Easy French Onion Soup Recipe

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 Gruyere 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 the link above.


  • 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, they are also dairy-free. Some are made with cheese or milk products in the seasoning.
  • 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 onion 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 it 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:


  • 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 or four 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.
2.86 from 21 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 58kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley


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


  • 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.


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


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.

2.86 from 21 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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  1. Buffy Riphagen says:

    What kind of onions do you suggest?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Yellow onions work well.

  2. graciouspantry says:

    They freeze pretty well.

  3. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. 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!

  8. 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! ๐Ÿ™‚