Rich and comforting, we love the goodness of a cozy bowl of soup.

This classic French Onion Soup recipe simmers caramelized onions in a savory beef broth. It’s topped with bubbly cheese for a perfect bite.

While it may seem intimidating, it’s easy to make this restaurant-quality at home.

a bowl of French onion soup with a spoon

French Onion Soup originated in 18th-century Paris and was introduced to New York in 1861. Sweet, golden caramelized onions are simmered in a richly flavored broth and then crowned with a slice of baguette and broiled cheese.

  • While it takes a bit of time, this recipe is super easy.
  • French onion soup is a great freezer meal.
ingredients to make Homemade French Onion Soup

Ingredients for French Onion Soup

Onions The best onions for French onion soup are either sweet white onions or yellow onions. Vidalia or Walla Walla are great choices. Cook the onions low and slow until caramelized for the best flavor.

Broth – Beef broth or beef stock and a splash of dry white wine mixed with Worcestershire creates a a deep, rich, flavor. 

Wine – 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, 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.

Bowls for French Onion Soup

You can purchase French onion soup bowls online but almost any ceramic bowl will work. Ceramic bowls that have been glazed are fired in a kiln so most are oven safe. Check the bottom of the bowl; it’ll usually tell you if it’s oven-safe.

The bowls with handles in these images are from a dollar store years ago. They’re great for other oven dishes like casseroles or pot pie too!

Two bowls of French onion soup on a small baking pan

Tips for French Onion Soup

  • Choose sweet Vidalia, Walla Walla, 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.
  • Toast the baguette slices under the broiler for French onion soup or use leftover chunks of dry bread.
  • Place the bowls on a baking sheet, this makes them easier to transfer in and out of the oven.
  • French onion soup freezes beautifully (without the bread or cheese). 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! 

a bowl of French onion soup with a spoon
4.91 from 91 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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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. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and brown sugar and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the beef broth, wine, thyme, bay leaf, black pepper, Worcestershire, dry sherry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf and thyme (if fresh) and discard.
  • Meanwhile, slice the bread ½-inch thick, brush with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Broil under high heat for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden. 
  • Place 4 ceramic bowls on a baking sheet and ladle the soup into the bowls. Add 2 slices of bread to each bowl and top with cheese. 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.
  • If you don’t have oven safe bowls, 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 the top of a bowl of soup.
  • 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.

 

4.91 from 91 votes

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, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American, French
plated French Onion Soup with a spoon and writing
cheesy French Onion Soup with writing
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French Onion Soup in bowls and with a spoon with a title

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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. French Onion is my favorite soup and I’ll never need another recipe. My husband isn’t a soup person and he said it was perfect.5 stars

  2. I have used many French Onion soup recipes over the years but my search is over as this is definitely the BEST!!! My only change (actually substitution) was using brandy as I had no sherry.5 stars

  3. I have not actually made this yet, but I can’t wait until the we get our first cold front ( about late Nov or Dec. I live waaaaay down south). I am so excited to try it because you are so right about the recipe being straight from France! I had some while in Paris, and I fell in love with it all over again! Thanks for making it possible for me to relive those flavors again!

  4. I like a little fresh (or jar) garlic in my French Onion soup-just my preference. I also use beef STOCK for a richer soup and cook it more like 3-4 hours to reduce it more, say 15-20% and I also reduce my onions for at least a hour on a gas stove in my BIG stew pot over the smallest flame and a pureed baby carrot or two richens the soup base too. I prefer yellow Vidalia onions and close to a half cup of dark brown sugar, or if available, REALLY high quality LIGHT sorghum molasses (re: Justin Wilson’s 40 year-old recipe) but GOOD molasses seem destined for rum production today. If my soup needs salt, Lowry’s Seasoned Salt is my “go-to”. The other herbs and spices in it means I use about a third as much of it as even Kosher salt.4 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Karen. It will make the soup slightly sweeter. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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?

  11. 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

  12. 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