Get ready to conquer the kitchen with this Easy French Onion Soup Recipe! It delivers all the richness and sweetness — and that irresistible cheesy topping — that makes this soup a classic favorite. The simple steps make the entire cooking process a breeze, ensuring that you can whip up a bowl of comfort in no time.

Don’t forget to serve it with thick, crusty bread—the perfect pairing to elevate this dish to a level of irresistible goodness that’s impossible to resist!

Overhead image of a bowl of easy French onion soup topped with toasted bread.

Fabulous French Onion Soup 

French onion soup is a timeless classic that has secured its place in kitchens and restaurants far and wide. Simplicity meets a symphony of flavors in this comfort food masterpiece. The sweetness of caramelized onions, the savory richness of the broth, and that glorious cheesy topping create a culinary trifecta.

Add that thick, crusty bread, and it’s a drool-worthy experience that satisfies all your cravings in one delightful bowl. We order it at every restaurant we can.

So, naturally, we had to make our own recipe at home, but simplified, 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. 

A spoon scooping up a bite of easy French onion soup.

Simple Ingredients You Need

In crafting our easy French onion soup recipe, simplicity takes the stage with just a handful of carefully selected ingredients. It’s the magic of a few key players that work together to create the sweet, savory, and umami flavors we all adore. 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

While this French onion soup may not be the fastest recipe in your repertoire, it more than makes up for it with its incredible ease and minimal need to hover. Let it simmer away, allowing the flavors to meld and the onions to caramelize to perfection. Easy, hands-off, and oh-so-rewarding!

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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! 
  4. 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! 
Oven-Safe Bowls
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03/13/2024 10:29 am GMT
A spoon dipping into a bowl of easy French onion soup with a bread and cheese topping.

Serving Suggestions

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: 

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

What kind of onions are best for French onion soup? 

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. 

What can I substitute for Gruyère cheese? 

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. 

How do I deepen the flavor of this soup? 

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! 

An image of the top of a bowl of easy French onion soup.

Easy French Onion Soup Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 5 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 12 minutes
Total: 1 hour 17 minutes
Prepare this easy French onion soup recipe for a warming comfort food recipe that tastes as if it came from a fancy restaurant!

Ingredients  

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 large onions thinly sliced
  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.
    4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 5 large onions
  • Add the minced garlic to the pot, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
    2 cloves garlic
  • 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.
    4 cups beef broth, 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon sugar, Salt to taste, Black pepper to taste
  • 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.
    Baguette or French bread
  • 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.
    Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 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.

Equipment

Notes

To Store: Prepare the soup as listed above, leaving off the bread and cheese topping. Once cooled, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to three to four days or in the freezer for up to three months. 
To Reheat: Let leftovers thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, prepare the bread and cheese topping, and warm individual bowls in the oven. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 1177mg | Potassium: 281mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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