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.
Looking for more delicious soup recipes?
Enter your email to get one of our BEST soup recipes straight to your inbox each day for 10 days. Totally FREE!
Ingredients in this classic french onion soup
- Onions: you’ll want to use white or yellow onion to 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.
- Beef broth: I recommend a good quality beef broth for the best flavor. You can also use a mix of beef and chicken stock. 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 a long way to help bring out the umami flavors. I’m in love.
- For topping: like all classic french onion soup recipes, you’ll dunk baguette slices in the soup and then top them with sharp gruyere cheese. I call it magic!
Can I skip the wine?
Sure! Feel free to simply use extra beef broth to deglaze the pan.
The key: caramelized onions
We can all agree that caramelized onions are the best things ever, right? Right. They’re easier to make than you think! Here’s how to do it:
- In a large pot add in ½ tablespoon olive oil or butter, sliced onions and salt and pepper and place it over medium heat; stir to coat.
- Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, and check them every 5-10 minutes until they have completely caramelized and turned golden brown.
- 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. You can also add a teaspoon or two of water.
How to make french onion soup
- Caramelize your onions. Start by caramelizing your onions, then stir in flour and garlic.
- Assemble the soup. Deglaze the soup with white wine, scraping up all of the brown bits, then add in the beef broth, thyme, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered.
- Season to taste. After simmering for about 30 minutes remove the bay leaf and taste the soup and add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
- Toast your baguette. Slice your baguette and top each slice with butter and garlic powder. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes per side until they’re nice and golden.
- Top your soup & serve. You have two ways to finish your soup with cheesy bread on top. See below!
Two ways to finish the soup
- 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 heat the soup under the broiler until cheese melts.
Storing & freezing tips
- To store: store any leftover french onion soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days without the baguette on top. Reheat in the microwave and then top with cheesy baguette as instructed.
- To freeze: let the soup cool completely, then add it to freezer-friendly meal prep containers and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw the soup in the fridge and then reheat it in the microwave. Top with a cheesy baguette and enjoy!
More soup recipes you’ll love
- The Best Minestrone Soup
- Roasted Garlic Cheddar Cauliflower Soup
- Slow Cooker White Wine Chicken Stew
- Healing Ginger Coconut Chicken Brown Rice Soup
- Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Get all of my soup recipes here!
I hope you love this french onion soup recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Classic French Onion Soup
An incredible, classic french onion soup made with delicious caramelized onions, fresh herbs, and a flavorful broth. Top this wonderful french onion soup with gruyere cheese and a toasted slice of garlic french bread. You'll make this one again and again!
- 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
*Feel free to use a mix of chicken broth and beef broth if you'd like.
See the full post for tips, tricks & freezing instructions!
Recipe by: Monique of Ambitious Kitchen // Photography by: Sasha of Eat Love Eats
Would love to see a vegetarian option
Did mine with vegetable broth and it turned out delicious.
Reduce tearing while cutting onions…wear glasses or better yet goggles. Have near a bowl big enough to hold cut onions and a damp cloth or paper towel. After cutting a small portion of onions, drop in the bowl and immediately place damp cloth/paper towel over bowl top…repeat till all cut onion is in the bowl. Keep the cut onions covered till ready to use. I believe the tearing is caused by the onion fumes so my efforts are to keep the fumes out of my eyes! Hope this is useful!
Very helpful – thanks Ria!
I can’t find any good quality Crocks that are broiler safe. Can you tell me where you got yours?
These are great!
I discovered a few years ago that if I don’t lean directly over the onions, as is my normal stance when I chop, slice, and mince, I can control/manage the burning and tearing that onions cause.
It was an “Aha” moment when I recognized that if I leaned left or right from center, the burning was virtually eliminated (actually more like a “Duh” moment after thought).
~can’t wait to try this fabulous French onion soup recipe
I’ll have to try that next time! Hope you love this one 🙂
Came across this on good ole Pinterest and can’t wait to try it! (Mouth watering!) And enjoying your site. Thanks for sharing!
My tips for onion slicing: I read somewhere that it’s the asidity of the onion competing with your own pH. Tip one be hydrated, drink water. Two, cut the top first then the root, peel the outer layer and rince in cold water, then slice. This is what I do and I haven’t cried for an onion in years! 🙂
Hope you love it! And thank you for the tips 🙂 great ideas!
A real razor sharp knife will go long way to stopping the tears. A blunt knife crushes the onion vessels and instead of slicing through them it just squirts the juice into the air and into your eyes.
I usually try to use a sharp knife, but maybe I’ll have to sharpen them more 🙂 Thanks for the tips!
Great recipe. My family loved it!! Even the grandkids.
Amazing! I’m glad to hear that 🙂
I made this soup today and it turned out great! Thank you!
I’m so glad!
Many people just wear swimming goggles while slicing onions to prevent tearing up.
That works too!
I am looking forward to trying this recipe after initially browsing your website and falling in love with the tomato and basil soup recipe! A good tip for preventing onion tears is to leave the tap running in the kitchen sink, peel and slice the onions in half under the water and continue to chop the rest on the chopping board. It’s always worked for me 🙂
I’m so glad you found Ambitious Kitchen! Love that soup 🙂 and great tip with the onions. Hope you love this one just as much!
re: onions. easy solution is to simply put them in the freezer for twenty or so minutes before slicing. then they don’t spray onion juice when cut.
i used to run a bar and grill at a golf course serving high volume burgers, so tons of daily onion slicing. we’d put a huge bag of onions in the freezer before prepping. it works like a charm. no goggles needed 🙂
Great tip! I’ll have to try it next time 🙂
This French Onion soup recipe was so easy and delicious. I also love the crock in the picture unfortunately the link about it does not work. Who is the manufacturer of the crock?
So delicious! Easy to make! First time I’ve ever made French Onion soup from Scratch!! Enjoying the first bowl right now!! Highly recommend! Our local grocery store was all out of guyere so we used Jarlsburg cheese instead – it works! Couldn’t recommend this recipe any more if I tried!!
Perfect! So happy to hear that, Bonnie 🙂
My phone won’t let me click the rating stars for some reason, so I’ll do it this way…⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. My wife and I are French onion soup fanatics, but have never tried making our own. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow. I was nervous after adding the beef broth and tasting, but the 1/2 hour simmer really brought out the flavors that we know and love. Thank you for adding another staple homemade meal to our household
Amazing! So happy you both enjoyed!
I had to add beef bouillon, it wasn’t very strong flavored and a ton of extra salt. Definitely wasn’t bad but for as long as it took, I would t make again
First of all I want to let you know, I have enjoyed many of your amazing recipes. However, this French onion soup is often made with the j correct ingredients in the US. I am a French native, in France we use chicken broth not beef. It makes the soup much lighter- it gets it nice brown color from caramélized onions. Try it and let me know what you think.,,
So glad you’re loving the recipes here! And noted – I’ll have to give it a try soon 🙂
This is one of the best soups I have ever eaten! My husband isn’t a soup fan, so I showed him your video of you making it, and he was like “okay yeah that does look good” and I got him to agree to it in our meal prep rotation. Seriously delicious! I was nervous about caramelizing the onions because there were so many it filled my pot to the brim, but slowly and surely they caramelized down. I used all olive oil because I didn’t have butter. I also used smoked gouda because the price of gruyere was higher than usual.
Amazing! So happy to hear that. And smoked gouda sounds great!
5 stars! Not sure why, but I can only ever give 4 stars (using iPhone). 🤷🏻♀️
Besides that the recipe is great! It was easy to make and will likely make again.
Made this today to keep warm from the below 0 temps in STL and it more than hit the spot!! Even my hubby couldn’t stop eating it. Thank you!
So happy to hear that!
Made this for dinner yesterday, just 2 of us, so had it again tonight and it was even more delicious. Enough left for one more meal. This is the best French onion soup I have ever eaten. Today is the last day of winter 2021 so it is fitting our last “winter” meal be amazing. Served with a lovely pinot noir and chunky garlic bread topped with lots of gruyere. Merci!
Amazing! So happy to hear that 🙂
Excellent recipe! Have made twice, both times subbing beef stock instead of the wine. This time, I only had about 3 cups beef stock. So, I added 4 cups chicken broth. I couldn’t taste the difference! I paired it with a baguette, sprinkled in some shredded gruyere and swiss and enjoyed!
So glad that the chicken broth worked and that you loved it, Mallory! 🙂
Delicious & packed with flavor! Will 100% be making again 🙂
Yay!! I’m so glad to hear that 🙂
I will be making this delicious soup as soon as I get the ingredients sorted but meantime want to tell you that when you chop onions do it next to the stove and put the fan on! Tada .. no more tears!!
Thanks for the tip, Janet! Hope you love this soup 🙂
Ive really been craving something warm and hearty and this did the trick. I made it for me and my parents (my mom who is particular and does not like french onion soup) and this is was big hit. Full of flavour and the perfect balance of heartiness. Will be making this again.
This was delicious. I use snorkeling goggles when chopping a lot of onions to prevent tears!
Hahaha love that tip!!
This recipe for Classic French Onion soup looks amazing. Can it be made up to the point of putting it in the oven and freeze? I would like to make a batch of it and have it handy.
That’s a great idea! Yes, absolutely. Hope you love it!
I’ve tried nearly all the defenses against onion tears and happily gave up when I realized the best, most efficient, handy and truly functional method is to don a pair of swimming goggles.
I got these and they rock:
Hahaha thanks for sharing! Love that.
This soup is delicious! I recently was diagnosed with alpha gal which is an allergy to all mammal. I was so upset as this soup was a weekly dinner in my house. I modified so I could still enjoy and it was so good! I eliminated the butter and used all olive oil, chicken stock instead of beef, and vegan cheese. While vegan cheese itself is just not great it’s decent in this soup!
Oh man, sorry to hear that! Glad to hear this worked great with those subs 🥰
This soup was SCRUMPTIOUS!I followed the recipe as written except I didn’t have the fresh thyme. It was my first crack at making French onion soup and I need not look for another recipe. I will be making this again. Definitely company worthy!!
YAY! Happy to hear it came out great and that you’re a fan of this soup ❤️🙂