Making truly authentic French Onion Soup is easier than you’d think! This wonderful, simple and flavorful soup is the perfect warm dish for winter.

If you’ve been following my posts the last few weeks you may have read about my recent European vacation that has inspired me to share so many of my favorite Italian and French foods; like Penne Arrabbiata, Leek and Potato Soup, and Haricots Verts!

A bowl of French onion soup with crusty bread and melted cheese on top.

I have been wanting to share the perfect French Onion Soup recipe with you guys for a long time, and today is finally the day!  French onion soup is a classic french soup made with caramelized onions, and beef stock topped with toasted bread and cheese.  It has a sweet onion taste and it’s irresistible on on a nice cold day.

This French Onion Soup recipe comes from a family friend of ours named Peggy.  She is not only a phenomenal cook, she also lived in France and has the perfect French Onion Soup recipe that she has graciously allowed me to share with you all!

The Key to Perfect French Onion Soup:

  • Caramelized onions.  This is the most essential part of great French onion soup and it takes a little time and patience.  You will need 3 large yellow onions sliced thinly and cooked very slowly in butter until they reach a nice caramelized brown color.
  • High quality cheese. The cheese in French onion soup is also a vital ingredient!  Use a good, fresh block of gruyere and parmesan cheese.  No pre-shredded cheese please!  If you don’t have gruyere cheese, you can substitute Swiss cheese.
  • High quality bread.  Fresh baguette (like La Brea from your grocery store bakery) is best, or make your own!

How to Make French Onion Soup:

1. Caramelize onions. Add butter and onions to a large pot and cook until they are softened.  Add sugar and stir until the onions become golden brown and caramelized.

Before and after photos of caramelized onions in skillet.

2. Add to pot: Add flour and cook for a couple more minutes.  Add beef stock, wine, thyme, celery, and bay leaves and cook for 30 minutes.

3. Toast bread. Brush the bread with melted butter and broil until toasted.

4. Sprinkle with cheese. Place bread on top of a bowl of soup, sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese is melted!

A pot of french onion soup next to a bowl with soup topped with bread and shredded cheese.

Other Variations and Substitutions:

  • Substitute for white wine.  You can use a half cup white grape juice, chicken broth, or ginger ale.
  • Substitute Croutons.  Croutons are often used on top of French onion soup. If you don’t want to bother broiling a baguette, this works great too.
  • To make it vegetarian: substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth along with about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.  This will add a richness that will help mimic the richness of the beef broth.
  • To make it vegan: Make the same substitution listed above and substitute olive oil for the butter, and use hemp seed crumble cheese and vegan gruyere.
  • To make it gluten-free: substitute gluten-free flour and gluten free artisan bread.

A hand spooning french onion soup from a bowl.

Serve with:
Consider trying one of these classic soup recipes:

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Recipe

A bowl of French onion soup with crusty bread and melted cheese on top.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 20 mins
Total 1 hr 35 mins

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 1/2 pounds onions (about 3 large onions), thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 piece celery just a small chunk, not the whole rib
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 slices French Baguettes
  • 4 Tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 cloves garlic , halved
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese , fresh grated
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Add butter and onions to a large pot over medium heat. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until softened. 
  • Add sugar and continue to gently stir until onions become golden brown and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Careful to not let them burn! Maintain a medium to medium-low heat.
  • Add the flour and cook for 3 more minutes. 
  • Add beef stock, wine, thyme, celery and bay leaves. Cook partially covered for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Arrange bread on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter on both sides. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes, flipping to the other side half way through. Remove from oven and rub a cut clove of garlic onto each piece of bread.
  • Turn oven to BROIL.
  • Remove bay leaves and the piece of celery from the soup and ladle soup into 4 oven proof bowls. 
  • Place the toasted bread on top of each bowl. Depending on the size of your bowls you may need two slices of bread. 
  • Sprinkle the tops generously with both types of cheese. Broil until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Bon Appetite!
  • Leftovers will keep stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  Toast fresh bread and cheese when reheating.

Notes

Make ahead Instructions: The soup base could be made one day in advance and stored in the fridge.  Wait to add the bread and cheese until ready to serve. Gently reheat the soup on the stove, and then add the bread and cheese and toast it.
Freezing Instructions:  Make the soup but don't top it with bread and cheese.  Store in a freezer safe container in the freezer for 2-3 months. The shredded cheese and bread may be frozen separately. Reheat gently on the stove and then add the bread and cheese and toast it.
Wine: You may substitute half cup white grape juice, chicken broth, or ginger ale.
Croutons:  Croutons are often used on top of French onion soup. If you don't want to bother broiling a baguette, they work great too.
Vegetarian: substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth along with 1 tablespoons of soy sauce.  This will add a richness that will help mimic the richness of the beef broth.
Vegan: Make the same substitution listed above and substitute olive oil for the butter, and use hemp seed crumble cheese and vegan gruyere.
Gluten-free: substitute gluten-free flour and gluten free artisan bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 676kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 28gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 1660mgPotassium: 1058mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1035IUVitamin C: 13.4mgCalcium: 565mgIron: 3.7mg

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I originally shared this recipe November 2016. Updated February 2020 with process photos, step-by-step instructions and a video.

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

Making truly authentic French Onion Soup is easier than you think! This wonderful, simple and flavorful soup is the perfect warm dish for winter! | Tastes Better From Scratch

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Soooo good. Once the prep work is done – and a mandolin makes short work of those onions — it comes together in a snap. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter except i replaced the 1/2 cup of wine with 1/4 cup of wine and 1/4 cooking sherry; and i used an extra dab or three of butter when caramelizing the onions because…well, it’s BUTTER. I also added a shake or two of Worcestershire sauce for a little more depth. And I heeded Lauren’s advice and bought the ridiculously expensive blocks of Gruyere and Parm and grated it myself. I even tossed a bit of both into the soup as it was cooking. As good or better as any restaurant soup. Try it. And thanks for the recipe, Lauren!

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