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Easy French Onion Soup

Easy French Onion Soup

I had my first taste of French Onion Soup when I was 18. My parents drove me to college, helped me unpack, and then took me out to dinner before bidding me farewell. I didn’t know a soul at school, and my nerves got the better of me at dinner when I cried all over my meal. My poor parents. Definitely not the sendoff they were hoping for.

Fortunately I rallied and thrived in college. Likewise, I’ve tasted many bowls of French Onion Soup since that first memorable bite, and, I have to say, there are a lot of BAD versions out there:  too salty, too cheesy (yes, there is such a thing), too many onions, not enough onions, poorly seasoned broth, giant, soggy hunks of bread….just not right. My favorite place to get French Onion Soup was a local French cafe that closed last year. They did it right. So I resolved to figure out how to make it myself. And I think it came out pretty darn good.

A couple things to remember:
1) Caramelizing onions takes time. Plan for it.
2) Beef broth is key, as is a combination of red wine and dry sherry.
3) Melting your cheese all over the top of the cup is pretty to look at but not practical to eat. Toast your cheesy bread separately instead and float it in your bowl. (This way you can make extra, too. Score!)

Once those onions are caramelized, this soup comes together quickly. It makes a great starter for any meal, but I’ve been eating it for lunch all week (along with most of a baguette!). You can dabble with other cheeses if you don’t have access to any Gruyere, but I highly recommend searching it out. The nutty flavor is a perfect match for this soup. Besides, do you really need an excuse to buy more cheese?

Easy French Onion Soup

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Easy French Onion Soup
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 4-6

  • 2½ tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1½ heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 32 ounces beef broth
  • ½ baguette, sliced thinly
  • ⅓ pound Gruyere cheese, grated

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic, bay leaf and dried thyme to the pot. Stir to coat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and cook for another 20-40 minutes or until golden brown in color, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Increase the heat, add wine and sherry to the onion mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the liquid is evaporated, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
  3. Sprinkle the onions with flour and gently stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in beef broth and simmer soup until heated through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Preheat broiler. Place baguette slices on a baking pan and top with grated Gruyere. Broil until cheese is melted and bread edges are toasted.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls and float cheese toasts on top of soup. Serve immediately.


  1. You know what’s crazy? I have never had French Onion Soup! It’s my hubbies fav though, so maybe it’s time to try it out. This looks like the perfect way to do it. Love your tip on melting the cheese on the bread!

    • Cheesy bread is the best!

  2. I commented this on FB, but it deserves repeating…. YUM!!!!!
    Betsy | recently posted…White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune CookiesMy Profile

    • Aw, thanks, Betsy!

  3. I’m eating breakfast while making the blog rounds and now I’m already ready for lunch! Slurp!
    Paula – bell’alimento recently posted…Roasted Red Pepper Pasta + {Vitamix GIVEAWAY}My Profile

    • Occupational hazard, right? ;)

  4. I’ve always wanted to try making French onion soup … maybe this is the reminder I need to go ahead and just make it!
    Helen @ Scrummy Lane recently posted…Roasted strawberry & white chocolate ‘Valentine’s’ cheesecakeMy Profile

    • I hope you give it a go, Helen. Totally worth it!

  5. This soup looks amazing!
    Liz@Virtually Homemade recently posted…Meatball Sliders – 5 Ingredient DinnerMy Profile

  6. LOVE the toasted cheese bread!!!
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets recently posted…Strawberry MintsMy Profile

    • Who can turn down cheesy bread?

  7. You just described my dream bowl of French onion soup! I can tell that this is the real deal.

  8. I’m super picky about soup, but I want to dive into a huge vat of this soup, especially with that toasted cheese bread!

    Drooling over the soup, and your bowls! Gorgeous!
    rachel recently posted…Mouthwatering Mondays {Week 33}My Profile

    • Kinda hard to resist with the cheesy bread, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by, Rachel!

  9. French onion soup is one of those soups I never get sick of, it has everything I want in a soup — ridiculous flavorful, texture and lots of cheese! Yours looks perfect.

    • Agreed, Nicole. Just a great combo of all things yummy!

  10. Delicious! Carmelized onions and cheese. These pictures are making me hungry!
    Laura @ Laura’s Culinary Adventures recently posted…Baked Spaghetti PieMy Profile

    • Make a big pot and enjoy it for lunch all week like I did!

  11. French onion soup is my absolute favorite. I love this!

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