Hello! My mother and I made this recipe for our family including our in-laws from Morocco. My mother in-law lived in Paris for decades after going to school there. Our in-laws eat primarily French and Moroccan food and this is one of their favorite comfort foods. Long story short this recipe was a massive hit, with my mother in-law saying this was one of the best bowls of French Onion Soup she had ever had. Needless to say there wasn’t a drop left. Thanks so much for a great and easy to follow recipe!
Oh my goodness! this was terrible. My house smells horrible. the gruyere cheese (Which I have never used before) smells rotten. I was so angry with the taste of the broth and the smell of the cheese that I just stopped cooking and am ordering in food now. I never just STOP cooking a recipe in the middle of it. This was terrible.
Hi Ashley, I’m so sorry you didn’t like the recipe. Sounds like you are not a fan of the flavor of Gruyere cheese, which is an essential ingredient in classic French Onion Soup. Regarding the broth, I have found that if you are using boxed or canned broth, that the taste and quality of different brands varies highly. I once bought several brands and tasted them all. Threw out most of them. I would recommend getting a hold of “Better than Bouillon” brand broth paste. You mix it with water to make the broth. That brand is consistently good.
Oh dear Ashley.
I made this and everyone that tried it absolutely loved it! You must have done something wrong because to me this tasted better than any I’ve tried at restaurants. I didnt use the cheese it says to use, I used either Swiss or provolone I don’t remmeber. The broth by itself to save some calories was absolutely fantastic.
Ashley: I would suggest that next time you come across a cheese you have never had before is to buy it smell it and try it before you cook with it.
This was excellent. We had beef broth leftover from cooking a chuck roast in a crock pot so the base was really flavorful. Made two changes: used sherry instead of vermouth and used just a pinch of dried thyme. The onions came out so sweet and it really wasn’t much work.
We don’t have oven proof bowls so the technique of cooking the cheesy toast in the oven worked really well. I will make this again (and again and again).
Great Karen, I’m so glad you liked it!
Thank you for a great recipe. I made this today & it was delicious! I did reduce the dried thyme to 1/2 tsp and that was plenty as I’m not a huge fan. I also used store bought College Inn Beef Broth. It came out wonderfully.
Absolutely delicious!! Loved the instructions with pictures and video instructions. The only substitute I used was Sherry because that is what I had on hand. We all had second helpings!!
Oh, Elise. You never fail to disappoint me! Kind of thinking on it now, I do think the amount of thyme in this could be halved. But I do like thyme, so … Eh, on the fence about it. However, the rest of it… oh my, I used your beef stock recipe with the bones leftover from our standing rib roast. The stock makes the soup, folks. It really does. My husband demolished two bowls before I could blink. I’m looking forward to having the remains at lunch tomorrow.
Your explanation for caramelizing the onions was helpful but using thyme was a horrible mistake. I only used 1/4tsp and could not stand the smell or thereafter the taste. I will try making this again but never will I use thyme. Sorry but I need to be honest
I made this recipe tonight and it was a hit! Followed everything to a T except I used veggie broth instead of beef and omitted the vermouth. I also added a dash of Worcestershire sauce! Simply delicious! Will be making this again for sure. :-)
I’m so glad you liked it Naida!
So you didn’t follow everything to a T
So yummy, thank you. I think the finished product depends on the quality of the stock.
I will definitely make this recipe again. Very tasty! I used all beef stock and it was a nice color.
I followed these directions with all ingredients I used 2 teaspoons of dry thyme. The thyme taste is over bearing what can I add to reduce the taste of the thyme?
At this point, not much. You can try replacing some of the broth with plain beef stock.
Elise, this is truly a great tasting French onion soup. The only thing I would have liked is that it was a darker brown, Perhaps I did not carmelize my onions long enough, but it went right by the directions. Then maybe I should have altered the beef stock to 6 cups and the chicken stock to 2 cups???
Hi Leslie, I think using a darker stock to begin with will make your soup darker.
That soup was easy to make and truly delicious. I made it with large white onions and campbells consomme broth
VIDALIA ONIONS when available are great for r. onion soup and they give it a fantastic flavor and you can eliminate the sugar.A top shelf, soft mozzerella perfectly browned over the onion soup is also a different and in my opinion , better way of finishing this soup.
Ever since my husband ordered French onion soup for our kids during our last vacation, I’ve been wanting to make some from scratch since the usual ones are SO very salty. Oh my goodness, I made this last night and it was HEAVENLY! :) Thanks for the very detailed instructions for times and suggestions for things like Better than Bouillon, Elise. I am very happy with the results and will definitely be making this again for a special occasion.
Hi MamaHan, I’m so glad you liked it! It’s one of my favorite comfort soups.
This is a delicious soup I’ve been making for years. My secret–add champagne instead of wine. Such a beautiful flavor!
I really loved this…and then I made a little discovery! If you take a cup or two and puree it (I used an immersion blender) it makes a very delicious gravy! If you have a beef or pork dish requiring gravy…try it! It was the perfect consistency.
I’ve been using my slow cooker to make large quantities of cartelized onions that I can then freeze and defrost as needed. Although you would miss the fond in using them here, it would “save” some time with this recipe.
Thanks for the read Elise!
I will definitively try this recipe the next time I get some onions. The last time I made French Onion soup, I did do things a little more differently. For one, I deglazed with white wine vinegar. The little hint of sour makes it taste different, but I love a hint of vinegar in my soups. I also used only yellow onions. In my taste testing, I found that yellow onions are sweeter than red onions when caramelized, which I believe should be the focus of the onions in the soup. If I had to use red onions, I would caramelize them a little longer to ensure they taste a little sweeter.
I also add brown sugar to my onions and I also use ONLY SWEET onions when I make this recipe. But basically it’s the only one I make! It is wonderful!
I have a friend who uses scotch as the alcohol. I used to use port wine. A French chef I know says never use any alcohol. The caramelised onions are all you need. I think I’ll make some tonight. Always so good.
Made this last night and it was delicious. Followed the recipe exactly and used beef broth from a box. This is a keeper for sure and will be a great recipe for entertaining.
Our family made this soup last night for Sunday dinner and it was fantastic. Everyone went back for seconds, it was that good!!! Do you by chance have the nutritional information based on the recipe listed?
Hi Marcie, I’m so glad you liked the soup! I don’t do the nutritional analysis, but you can find it here on Yummly: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/French-Onion-Soup-973173?columns=5&position=1%2F14
I made this today and just finished my first bowl. Sooooooo looking forward to the next bowl. I bought a half-baked French Baguette (multigrain with sunflower seeds in the bread) and finished baking it at home. This is a great brothy soup!! I will live on this for the rest of the Winter and maybe part of the Spring!!
just saying the words onion soup puts me into a heavenly soup comma….. I want to make this but don’t want the vermouth or sherry or any liquor in it….. what shall I substitute???
Hi Dee, I would just skip the alcohol then.
I made this it is wonderful
Made this Last night for the first time. My family and neighbors loved it. Will make it again and again.
Can I make this without any alcohol?
Yes, just deglaze the pan with stock. The flavor will not be as deep if you do not use the alcohol. I know some people add Worcestershire sauce to their French onion soup, so you might want to add half a teaspoon.
Whenever I want a classic recipe, I know where to go. Another winner! Like many, I didn’t have any beef broth homemade, so I used store bought. I can only imagine the difference.
This is the best french onion soup I have ever tasted, It is outstanding! I’ve made it on several occasions for a number of people and everyone loves it. Great recipe, thanks.
This was a great way to use up hard old bread! *grin* Thanks for a delicious recipe.
Elise ,It is a great recipe,i always thought that frech onion soup is somehing difficult to make,but it was quite the opposite,it is very easy,i used red wine instead of white wine,and added 3tbs. of worcestersshire sauce,gr8 taste,thank u.but i need to ask you, onion soup tastes better with white wine more than red wine?thanks
When it comes to wine, it’s usually a matter of personal taste. I would experiment and see what wine works best for you. ~Elise
Made this last night using store bought beef stock (sorry, no time to create the real thing). Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Tasted pretty nice, but even with pre-toasting, the bread was super soggy. Any tricks on avoid this?
You might want to sprinkle some cheese on the soup before laying down the toasted bread and adding more cheese. The bread will get soggy, it’s lying in soup. But perhaps not as soggy if you put some more cheese between the soup and the bread. ~Elise
The first time I ever had this soup in a French restaurant, I vowed to find the recipe and try it for myself (I love to cook!). Not only was this recipe easy, it tasted so delicious! Thank you!
This was the best onion soup I ever had. I made is for Christmas appetizer last year, all my guests loved it and were fighting over taking home the leftover (quadrupled the recipe). I was told I had to make it again this year.
This soup was excellant!!! Don’t know much about wine so I didn’t use it in the recipe …I thought this recipe ranked a 5 star…ranked up there with the best resturant soup!!!!
Kinda improvised a bit,I used tarragon with the onions instead of thyme as my girlfriend isnt very fond of it. It made for a bit of a sweeter flavor in the soup. I also boiled the onion and garlic ends/peels into the beef stock(I actually had some ends set into the freezer as well from other culinary exploits), as well as some rosemary, thyme and bay.
Word of warning: Make sure that you carmelize the onions in a well ventilated room. Our whole place was full of onion smell, and it was so strong it even got my poor cats eyes watering.
(Maybe on the grill? Little wood smoke would add a brand new flavor level to the soup. Also, maybe use rendered beef fat instead of olive oil,or maybe butter?)
made this soup per my son at Le Cordon Bleu and I have to say it was probably the best thing I have ever eaten, so much so that I am planning on making it again tomorrow as it will be cold and rainy! :)
Just made this for my family and even though I didn’t caramelize the onions quite enough it was still delicious! Will make it again for sure
[quote] Can any other type of cheese be used for this recipe?
Great question, I don’t know! I’ve always made French onion soup with Swiss cheese, usually Gruyere. ~Elise[/quote]
I used mozzarella and it comes out wonderfully. Especially when you have lots of long strings lifting a spoonful out.. mmmm (most chain restaurants cheat and use mozzarella but it’s what I prefer.
As with any recipe, customize it to your tastes, but if you go with mozzarella, i personally guarantee it will be great.
This recipe was fantastic! It was both my first time caramelizing onions and my first time making french onion soup, so needless to say I was a bit terrified waiting for my husband to get home and try it. It was delicious though! It was of course time intensive, but absolutely worth it. It tasted even better than I remember restaurant versions tasting. Fantastic recipe.
We went with white wine (even cheap white wine like we had works) and no bay leaf. I used bullion and mozzarella because it was all I had on hand. I look forward to making it with better cheese and wine now that I know I’m capable!
I just made this soup for work. I work at a golf club, and we make different kinds of soup all the time. It turned out awesome! I’m not the head chef yet but with soups like this it won’t be long!
Made this for the first time and absolutely loved it! I will be using the left overs in a recipe that calls for French Onion soup and can’t wait to taste the difference from canned soup!
wow this was SOOO good. Thank you so much for this perfect recipe.
I just made this soup and instead of using dry white wine, I used red wine vinegar, because I love the flavor. I added an extra bay leaf and also a tablespoon of worcestershire sauce with a few drops of hot sauce. It came out DELICIOUS.
Wow I made this last night. It was so good! I made it for my boyfriend and I. Let me tell you he is tougher to please than a New York city food critic. So I was nervous making it for him. but he told me it was the best he ever had. Thank you so much!
In terms of the French onion soup, I use a 1/4 cup of dry red wine and a 1/4 cup of dry sherry. Also, you are spot on that proper caramelization of the onions is key. I find that sweating them for at least 20 minutes before cranking up the heat helps a lot.
So, I decided to make this soup as I’m sick and thought it would make a nice dinner. According to your instructions, the total cooking time on this should be about 1.25-1.5 hours. Well, nearly 3 hours in, the soup is still nit done and I am exhausted and frustrated. The onions took nearly 2 hours to caramelize, not 30-40 minutes. I would not have chosen to make this tonight if I had known how long it would take. I just hope it tastes good at this point.
I am a huge French Onion Soup fan and I just made this and it was fantastic! It took me a long time to caramelize the onions; for the wine I used mostly dry white but added a little sherry; I used about 2/3 beef, 1/3 chicken stock because that’s what I had; I used fresh thyme sprigs and left out the bay leaf altogether because I didn’t have any; used greyere and a little parmesan as suggested. My boyfriend and I loved it, and I love this blog:)
I made this French Onion soup the other day for lunch, and it was fantastic! It had a unique sweetness that was unmatched by any French onion soup I’ve tried before, and it tasted marvelous!
I’m lactose-intolerant so I skip the cheese whenever I have French onion soup, and sometimes it seems a bit lacking. This soup, however, was delicious even without the cheese. It was even better reheated the next day.
I am making this again today for my parents (my mom in particular LOVES French onion soup) and I’m very sure they’ll both love it. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe!
We made this for a twist on the classic Thanksgiving meal…it turned out wonderfully! The soup is delightfully rich and savory. I opted to skip the vermouth and stick with white wine, and I’m so glad we did. I used fresh thyme from my herb garden which my husband-to-be loved. Thanks for sharing this delightful recipe!
Just made this soup for dinner. I was feeling a bit under the weather and had some onions about to go bad on me. Therefore, french onion soup it was….I used home-made beef stock, dry vermouth & emmenthaler swiss cheese. Absolute heaven!!! Better than at the restaurants since I control all the ingredients. Thanks for a great recipe.
Turned out great! I made homemade broth and wow, my son and I enjoyed it with a great glass of Rioja wine! Thanks for the recipe. So easy a man can do it!
FOR VEGETARIANS :)
I made this last night with vegetable broth and added a handfull of diverse dehidrated mushrooms to strengthen the broth and in my opinion it came out perfect. ♥ there’s a veggie version for everything ♥
Made this last week to get through a huge sack of onions…it was delicious (even mid-June)!
Superb, sublime. Who knew french onion soup could be so good? When you’re raised on the version from a can or from a package, you have no idea how nice this can be. I didn’t serve it with the cheese as it was rich enough without. Just serve it will some nice bread for dipping and keep it simple.
I don’t have individual cups to bake the soup…..instead of baking can I microwave it?
You can microwave it, but the cheese will not get browned, only melted. ~Elise
I just made this earlier. I did not follow the directions exactly. In fact I did it very differently… I thought, “O_O What frying pan holds 8 cups of water?” Well, mine didn’t… So I halved the ingredients. 3 onions, 4 cups of broth, and so on. Also, I made broth by mixing some vegetable bouillon with water. I’m a vegetarian, so I didn’t use beef broth as the recipe called for. I thought it tasted wonderful… The only thing it lacked was the bay leaf. My mom said we didn’t have any. Another mistake would be not halving the wine. I still used the 1/2 cup :P, it turned out fine, although it smelled a lot like wine before it was completely done cooking.
I tasted some of those caramelized onions as they were cooking. I thought, “I could make this sometime as a snack… Mmmmmmmmm.”
Overall, great recipe. I loved it.
Fantastic recipe, and easy to follow. Bravo! Looking forward to making this a regular meal.
Hello, I’m a vegetarian and I substituted the beef/chicken broth with vegetable broth.
I must say that despite obvious differences in the broth flavors, the vegetarian broth did well. The bay leaf and thyme were very good touches and made a big difference to the soup.
The onions were rather sweet so I did not double the onions as the flavor was already pungent.
Also, I added balsamic vinegar as i did not have white wine, 2 teaspoons. It isnt the best substitute but I have a preference for balsamic vinegar.
overall, its a very good soup which i enjoyed very much. SO VEGETARIANS go ahead and make it!!
Your recipe is wonderful!!!!! Thank you :)
Thank you, made a half-portion last night and it turned out great. Even got husb to help! Thank goodness for mandolines, it makes a quick job out of onion slicing. Looking forward to finishing the leftovers tomorrow night!
good idea on the mandolins!
I made the soup using beer instead of wine. I usually use red wine to compliment the beef stock. I also included the left over bone from grilled steaks we had 3 nights ago. instead of the individual bowls. We serve straight off the stove out of the pot. ( we are very informal) The beer added a certain earthiness to the dish. It reminds me of beef stew (pub style). Everyone loved it. the cheese melts from the heat of the dish.
Elise, this looks like a perfect onion soup! If I had some good homemade beef stock on hand, I would be in the kitchen right now making it. I like to use the individual bowls. Serving it from the large casserole can get a little messy with all that melted Gruyere (but that can be kind of fun).
Great recipe, only change was I added a little olive oil to the bread and toasted it. It was wonderful.
This soup was amazingly easy to make and so delicious. My entire family loved it!
Is there a way to make this vegetarian?
You can use vegetable stock, but truly it will not taste the same. If you do so I would double up on the caramelized onions, you’ll need it for the flavor. ~Elise
I just finished making this and I have to say it is absolutely delicious!!!! I had to use both chix and beef broth because I didn’t have enough beef broth but I can’t imagine it being any better!
I made this soup over the weekend using 4 cups chicken broth and 4 cups beef. (It’s all I had in the pantry). Elise, For the cheese I used grated swiss and then sliced havarti over that. It was fantastic! I will definitely make this again.
Just used this recipe as a starting point for dinner. I only used beef stock, and used cabernet sauvignon rather than vermouth (personal preference). I’d never made French onion soup, so am pleased to report excellent results! Yes, caramelizing the onions is time intensive, but you will be repaid for your patience.
My kids and my husband loved your recipe. We all enjoyed the soup, especially when I could control the salt input! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe to everyone!
I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy New Year!
Thank you Diep, I’m so glad you liked it. A happy New Year to you too! ~Elise
I too made this soup and this recipe is terrific. The dry, white wine really gives it a nice flavor.
Umm I was wondering if you can use fish stock instead of beef or chicken? :D
Something tells me that wouldn’t be particularly appetizing with this soup. But if you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise
Can dry sherry be substituted for the vermouth or dry white wine? Or would the results be too sweet?
I think it’s really up to your taste. Try a little with it and see if you like it. ~Elise
Just made this morning, have a little bit of the flu and once I had this French onion soup I felt a lot better. Although I substituted the toast with garlic parmesan croutons from costco and used gouda cheese instead of gruyere, it was fabulous. Thanks for the recipe.
Can any other type of cheese be used for this recipe?
Great question, I don’t know! I’ve always made French onion soup with Swiss cheese, usually Gruyere. ~Elise
Tried this recipe last night–it was AWESOME! Everybody RAVED!
Made this today for the first time. It was amazing! I will be making this for years to come. What I like the best, is that it doesn’t have the salt content that you normally get in restaurants.
Exactly, just made this and loved that it was not overly salty. Went well with our salad!
This was so good and really easy. I have made other recipes for onion soup but this beats them all. I always read comments to see if anyone has added or omitted anything, but it’s perfect the way it is. Not much of a bay leaf fan, but I put a little dried in it and it was fantastic.
The last recipe I used took 2 days. This reduced down in a couple of hours. Note:
If you want to serve this to more than 2 people, double or triple the recipe, you will not be sorry!
Toast the bread to make it like croutons, that’s the only thing I’d do differently
Word of caution: I bought cheap “extra-dry” vermouth for this recipe, and I wish I had tasted it before I used it. It was very very sweet, almost like white grape juice. It threw off the balance of the soup, which was disappointing since I went through the trouble of making beef stock from scratch. If you don’t normally cook with vermouth, or don’t want to buy a more expensive bottle, it’s probably smarter to stick with a regular dry white wine.
I used smoked gruyere cheese, it gives the soup a strong flavor, it’s very tasty!
I made this soup for Christmas dinner, 12 people, it was a huge hit and equally scrummy the next day when we were sober!
This recipe is fantastic! I used chicken stock instead of beef as that’s all I had; I also put the entire finished mixture into my blender for a smooth and creamy soup. Dee-lish!
Made this last night, halving the recipe for two, and using sweet onions instead of red onions. Finished off the leftovers for lunch today. mmm. It was wonderful, as are all the recipes I’ve tried on this blog. Thanks, Elise!
French onion soups has long been my 86 year old mother’s favorite lunch…needless to say, she ‘s eaten a LOT of different soups all over the world and her comment was this, “What did you do differently? This is far and above the best I’ve ever had…I believe it was carmelizing the onions and the garlic…and the thyme and bay leaf not found in other recipes. Bon Apetit!
Very cold day in Northern Wisconsin today. My friends and I did things outside. Came in and wife had made this soup. It was great, everyone loved it.
Very good!! Carmelizing the onions is key with any onion soup recipe, I will make this for years to come. Thanks Steve
I made this last night and was very happy with the results! This soup is sweet and rich. By the end of the bowl I was ready for bed (of course, a glass of novello helped).
I’d always thought French Onion Soup was fancy because of the presentation, but it was surprisingly easy. I’ll be making this again! Although, I’ll probably make less, and serve it as a starter so as not to put my guests into a food coma.
If you’ve got the time, I’d recommend starting at 10 AM and making a beef broth from scratch. The house will smell wonderful all day!
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