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A bowl of French onion soup on a lace table cloth beside candles.
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4.08 from 91 votes

Easy French Onion Soup

This easy french onion soup recipe is quite rich, not too sweet, not too savory and sure to warm your chilly winter bones. It also takes less than an hour to make!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Baking Time10 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6 bowls
Calories: 524kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 large red onions
  • 4 tbsp. butter - unsalted
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 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

Instructions

  • Slice 6 pieces of bread about 1 inch thick, and toast them at 250 F. for 15-20 minutes. Grate 1 pound of Gruyere and chop 4 large red onions into chunky pieces.
  • 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.
  • Pour ⅓ cup port wine or sherry into the onions and stir. Allow to reduce and caramelize for 5 minutes.
  • Once bread is done toasting, remove them and raise oven temperature to 450 F. Pour 6 cups of beef broth into the onions. Turn heat to high and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste first before adding salt, it may be perfect already. If not, begin with ½ a tsp. of salt and see if it can use a little more. Don't exceed 1 tsp.
  • Pour soup into bowls. (It's a good idea to place them in a tray so you can take them all out at once). Add toasts to each bowl 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.

Notes

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.
4. If your soup could use a little more flavor, try:
If you started out with a weak broth, you may end up with a soup that needs a little more flavor. Other ingredients that can add some richness to your French onion soup are:

• Worchester sauce (start with a teaspoon)
• onion powder
• garlic powder
• a little more port wine or sherry
• smoked paprika
• more onions
A bowl of french onion soup and a title that says "Pin it for later."

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl of soup | Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1473mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 1000IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 817mg | Iron: 1.9mg