Easy French Onion Soup Recipe

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This easy french onion soup is perfect for chilly evenings!

Give some of my other soups a try too, like this wonderful Italian Navy Bean soup, this delicious Minestrone, or this easy-to-make Miso soup!

Easy French Onion Soup Recipe

Easy French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a simple, delicious soup that is fairly easy to make. It takes a little time, but the process is super simple. Let’s dive in.

French Onion Soup Ingredients

The two critical components of this classic soup are the broth and the onions.

Beef broth – You can make this from scratch or buy it. However, either way, you’ll want to be sure that it’s flavorful and delicious when you taste it on its own. A bad broth will make a bad soup. So make sure you season your broth well before proceeding with making this soup.

Onions – White or yellow onions seem to work best here. The important thing is to caramelize them well. It’s not a step you want to skip, because part of the flavor of this soup is the sweetness that comes from caramelizing the onions.

Balsamic vinegar – I use this to replace the flavor of wine. If you would rather make this with wine, a nice white wine will work well here. But if you opt for the vinegar like me, you can also add a tiny bit of sweetener to the pot (about 1 tsp.) to really help mimic the wine flavor. This isn’t necessary, but it’s tasty. Use a good quality balsamic. If you only have the cheap stuff (I buy it too, most of us do!), pour some in a pot and cook it down by half to get a richer balsamic vinegar.

Olive oil – I have little patience some days, so I sometimes end up sautéing my onions in oil. But the proper way to do it is to cook them slowly starting with some butter, and adding wine or water until they are well caramelized. So only use the oil if you have no patience like me. The flavor of the soup won’t be as rich or have as many sweet undertones, but it works in a pinch.

Cheese – I personally love using parmesan cheese or mozzarella. But most people will swear by Guryere cheese, which is a mild swiss. I have tried regular swiss, and I don’t recommend it.

Bread – For this, you can slice and toast a baguette, or you can use croutons. Either will work. I just find it easier to make croutons from whole grain bread. Whole grain baguettes are not easy to find.

How To Make Easy French Onion Soup

First, you’ll want to peel and slice your onions (see tips for cutting below). Use a nice big cutting board for this. And if onions make you cry, store them in the fridge for a few days before cutting them. If you have a gas stove, you can also cut near the open flame to help burn off the fumes. Just don’t get so close that you burn yourself!

To caramelize your onions, remember to keep your heat low. Caramelizing onions is a slow process. It’s not hard, it just takes some time. You’ll want to start off with melting a

  • Clean and slice your onions.
  • In a soup pot, sauté your onions in the olive oil until they are soft and dark brown with caramelization.
  • Add beef broth and vinegar to the pot and boil until the liquid has cooked down by approximately half.
  • Serve sprinkled with approximately 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.
  • If you want croutons, you can make a few whole grain croutons at home. See link above.

Substitutions

  • Vegan French Onion Soup – If you are vegan or vegetarian, this soup is quite delicious made with vegetable broth. Omit the cheese and make sure you use vegan bread or croutons.
  • Gluten Free French Onion Soup – Make sure your broth is gluten free (most are, but not all) and use a gluten free bread or crouton.
  • Dairy Free French Onion Soup – This soup is quite good without the cheese! Just make sure that if you use bread or croutons, that they are also dairy free.
  • Oil Free French Onion Soup – If oils are an issue, feel free to substitute butter or ghee in the same amounts where oil is called for.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONIONS TO USE FOR FRENCH ONION SOUP?

The best onions to use for french onions soup are yellow onions. Caramelize them well in some butter, with white wine or water until they are a deep caramel brown. Then proceed with making your soup.

HOW DO YOU CUT ONIONS FOR FRENCH ONION SOUP?

Cut the onion in half, from root end to end. Take off the top skin layer. Lay flat on your cutting board, and slice it in the other direction, across the half of the onion. (See video link below)

WHY IS IT CALLED FRENCH ONION SOUP?

This soup originated in Paris in the 18th century. It is traditionally made of beef broth, caramelized onions, herbs and often some sort of wine.

HOW LONG DOES HOMEMADE FRENCH ONION SOUP LAST?

It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you don't put the cheese or croutons in it, you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

What To Serve With French Onion Soup

This delicious soup goes with many different dishes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Sides:

  • Green salad
  • Garlic bread

As a side to:

  • Pasta
  • Panini
  • Sandwich
  • Steak
  • Chicken
  • Fish

Making In Advance, Storing And Freezing

Making French Onion Soup In Advance – French onion soup can be made up to two days in advance. Make the soup, but don’t bother with bread/croutons or cheese until you are ready to heat and serve it.

Storing French Onion Soup – Keep this soup in the fridge for up to three 4 days.

Freezing French Onion Soup – You can freeze french onion soup, without the bread/croutons or cheese, for up to 6 months.

To see how to slice the onions properly, check out this video on youtube.

More Healthy Soup Recipes

Recipes Used

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry
Easy French Onion Soup Recipe

Easy French Onion Soup

Note: Slice your onions thin. It makes the texture of the soup far more enjoyable.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 58kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • parmesan cheese (optional for topping)

Instructions

  • Clean and slice your onions.
  • In a soup pot, sauté your onions in the olive oil until they are soft and dark brown with caramelization.
  • Add beef broth and vinegar to the pot and boil until the liquid has cooked down by approximately half.
  • Serve sprinkled with approximately 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.
  • If you want croutons, you can make a few whole grain croutons at home. See link above.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Data does not include optional ingredients.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 58kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 716mg | Potassium: 167mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 3.2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry archives, originally posted 11/1/10.

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50 Comments

  1. wondering if this could possibly work in the crock pot?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mel – It’s worth a shot, but I didn’t try it, so I’m not sure. The thing is, you want the liquid to boil down to intensify the flavor. Not sure how that would work in a crock pot.

  2. trude wofford says:

    I will try your version of french onion soup cause it really sounds good – the version I have made up till now has sherry in it and to be honest I never thought of using balsamic. and my favorite soup for a cold day ( or really any day ) is tomato! now, not all bowls of tomato are equal, some have basil and some add lots of vegis some even add cheese, but my favorite is a super simple tomato soup: 1 chopped onion -saute-add some chicken broth, about 4 cups, cook down to about 1/2 volume add tomatos( 2 28 oz cans- I like 1 tomato puree and 1 diced)add a pinch of baking soda ( it will foam) simmer for alittle while add add cream – or 1/2 and1/2 -or milk whatever is in the house ( now it is just skim ( you could try non dairy creamer) you could puree this if you wanted to but I leave mine chunky – for me this is the ultimate comfort food

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Trude – I hear that! I had a bowl of tomato soup in England when I was about 15 years old. To this day I’ve never forgotten it. Incredible. All tomato soups are definitely NOT created equal! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Hi Tiffany,
    I make my French onion soup with (usually homemade) chicken stock. I use lots of onions 5 or 6 really big ones and let them cook until really soft and slightly caramellized. Along with the stock I also add a bay leaf or 2 (depending on size) and a sprinkling of allspice. It really ends up being really thick with sweet onions. Then I set the bowls on a cookie sheet and put them under the broiler for a few minutes to melt and lightly brown the parmesan. Watch it carefully. I can get burnt really quickly.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jodi – The first time I made it, I made it with chicken broth and it just wasn’t the same. Maybe I’ll try your version. Thanks!

  4. My favorite soup is whichever one I happen to be craving at the time. I love soup. It’s usually not too hard to make clean versions.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jodi – Very true! Soups are great AND easy!

  5. WOW! I never thought it would be that easy–I’m excited to try this. Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Emily – It is! Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Tami@nutmegnotebook says:

    Sounds good!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tami – It is!!

  7. Glad yours is easy and doesn’t take over an hour! I’m curious about the balsamic vinaigrette.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Patrick – The vinaigrette is good, but very strong. Either water it down with a bit of chicken broth, or use it very sparingly. Enjoy!

  8. Ok, so I LOVE LOVE LOVE French Onion with croutons in addition to my cheese….any chance you have tried making croutons with Ezekiel Bread? I’m curious if they will come out like normal croutons, or just be weird…..any thoughts??

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Court – You can pretty much make croutons out of any bread. Go for it!

  9. Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls says:

    This looks incredible! Bookmarked!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xx

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mary – Thanks for stopping by! Let me know how you like the soup. It’s a winter favorite around here!

  10. So easy to prepare and sooooo yummy!!! The balsamic vinegar added a nice touch. I also added some Worcestershire sauce to the pot as it was cooking (just b/c I love that stuff) and that added even more yumminess!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Katrina – Sounds good! Just be careful with the Worcestershire sauce. Most have added sugar in them.

  11. Oh my! I wouldn’t have even thought to look. Good looking out!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Katrina – You have to read EVERY label. There is one that is kinda hard to find, but it’s clean. It’s by Bourbon Barrel. Really good stuff if you can find it!

  12. What is the best type of onion to use? Thanks. Love your site. Keep up the great work!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Val – I used regular white and/or yellow onions. Enjoy!

  13. looks fabulpus, i cannot wait totry it!

  14. Jessie_aba says:

    Delicious & husband approved! Thank you!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Jessie – Glad you both enjoyed it!

  15. graciouspantry says:

    Natalie – Please let me know what you think of it! 🙂

  16. Wife and I had this for lunch today. Very good. Added an extra onion. Has a mild taste compared to restaurant soup, and a lot less sodium. Recipe goes on my website with the proper acknowledgements. Thanks

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Jgelder – Thanks! I only ask that you don’t use my photo. But glad you enjoyed the soup!

  17. graciouspantry says:

    You can try it. Or just make the soup and strain out the onions.

  18. graciouspantry says:

    Awesome! 🙂

  19. MMM, I wish my husband ate onions! That being said, I am making a BIG batch of beef broth from bones right now, so maybe I can make a small batch of this soup and eat it over 2 days! I have organic onions calling out to me, and a small bit of a sharp Irish cheese! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll pin it now 🙂

  20. I just made this for lunch today and my kids (2 & 4) loved it as much a I do… It’s the perfect soup in my book!! Thanks for sharing

  21. Buffy Riphagen says:

    What kind of onions do you suggest?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Yellow onions work well.

  22. graciouspantry says:

    They freeze pretty well.

  23. Vanessa moormAn says:

    I havease French onion soup in the crock pot for years. I am cleaning up my recipe and looked at yours. I found Swanson insulated beef stock. I cool the onions for a while with butter. Them add a cup of wine. Cook more- lots more! Then add broth, tarragon, and low sodium Worcestire sauce to the Crock pot to finish cooking. Melt cheese on French bread and float on top!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      I’m sure it’s yummy. But if you’re trying to eat clean, you may want to try this version instead. 🙂

  24. Thank you for this recipe! I used it for my Oscar post this year and paired it up with Les Miserables. My five year old was all over this soup. Super yummy. No pun intended. So, thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      My pleasure!

  25. Yum! Yum! Soooo excited!! I love French Onion Soup!! The only thing is I am a vegetarian, what do you think about using the vegetable broth instead? I have the pacific brand also.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Bri – Well, the flavor would definitely be different. But I’m sure it would still be tasty. Worth a shot!

  26. Sydney Bayer says:

    Oh my gosh, this was incredible! And do easy too! I will recommend this recipe to anyone scared of French onion soup, thank you for this recipe!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sydney – My pleasure! 🙂

  27. Maryjane Alencewicz says:

    WOW! Just made this soup today, following the recipe exactly. It was fantastic!!
    Amazing that such a wonderful soup is so easy to make!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Maryjane – Thanks so much! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! It’s definitely one of my favorites!

  28. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it vegan using Better Than Bouillon – No Beef Base, no cheese or bread, and it came out great! For the entire pot of soup it was only 300 calories. This has helped satisfy my craving for this soup and helps keep me on weight loss goals. The balsamic vinegar was indeed the key to making this perfect!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jason – Fantastic!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! It’s definitely a favorite around here! 🙂

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