French Onion Soup – Caramelized onions create the base for this soup, which is served with a crouton and melted Gruyere cheese on top
Soup is one of those foods that I didn’t really enjoy until I was older. Other than chicken noodle soup, I didn’t really have much soup growing up, and even that kind of soup was a rare choice for me. And when I did eat it, I mostly went after the noodles and left the veggies and chicken behind.
And then Panera Bread opened up near my home. Suddenly, my eyes were open to a whole new concept – soup in a bread bowl. Not surprisingly, I had a whole new reason to try different kinds of soup. The first soup I tried was French Onion Soup. What a revelation! Who knew a soup flavored my caramelized onions could be so hearty and flavorful?! And it didn’t hurt that the soup was topped with crusty bread and melted cheese.
French Onion Soup went on to become my favorite soup for a very long time (tomato soup would later take over, but that’s a story for another time). To honor that period of my life , I am sharing a super easy, yet incredibly flavorful, recipe for French Onion Soup.
What is French Onion Soup?
French Onion Soup is a popular French soup that is made with onions.
To give you a little more detail, it’s a soup made by caramelizing onions until they are super soft and slightly sweet, then cooking them in chicken broth, and finally serving in a crock with a toasted crouton and melted Gruyere cheese on top.
How is French Onion Soup made?
To make this soup, you start with the onions. Six onions, to be precise. Yup, it’s a lot of onions. But as you will come to find, those onions are mostly water. When all the water is cooked out, they reduce by more than half.
Once the onions are cooked, white wine is added to deglace the pan and remove any browned bits. Then the chicken broth is added and cooked with the onions for about 30 minutes.
When the soup is done, it’s served in oven-safe crocks, topped with a toasted slice of French bread and Gruyere cheese, and baked until the cheese melts.
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure to toast the bread until it is as firm as croutons. If the bread is too soft, it will get soggy in the soup.
- It’s super important to slice the onions thin so that you don’t get big chunks of onion in the soup. Chunks of onion don’t make for a fun eating experience.
- Do not cook the onions on too high of heat. They should not be searing during the process. If you see this happening, you can add 1/4 cup of water and reduce the heat a little.
French Onion Soup
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 6 large onions sliced
- 2 shallots minced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ French baguette
- 6 slices Gruyere cheese
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add butter. Once melted, add the onions, shallots, and garlic. Stir together to combine. Add salt and pepper. Cook until onions have completely caramelized and softened and almost turned into a paste, about 45-60 minutes. Stir occasionally so the onions don't burn.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice baguette into ¼-inch slices. Place on a baking sheet and place into preheated oven. Bake for 6 minutes or until bread has toasted. Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
- Once the onions are done, add the white wine and vinegar. Cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bay leaves. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
- Once the soup is done, remove the bay leaves and pour soup into oven-proof bowls. Top each bowl with 1-2 toasted baguette slices and a slice of Gruyere cheese. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet and place into oven. Bake until cheese melts and bubbles. Remove from oven and serve immediately.