Tony and I had one of the best french onion soups at a hotel in Cancun a few years ago. I wasn’t expecting it to be so delicious, but the caramelized onions, juicy umami flavors, savory broth, and crispy-yet-slightly-soaked bread sent me into a straight food coma of delight.
After that, we decided that french onion soup would forever be one of our favorites, and truth be told, we’ve been craving a good homemade version ever since.
A few weeks ago, I decided it was finally time to attempt a homemade, classic french onion soup that would rival the one I had in Mexico.
Admittedly, after slicing 5 juicy onions, my eyes were tearing up and burning, but the result was worth it. The onions caramelized until they were a dark amber brown and my house smelled like a French restaurant. Oui, oui!
Many have told me to chew gum while slicing onions to prevent tearing up. I still haven’t tried it, but plan on the next time I make this recipe. If you have any other tips to prevent onion tears, let me know in the comment below.
How do you make classic french onion soup? Let’s chat ingredients:
Using white or yellow onions. They add a nice sweetness to the soup. Don’t worry a mix of onions also work.
Flour. A little flour will help to thicken the soup. You can feel free to use a gluten free flour.
Dry white wine. This helps to deglaze the pan and add a boost of flavor.
Good quality beef broth. You can also use a mix of beef and chicken broth. Homemade beef broth would help enhance the flavor even more, but let’s be honest, not many of us have time to make homemade beef broth, so store-bought works well.
Fresh thyme: Always go with fresh over dried.
Worcestershire sauce. The flavors in worcestershire sauce are a mix of vinegar, garlic, chile, molasses, etc. A tablespoon goes along way to help bring out the umami flavors. I’m in love.
Bread + gruyere cheese: Toasted baguette slices are dunked in the soup and then topped with sharp gruyere cheese. I call it magic!
Finally, there are two options to ensure success with this recipe:
Option 1: You can simply add the cheese to the baguette slices and then top with cheese. Broil until melted and then add to soup. Enjoy! This version is best if you don’t have mini oven-safe crocks.
Option 2: Add soup to crocks (these are the ones I use), top with your toasted baguette slice, add cheese and broil until cheese melts.
Whatever you do, it’s going to be amazing! I can’t wait for you to make this delicious recipe. Christmas, anyone?!
See how to make the classic french onion soup:
Classic French Onion Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (or gluten free flour)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ cup dry white wine (or beef broth), for deglazing the pan
- 7-8 cups beef broth, depending on how brothy you like your french onion soup (can also use bone broth)*
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon worcheshire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- For the baguettes
- 1 demi french baguette, cut into 1 inch thick slices
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Garlic powder
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, thickly shredded
Melt the olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add in the onions and salt and stir to coat the onions with the butter. Cook onions, stirring occasionally; check onions every 10-15 minutes until they have completely caramelized and turned golden in color. This usually takes 30-40 minutes total. If the onions appear to be getting too dark or sticking too much to the bottom of the pan, then simply reduce the heat a bit.
After onions have completely caramelized, add in flour and minced garlic, stir to coat onions and cook for 2 more minutes.
Deglaze the pan with about ½ cup very dry white white or beef broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Slowly add in beef broth, thyme, freshly ground black pepper, worcheshire sauce and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes remove the bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary, such as adding more salt and pepper.
About 10 minutes before the soup is done, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the baguette slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, brush one side of toasts with butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder and toast in the oven for 5 minutes per side until golden on the edges. Remove from oven.
At this point you have two options on how to finish the soup:
OPTION 1: Add shredded cheese on top of one side of the toasted baguettes and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes longer until cheese is melted. Ladle soup into bowls. Add a slice or two of your cheesy baguette on top. Serve soup immediately. Sometimes I add a little extra shredded cheese on top of the soup.
OPTION 2: You make the soup the traditional way placing oven-safe bowls/crocks on a baking sheet and ladling soup into the bowls. Top each with a toasted baguette. Sprinkle each bowl with about 1/3 cup shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Make sure you are watching very carefully! Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings
Recipe by: Monique of Ambitious Kitchen // Photography by: Sasha of Eat Love Eat