French Onion Soup

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Special thanks to Danish Creamery for making delicious, high-quality butter and for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

This French Onion Soup combines perfectly caramelized onions in a rich broth. Finish the soup with croutons that have been topped with melted cheese.

Overhead image of the French Onion Soup

The Secret To The Best French Onion Soup

This recipe originated about 10 years ago after a challenge from my dad to make the best French Onion Soup Recipe. Determined to blow him away, I made this highly rated recipe. And my dad deemed it the best he’d ever had!

After trying it that day, it became a recipe I made frequently. Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to end up with the very versionI’m sharing with you today. 

While most traditional French onion soups use beef stock, the “secret” to this soup is the combination of beef consommé, chicken stock, and a touch of apple cider for sweetness and a touch of flavor complexity (thanks for that idea Alton!).

QUICK TIP

What is beef consommé? “Consommé” is translated from French as “concentrated” or “completed” so a beef consommé is a stronger, more concentrated stock.

Overhead image of the butter used in this dish

Danish Creamery Butter 

I’ve shared quite a bit about my personal favorite — Danish Creamery Butter– in previous recipe posts, but below is a quick re-cap.

  • Since 1895, the recipe for Danish Creamery Butter hasn’t changed: highquality cream and a touch of sea salt. 
  • Danish Creamery’s Butter is a dream for baking applications, sauces, or just for your morning toast! And it’s the ultimate base for this French Onion Soup!

Process shots of the French onion soup-- images of the butter and onions being added and it all being cooked together

French Onion Soup FAQs

1What Is French Onion Soup?

French Onion Soup is a type of soup with caramelized onions and usually a meat stock. It’s often served with croutons and cheese or a large piece of bread covered with melted cheese on top.

2What Is The Difference Between Onion Soup And French Onion Soup?

French onion soup almost always calls for a beef stock or broth while English onion soup can be made with chicken, vegetable, or beef stock. Both versions typically include herbs. (Thyme is usually the most common for French onion, while sage is more common for English onion soup.)

3What Kind Of Cheese Is In French Onion Soup?

It varies from recipe to recipe, but hands down, our favorite is Gruyere. Typically Gruyere and Parmesan are the classics you’ll find topping the soup. 

If you’d like, use a combination of cheeses. The restaurant I used to work at combined goat cheese. 

If you prefer, try one of the following (or a combination of a couple) below:

  • Gouda
  • Provolone
  • Fontina
  • Mozzarella
  • Swiss
  • Monterey Jack

4Do I Need Oven-Safe Crocks?

No! You can still make and enjoy this French Onion Soup without oven-safe bowls. Simply ladle the soup into bowls and then prepare the cheesy croutons separately in the oven. Scoop a cheesy crouton on the soup and enjoy!

5How Bad Is French Onion Soup For You?

While it may seem like an onion-packed and broth based soup is more healthy than a creamy soup, this particular recipe is a bit more indulgent thanks to the cheesy bread topping.

There is also a good amount of sodium to look out for if that is a concern for you.

6What Are The Best Onions For French Onion Soup?

We like Vidalia (sweet) onions best, but have also tested with yellow onions and the results are very similar.

If there is an extra red onion hanging around, throw it in with the sweet onions!

Process shots-- images of the salt, apple cider, and flour being added and it all being cooked together

French Onion Soup Recipe Tips

  • Don’t cut the onions too thin. Cut each onion in half lengthwise then slice into half moons that are about 1/4th an inch thick. If onions are sliced too thinly, they’ll disintegrate.
  • Line the pan. Before adding the cheesy-crouton topped bowls to the broiler, place them on a parchment-paper-lined pan. This way, if any cheese runs down, it won’t be stuck on your pan!
  • Use real apple cider. Since apple cider isn’t a common ingredient used in soup recipes, it would be easy to go on autopilot and assume the recipe is calling for apple cider vinegar, but vinegar will ruin the soup. If cider isn’t available, 100% apple juice would work in a pinch.
  • Leave plenty of time. The onions take a good amount of time to fully caramelize, so plan ahead so you aren’t rushed!

Process shots of French onion soup-- images of the herbs, stock, and consommé being added and it all simmering together

Soup Topping

Once the soup is ready to go, you can finish it by broiling it in the oven with the croutons and cheese or simply add an already broiled cheesy crouton on top.

  • Oven-safe bowls: If broiling the individual bowls, be sure to use oven-safe bowls/crocks (Pyrex can shatter when broiled). Toast the bread first and then place the toasted side down facing the soup. Top with cheese and broil.
  • No oven-safe bowls: If you don’t have oven-safe bowls/crocks, make cheesy toasts and then add to the soup. First toast the bread in the oven then flip it on the other side, add cheese, and broil until melted. Use a metal spatula to transfer from tray to soup and enjoy!
  • Fresh herbs: Herbs really take this French onion soup recipe to the next level and help to cut through the richness of it all. We love a few sprigs of fresh thyme on top!

Process shots-- images of the bread, cheese, and soup being added on top of the French onion soup

What To Serve With French Onion Soup

Overhead image of the dish ready to be eaten

STORAGE

French Onion Soup Recipe Storage

  • Store the fresh onion soup soup (without the cheesy croutons) in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days (depending on how fresh the chicken stock used is).
  • Reheat by transferring soup to a pot and heating on the stovetop. You will likely need to add an extra splash of chicken stock to leftovers. Make the cheesy croutons fresh to top the soup with.
  • Freezing: Freeze completely cooled leftover soup (minus the croutons) in airtight bags (leaving space for expansion) for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge; then heat through on the stovetop, adding extra stock as needed. Make the cheesy croutons fresh.

Overhead image of the French onion soup in bowls ready to be eaten

More Delicious Soup Recipes

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French Onion Soup

5 from 3 votes
This French Onion Soup combines perfectly caramelized onions in a rich broth. Finish the soup with croutons that have been topped with melted cheese.
Print Recipe

French Onion Soup

5 from 3 votes
This French Onion Soup combines perfectly caramelized onions in a rich broth. Finish the soup with croutons that have been topped with melted cheese.
Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine French
Keyword French Onion Soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 485kcal
Cost $10.75

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds sweet onions (Vidalia) or a combination of sweet onions & red onions
  • 7 tablespoons Danish Creamery European Style Butter
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 3/4 cup (207g) apple cider (NOT apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons white flour
  • 2 cans (10.5 oz each) beef consomme
  • 4 cups good quality chicken stock
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 loaf country style bread or French bread
  • 1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese

Instructions

  • BUTTER AND ONIONS: Melt butter in a large (5.5-quart or greater) heavy cast iron pot over medium heat. Once melted, add onions and stir to coat in butter. Turn heat down to medium low. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the onions have softened and are semi transparent.
  • ONIONS, CONTINUED: Add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and increase heat to medium high. Cook for another 20-30 minutes, stirring more regularly, until onions are deep golden and sweet.
  • DEGLAZE: Add apple cider and scrape the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until mostly evaporated into the onions. Sprinkle flour on the onions and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  • SIMMER: Add in the chicken stock, both cans of beef consommé, thyme, bay leaves, and parsley. Stir. Bring to a gentle simmer and then cover and simmer for 20-25  minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove herbs and discard.
  • (OVEN-SAFE BOWLS) BROIL: Cut bread to fit on top of the bowls. Place the oven rack in the top 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to a high broil. Set out bread slices on a lined sheet pan and broil one side of bread until toasted and lightly golden, about 30 seconds to a minute, and then remove. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks leaving about an inch of space at the top. Place bowls on the same sheet pan used for the bread. Add bread, toasted side down, on top of the bowls and then top the bread with grated cheese (about 2-3 tablespoons per bowl). Broil, watching very closely, until the cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes. Remove, garnish with fresh thyme if desired and enjoy immediately.
  • (NO OVEN-SAFE BOWLS) CHEESY BREAD TOPPING: Place oven rack in the top 1/3 of oven. Preheat the oven to a high broil. Set out bread slices on a sheet pan and broil one side of bread until toasted and lightly golden, about 30 seconds to a minute. Then remove and sprinkle on cheese (about 2-3 tablespoons per piece of bread). Return to the oven and broil, watching very closely, until the cheese is melted, about 1-2 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls leaving about an inch of space at the top. Use a metal spatula to transfer cheesy bread on top of the soup bowls. Garnish with fresh thyme if desired and enjoy immediately.

Video

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.8g | Protein: 21.2g | Fat: 23.2g | Cholesterol: 64.6mg | Sodium: 1055.7mg | Fiber: 5.8g | Sugar: 16.6g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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4 Comments

  1. This recipe looks like it could be improved with a spoon full of “Herbs de Provence” of Southern France!!!

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