Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (2024)

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This is our most requested soup recipe of all time, and for good reason.


Elise Bauer

Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (1)

Elise Bauer

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

Learn about Simply Recipes'Editorial Process

Updated December 19, 2023

221 Ratings

Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (2)

In This Recipe

The 30 Essential Soup Recipes for FallFEATURED IN:

Is there anything more comforting on a chilly day than a hot bowl of French onion soup? Especially with a thick slice of toasted bread loaded with melty Gruyere cheese and lots of caramelized onion.

Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (3)

How To Make the Best French Onion Soup

There are two essential components of a good French onion soup.

The first is the stock. Your soup will only be as good as the stock you are using. This soup traditionally is made with beef stock, though sometimes a good beef stock can be hard to come by and expensive to make.

If you use boxed stock, taste it first! If you don't like the taste, don't use it. (If you cook a lot of beef or beef roasts, save the scraps and freeze them to make a stock with later.)

Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (4)

The Secret Ingredient Is Time

The second most important element is to properly caramelize the onions. Caramelizing the amount of onions needed in this recipe will take at least 40 minutes. Caramelizing is a chemical process that occurs when the sugars in the onions reach a certain temperature.

This only happens after a long cooking time (the addition of a little extra sugar will help). The more caramelized, the deeper the color of the onions and the more flavor you'll get from them.

Alternatives To Wine

The recipe calls for dry vermouth or white wine as well as brandy, which is optional. If you prefer not to use any alcohol, many readers who made the recipe mentioned in the comments that they omit it altogether and it's still delicious.

Others mentioned adding some Worcestershire sauce at the end to give it an additional depth of flavor. If you omit the alcohol, you may want to add a tablespoon or so of Worcestershire, but it's not necessary.

If you do choose to omit the alcohol, use a half cup of the beef broth to deglaze the pan as instructed in Step 2 before adding the remaining stock in Step 3.

The Best Cheese To Use for French Onion Soup

Gruyere and Parmesan are the classics for French onion soup. However, if you don't have them, try these alternatives.

  • Gouda
  • Swiss
  • Fontina
  • Mozzarella

How To Store and Reheat This Dish

Store the soup—without the croutons—in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. To reheat, bring to a boil on the stovetop. The croutons are best when made fresh.

How To Freeze French Onion Soup

This soup—without the croutons—freezes well. Freeze the cooled soup up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat by boiling on the stovetop. Make the croutons fresh.

More Warm and Cozy Soup Recipes to Try!

  • Butternut Squash Apple Soup
  • Instant Pot French Onion Soup
  • Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
  • Smoky Vegan Lentil Stew
  • Farro, Mushroom, and Spinach Soup

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

French Onion Soup

Prep Time20 mins

Cook Time60 mins

Total Time80 mins

Servings4to 6 servings

Much of the success of this soup depends on the stock that you are using, and stock varies tremendously in its taste. Depending on your stock, you may need to bump up the flavor with some beef bouillon (we recommend Better Than Bouillon brand).


  • 6 large red or yellow onions (about 3 pounds)

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 8 cups beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two

  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, OR 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)

  • 8 slices (1 inch thick) French bread or baguette

  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

  • Sprinkling grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Peel and slice the onions:

    Peel and thinly slice the onions from root to stem. There should be about 10 cups of sliced onions in total.

    How to Slice an OnionREAD MORE:

    Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (5)

  2. Begin caramelizing the onions with olive oil and butter:

    In a 5 to 6 quart thick-bottomed pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat with the olive oil.

    Cook the onions, stirring often, until they have softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.

    Increase the heat to medium high. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter and cook, stirring often, until the onions start to brown, about 20 to 40 minutes. The amount of time will vary depending on your pot, stove, and onions.

    Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (6)

  3. Sprinkle with the sugar, finish caramelizing, and add garlic:

    Sprinkle with sugar (to help with the caramelization) and 1 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook until the onions are well browned, about 10 to 15 more minutes.

    Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.

    Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (7)

  4. Deglaze the pot with vermouth or wine:

    Add the wine or vermouth to the pot and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pot, deglazing the pot as you go.

    Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (8)

  5. Add the stock, bay leaves, and thyme:

    Add the stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.

    Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (9)

    Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (10)

  6. Season and add the brandy:

    Season to taste with more salt and add freshly ground black pepper. Discard the bay leaves. Add brandy if using.

  7. Toast the French bread slices:

    While the soup is simmering, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil and preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven.

    Brush both sides of the French bread or baguette slices lightly with olive oil (you'll end up using about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil for this).

    Put in the oven and toast until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven.

    Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (11)

    Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (12)

    Turn the toasts over and sprinkle with the grated Gruyere cheese and Parmesan. Return to oven when it's close to serving time and bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

  8. Serve:

    To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and transfer one cheesy toast onto the top of each bowl of soup.

    Alternatively, you can use individual oven-proof bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350° F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned.

    Did you enjoy this recipe? Let us know with a rating and review!

  • Comfort Food
  • Fall Soups
  • Onions
  • French
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
26g Fat
84g Carbs
30g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4to 6
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g33%
Saturated Fat 10g50%
Cholesterol 43mg14%
Sodium 1727mg75%
Total Carbohydrate 84g30%
Dietary Fiber 5g16%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 8mg38%
Calcium 424mg33%
Iron 6mg34%
Potassium 1000mg21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.

Our Most Requested Soup Recipe Of All Time? This To Die For French Onion Soup! (2024)


How do you deepen the flavor of French onion soup? ›

A few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf elevate the soup even more, but I take it a step further, adding a splash of fish sauce for complexity and depth—don't worry, it won't taste fishy—and a hit of cider vinegar to balance some of that oniony sweetness.

Is French onion soup for poor people? ›

Although onions were plentiful and affordable by the poor, a medieval recipe in Le Ménagier de Paris, published in 1393, includes among its ingredients ginger and saffron – rare and expensive spices – making this version of the dish one for wealthy households.

What is French onion soup made of? ›

What Is French Onion Soup? French onion soup, or soupe à l'oignon gratinée, is a classic French dish made with caramelized onions and beef stock or broth. The soup is topped with bread and cheese, then gratinéed to rich, gooey perfection. It's traditionally served in a ramekin or a ceramic crock with a handle.

Why do you put baking soda in French onion soup? ›

The caramelized onions for this soup cook more quickly due to a pinch of baking soda but still have that deep, slow-cooked flavor. Topping the soup with hot, cheesy toasts prepared while the soup simmers, eliminates the need to bake the soup in specialty French onion soup bowls.

Why is my French onion soup sour? ›

It might be because of the stock or that you used onions that has sour flavor such as white onions.

How do you make French onion soup less sweet? ›

If the soup is too sweet, add some vinegar. If you would like a little more depth, add a splash of red wine. I like the onion-to-liquid ratio with 6 cups of water. But if you'd prefer a slightly more delicate soup, add an additional 1 cup/240 milliliters water or to taste.

Do they actually eat French onion soup in France? ›

The Onion Soup, a traditional and warming dish

It has even become a trendy dish that tourists are eager to try to experience French gastronomy. However, onion soup is in fact not part of French people's daily meals. It was originally meant to be eaten after a family reunion in the middle of the night to cure hangovers…

Is French onion soup good for your gut? ›

Onions are a great source of soluble fibre and therefore a good prebiotic; food for the good gut bacteria. Optimal gut health is crucial for weight loss and this delicious soup provides great nutrients to help boost weight loss as part of a weight management programme.

What is a fun fact about French onion soup? ›

It is said that it was invented by none other than King Louis XV late one night at his hunting lodge when he was very hungry. When he only found onions, butter, and champagne in the pantry, he decided to use the three ingredients to make the French onion soup for the very first time.

How do you thicken French onion soup? ›

The easiest way to thicken your French onion soup is with flour. You can also use cornstarch if you don't have any flour. Remember to never add the flour or cornstarch directly to the soup – otherwise you run the risk of it clumping.

What dinner goes with French onion soup? ›

What to Serve with French Onion Soup
  • Pan Seared Shrimp.
  • The Best Dinner Rolls.
  • Maple Bacon Carrots.
  • Garlic Parmesan duch*ess Potatoes.
  • Baked Bruschetta Chicken.
  • Caramelized Onion Pasta.
  • Sauteed Garlic Broccolini.
  • Perfect Baked Potatoes.
Jan 16, 2024

Does Campbell's French onion soup have onions in it? ›

Campbell's® Condensed French Onion Soup is our rich combination of quality beef stock bursting with melt-in-your-mouth onions.

Why do you put lemon juice in soup? ›

In this case, however, the lemon provides more of a flavor undertone that enhances other seasonings like thyme, parsley, and turmeric. According to trained chef Leetal Arazi, who spoke with Real Simple, you can bring a "zesty flavor" to your soup simply by adding lemon.

Is it OK to put baking soda in soup? ›

The ingredient helps vegetables break down, creating the smoothest possible texture.

Can you use chicken broth instead of beef broth for French onion soup? ›

If you can't get good quality beef broth, use chicken or vegetable instead. I find that the quality of those by mainstream brands is much better than the beef stock. The beef is fine to use in things like gravy and stews, but not when it's a key ingredient like in this recipe.

How do you doctor up canned French onion soup? ›

Infusing the soup with a richer taste is as easy as quickly sauteing crushed garlic before pouring the soup in. Some soft, buttery garlic sauteed in earthy olive oil is the perfect addition to enrich canned French onion soup.

How do you get the depth of flavor in vegetable soup? ›

You could add red pepper chili flakes, cayenne, Herbs de Provence or curry powder for more flavors. The caramelized onions add a lot of depth to the soup but you could also add in tomato paste or even miso or soy sauce.

How do you get the depth of Flavour in vegetable soup? ›

A squeeze of citrus, a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of cream, a dusting of cheese or a good chile powder, a sprinkling of some herbs or croutons — all can take a perfectly fine soup into the realm of the delectable. Even a spiral of good olive oil to finish and some coarse sea salt can do wonders.

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