French Onion Soup is the perfect cozy soup recipe. Made with just a few ingredients and topped with toast and melty cheese, you will love this fantastic soup.
I absolutely love French Onion Soup. There is something about the perfect combination of flavors and the melty cheese topping the bread. It is so comforting.
My recipe for French Onion Soup will rival any restaurants, and it is so easy to make at home. We are using easy to find ingredients and a simple cooking method to make this a soup that you can come back to over and over.
I made this twice. Excellent recipe. I have shared with friends. This freezes well. Only two of us, so I freeze it and we have it again for dinner the next week if we can wait that long. I made it exactly as the recipe says! I like many of Lisa’s recipes!
French Onion Soup Ingredients
The ingredients for homemade french onion soup are simple and easy to keep on hand. I love to serve this soup topped with gruyere toast which is made with a french baguette and shredded gruyere cheese.
- Yellow Onions: You will need about five yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced. Yellow onions are the best onions for French onion soup, because of their deliciously sweet hint to them. White onions would also work in this recipe, they will just provide a slightly different taste.
- Butter: Adds rich flavor and is necessary to caramelize the onions. If you are avoiding dairy, you can use vegan butter or olive oil.
- Sherry: A fortified wine made with white grapes that deglazes the pan and adds flavor profile that makes this soup a classic.
- Beef broth: The base of our soup.
- Thyme: I like to use dried herbs in soups because they are easy to keep on hand and infuse into the soup while it is simmering. If you want to use fresh thyme, I recommend using six sprigs tied together with kitchen twine.
- Bay leaf: Adds another flavor profile.
- Cheese and bread: For the toasts that top the bowls of soup. Read more on the best cheese for french onion soup below.
How to Make French Onion Soup
Here is a brief overview of how this easy French onion soup recipe comes together. For the full recipe including all ingredients and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Melt the butter. Use a large dutch oven, the soup will come together in this pot.
- Cook the onions. Add the onions, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the onions are caramelized while stirring often. See more on this below.
- Add the sherry. Deglaze the pan and scrape down any brown bits. Then add the beef broth, thyme, and the bay leaf.
- Let the soup simmer. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer, uncovered. While it is simmering, make your toasts. See more on this below.
- Taste the soup. Add salt and pepper as needed.
French Onion Soup Bowls
A key step in this recipe is to ladle the soup into bowls, top them with toast and cheese and put them under the broiler. It is what gives it that final perfection. In order to make this recipe you will need to have bowls that will hold up to a broiler. There are a lot of options out there. While I got the one you see pictured here at a small boutique, the ones linked below will work perfectly.
If you don’t have bowls that are broiler safe and the ones below aren’t in your budget, no worries! You can still enjoy this delicious soup. Add a little shredded gruyere at the end, and serve with bread.
Making Gruyere Toast
These toasts are what make this the best French onion soup recipe. Made with a French baguette and gruyere cheese, the crunchy melty goodness makes this soup the ultimate comfort food. To save time, prepare your toast while your soup is simmering.
- Cut your baguette into 1/2 inch pieces. A french baguette works well.
- Place the baguette pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- Top the soup. Once the soup is done, add it to broiler-safe bowls. Top with pieces of toast and shredded cheese.
- Bake. Place under the broiler on a rimmed baking sheet, and broil until the cheese is melted.
How to Caramelize Onions
The star of this recipe is the onions (hence the name). Make sure to slice your onions very thin so they cook evenly and are easier to eat. The next thing to focus on with the onions is caramelizing them. Different than just sauteing them, caramelizing is a chemical process when the sugars in the onions reach a certain temperature. This process results in a rich flavor and cannot be rushed. Here are a few tips:
- Take your time. Caramelizing the amount of onions for this recipe will take 30-40 minutes.
- Be sure to stir often to prevent the onions from burning.
- You will know the onions are caramelized when they are a rich brown color.
- If it looks like they are starting to burn on the bottom, give them a good stir and add a splash of sherry.
Cooking With Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine made with white grapes. It deglazes the pan and adds flavor to the soup base. If you can’t find cooking sherry, you can use a regular white wine. If you prefer to make this homemade french onion soup recipe without alcohol, I recommend using 1/2 cup of beef broth to deglaze the pan and then adding the rest of the beef broth.
Cheese for French Onion Soup
The best cheese for French onion soup is gruyere. It melts beautifully and its flavor compliments the salty broth. If you can’t find gruyere, parmesan or gouda are good alternatives.
For any recipe that calls for shredded cheese, I always recommend shredding it from a block. Pre-shredded cheese is covered in preservatives to prevent it from clumping. Shredding cheese yourself will melt and taste so much better than the pre-shredded stuff. It is worth taking a few minutes while your soup is simmering to shred it yourself.
Tips and Tricks
- Skip the broiling step. If you don’t have broiler-safe bowls, you can make the toasts in the oven, place them on the soup, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.
- Use croutons instead of toast. These Homemade Croutons can be made ahead of time to top your bowls of soup.
- Make a vegetarian soup. Replace the beef broth with vegetable broth for a vegetarian french onion soup.
If you want to save some time in making this delicious soup recipe, you can start the soup the day before. Since slicing the onions is such a big part of this dish. I would recommend slicing them the night before. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and then you will be ready to start the soup when it is time.
The soup itself is not made with any ingredients that contain gluten. You will want to skip the toasts or make them with a gluten-free bread. Always double-check your ingredients to make sure they don’t contain gluten.
Yes! Just replace the beef broth with vegetable broth. To make it vegan, replace the butter with a vegan butter or olive oil and use a vegan cheese or omit the cheese.
Storing and Reheating French Onion Soup
I recommend only adding the cheese and toast to the bowls of soup that you plan to eat right away. The soup reheats well, but the toast and cheese are best when added fresh. Store any leftover french onion soup without the bread and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Reheat the soup in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat until heated through, stirring often. Then broil the bowls of soup with a piece of toast and shredded cheese in the oven. Always use your best discretion with leftovers.
This soup recipe freezes well. Allow the soup to cool completely and place it in a freezer-safe container or bag, leaving room at the top of it to expand. Store in the freezer for up the three months. Allow to thaw and reheat over low heat stirring often. Serve with toast and cheese.
French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 large yellow onions thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup sherry
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 ounces french baguette cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 6 ounces gruyere cheese shredded
French Onion Soup
- In a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter.4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Add in the onions, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring often until the onions are caramelized, about 30 – 40 minutes.5 large yellow onions, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the sherry, deglazing the pan. Then stir in the beef broth. Add the thyme and the bay leaf and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.1/2 cup sherry, 6 cups beef broth, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 bay leaf
- Taste the soup and add more salt or pepper as needed.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the baguette pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping once in between.
- Add the soup to broiler-safe bowls. Top with pieces of toast and shredded cheese. Place under the broiler on rimmed baking sheets, and broil until the cheese is melted.