Best French Onion Soup We’ve Made

This is the most delicious homemade French onion soup we’ve ever made. It’s easy, too. Thanks to the perfect broth, caramelized onions, garlic-rubbed bread, and melted cheese, it’s pure comfort food.

Watch the Video

French Onion Soup Recipe Video

French onion soup is easier than you might think to make at home. Trust me. All you need are a few tips and a surprisingly short list of ingredients.

If there’s one thing to take away from this onion soup recipe, it’s how we cook the onions. Stirring them often is the key. Watch our video to see how we do it, or see our photos below!

Key Ingredients

  • Onions: Yellow onions are the best onions for French onion soup. We have made this soup with sweet onions and found it a little too sweet for our tastes. A combination of yellow onions and sweet onions would be interesting. Red onions are spicier than yellow onions and will change the color of your soup. White onions are more mild and sweet, making them a good alternative.
  • Broth: You can use chicken broth or beef broth to make French onion soup. We’ve tried all combinations (including using half chicken and half beef broth) and have loved them all. Beef broth is a bit more savory, while chicken is lighter on its feet. Here’s our recipes for chicken broth and beef stock. If you use store-bought broth, we’ve found chicken broth is a bit more forgiving, while store-bought beef broth usually lacks flavor and tastes salty.
  • Wine: For flavorful, classic French onion soup, use wine. We use dry white wine and sweet vermouth, an aromatic fortified wine. We highly recommend using both, although substitutions are provided below. Also, if you want to make French onion soup without wine, see the tips section in the recipe.
  • Bread: I use toasted slices of French baguette rubbed with a bit of fresh garlic to make them extra delicious before adding them to my soup. It’s the best!
  • Cheese: The best cheese for French onion soup is Gruyère. It melts beautifully and tastes earthy and nutty, which works nicely with the savory soup base. If you cannot find Gruyère, substitute it with parmesan cheese, Swiss cheese, fontina, or mozzarella.

How to Make French Onion Soup

To cook onions for French onion soup, you will need to slice a lot of them (by a lot, we need 6 to 7 medium onions for a soup that serves four). I do this by hand. I peel them, cut them in half, and thinly slice them into half moons. To speed this up, you can use the slicing disk of a food processor or mandoline slicer.

How to make French onion soup steo 1 - Cooking onions for french onion soup

Now, you’ll cook the onions in butter (yum) with the lid ON for about 12 minutes. This step softens the onions and helps them to release some liquid.

How to make French onion soup step 2 - sweating the onions in the pan with butter

Cook the onions uncovered over medium heat, stirring often, until they look golden and caramelized. This step takes me somewhere between 40 and 50 minutes. Do you see why we started with so many onions? They cook down a lot!

How to make French onion soup step 3 - what golden brown caramelized onions look like

Focus on the onions, and you’re 99% there to some of the best French onion soup you’ve had. Now we have our onions, it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients. You will deglaze the pot with the wine, and then stir in the broth, fresh thyme, and some salt. You’ll let the soup steep like tea for a few minutes, and it’s ready.

Homemade Classic French onion soup with cheese melted on top

How to Serve French Onion Soup

While our soup sits, we can toast bread slices and then rub them with fresh garlic. This trick came from Chef Richard, and I honestly don’t know if I could ever enjoy a bowl of French onion soup without garlic-rubbed bread again. It’s so good.

Dipping bread into the soup

Before filling our soup bowls, briefly dunk the bread slices in the soup. Dunking the bread in the soup before adding it to your bowl allows the bread to absorb some of the soup, so that it doesn’t steal all the broth from your bowl when you eat it. So smart!

Finally, you’ll add the bread and soup to oven-safe bowls and top with cheese. Broil until bubbly, and you are ready to dig in!

Best Homemade French Onion Soup

And there you have it, the most delicious homemade French onion soup we’ve ever made. I genuinely hope that you try it! To make this a full meal, serve French onion soup with your favorite salad. We love this balsamic strawberry salad with lettuce and cucumber.

This easy French onion soup recipe is part of our chef series, where we share recipes from our friend and renowned chef, Richard Hattaway. He knocked this one out of the park!

Best French Onion Soup We've Made

  • PREP
  • COOK

This recipe makes the best French onion soup we’ve ever made at home, and to be honest, it knocks the socks off most that we’ve had at restaurants, too. Take care to caramelize your onions, as that’s where the rich onion flavor comes from.

Serves 4

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

3 ½ pounds (1590g) yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (6 to 7 medium)

4 tablespoons (57g) European-style salted butter, like Kerrygold, plus more for bread

1/4 cup (2 ounces) sweet vermouth, sherry, or brandy

1/4 cup (2 ounces) dry white wine or Lillet Blanc; see notes

4 to 5 cups (950ml to 1180ml) chicken broth or beef stock, see tips

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

1 French baguette or rustic loaf, sliced into 1/2-inch slices, 12 slices

2 cloves garlic

1 cup (114g) grated Gruyere cheese, 4 ounces


  • Make Soup
  • 1Melt the butter in a wide pot over medium heat — use a heavy-bottomed or stainless steel pot like a Dutch oven or rondeau.

    2Stir in the onions, and then cover with a lid. Cook, over medium heat, until the onions look translucent, 12 to 15 minutes.

    3Uncover the pot, and continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally and scraping up any stuck browned bits from the bottom and sides. The onions take 45 to 60 minutes to caramelize. Keep a close eye on them. When you notice they begin to brown, stir them more often to keep them from burning.

    4When the onions are golden and smell caramelized, stir in the vermouth and white wine. Cook, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, for about 2 minutes. Continue to the next step when you no longer smell strong alcohol and instead smell sweet onions with the aromas of the vermouth and wine.

    5Stir in the broth, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover the pot with its lid and bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and then season with additional salt if needed. While Chef Richard suggests 4 cups of broth, we enjoy a bit more liquid and use 5 cups of broth, instead.

    6Turn off the heat, and allow the soup to steep (covered) while you prepare the bread.

  • To Serve
  • 1Set aside four oven-safe soup bowls (we use cocottes from Le Creuset).

    2Heat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Butter the bread slices, and then line them up on a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

    3Rub the toasted bread with the garlic cloves, and then quickly dunk the bread into the soup. Dunking the bread first helps to prevent the bread from soaking up all the broth in your bowl when serving.

    4Place oven-safe bowls onto a large baking sheet (to help move them in and out of the oven). Place one slice into the bottom of each oven-safe soup bowl and sprinkle a little Gruyere cheese on top. Ladle soup into the bowls and top with two more slices of bread. Top with remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Onions: I use yellow onions, but if you try sweet onions (like Vidalia or Walla Walla), we have noticed that they brown more quickly than yellow onions, so be careful to keep close when the onions are caramelizing so that they do not burn.
  • Broth: Use homemade chicken broth or homemade beef stock, or substitute it with store-bought chicken broth. Unfortunately, we do not recommend store-bought beef broth since we’ve yet to find one we enjoy (I find them more salty than flavorful).
  • Alcohol: We use sweet vermouth (Dolin) and Lillet Blanc. You can substitute sweet vermouth with sherry (not sherry cooking wine) or brandy. Lillet Blanc is similar to dry white wine but more aromatic. Your favorite dry white wine is fine.
  • Can you make French onion soup without wine? Yes, leave the alcohol out altogether and season to taste with a splash of sherry vinegar and possibly a dash of fish sauce (odd, but it adds a lot of flavor). When deglazing the pan, use broth. You will lose some complexity in the flavor, but the soup will still be tasty.
  • French onion soup bowls: Any oven-safe soup bowl (sometimes called crocks) will work for this recipe. Handles do help when transferring them in and out of the oven. We used mini round cocotte’s from Le Creuset (8 ounces).
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe / Calories 596 / Total Fat 24.2g / Saturated Fat 13.4g / Cholesterol 67.4mg / Sodium 907.8mg / Carbohydrate 64.2g / Dietary Fiber 7.7g / Total Sugars 21.8g / Protein 22.4g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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10 comments… Leave a Review
  • M Pfeiffer January 28, 2024, 9:39 pm

    Omg thank you for sharing this recipe. It is amazing love it so much! Better then most restaurants I’ve been to.

    • Joanne April 12, 2024, 8:27 pm

      Wow, what a compliment! Thank you so much for coming back and letting us know.

  • Jess January 5, 2024, 7:12 pm

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I made this last week using Christian Brothers Brandy and Decoy Sauvignon Blanc. What an absolute game changer the alcohol makes! I used Boars Head Gruyere (was the only kind I could find at Jewel) and rubbed the baked French baguette with garlic. I am in absolute LOVE with this recipe and will forever appreciate your kindness in sharing your version. Muah! Perfect! 💞

    • Adam January 6, 2024, 5:58 pm

      Wonderful! Thank you so much for coming back to let us know you loved it 🙂

  • Andrea Grappone November 14, 2023, 4:57 pm

    This was the best onion soup recipe I’ve ever made. Caramelizing the onions, although it takes some time, is totally worth it.. I love the addition of sweet vermouth, really brought the flavors together. The garlic toasted bread was an excellent touch. My boyfriend couldn’t get enough! Note: I used homemade beef broth.

    • Adam November 14, 2023, 5:02 pm

      Hi Andrea, We are so happy that you gave this recipe a try. It really is one of our favorites. We are also impressed that you used homemade beef broth. I bet it made the soup incredible 🙂

  • Rina October 29, 2023, 5:24 pm

    This was so good. I use to make Martha Stewart’s recipe and it was good but this is better. I used veggie broth, it’s all I ever use in recipes, and it was great. I used a mix of cheese that I had on hand, Swiss and fontina. So easy and so good.

    • Adam October 30, 2023, 12:21 pm

      Wonderful! Veggie broth for this would be delicious. We are thrilled that you loved it 🙂

  • Linda April 11, 2023, 12:25 pm

    This is very hard for me to do but I love onion soup

    • Joanne May 17, 2023, 11:25 am

      Hi Linda, We hope that you give the soup a try. It’s fun to make, and not very difficult. Let us know if you have any questions.


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