How to Make Classic Homemade French Onion Soup

Indulge in the warmth and depth of “Classic Comfort: French Onion Soup,” a traditional French dish known for its rich, caramelized onions and savory broth, topped with a toasted baguette slice and melted Gruyère cheese. This soup combines simple ingredients to create a complex array of flavors and textures, making it a favorite in bistros and home kitchens alike. Perfect for chilly evenings or as a sophisticated starter for a dinner party, French Onion Soup is a timeless recipe that soothes the soul and delights the palate.

Why You’ll Love French Onion Soup:

  • Rich Flavor: The slow-cooked onions develop a deep, sweet richness that forms the base of this incredibly flavorful soup.
  • Cheesy Goodness: The melted Gruyère cheese adds a creamy, nutty flavor that perfectly complements the savory broth.
  • Elegant yet Comforting: While it’s elegant enough for special occasions, its comforting warmth makes it ideal for a cozy night in.
  • Satisfying and Heartwarming: A bowl of this soup is both filling and heartwarming, making it a perfect meal on its own or as part of a larger spread.

Ingredients Notes For French Onion Soup:

  • Onions: Typically, a mix of yellow onions are used for their perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors.
  • Beef Stock: Forms the rich and savory base of the soup. For a vegetarian version, a robust vegetable stock can substitute.
  • Butter: Used for cooking the onions, it adds richness and helps in the caramelization process.
  • Wine: A splash of dry white wine adds acidity and depth to the soup, helping to deglaze the pan and pick up all the flavorful bits.
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme complements the sweetness of the onions and adds a layer of herbal complexity.
  • Baguette and Cheese: A slice of toasted baguette topped with melted Gruyère cheese is essential for that classic presentation and taste.
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Recipe Steps:

  1. Caramelize the Onions: Melt butter in a large pot, add sliced onions, and cook slowly until they are deeply caramelized, stirring occasionally.
  2. Deglaze: Add white wine to the onions, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  3. Simmer: Add beef or vegetable stock and thyme. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
  4. Prepare Bread and Cheese: Meanwhile, toast slices of baguette until golden brown. Grate the Gruyère cheese.
  5. Broil: Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls, place a slice of toasted baguette on top of each, and sprinkle generously with grated Gruyère. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  6. Serve: Carefully remove from the oven and serve hot, garnished with a sprig of thyme or a little freshly cracked black pepper.

Storage Options:

  • Refrigerate: Store the soup (without the bread and cheese topping) in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: The onion and broth mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat, adding fresh bread and cheese before serving.


  • 5 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (helps with caramelization)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups beef broth (you can use chicken or vegetable broth for a lighter version)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (or a mix of Gruyère and Swiss)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish (optional)


  1. Caramelize the Onions:
    • In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with sugar.
    • Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they are deeply caramelized and golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. This slow cooking process is key to developing the soup’s rich flavor.
  2. Deglaze and Simmer the Soup:
    • Add the minced garlic to the caramelized onions and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
    • Pour in the white wine (if using) and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
    • Add the beef broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Prepare the Bread and Cheese:
    • While the soup simmers, toast the slices of baguette until they are golden and crisp.
    • Sprinkle each slice with Gruyère cheese and broil in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  4. Assemble and Serve:
    • Remove the bay leaf from the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    • To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls. Top each bowl with one or two cheesy baguette slices.
    • Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
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