French Onion Soup Recipe
This traditional French Onion Soup recipe 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.
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 this recipe totally nailed down.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Yellow Onions
- Sweet Onions
- Butter- High quality (Cabot is great.)
- Bay Leaves
- White Wine- See below for non-alcoholic option.
- Beef Broth- Highest quality you can. See below for recommendations.
- Chicken Broth- homemade chicken broth if possible
- Baguette- You can also use croutons in a pinch.
- Olive Oil
- Gruyere Cheese- See below for alternative options
Use a Combination of Yellow and Sweet Onions
- 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, they weigh a solid 5 pounds total.
- Use a madoline slicer to cut the onions quickly and evenly.
Use Dry White Wine
- I have tried several different wines for this recipe and I find dry white wine to be the best.
Best Dry White Wines for Cooking
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Grigio
- Unoaked Chardonnay
If you prefer to make this without wine:
- You can substitute white wine vinegar.
Best Cheese For French Onion Soup
- Gruyere cheese is best.
- Other cheese options include Comte, Emmental (Swiss), Provolone, or Mozzarella.
Beef or Chicken Broth?
- Some recipes call for using only beef broth, but adding chicken broth creates a greater depth of flavor.
- Homemade or High-quality commercial beef broth is a must. You can also try to purchase a private label from a local butcher.
- Homemade chicken broth is also ideal for this soup.
How to Caramelize Onions
Caramelizing onions is very easy, it takes patience more than skill. Follow the simple steps below and the rest will take care of itself.
Don’t cut the onions too thin
- You want 1/4 inch slices, as they will shrink down and you don’t want them to be too thin or stringy.
Coat the onions generously in butter.
- Use a set of tongs makes them easy to toss around in the pot.
Cook them 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.
- I use 5 pounds in this recipe.
Watch These Onions Caramelize. Each Photo is 20 minutes apart.
Instant Pot Method
Yes, it’s true! You can make this in the Instant Pot! (As featured on MSN.)
- There is probably no better soup to make ahead of time than this. 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!
This is a great freezer meal.
- 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.
Try These Next!
Want My 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 have you toast the baguettes and melt the cheese separately. Then you can add them to the warm soup crocks without baking them in the oven.
Get my Free Meal Plan
French Onion Soup
- 4 large yellow onions,, see notes for pound conversion
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- While the soup simmers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice the baguette into ½ inch thick slices. Brush the tops with olive oil and bake for about 5 minutes.
- 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.
- Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- 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!
- You should use about 5 pounds of onions (total) for this recipe.
- If you prefer not to use Wine, you can substitute White Wine Vinegar.
- 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.
Check out my Instant Pot version!