Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Contributor: Heather McCurdy

Instant Pot French Onion Soup is so tasty, and yes, now you can make it right in your Instant Pot.

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


  • 3 lbs. yellow onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 4 cups unsalted beef stock, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet sherry (optional)
  • 6 slices toasted bread
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese


  1. Measure 1 cup of the beef stock into the Instant Pot. Put a steamer basket on top of the liquid.
  2. Add the sliced onions to the steamer basket. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and drizzle with the melted butter. Toss it all gently with your hands.
  3. Set the valve to Sealing and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. After it has finished the 3 minutes, do a quick release by turning the valve to Venting.
  4. Once the steam has all escaped and the button has dropped down, remove the lid. Strain the onions through sieve with a bowl placed under it (so that you catch those delicious juices!). Note that the onions will be soft and tasty now. You can totally stop here. Or…
  5. Sprinkle the onions with the brown sugar and baking powder. Toss gently.
  6. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté on high. Add the unmelted butter. Once melted, add the onions. Pat them down.
  7. Cook the onions without disturbing them. Every couple of minutes, scrape some up and see if there is browning underneath. If so, give them all a stir, being sure to scrape any brownings from the bottom.
  8. Continue to cook and stir as directed until onions have reached desired color, about 10-12 minutes.
  9. Add the remaining 3 cups of beef stock, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, the thyme, and the sherry (if using). Stir and make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot. You can get a burn notice from your Instant Pot if any of the onions or brownings are still there.
  10. Put the lid onto the Instant Pot and set the valve to Sealing. Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 1 minute.
  11. Preheat the broiler.* Arrange 6 oven-safe soup bowls on a sheet pan. Toast the bread.
  12. Once the Instant Pot has finished pressure cooking, turn the valve to Venting. Once the steam has all escaped, remove the lid. Ladle the soup into the bowls.
  13. Top each bowl with a slice of toast and 1/6 of the cheese. Put the pan of bowls under the broiler just until the cheese has melted. Remove pan from oven and serve soup.


*Note: There is an alternative to using the broiler. You’ll use croutons instead of toast because they’re harder and won’t get as soggy. Fill the soup bowls 2/3 full of hot soup. Put 6-8 croutons into each bowl. Top each with 1/6 of the cheese. Ladle more soup over the croutons and cheese to help melt the cheese. Serve immediately.