French Onion Soup

This traditional French Onion Soup has warm baguettes topped with hot, melted Gruyere cheese. High quality beef broth, a splash of wine, and perfectly caramelized onions are the secrets to this classic recipe.

Love French recipes? Try these French Onion Smothered Pork Chops next!
Two slices of baguette with melted cheese in a bowl of french onion soup and thyme on top.

In case you didn’t know, I am a soup fanatic. And there are so many different ways there are to make a traditional, homemade french onion soup recipe.  I have tried them all, I’ve researched a lot, and I’ve finally got the best French Onion Soup recipe nailed down. So first things first.

The onions. 

Best Onions for French Onion Soup

  • A combination of yellow onions and sweet onions is ideal when making French Onion soup, as each type of onion adds a different element of flavor. Combining the two allows you to enjoy the best of what each has to offer.
  • I like to use 2 sweet onions and 4 yellow onions.
  • Use a madoline slicer to cut the onions quickly and evenly.

Best Wine for French Onion Soup

  • I have tried several different wines in French Onion Soup and find dry white wine to be the best.

Best Dry White Wines for Cooking

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Unoaked Chardonnay

How to Caramelize Onions

Caramelizing onions takes patience more than anything else. Follow the simple steps below and the rest will take care of itself.

  • Don’t cut the onions too thin: You want medium slices, as they will shrink down and you don’t want them to be too thin or stringy.
  • Coat the onions generously in butter, using a set of tongs makes them easy to toss around in the pot.
  • Low and slow: Cook the onions over medium-low heat. This process takes some time but the end result is well worth it.
  • Use more Onions than you think: Onions made up of over 80% water. They shrink down considerably as they cook, as you will see below.

Watch These Onions Caramelize. Each Photo is 20 minutes apart.

Crock Pot Method

Once the onions are caramelized as shown above, transfer them to a Crock pot. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Proceed with preparing the baguettes and cheese as outlined.

Instant Pot Method

Yes, it’s true! You can make this delicious French Onion Soup in the Instant Pot! (As featured on MSN.)

Cheese for French Onion Soup

  • Gruyere cheese is best for making traditional French Onion Soup.
  • Less expensive options include Swiss, Provolone, or a combination of the two.

Beef or Chicken Broth?

Make Ahead Method

  • There is probably no better soup to make ahead of time than French Onion Soup. This soup can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days prior to serving.
  • The soup can be reheated on the microwave or the stove top, and the baguettes and cheese can be toasted/melted separately and added to the soup once ready to serve!

Freezing

French onion soup freezes very well. 

  • Let it cool prior to freezing and store it in an airtight container.
  • It’s best if used within 3 months of freezing.
  • Freeze only the soup, don’t include bread/cheese with it.

Overheat shot of a hand holding a white bowl filled with french onion soup topped with two cheesy baguettes.

Try These Next!

Try serving this with homemade ciabatta bread!

Want These Soup Crocks?

I bought these oven safe soup crocks just for this soup. They’re very study, handmade, super high quality.

👉Don’t have oven Safe bowls? Don’t worry! My instructions will walk you through toasting the baguettes and melting the cheese separately and adding them to the warm soup afterwards. Easy!

Print
4.91 from 22 votes
Servings: 6
French Onion Soup
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr 25 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 40 mins
 
Author: Stephanie
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French Onion Soup

This traditional French Onion Soup has warm baguettes topped with hot, melted Gruyere cheese. High quality beef broth, a splash of wine, and perfectly caramelized onions are the secrets to this classic recipe.

Ingredients
  • 4 large yellow onions
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • ¾ cup dry white wine Chardonnay or Pinto Grigio
  • 4 cups beef broth high quality is key
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 baguette
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil optional
  • 6 slices Gruyere cheese
Instructions
  1. Slice the onions into strings of medium-size. They'll shrink down and you don't want them too thin. (Using a mandoline slicer makes this much easier).

  2. Melt the butter in a large (4-5 quart) soup pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions and use tongs to toss and coat them in the butter. Leave them uncovered as they cook.

  3. The onions will caramelize slowly, this takes patience. 6 large onions could take over an hour to fully caramelize. Stir the onions every 20 minutes or so until they've reached your desired size and color. 

  4. Add the white wine, increase the heat to medium, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Pour in the beef and chicken broth and add the bay leaves and thyme. Simmer for another 45 minutes, with the lid cracked.

  5. While the soup simmers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into ½ inch thick slices. Brush the tops with olive oil if desired. Plan on using 1-2 slices per bowl depending on the width of the bread and the bowls you are using. 

  6. Increase the oven temperature to a low broil. Top each baguette with cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese melts and begins to bubble and brown slightly.

  7. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  8. Ladle the warm soup into each bowl and use tongs to top each of them with the warm baguettes. Top with thyme if desired and serve! 

Recipe Video
Recipe Notes

Other cheese options include Comte, Emmental (Swiss), and/or Provolone.


A splash of Worcestershire sauce can be added when the beef broth is added as well.


Crock Pot Method: Once the onions are caramelized as shown above, transfer them to a Crock pot. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.


Check out my Instant Pot French Onion Soup recipe!

Nutrition Information
Calories: 474, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 1273mg, Potassium: 461mg, Carbohydrates: 37g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 15g, Vitamin A: 645%, Vitamin C: 15.9%, Calcium: 376%, Iron: 2.3%

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This classic French Onion Soup has a rich, silky broth made from thinly sliced onions, butter, white wine, beef broth, fresh thyme and bay leaves. All topped with a toasted baguette and hot, bubbly Gruyere cheese. | The Cozy Cook | #soup #frenchonionsoup #onions #recipe #easyrecipes #winterrecipes #gruyere