This homemade french onion soup recipe is quite rich, not too sweet, not too savory and sure to warm your chilly winter bones. In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make this soup completely from scratch so you’ll have control over every heavenly flavor!
Like most French cooking, it may seem simple on paper, and in lots of ways,this is a pretty easy French onion soup recipe – but it’s all about how it’s made, how long it takes to make properly and the quality of your ingredients that make it truly spectacular.
Nothing makes a party guest feel more special than a meal made entirely from scratch. I recently threw a pretty Christmas party, and when I told my party guests the beef bone broth in this French onion soup, itself, took 2 whole days to make, they were so impressed.
I let them know that it was as simple as chopping an onion and garlic and adding them to a crockpot with a few pounds of bones and walking away, and they still were impressed!
Making your own beef broth is really the way to go with this recipe. It’s so simple and SO WORTH IT!
If you want a truly rich, full bodied, complex French onion soup, don’t settle for a heat-blasted, over-salted, collagen-less, boxed, store-bought stock. Take a look at my simple recipe for crockpot bone broth to really make this soup special!
A Few Tips!
1. I can’t say it enough, make your own beef broth
It’s really that important. You can make French onion soup with regular, store-bought beef stock, but on a scale from 1-10, your soup with be, at best, a 5, no matter how it’s seasoned or how special your other ingredients are.
A soup like this needs dimension and thickness. It needs all those dreamy nutrients and that slow-simmered goodness. This recipe, when made with homemade bone broth, is a perfect 10!
2. Don’t go for the cheap stuff. Use a nice sherry or port wine
By “nice,” I mean talk to the folks in the liquor store about which port is nice to serve after dinner, or which sherry would make a lovely Christmas present. Get that one. Not the $2.29 brand of sherry sold at Target.
Believe me. The goal with this soup is to make the dinner table go silent. One spoon of soup, and everyone sinks into their bowls. A good port or sherry will add that touch of complex sweetness that offsets the savory onion and gruyere.
3. Use day-old bread or simply dry it out in the oven first
You’ll want to pop a sliced piece of bread in the soup to hold up that delicious melted cheese, and you want it to be quite crouton-like. If it’s soft, or only toasted, it just gets soggy in the soup, but if it’s either a bit stale, or simply baked at 250 F. for about 10-15 minutes, it’ll be perfect.
A Few Common Questions:
1. What kind of cheese should I use for French onion soup?
Gruyere is the standard, but you can certainly combine gruyere with (a less expensive) emmentaler or even Swiss.
2. What kind of bread should I use for French onion soup?
A traditional French baguette is perfect, but you can use brioche, semolina, focaccia or even ciabatta. Just avoid flat breads, corn breads, sour doughs or slices from loves of grocery store bread. Also avoid breads with seeds.
3. How long will homemade French onion soup last?
If you’ve made your own beef broth (highly recommended) it will last for about 5 days in the fridge, but you can freeze it, and it will stay delicious for months!
What do I need to make French onion soup?
- Large pot (4 quarts or more)
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Large glass container (for storage)
- Mixing spoon
How to Make Homemade French Onion Soup – Step by Step
After you’ve made your own beef broth (*wink *wink), set 6 cups of it aside for this recipe.
1. Slice 6 pieces of bread about 1 inch thick. Grate your Gruyere and chop 2 large onions into chunky pieces.
2. Add 4 tbsp. of butter to a large pot and melt. Add your chopped onions. Cook until soft and slightly browned, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tsp. of thyme and sprinkle with fresh pepper. Mix with onions for 1 minute.
3. Pour ⅓ cup port wine or sherry into the onions and stir. Allow to reduce and caramelize for 5 minutes.
4. Pre-heat oven to 450 F. and pour 6 cups of beef broth into the onions. Turn heat to high and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Salt to taste.
5. Pour soup into bowls. (It’s a good idea to place them in a tray so you can take them all out at once).
6. Add bread and a nice big sprinkle of cheese. Place carefully in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is crispy around the edges.
8. Remove from oven carefully and serve.
Help yourself to these other cozy winter recipes:
- Easy Shepherd’s Pie with Red Wine
- Roasted Curry Butternut Squash Soup
- Delicious Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken
- The Coziest Hot Toddy
Homemade French Onion Soup
- 2 large red onions
- 4 tbsp. butter - unsalted
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- ⅓ cup port wine or sherry - good quality
- 6 cups beef broth - ideally homemade
- 1 baguette - stale or toasted till no longer soft
- 1 pound gruyere cheese - or mix of gruyere and emmentaler cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice 6 pieces of bread about 1 inch thick. Grate your cheese and chop 2 large onions into chunky pieces.
- Add 4 tbsp. of butter to a large pot and melt. Add your onions. Cook until soft and slightly browned, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tsp. of thyme and sprinkle with fresh pepper. Mix with onions for 1 minute.
- Pour ⅓ cup port wine or sherry into the onions and stir. Allow to reduce and caramelize for 5 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 and pour 6 cups of beef broth into the onions. Turn heat to high and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Salt to taste.
- Pour soup into bowls. Add bread and a nice big sprinkle of cheese. Place carefully in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is crispy around the edges.
- Remove from oven carefully and serve.