soup. You will notice that in the instructions it doesn’t mention when to add in the Worcestershire sauce, I added it in during step 2 when I realized it wasn’t listed when to add it in. I loved the recipe and the flavor, so did my husband who in fact said let’s make this again and add bacon!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy you love the soup Heather! Thank you for letting me know, recipe has been updated.

  7. Thank you for the easy to follow instructions on making this delicious French Onion Soup! All time classic and my favourite.
    Only part that was confusing was the “left over red wine”? I have no idea what that is?5 stars