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French Onion Soup

Classic French onion soup, inspired by Julia Child and tweaked just a tad, with loads of caramelized onions simmered in beef broth and wine and then topped with bread croutons and gooey, melted Gruyère cheese.

French Onion Soup in serving bowls with melted cheese on top.

I've been wanting to try making French onion soup at home for years, and I finally did.  Not sure what took me so long, I order it often when it's on the menu.  I guess I thought it would be too hard or something, but it's not.  Just takes some patience to caramelize the onions properly.

Spoonful of soup with crouton and cheese.

I got out my Julia Child cookbook, studied her recipe, and then I tweaked a bit with some insights from Tyler Florence's version.  Mainly, I swapped out the white wine for red, and added a few more aromatics.  I mean, I'm guessing there's only so many ways to make a good French onion soup.  I never go wrong with Julia.

Soup in bowl out of oven with melted cheese.

Be patient with the onions.  They take a long time to caramelize properly, don't rush the process.  You want a deep, golden brown color and that's going to take at least 45 minutes.

Procees photo collage of caramelizing onions

What kind of cheese is best for French onion soup?

Many consider the melted cheese on top of the soup the best part.  It kind of is.  I toast baguette slices in the oven and then rub them with garlic.  Pop a couple of baquette slices on top of the soup and generously cover with freshly grated Gruyère cheese.

That's the preferred cheese by far and you should be able to easily find it. But if you need a substitute, try emmental, jarlsberg, comté, beaufort or raclette.  I'm kind of wanting to try raclette, myself.

Two photo collage adding bread crouton and cheese before oven.

So your soup is done and assembled in oven proof bowls, all that's needed now is a trip under the broiler.  There is nothing as good as slurping a bowl of French onion soup just out of the oven with all that melted cheese.

But the onion-studded broth underneath is the star ~ sweet, deeply savory, with perfectly rich onion flavor and the right consistency.  This is the soup to make on a cold, weekend day.  Trust me, we had it two days in a row.  Enjoy, Kelly🍴🐦

Close up of French onion soup on spoon with melted cheese.

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French Onion Soup, close up in oven proof bowl with melted cheese.

French Onion Soup

Classic French onion soup with deeply caramelized onions, beef broth and red wine, topped with baguette croutons and Gruyère cheese.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 468kcal


  • pounds (about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions 3-4 large onions, cut end to end, then sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter I use salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 quarts low sodium beef broth, store bought or homemade
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 French baguette, cut into rounds
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half, to rub on toasted bread slices
  • 2 cups grated Gruyére cheese


  • Heat butter and olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed Dutch oven.  Cook onions, garlic, bay leaves and thyme, covered, over medium low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover, raise heat to medium high and add salt and sugar.  Cook, stirring frequently until onions are deep, golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.  (If looking very dry or burning, add a little water to deglaze the bottom of the pan,)
  • Add red wine and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until evaporated and onions are dry, about 5 minutes.  Discard bay leaves and thyme.
  • Sprinkle flour over onions, stir to combine for about 3 minutes to cook off flour taste.
  • Add the beef broth, stir well to combine and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring and skimming occasionally, if needed.
  • Meanwhile, make croutons.  Preheat oven to 325º.  Place bread rounds on baking sheet and bake until crisped and lightly browned, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway and basting with a little olive oil.  When done, rub each piece with cut garlic clove, set aside.
  • Taste onion broth for salt and pepper.  To serve, ladle warm soup into oven proof bowls, top with 2 croutons and a generous amount of grated Gruyère cheese.  Place under broiler to melt and lightly brown.  Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Gruyere is the preferred cheese by far and you should be able to easily find it. But if you need a substitute, try emmental, jarlsberg, comté, beaufort or raclette.  I’m kind of wanting to try raclette, myself.


Calories: 468kcal Carbohydrates: 35g Protein: 24g Fat: 24g Saturated Fat: 13g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 63mg Sodium: 1589mg Potassium: 936mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 7g Vitamin A: 613IU Vitamin C: 9mg Calcium: 523mg Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!


5 from 6 votes
Recipe Rating

Paul Edwards

Friday 22nd of May 2020

Wife’s a bit picky on soups,one mouthful and she said you’re maki that again.simple and really taste


Sunday 24th of May 2020

It's a good one, glad she liked it! It's so comforting and cozy.


Wednesday 1st of January 2020

Excellent! Easy to make.


Wednesday 1st of January 2020

Glad you liked it, it's perfect this time of year.

Jeanette Lopez

Thursday 12th of December 2019

Amazing loved it


Thursday 12th of December 2019

Good to hear! I love this soup this time of year.

Kimberly Hale

Monday 11th of November 2019

Oops -forgot the stars! I’d give this 10 stars if I could!

Kimberly Hale

Monday 11th of November 2019

I made this recipe for a French-inspired Valentines Day dinner party for 22 people. A rather daunting task being a new recipe and having never made French onion soup before. It turned out simply amazing! I pretty much followed it to the letter with a few tweaks - a bit of extra wine and broth along with some Worcestershire sauce and added a bit of butter as a finish to coat the tongue. Everyone raved about it and said it was the richest, most delicious onion soup ever!


Friday 29th of November 2019

wow, I'm impressed. Glad it was a success!