22 Quick and Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes (or less) + 5 Chef Secrets To Make You A Better Cook!

French Onion Soup

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

Caramelized onions, rich beef broth, and toasty bread topped with melted cheese, French onion soup is the ultimate comfort food.

French Onion Soup

Did you know that French onion soup, often a staple in restaurants, actually originated as a humble peasant soup made with just onions, stale bread, and water? Today’s versions might be a bit fancier, but this soup is still wonderfully simple to make at home. The key is patience. The onions need to be cooked low and slow so that they sweeten and turn a rich brown caramel color without burning. In addition to giving the onions the proper time and attention, I add a bit of sugar to enhance the sweetness of the onions, and I also stir in a bit of flour to add body to the broth—two tricks I picked up working in a French restaurant that made the best French onion soup ever. Finally, to add even more flavor, I top the croutons with two types of cheese.

If you don’t have ovenproof crocks for the soup, don’t worry—you can just top your soup with melty cheese toasts or serve them on the side. And if you want to get a head start, go ahead and make the broth and toasts several days ahead of time. When it’s time to eat, simply top the soup with the toasts and cheese and flash the crocks under the broiler. French onion soup pairs well with steak and/or a simple green salad.

“I made this last night and it was amazing! I think it was even better than the French Onion Soup we had in Paris last summer.”

Robyn

What You’ll Need To Make French Onion Soup

ingredients for french onion soup

How To Make French Onion Soup

To begin, in a large Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, salt, pepper, and sugar.

caramelizing onions in Dutch oven

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown and caramelized, 45 to 55 minutes.

caramelizing onions in Dutch oven

In the beginning, you will only need to stir the onions occasionally. As they start to brown midway through cooking, you’ll need to stir them more frequently. Also, be sure to scrape the fond (or brown particles) from the bottom of the pan.

caramelizing onions in Dutch oven

Add the wine and raise the heat to high.

adding wine to Dutch oven

Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape any fond from the bottom of the pan, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the onions are jammy, 8 to 10 minutes.

jammy onions and wine in Dutch oven

Add the flour.

adding flour to thicken

Cook for about one minute to dissolve the flour.

stirring flour and onions

Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot.

adding broth and herbs to pot

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes. Add the sherry, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If the soup needs a deeper flavor, try a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. If it’s not quite sweet enough, add 1/4 teaspoon sugar.

finished french onion soup broth

While the soup simmers, preheat the oven to 400°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.

toasting bread for topping french onion soup

Bake until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

toasted bread

Adjust an oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on a baking sheet and divide the hot soup among the crocks. Be sure the soup is very hot as it won’t warm up much in the oven. Top each crock with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices).

topping crocks with bread

Sprinkle evenly with Gruyère and then Parmigiano Reggiano.

crocks with cheese ready to broil

Slide the crocks into the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. (Alternatively, if using regular soup bowls: Top each toast slice with some cheese and return to broiler to melt, about 2 minutes more. Divide the soup among bowls and top each serving with two cheese toasts.)

french onion soup crocks out of the oven

Let the French onion soup crocks cool for a few minutes before serving.

You May Also Like

Video Tutorial

French Onion Soup

Caramelized onions, rich beef broth, and toasty bread topped with melted cheese, French onion soup is the ultimate comfort food.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds Vidalia (or sweet) onions (about 5 medium), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small baguette, cut into ½-in slices
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 2 heaping cups; look for one imported from Switzerland)
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Instructions

  1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until onions are deep golden brown and caramelized, 45 to 55 minutes. In the beginning, you will only need to stir the onions occasionally. As they start to brown midway through cooking, you will need to stir them frequently, scraping the fond (the brown particles) from the bottom of the pan. If the onions are browning too quickly, reduce the heat slightly or add a few tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan and continue cooking.
  2. Add the wine and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape any fond from the bottom of the pan, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the onions are jammy, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  4. Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  5. While the soup simmers, preheat the oven to 400°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  6. When the soup is finished, remove the bay leaves and add the sherry; taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If the soup needs a deeper flavor, try a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. If it's not quite sweet enough, add ¼ teaspoon sugar.
  7. Adjust an oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on a baking sheet and divide the hot soup among the crocks (be sure the soup is very hot as it won't warm up much in the oven). Top each crock with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère and then Parmigianno Reggiano. Slide the crocks into the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let the crocks cool for a few minutes before serving. (Alternatively, if using regular soup bowls: Top each toast slice with some cheese and return to broiler to melt, about 2 minutes more. Divide the soup among bowls and top each serving with two cheese toasts.)
  8. Make-Ahead Instructions: The soup can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead (without toasts or cheese), or up to 3 months ahead and frozen. Toasts can be made (without the cheese) and kept sealed at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (5 servings)
  • Calories: 642
  • Fat: 31 g
  • Saturated fat: 17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 53 g
  • Sugar: 19 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Sodium: 1,697 mg
  • Cholesterol: 82 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes:

Comments

  • This is a real family favourite, fantastic recipe – best French onion soup I’ve ever had, turns out perfectly every time.

    • — Emily on April 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made it and it was the best tasting French onion soup I ever tasted! Got a new Dutch oven and decided to try it out. My first time making French onion soup. So glad I found this recipe. Thank you.

    • — Mira Balteanu on March 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • What would you substitute for flour to make it gluten free?

    • — Lori G on February 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Lori, you can use a gluten-free flour. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was good, but I found it sweet for my taste even after adding some more salt and a splash of white wine vinegar. Maybe I’ll try it again with yellow onions instead of sweet onions. Or perhaps with a different beef stock.

    • — JoJo on January 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Recipe followed to a T. So delicious!!! I love the addition of the flour so the broth has some “umph” to it. Jenn, thanks for another winner. You make me look like a “good” cook!!!

    • — Lori Rozmus on January 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • I made this soup early this morning for tonight’s dinner and have not yet added the sherry. It seems a bit sour, I hesitate adding more sugar as it tastes sweet enough.
      I was unable to locate Vidalia onions, so I used some that were just labeled sweet from my local market and added a chardonnay since I had nothing drier, not sure if that had an impact. Maybe adding the bread and cheese will take away the tang, but not sure how to correct it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you

      • — Carol on October 31, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Carol, It should all balance out in the end, but if it tastes a bit sour you could add a bit more broth. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on October 31, 2023
        • Reply
  • December 31st. I just made this recipe and wow, it hit the spot . I had one substitution and that was marsala wine instead of white wine – it’s all I had. man this was savory with hints of sweetness. This was s great recipe and I will use this again.

    • — Joel on December 31, 2022
    • Reply
    • Awesome that is the only wine I have also…thanks for sharing

      • — Rickine on February 7, 2023
      • Reply
  • Easy and delicious,it took almost 50 minutes to get the onions where they needed to be.Will make some beef stock next time we make this to kick it up.

    • — lowandslow on December 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wow Jenn! This was my first ever attempt at French onion soup. It’s a labor of love and worth every spoonful. Thank you for leveling up my cooking ❤️

    • — Trina on December 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • My parents, who LOVE french onion soup and have had it many times in their life, tried this recipe and said it was one of the best french onion soups they’ve ever had!

    The recipe is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate, although be prepared to shed a couple tears while cutting the onions :’)

    The only adjustments I made were 4 cups beef broth and 2 cups chicken broth. I also didn’t have any wine or sherry on hand so I just used some extra Worcestershire sauce and I had the “O Aged Sherry Vingear” on hand and it worked out really well!

    Definitely keeping this recipe on hand!!

    • — Ashlyn on November 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hello can you use red wine, like a cab sav?

      • — Michelle Young on October 28, 2023
      • Reply
      • Sure, I think you can get away with it. I’d love to hear how it turns out with the red wine!

        • — Jenn on October 31, 2023
        • Reply
  • Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your recipes. I made this last night and it turned out very tasty for a first attempt. I did use both fresh and dried thyme, which was the only deviation from the recipe.
    I don’t have crocks but will probably invest in some now.
    Thanks!

    • — Neal E. on November 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • I am not a cook but I made this recipe and I have to say it was good. I sent some over to my parents and they loved it. I did have a little more Worchestershire. I didn’t have any Sherry but I will try it next time.

    • — Lisa on October 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this with yellow onions and it was okay. I found a small onion I’d never seen before at the farmer’s market. It was a Rose de Roscoff onion. It made what I thought was Michelin star restaurant quality French onion soup. I will be planting this onion in my garden. Does not burn your eyes either.

    • — Georgia Gage on October 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delish!! I added 3 cubes of beef bullion. I’ve made French onion soup a few times and this was def my favorite

    • — Samantha on October 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • Excellent soup. Followed recipe pretty closely, made my own beef broth a few days prior. Soup turned out rich tasting and delicious. Good enough to make for company.

    • — shelley on October 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn… made this today for a dinner party on Thursday. Although it tastes delicious it seems a bit sweet to me. What should I add to tone down the sweetness?
    Thanks,
    Leslie

    • — Leslie on August 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Leslie, Sorry you found it a little too sweet. I’d add a bit of wine to tone it down. Just make sure to cook it down a bit to take the bite off the wine. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on August 10, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn..I added more wine as you suggested and a little more salt. The result was perfect. Upgrading to 5 stars on this recipe. Thank you! Leslie

        • — Leslie on August 12, 2022
        • Reply
        • So glad that got the flavor to where you wanted it — thanks for the update!

          • — Jenn on August 12, 2022
          • Reply
          • Amazing!

            I’ve been searching for a good onion soup receipe for a very long time. I’ve always loved this when I lived in France and miss that special experience of eating this on a cold night.
            I’m so impressed with how this turned out! Thank you so much!

            • — Yaara on November 16, 2022
  • Such a flavorful recipe ! My family loved it . Thank you!

    • — Chaya Kurz on August 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Followed the recipe to a T and it came out amazing! Thank you

    • — Cliff on May 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • Came out perfect! The pictures really helped as far as understanding the caramelization process.

    • — Enrico Ferro on May 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Came out rock star material! When topping with gruyerre and Parmesan, you need more than you think!!!

    • — Will on March 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi can I chop the onions in a good processor?

    • — Susan on February 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, the onions are sliced rather than chopped, so if you have a mechanism on your food processor that will enable you to slice them, that’s fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • French music and this soup turned my home into an inviting French Bistro. Smelled heavenly.. Had no dry sherry so I used regular sherry with a teaspoon vinegar. Leftovers tonight❤️

    • — Doris Christensen
    • Reply
  • I have loved French onion soup since I visited Paris with my Mum in the 90s but until now never made it. It is a labour and time intensive recipe with lots of stirring and attention required but it was worth it. Sweeter than I remembered but oh so filling and satisfying. I omitted the dry sherry as I didn’t have any and used Brown sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce (again simply because we didn’t have any). The Gruyere cheese & parmesan combo is fabulous. It brought me back in time.

    • — Emily O'Connor
    • Reply
  • Can the soup be prepared the day ahead – up to the added bread and cheese

  • Made this to enjoy tonight – a very cold winter night. Great flavour and with homemade I control the salt. Will make again.

  • Awesome recipe

  • This is PERFECT!!!! My kids were not expecting to like anything to do with onions but they cannot get enough of this! The flavor is better than any restaurant French onion soup that I have ever had!

  • Not my first go round with this recipe. Great always even if your missing one of the herbs. It’s very very flavorful. I’d like to remind folks about Better than Bullion available in most grocery stores. I doubt I’d make as many recipes if I didn’t have bothered the chicken and beef in my refrig for an aha moment.

    • Can you use regular onions? Any substitute for sherry? Plain Swiss cheese okay? I need to use what I have in the house. Thanks!

      • — Carol on April 15, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Carol, assuming you’re referring to yellow onions, yes those should work. The soup will be slightly less sweet with those but it will still be good. Cognac would be a great substitute for the sherry. If you don’t have that on hand, you can just omit it. And, yes, you can get away with substituting Swiss for the Gruyere. Please LMK how it turns out!

        • — Jenn on April 15, 2022
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, what can I substitute for the white wine and dry sherry? I would love to make this soup but we don’t drink alcohol. Many thanks!

    • Hi Shamim, It’s fine to leave both out. You might just add a tablespoon of lemon juice for a touch of acidity. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Hi Jenn,

    Probably a very stupid question but do you remove the bay leaves and thyme before you bake? Thanks 🙂

    • Not a stupid question at all and a good catch! The thyme doesn’t need to be removed, but the bay leaves need to be. I will update the recipe. Thanks for pointing that out — hope you enjoy the soup!

  • Could I use a hard goat cheese on this?

    • — Maxine Blackham
    • Reply
    • Sure, I think that would work. Enjoy!

  • Excellent recipe! It was delicious.

  • I made this tonight and it turned out AMAZING!! I’ve never made French onion soup and really had in mind that specific taste when it’s really good and you get it at a restaurant. This recipe does just that. I followed the steps and ended up adding 8 onions- felt like I could have added more just for my personal preference, I like a lot. The flavor was so amazing. With soup you have a lot of leeway to add until you get it perfect and that’s what I did here- but the general instructions are a great guide and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Will be adding to my recipe book and am seriously considering making a big batch and canning it. Will def be exploring more recipes from Jenn in the future.

  • Another hit! Ok, you are now my go-to site for every recipe. Thank you.

  • I have made this several times, including today, as a rainy day comfort food. I use toasted slices of homemade no knead crusty bread instead of a baguette. This recipe is amazing!

  • I plan to make this soup and don’t have white wine as we are red wine drinkers. I keep a large bottle of Martini and Rossi vermouth on hand for cooking since once opened it will keep so much longer than wine. My question is can I use vermouth in this recipe?
    Many thanks.

    Jan 🇨🇦

    • Sure, Jan, that should work. Hope you enjoy!

  • The best French Onion Soup I have ever made. Thanks for this excellent recipe. 😷

    • — Joanne Nicholson
    • Reply
  • I don’t know why I’ve always been intimidated by the thought of making french onion soup, but I was. No longer! This recipe was not at all difficult, and it was lip-smacking good! I felt like a fancy cook when I served it. Thank you, Jenn, for helping me to be a more confident cook.

  • This is my first review of a recipe ever…and so a little background. I love to cook and I love French style cooking. (I lived in France one summer with my family and absolutely love the food and the lifestyle…rich foods…full but good fats…fresh in season ingredients…relaxing and enjoying good food with family and friends. We have embodied this ever since. :)) I found Once Upon a Chef and started to follow about 6 months ago. It is the only cooking blog that I choose to follow. The reason…it is the only one out there that I have seen with a classically trained chef (trained in France no less!), and every recipe that I have tried has been amazing. This French Soup recipe is no exception. It is rich and comforting. Perfect for our cold nights! The only thing that I did different is use brown onions (I just prefer them but will try it next time with the sweet onions), gluten free flour, and gluten free French bread on top. I know that real French bread would be much better, but we make do with our gluten sensitivity. Bon Appetit!

  • It’s official-this is now our favourite soup! So easy and oh so good. The broth is so flavourful and lower in sodium than what I’ve had in restaurants. I put in only about 2 lbs of onions, personal taste, and use Swiss cheese since it’s something I usually have in the fridge.
    Thanks Jenn for another great recipe.

  • I have tried many French Onion Soup recipes and this one became my favorite. My family asks for it frequently.

  • I have always loved French Onion Soup and this one is excellent. It is very easy to make just need to be patient as the onions cook down. I have made it ahead and then assembled when I was ready to serve. I have also frozen it and it tasted just as delicious. It is a wonderful meal for a cold winter night.

  • Wonderful recipe, Have made this recipe several times; excellent every time.

  • Best french onion soup I have ever had. I can’t wait to make it again. Was so delicious on a rainy day. Didn’t have Gruyere and didn’t want to leave the house but passed with Havarti.

  • Delicious! I made this last night for dinner along with the Baby Kale salad after a snowy grey day and it was exactly what my family and I needed. I absolutely love your recipes. I have made many of them, they are easy to follow and always turn out delicious. My husband and daughter have celiac and I never have have an issue substituting GF flour cup for cup with anything including baked items. Thank you!
    -Janet K

    • — Janet Krzemienski
    • Reply
  • LOVE this recipe!!! It is so full of flavor. I stopped making my own French Onion Soup because after all the work I found the soups lacked flavor and I was better off buying it at Pa…ra…

    Well with this recipe I’m back to making it myself. I always browned the onions so am guessing the difference comes down to the beef broth (instead of chicken) and the wine. Whatever it is, I love the way this soup comes out and highly recommend it. I make it as the recipe is written. Not sure if it freezes well or not as I never have any leftover to freeze.

    • — Lori Armstrong
    • Reply
  • We love this recipe and make it often. We don’t change a thing. I love the process for the read and cheese topping. My husband loves this so much that we buy 10 pound bags of onions to have on hand when he wants it. This soup freezes well also. Give it a try, the effort is worth it, really not laborious and more a labor of love!

  • Outstanding! Truly delicious!

  • Jenn,
    I am so excited to try this recipe. Your recipes are always great!
    My question is regarding the dry white wine. In the picture the wine bottle label
    says Vouvray, which I believe is a region in France. Would this be be a Sauvignon Blanc?
    Can you share the winery? I have always heard a Sauvignon Blanc is always best to cook with.
    Is this true? Thank you again for another stellar recipe.
    Dixie

    • Hi Dixie, so glad you like the recipes! I don’t know what winery that wine was from, that wine but it was a Chenin Blanc. (It was probably just what I had open when I created the recipe.) 🙂 And I wouldn’t worry too much about it as long as you have a dry white wine. Don’t use anything too pricey — when using wine for cooking, something inexpensive (but still good enough to drink) is ideal.

  • This has to be the best onion soup I’ve ever made. The flavour was layered and deep, without being too salty. It was a huge hit with my family. The only change I made was not using beef stock and replacing it with “veggie” chicken powder. The soup was still amazing – and easily rivals any of the best “soupes à l’onion” I’ve eaten in good French restaurants. Many thanks, Jenn. Your recipes are outstanding.

    • — Montreal Foodie
    • Reply
  • A good French Onion Soup depends on the carmelization of the onions to build the broth flavors. This recipe delivers and will now be my go-to for this type of soup. Delicious!

    • — Margaret Yarak
    • Reply

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.