Tony and I had one of the best French onion soups at a hotel in Cancun a few years ago. I wasn’t expecting it to be so delicious, but the caramelized onions, juicy umami flavors, savory broth, and crispy-yet-slightly-soaked bread sent me into a straight food coma of delight.
After that, we decided that homemade French onion soup would forever be one of our favorites, and truth be told, we’ve been craving a good homemade version ever since.
A few weeks ago, I decided it was finally time to attempt the best French onion soup recipe that would rival the one I had in Mexico.
Admittedly, after slicing 5 juicy onions, my eyes were tearing up and burning, but the result was worth it. The onions caramelized until they were a dark amber brown and my house smelled like a French restaurant. Oui, oui!
Many have told me to chew gum while slicing onions to prevent tearing up. I still haven’t tried it, but plan on the next time I make this recipe. If you have any other tips to prevent onion tears, let me know in the comment below.
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French onion soup ingredients
This easy French onion soup recipe actually doesn’t require a laundry list of ingredients. If it feels intimidating, don’t worry! You got this. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Onions: you’ll want to use white or yellow onion to add a nice sweetness to the soup. Don’t worry a mix of onions also works.
- Flour: a little all-purpose flour will help to thicken the soup. You can feel free to use gluten-free flour.
- Dry white wine: this helps to deglaze the pan and add a boost of flavor.
- Beef broth: I recommend a good quality beef broth or beef stock for the best flavor. You can also use a mix of beef and chicken stock. Homemade beef broth would help enhance the flavor even more, but let’s be honest, not many of us have time to make homemade beef broth, so store-bought works well.
- Fresh thyme: always go with fresh thyme sprigs over dried.
- Worcestershire sauce: the flavors in Worcestershire sauce are a mix of vinegar, garlic, chile, molasses, etc. which act as the French onion soup spices. A tablespoon goes a long way to help bring out the umami flavors. I’m in love.
- For topping: like all classic French onion soup recipes, you’ll dunk baguette slices in the soup and then top them with cheese. What is the ideal French onion soup cheese? Some people use parmesan cheese, swiss, or mozzarella, but sharp gruyere cheese is the way to go. I call it magic!
Can I skip the wine in my French onion soup recipe?
Sure! Feel free to simply use extra beef broth to deglaze the pan.
The key to the best French onion soup: caramelized onions
We can all agree that caramelized onions are the best things ever, right? Right. They’re easier to make than you think! Here’s how to do it:
- In a large pot add ½ tablespoon olive oil or butter, sliced onions, and salt and pepper and place it over medium heat; stir to coat.
- Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, and check them every 5-10 minutes until they have completely caramelized and turned golden brown.
- If the onions appear to be getting too dark or sticking too much to the bottom of the pan, then simply reduce the heat a bit. You can also add a teaspoon or two of water.
How to make French onion soup
- Caramelize your onions. Start by caramelizing your onions, then stir in flour and garlic.
- Assemble the soup. Deglaze the soup with white wine, scraping up all of the brown bits, then add in the beef broth, thyme, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered.
- Season to taste. After simmering for about 30 minutes remove the bay leaf and taste the soup and add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
- Toast your baguette. Slice your baguette and top each slice with butter and garlic powder. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes per side until they’re nice and golden.
- Top your soup & serve. You have two ways to finish your French onion soup with cheesy bread on top. See below!
Two ways to finish the French onion soup
- Option 1: you can simply add the cheese to the baguette slices and then top with cheese. Broil until melted and then add to soup. Enjoy! This version is best if you don’t have mini oven-safe crocks.
- Option 2: add soup to crocks, top with your toasted baguette slice, add cheese, and heat the soup under the broiler until cheese melts.
Storing & freezing your French onion soup
- To store: store any leftover French onion soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days without the baguette on top. Reheat in the microwave and then top with cheesy baguette as instructed.
- To freeze: let the soup cool completely, then add it to freezer-friendly meal prep containers and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw the soup in the fridge and then reheat it in the microwave. Top with a cheesy baguette and enjoy!
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I hope you love this French onion soup recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Classic French Onion Soup
An incredible, classic French onion soup recipe made with delicious caramelized onions, fresh herbs, and a flavorful broth. Top this wonderful French onion soup with gruyere cheese and a toasted slice of garlic French bread. You’ll make this one again and again!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (or gluten free flour)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ cup dry white wine (or beef broth), for deglazing the pan
- 7-8 cups beef broth, depending on how brothy you like your french onion soup (can also use bone broth)*
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon worcheshire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- For the baguettes:
- 1 demi french baguette, cut into 1 inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Garlic powder
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, thickly shredded
Melt the olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add in the onions and salt and stir to coat the onions with the butter. Cook onions, stirring occasionally; check onions every 10-15 minutes until they have completely caramelized and turned golden in color. This usually takes 30-40 minutes total. If the onions appear to be getting too dark or sticking too much to the bottom of the pan, then simply reduce the heat a bit.
After onions have completely caramelized, add in flour and minced garlic, stir to coat onions and cook for 2 more minutes.
Deglaze the pan with about ½ cup very dry white white or beef broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Slowly add in beef broth, thyme, freshly ground black pepper, worcheshire sauce and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes remove the bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary, such as adding more salt and pepper.
About 10 minutes before the soup is done, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the baguette slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, brush one side of toasts with butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder and toast in the oven for 5 minutes per side until golden on the edges. Remove from oven.
At this point you have two options on how to finish the soup:
OPTION 1: Add shredded cheese on top of one side of the toasted baguettes and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes longer until cheese is melted. Ladle soup into bowls. Add a slice or two of your cheesy baguette on top. Serve soup immediately. Sometimes I add a little extra shredded cheese on top of the soup.
OPTION 2: You make the soup the traditional way placing oven-safe bowls/crocks on a baking sheet and ladling soup into the bowls. Top each with a toasted baguette. Sprinkle each bowl with about 1/3 cup shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Make sure you are watching very carefully! Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings
See the full post for tips, tricks & freezing instructions!
Serving: 1servingCalories: 347calCarbohydrates: 22.3gProtein: 17.8gFat: 21.2gSaturated Fat: 11.4gFiber: 2.3gSugar: 5.9g
Recipe by: Monique of Ambitious Kitchen // Photography by: Sasha of Eat Love Eats