French Onion Soup Recipe (2024)

By Sara Bonisteel

Updated Feb. 28, 2024

French Onion Soup Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 20 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Rating
5(6,573)
Notes
Read community notes

In 1954, what was then called the Food News Department of The New York Times released a pamphlet simply called “Soups,” which had 20 recipes for soups “thick and thin, hot and cold,” including those for minestrone, shrimp bisque and this French onion soup. We’ve updated the recipe adding sherry and wine to layer in more flavors. The bulk of the time is spent on caramelizing the onions, a process that always takes longer than it seems it should. But it’s worth the wait.

Learn: How to Make Soup

  • or to save this recipe.

  • Subscriber benefit: give recipes to anyone

    As a subscriber, you have

    10 gift recipes to give each month. Anyone can view them - even nonsubscribers.

    Learn more.

    Subscribe

  • Print Options

    Include recipe photo

Advertisem*nt

Ingredients

Yield:4 to 6 servings

  • 3tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 to 4large red or yellow onions (about 3 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¾teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2quarts beef stock (8 cups)
  • 1cup dry white wine
  • 1tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 8 to 12(½-inch) slices French bread (from 1 loaf)
  • cups grated Gruyère cheese

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

397 calories; 17 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 34 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 12 grams sugars; 20 grams protein; 1216 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Powered by

French Onion Soup Recipe (2)

Preparation

Make the recipe with us

  1. Step

    1

    Melt butter in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and ½ teaspoon salt, stir and cover, letting onions soften for 5 minutes. Remove lid and let onions caramelize until golden brown over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat if onions are browning too quickly. The caramelization process may take 45 to 60 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, warm broth in a saucepan over low heat.

  3. Step

    3

    Once onions are caramelized, add wine and sherry to the pot and allow mixture to come to boil. Stir in flour and let thicken for a minute or two.

  4. Step

    4

    Slowly add warm broth, ¼ teaspoon salt and the pepper to the onion mixture and boil uncovered for 10 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Step

    5

    Heat the broiler, and arrange individual ovenproof casseroles on a baking sheet. Ladle soup into casseroles, and cover top with bread slices. Sprinkle each casserole generously with Gruyère.

  6. Step

    6

    Broil for a minute or two, watching carefully, until cheese melts and browns. Serve immediately.

Tip

  • You can prepare the soup through step 4 up to 2 months in advance. Thaw and reheat, then top with the bread and cheese and broil to serve.

Ratings

5

out of 5

6,573

user ratings

Your rating

or to rate this recipe.

Have you cooked this?

or to mark this recipe as cooked.

Private Notes

Leave a Private Note on this recipe and see it here.

Cooking Notes

diane

Simplify by making overnight caramelized onions. Fill slow cooker with 4-5 lbs sliced onions, pour 1/3 cup olive over the onions & mix well. Cover with lid and cook on HIGH for 7-9 hours. Yes it does indeed needs to be High. I had my doubts at first, but I've done this probably at least 20 times and the onions cook way down & caramelize beautifully. I haven't tried this yet with my new multi-cooker but plan to try that next using slow cooker function.

Gonzalo

1 Tbsp of Sherry is a very small amount, it won't add any significant flavour. Also, if Sherry boils for a long time, it completely loses its aroma. I suggest adding 2 tbsp on each individual soup dish just before broiling (that's the way people have fancy consomme in Madrid).

lotsadogs

When I make French Onion Soup, I cut the bread into crouton sized pieces and then brown them in butter in a large skillet on the stove. I use them in place of the toasted bread. It makes the soup easier to eat--no cutting through hard French bread crusts with a spoon--and I really like the extra flavor imparted by the croutons. And, I save some croutons for the leftover soup.

Elisa

Great and easy recipe. I suggest doubling the onions and mixing in some leeks. Also, since I don't have oven proof casseroles, I toasted the bread with the cheese on top (in toaster oven), and served on regular soup bowls.

Bri

I used vegetable stock plus a little soy sauce and a little bit of Worcestershire sauce instead of the beef broth to make it vegetarian. It was amazing! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

Joanne

Toast bread first.

Gail

If you have it, use bacon fat rather than butter to carmelize the onions. Makes a huge flavor difference.

RES

This soup is marvelous, and perfect for a chilly day. I followed the recipe faithfully and used homemade beef stock. The hardest part for me was slicing those onions. My eyes were tearing so much, I had to put on a scuba mask to finish this step.

Gorney44

Great flavor but I’d say to double the onions.

Debbie

Loved this recipe. Finally somebody admits how long it takes to actually caramelize onions! The flavor is wonderful. I did cut the amount of beef broth to 6 Cups, because I agree with other cooks, there were just not enough onions to sustain 8 cups of broth. Next time I will double the onions.

Dennis

Several folks thought the amount of onions called for was insufficient. Note it says “ 3 or 4 large onions ( about 3lbs.). My onions were a little larger then a baseball and it took 9 to yield 3 lbs.

johonna

Delish and relatively easy. I took the advise of some posters here and added an onion and a leek. I also added a couple tablespoons of brandy with the wine and sherry, and some thyme with the stock. After all the stock was in, I let the soup reduce for 30 min. Oh, and I toasted the bread with butter under the broiler before adding to the soup. YUM!

Lori B

Broth and stock are used interchangeably in this recipe; they are not the same. Broth is made with vegetables, stock is made with just bones. I think the latter would be best here.

GamesDean

Don't get super hung up on the quantities in recipes. Treat it as more of a basic guideline with orderly steps. It's cooking, not science. This is a really good recipe for this soup. I just used the ingredients listed here in varying quantities and it was fantastic. I really, really, REALLY suggest making your own beef (or other) broth for this. Harris Teeter sells 2 lb. bags of beef bones. I used two bags, boil/rinse, roast, boil/simmer with shallots, garlic, thyme for 5 hours. Fantastic.

Lisa Kav

French onion soup is heavily dependent on using good broth. Do yourself a favor and make it. Great recipe.

me

Double the onions and toast bread before adding it to soup

Island Girl

As for slicing onions, I always put them in the refrigerator to chill. There are no tears when slicing them. Works all of the time.

Jeanne Marie

You gotta make sure you cut the onions towards the root (or top), not like you would for slices or “half” slices for burgers or sandwiches. Cutting them towards the root helps them to keep their shape and they don’t melt away into nothing.

Angelina

Adding the flour in this recipe is not intended to thicken the soup, but rather to absorb some of the fat (butter/oil) used in carmelizing the onions. A typical roux is intended to thicken and the perfect ratio for a roux is 1:1 fat:flour, but use your common sense about how little flour you need to just absorb some of the fat in this soup. Add that little bit of flour directly to the fully carmelized onions prior to adding anything else, allowing the flour to "cook" because flour is raw.

Emily T.

I use 8 yellow onions, 8 TB salted butter, 1/2 cup sherry, 2 cups white wine, 12 cups beef stock, 2-3 TB flour. Salt to taste but not much needed. It comes out perfect!

Harriet in Iowa City

Is there a particular onion that is better for the recipe??

Jenny G

I took page from chef friend: caramelize onions on stove till they just start to get hint of brown, then spread across a cookie sheet & salt 1-1/2 tsp + into oven. Salt will draw out water to help caramelize. Temp 175-250, dep on how often you stir. 1st time I did@ 200, then had to leave to go somewhere after a couple of hours so turned to 175. 2nd time @ 225. Stir every 30-60 mins for 4-5 hours. Edges will caramelize 1st then keep close eye--you'll get jammy,delish sweet yum you can eat w/ fork

suzeshoes

Try making caramelized onions on outdoor grill....

Mjames

Can you use a crockpot to carmelize onions for this soup

Gayle Teget

When I make French Onion soup, I partook the onions in the microwave on high for about 10 minutes. It shortens the time to full carmelization on the stove.

Scott

Try a variation by using mushroom stock. Also sherry should be stirred in right before serving, as someone else pointed out its contribution is lessened. A bit of soy sauce is also amps up the layers of flavors.

Joyce

I have used a recipe just like this and make it in a crock pot. It’s better than any restaurant I have been to. It can be found in a recipe book by a well known chef in the 1970s.

Natalie Bluestein

This soup is so delicious and easy, I'd make it every night if I could!

G Pea

I use half beef broth and half chicken broth. I only add a sizeable amount of cooking sherry, no wine, and a couple bay leafs. Very aromatic and so tasty.

Lisa C

I have made it this way ever since living in Europe, and my family cannot have it often enough. It is so flavorful and satisfying. The trick is building layers of flavor. The only thing I do differently is toast the bread slices before adding them to each bowl.

Private notes are only visible to you.

French Onion Soup Recipe (2024)

FAQs

How do you deepen the flavor of French onion soup? ›

A few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf elevate the soup even more, but I take it a step further, adding a splash of fish sauce for complexity and depth—don't worry, it won't taste fishy—and a hit of cider vinegar to balance some of that oniony sweetness.

What broth is French onion soup made of? ›

This soup traditionally is made with beef stock, though sometimes a good beef stock can be hard to come by and expensive to make. If you use boxed stock, taste it first! If you don't like the taste, don't use it. (If you cook a lot of beef or beef roasts, save the scraps and freeze them to make a stock with later.)

What is the difference between French onion soup and regular onion soup? ›

What is the Difference Between Onion Soup and French Onion Soup? French onion soup is always made with beef stock. Other onion soups can be made with chicken, vegetable, or beef stock. Additionally, French onion soup typically contains wine or sherry, which isn't typical or necessary in other onion soups.

Why do you put baking soda in French onion soup? ›

The caramelized onions for this soup cook more quickly due to a pinch of baking soda but still have that deep, slow-cooked flavor. Topping the soup with hot, cheesy toasts prepared while the soup simmers, eliminates the need to bake the soup in specialty French onion soup bowls.

Why do you add flour to French onion soup? ›

Onion soup, at its very essence, is nothing more than onions and water boiled together. Period, done, finished, everything added from that point on is pure opinion. Caramelizing the onions brings out sugars, and makes a more luxurious silky and sweet soup, adding flour gently thickens and provides body.

What cheese can I use instead of Gruyère in French onion soup? ›

Other Swiss types of cheese like Raclette cheese or Appenzeller Cheese or Dutch cheeses like Edam cheese or Gouda or Jarlsberg cheese from Norway or American Swiss cheese can all be substituted.

Can I use chicken broth instead of beef broth in French onion soup? ›

If you can't get good quality beef broth, use chicken or vegetable instead. I find that the quality of those by mainstream brands is much better than the beef stock. The beef is fine to use in things like gravy and stews, but not when it's a key ingredient like in this recipe.

Does it matter how you cut onions for French onion soup? ›

For French onion soup, it is best to slice the onions into thin, even slices. This will allow them to cook evenly and caramelize properly. You can achieve this by cutting the onion in half, placing the flat side down, and slicing it widthwise into thin slices.

Is French onion soup good for you? ›

Well, you'll be pleased to know that french onion soup is, in fact, a highly nutritious choice. Onions, as part of the Allium family, contain Quercetin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and should not be overlooked as a vegetable when considering your daily 7-a-day.

What is a fun fact about French onion soup? ›

It is said that it was invented by none other than King Louis XV late one night at his hunting lodge when he was very hungry. When he only found onions, butter, and champagne in the pantry, he decided to use the three ingredients to make the French onion soup for the very first time.

Why is my French onion soup bland? ›

If the onions are not cooked long enough or over low heat, they won't develop the sweet and rich flavor that is characteristic of this soup. Lack of seasoning: Seasoning is crucial in any dish, and French onion soup is no exception.

Why is my French onion soup too sweet? ›

Onions are very sweet, especially when they're cooked down, and that is the main purpose of onion soup. The sweetness can be balanced by adding some dry wine or vinegar. Taste as you go and don't overdo it. A little salt will balance it too, but don't forget that the grated cheese you will top it with is salty.

Why do you put lemon juice in soup? ›

But as the publication explains, lemon juice adds more than just tartness. For chicken soup in particular, lemon juice balances out the more rich and savory flavors, adding an overall brightness to the taste.

Why is my French onion soup sour? ›

It might be because of the stock or that you used onions that has sour flavor such as white onions.

How do you thicken French onion soup? ›

If you want to thicken your French onion soup, you can add a bit of flour. Combine a couple of tablespoons of flour with a teaspoon of salt and whisk in about a quarter cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened.

How do you doctor up canned French onion soup? ›

Infusing the soup with a richer taste is as easy as quickly sauteing crushed garlic before pouring the soup in. Some soft, buttery garlic sauteed in earthy olive oil is the perfect addition to enrich canned French onion soup.

How do you make soup taste stronger? ›

Use fresh vegetables, high-quality meats or broth, and fresh herbs to add depth of flavor. Add acidity: A squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a dash of vinegar, or a splash of wine can brighten the flavors of a soup and make it taste more complex.

What spices add depth to soup? ›

Herbs and sources add flavor, aroma, and intensity to the soup broth. You can pick fresh or dried herbs like basil for tomato-based soups or fresh parsley for clear broths. You may also add more spices like turmeric, ground ginger, ground paprika, or nutmeg for a touch of spice and color to your soup broth.

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5987

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.