This rich and tasty French Onion Soup is a spectacular comfort-in-a-bowl meal option. The sweet caramelized onions balance perfectly with the nutty Gruyere cheese bread, rounding out the overall flavor.
French Onion Soup
Soup is often thought of as cold weather food but, I confess I’m a year-round soup fan. It’s not unusual for me to make a pot of vegetable beef soup in the dead of summer often in an effort to use up fresh garden vegetables and to clean out my vegetable bin. A steamy bowl of loaded potato soup is always a comforting sight. Likewise, we’ll devour taco soup any night of the week for dinner.
Helpful Tips for Making French Onion Soup
- Making French Onion Soup requires patience, and doing so will really show the love.
- Don’t skimp on the amount of onions. After all, that’s what this soup is all about.
- Please note, yellow onions will give a more intense onion flavor to this soup. Vidalia onions, which I love, will add sweetness. Either will work in the same amount, choose according to your own personal preference.
- Caramelizing onions is a process and the flavor forms the foundation for the entire dish. Give the onions ample time to brown to increase the depth of flavor.
- You can use red or white wine in this recipe. Preferably dry.
- Brandy is a standard ingredient in classic French onion soup. It gives a slightly sweet finish to the end product but, I find that a splash of sherry works beautifully, too.
- I highly recommend going with Gruyere for the over-sized cheesy bread topper for this dish. That being said, Swiss cheese is a suitable substitution.
Other Soup Recipes to Try
Whether you prefer soup as a starter or an entrée, add these options to your soup menu.
- Creamy Tomato Cheese Tortellini Soup
- Cheeseburger Soup
- Easy Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
- Slow Cooker Ham and Bean Soup
- 18 Best Crockpot Soup for Fall on Parade
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
French Onion Soup
- 6 jumbo yellow onions (about 3 lbs or 10-12 cups total) thinly sliced from top to bottom (See Cook's note)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 10 cups beef stock
- 1/2 cup red or white wine (preferably dry)
- 2 medium bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp Brandy or Sherry optional
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Cheese Toast:
- 8 slices french bread, cut 1 inch thick on bias
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a 6 quart heavy bottomed dutch oven or pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and stir to coat.
- Cook the onions uncovered, stirring often, until they have softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter cook, stirring often, until the onions start to brown, about 10-15 more minutes.
- To the onions add sugar and salt continuing to cook until the onions are well browned, about 10 to 15 more minutes. Add garlic cooking for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add wine to the pot to deglaze. Scrape any browned bits from bottom and sides of the pot
- To the pot add beef stock, bay leaves, thyme and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pot and cook on medium-low for about 30 minutes.
- Uncover, taste and adjust salt and black pepper to your taste. Remove bay leaves. Add brandy or sherry, if using.
- Meanwhile, just before serving, preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Raise oven rack to upper third of oven.
- Brush both sides of the French bread lightly olive oil.
- Put in the oven and toast until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, flip and sprinkle with Gruyere cheese and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.
- Return to oven baking for a few minutes longer, just until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
- To serve, ladle soup into a bowl or soup crock. Top each with one piece of cheese bread. Garnish with fresh thyme or chives.
- Serve immediately.