French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup uses such simple ingredients but is so delicious. It requires a little time and a lot of perfectly caramelized onions. You can totally make this one at home. 

2 light blue plates with a brown long handled crock of french onion soup with a piece of toasted baguette and melted cheese

French onion soup requires that you slowly cook onions for a long time to caramelize them and develop their sweetness. That is, unless you need a quick soup then you’ll want to try this Quick French Onion Soup on our sister site, COOKtheSTORY. It’s ready in 15 minutes. 

However, if you have the time, definitely stick with this one. A longer cook time allows the flavors to develop more fully. Or, if you love French Onion Soup but are looking for an entrée, this French Onion Chicken is just what you need. 

What are the best onions to use?

I prefer to use sweet onions in French Onion Soup but you could also use yellow onions or a mix of onions for a deeper flavor profile. Sweet onions tend to yield the sweetest results with yellow onions bringing bright flavor with a hint of sweetness. 

How do you caramelize the onions?

There are two major things you need to do to get good caramelized onions. The first is use a big enough pan so the onions aren’t crowded while they cook. The second is give the onions enough time to cook.

If you cook the onions too quickly you’ll burn them and bring out bitterness rather than sweetness. And you’ll have burnt blackened bits of onion. No good! Make sure you check out our article on how to caramelize onions for our tips to the best Caramelized Onions.

What kind of wine should you use?

I like to use a dry red wine, but some people prefer white wine. Either way, be sure to add the wine to the caramelized onions and cook it until almost evaporated before adding the rest of the ingredients. 

Can you skip the wine?

You can totally skip the wine if you want to. However, I recommend adding a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to add the brightness and depth of flavor the wine brings to the dish.

Now, let’s get cooking!

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French Onion Soup

light blue plate with a brown long handled crock of french onion soup with a piece of toasted baguette and melted cheese

French Onion Soup uses such simple ingredients but is so delicious. It requires a little time and a lot of perfectly caramelized onions. You can totally make this one at home.

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 large yellow onions, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. brown sugar, divided
  • Salt
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 6 cups low or no-sodium beef broth
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Baguette or other white bread
  • 5 oz. Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup red wine

Instructions

  1. Cut the butter into small pieces and put it into a very large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Peel and slice one onion. Add it to the skillet. Increase heat to medium-high.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the brown sugar and a pinch of salt and of black pepper. Stir.
  4. Peel and slice a second onion. Add it to the skillet with another 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar and some salt and pepper. Stir.
  5. Repeat with final onion. Cover skillet. Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until well-browned and very soft, 35-45 minutes.
  6. When the onions are almost done, preheat the broiler.
  7. Pour the beef broth into a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the thyme. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
  8. While the broth is heating, slice the bread into 4-5 slices. Put in a single layer on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler until it is toasted.
  9. Shred the cheese.
  10. Remove toast from broiler. Flip slices over. Top each with some of the cheese. Return it to under the broiler until cheese is melted.
  11. When the onions are well-browned, add the wine to them. Stir it until most of the wine has evaporated.
  12. Add the onions and wine to the hot broth. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  13. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with a slice of cheese toast.

French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup

Christine Pittman

Christine is the Senior Editor and Owner of The Cookful, COOKtheSTORY and IsThisThatFood. Her sites reach over 1.5 million readers per month, which means that things can get a bit crazy. She's constantly writing, taking pictures, editing, managing contributors, and, oh yeah, cooking. To say that she wears many hats is an understatement - there are many hats, and also many shirts, shoes, pants, and even the odd cape!