Homemade French Onion Soup

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French Onion Soup is a classic soup recipe for good reason! Sweet caramelized onions are simmered in a rich beefy broth to create a soup base that is loved by everyone!

Of course the best part of any french onion soup is the crusty bread crouton topped with gruyere or swiss cheese and broiled until golden and bubbly! Who could ever resist?

French Onion Soup with onions

Onions for French Onion Soup

Walla Walla onions and Vidalia’s are large and sweet and meaty so a few will go a long way. I prefer to use half sweet onions and half regular yellow onions for just the right amount of sweetness.

Be sure to cook the onions slowly so they are uniformly golden and soft without browning. (Although you can also caramelize onions in the slow cooker the night before too)! If you’re using a sweeter onion, you can eliminate the bit of brown sugar.

What Kind of Cheese

Gruyere, which is a type of mild swiss cheese, is commonly added to top a french onion soup recipe. It has a mild flavor and melts perfectly over the bread.

There are no hard and fast rules for a cheese option; many people use a combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Why not experiment with other soft, melty cheeses like Brie or Havarti, or even blue cheese crumbles?

Broiling: French onion soup can be broiled in almost any bowl on low. You can find french onion soup crocks online or at the dollar store. If you don’t have an oven safe bowl, simply broil the cheese over toast and add to your soup.

french onion soup being served with spoon

How to Make French Onion Soup

While I often make Slow Cooker Onion Soup, this stovetop French onion soup is one of my husband’s favorites! It does take a bit of time, but most of the time spent is hands off (simmering etc).

  1. Caramelize Onions: Low heat, nice and slow is the way to go. This step takes a while but the results are worth it.
  2. Add Wine/Seasoning: Any variety of wine works, French onion soup is very forgiving and the wine is really just an acidic base that helps marry all the flavors. If you have leftover red, use that. Even sherry or cognac will do!
  3. Simmer: Allowing time to simmer adds great flavor to this soup recipe! French onion soup broth should have a transparent caramel color.
  4. Broil Cheese: The best part of course! Ladle the soup into bowls (almost any ceramic bowl should be fine under a low broil) and top with bread and cheese. Broil until golden.

The. Best. Ever.

top view of french onion soup

What to Serve with French Onion Soup

We serve it as a starter to a steak dinner or roasted pork tenderloin.

Eaten as a meal of it’s own, it can be paired simply with a salad, a side of sliced apples, pears and cheese or it can stand alone with extra crusty bread or seasoned croutons!  Any way you serve it, a classic French onion soup will be a go-to recipe all year round!

More Classic Soups

French Onion Soup with onions
4.75 from 31 votes
Review Recipe

French Onion Soup

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
A rich beef broth filled with caramelized onions and topped with a golden bubbly cheese.

Ingredients

  • 3 large onions peeled and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar optional
  • cup butter
  • 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 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 wine, beef broth, bay leaf, thyme, black pepper and worcestershire. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf and thyme 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 in each bowl. Divide cheeses over bowls and broil until golden and bubbly.

Recipe Notes

Sweeter varieties of onions may not need the sugar.

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.)

Keyword french onion soup
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine French
French onion soup in a white bowl with a title
French onion soup in a white bowl with writing
French onion soup in a pot with a ladle and in a bowl with 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!

More Posts by Holly

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Recipe Rating




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