This Easy French Onion Soup Recipe provides all the rich, sweet flavors and cheesy topping of this beloved soup with simple steps that make the cooking process a breeze. Serve it with thick, crusty bread for a comfort food no one can resist!
Table of Contents
- Fabulous French Onion Soup
- What’s the Difference Between Onion Soup and French Onion Soup?
- Is French Onion Soup Really French?
- Simple Ingredients You Need
- How to Make This Easy French Onion Soup Recipe
- Serving Suggestions
- How to Store and Reheat
- Common Questions About This Easy French Onion Soup Recipe
- More Cozy Soup Recipes
- Easy French Onion Soup Recipe Recipe
Fabulous French Onion Soup
Simple yet oh-so flavorful, French onion soup is a classic comfort food recipe that can be found in kitchens and restaurants across the country. Sweet, savory, and cheesy, it has everything you need to satisfy all your cravings.
Topped with thick, crusty bread, and it’s an explosion of tastes and textures that leaves us drooling. We love this soup so much, we have to order it whenever we see it on a menu.
So, naturally, we had to make our own recipe at home, the easy way, of course! This easy French onion soup recipe is:
- Made with simple ingredients.
- Great to prepare ahead of time.
- Guaranteed to please a crowd.
- An excellent side dish, appetizer, or main course.
What’s the Difference Between Onion Soup and French Onion Soup?
We can see how onion soup and French onion soup could easily be mistaken for the same things. However, there are a few distinct differences that set the two apart.
- Origins: French onion soup is a specific dish believed to have originated in France whereas onion soup is a general term that can encompass a wide variety of recipes from any cuisine.
- Broth: French onion soup is made with a rich, beef broth. Onion soup can use beef broth, chicken broth, or vegetable broth, depending on the recipe.
- Toppings: A key component of French onion soup recipes is the cheese and bread topping. However, onion soup does not require the same finishing touch.
Is French Onion Soup Really French?
The origins of French onion soup can be traced back to the 17th century. Some believe the dish was created by King Louis XV while rummaging through his hunting lodge late at night in an attempt to find something to eat.
According to the legend, he found onions, butter, and champagne and cooked them together to create the very first French onion soup.
However, a second theory is that the Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leszczynski, tasted the soup while dining at an inn and enjoyed it so much he refused to leave until he was given the recipe. According to this version of history, the recipe was later popularized by the Duke at the Palace of Versailles.
No matter the origins, it is confirmed that French onion soup truly took off during the 19th century as it was sold in Les Halles, the biggest open-air market in Paris.
Simple Ingredients You Need
For our easy French onion soup recipe, we use just a handful of ingredients to create the sweet, savory, umami flavors we all love. Here’s what you need:
- Onions – You can’t have French onion soup without onions! We recommend using yellow onions as they have a sweeter flavor, but white onions can be used, too.
- Butter – Unsalted butter helps caramelize the onions, adding a rich base. If you prefer to use salted butter, just be sure to adjust the amount of extra salt included so as not to overpower the dish.
- Olive Oil – Combined with the butter, this helps sautée the ingredients, enhancing their flavor.
- Garlic – Fresh, whole cloves work best.
- Broth – We use a combination of beef and vegetable broth. Look for low-sodium varieties for the best results.
- Bay Leaf – Adds a subtle herbaceous taste, deepening the flavor of the soup.
- Sugar – Just a pinch helps sweeten the broth.
- Salt and Black Pepper – Use as little or as much as you like.
- Bread – We recommend using a baguette or French bread, but any, thick crusty variety can be used.
- Cheese – Gruyère or Swiss cheese is sprinkled on top to create the classic “shell”. Use freshly grated cheese for the best texture and taste.
How to Make This Easy French Onion Soup Recipe
This soup isn’t the fastest recipe you’ll ever make, but it is incredibly easy and requires very little hovering.
- Caramelize the Onions. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large pot or Dutch oven, and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and fragrant.
- Add the Remaining Ingredients. Add the garlic, and cook just until fragrant. Stir in the broth, bay leaf, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and let it cook.
- Prepare the Bread. In the meantime, arrange your sliced pieces of bread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast them under the broiler until they’re golden and crispy. Be careful not to let them burn!
- Serve. Divide the soup into oven-safe bowls, and top each serving with a few slices of the toasted bread. Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on top, forming a seal. Then, place the bowls back on the baking sheet, and let them broil just until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Enjoy warm!
This easy French onion soup recipe can be served as a satisfying side dish or appetizer and also works fabulously as a meatless main course! However, you serve it, it pairs well with a wide variety of options such as:
- Turkey Caprese Sandwich
- Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
- Cobb Salad
- Oven Roasted Parmesan Brussel Sprouts
How to Store and Reheat
This soup is best enjoyed right away while it’s still warm. However, if you want to prepare it in advance, it can be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Just be sure to omit the bread and cheese topping until just before serving. Otherwise, it will turn soggy!
- To Store: Once cooled, leftover soup can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to three to four days.
To Freeze: For a longer-lasting option, transfer the soup to a freezer-safe container, and keep it frozen for up to three months.
- To Reheat: To enjoy, allow your leftovers to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, add your bread and cheese topping, and warm individual portions in the oven just until heated through.
Common Questions About This Easy French Onion Soup Recipe
White, red, or yellow onions can be used to make this recipe. However, classic versions call for yellow onions as they yield the sweetest taste.
We find that the best substitute for Gruyère cheese is freshly shredded Swiss cheese. After all, Gruyère is a type of Swiss cheese! However, Comté or Provolone can be used, too.
If you want a richer, almost smokey taste, try adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce to the broth.
More Cozy Soup Recipes
If you enjoy this easy French onion soup recipe, you won’t want to miss out on more of our favorite soup recipes below!
Easy French Onion Soup Recipe
- 5 large onions thinly sliced
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Baguette or French bread sliced
- Gruyère or Swiss cheese grated
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes or until caramelized and golden brown.
- Add the minced garlic to the pot, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the beef broth, vegetable broth, bay leaf, sugar, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir well to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer, and let it cook for about 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
- While the soup is simmering, preheat the broiler. Arrange the slices of baguette or French bread on a baking sheet, and toast them under the broiler until they become golden and crispy. Set aside.
- Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks. Top each bowl with a few slices of the toasted bread, arranging them to cover the surface of the soup.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese over the bread slices, ensuring it covers the edges to form a seal.
- Place the bowls on a baking sheet and transfer them to the oven under the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and starts to turn golden brown.
- Carefully remove the bowls from the oven (remember they will be hot!). Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.