Recipes · Cooking tips · Techniques

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

This French onion soup is easy to make, but it takes time and patience. You can’t rush caramelizing onions. If you crank up the heat, the onions will burn and become bitter. Don’t do it! Stirring is a must as well. This delicious soup is best made with a partner, serve up your favorite beverage, and take it slow. Your patience will be rewarded with a delicious soup that’s worthy of a special occasion. If you’re looking for more delicious soup recipes, try this cream of chicken soup, or this creamy pumpkin soup. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbsp. Butter

4 Large White Onions, peeled, halved and sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces (about 2 lbs.)

1 cup White Wine

6 cups Chicken Broth

1 Bay Leaf

3 sprigs of thyme, tied together with kitchen twine for easy removal

½ tsp. Salt, to taste

¼ tsp. Black Pepper, to taste

Crusty French Baguette, sliced into ½-1 inch thick rounds

6-8 oz. Provolone Cheese, (4-6 thick slices), if the slices are thin, double up

 

Prep work

Halve and peel the onions. Cut them into ¼ inch slices.

A sliced white onion on a wood cutting board with several peeled white onions in the background

 

Get everything ready to go for this recipe. Once you get to the point where you need to stir almost constantly, there won’t be any more time for prep.

A large bowl of sliced white onions with chicken broth, small bottle of white wine, olive oil and butter arranged on a wood cutting board

 

Cook the onions

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. When the butter is melted and foaming add the sliced onions. At first it will look like there are too many onions but they will reduce significantly as they cook. Stir the onions only occasionally at first. As they begin to turn a caramel color start stirring more often to prevent them burning on the bottom (pictures 3 and 4).

The process of onions reducing and caramelizing in 4 sections

 

When the onions get to this point you want to stir almost constantly. Those brown bits on the bottom of the pot are sweet caramelized onions. If they sit there too long they will become burnt onions and will be bitter. Stand right next to the stove and keep stirring.

Caramelized onions in their final stage in large pot

To get the onions to this point, it will take around 45-60 minutes. When the onions are a golden brown color, deglaze the pot with the white wine. Cook approximately 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked out, while stirring and gently scraping the bits off the bottom of the pot.

 

Make the soup

Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir well. Bring the onion soup to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Keep the onion soup at a simmer, if it’s boiling too vigorously, lower heat a bit more.

 

When the soup is covered and cooking

Preheat the oven to 200°F – 250°F. Slice the bread into roughly ½ inch rounds. Lightly toast the bread; this should only take about 5-7 minutes.

 

Take the soup off the heat and discard the bay leaf and thyme. Try the onion soup and add salt and pepper to taste. I needed to add a generous pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.

 

Preheat oven to the low broil setting.

 

Ladle the soup into individual, broiler safe bowls (like a soup crock or ramekin). Depending on the size of the bowl, place one or two slices of the bread on the soup, don’t overlap. Place a slice (or two) of cheese over the bread.

 

Place the bowls on a baking sheet; this will prevent the cheese from melting all over your oven. Plus it makes getting them in and out of the oven a lot easier. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown. This step will only take a few minutes. Check them every minute. Don’t leave the oven’s side, turn on the oven light and keep a close eye on the cheese to make sure it doesn’t burn.

 

Serves 4-6 depending on the size of the serving bowl.

 

 

 

Cook’s notes

Don’t slice the onions too thin or they will completely dissolve during the caramelizing process.

 

Don’t add salt to the soup until the end. Prepackaged broths contain a good amount of salt, and it’s hard to tell how much, especially after it’s simmered for a while. Wait until the onion soup is done, then adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

 

If you’re not a big wine drinker and, like me, hate opening a whole bottle to use one cup, I have a solution for you. Large, mainstream wine companies, make these little plastic bottles, like for picnics, they usually come in four packs. Those are great and I store any leftovers in refrigerator and keep unopened bottles in my cupboard. If you don’t drink wine, deglaze to the pot with chicken broth, follow the same instructions above.

 

French onion soup takes a long time to make, caramelizing the onions takes at least 45 minutes to an hour. Your house will smell like onions, you will smell like onions and if you’re making this soup for a dinner party or date night, your guests will smell like onions. Instead, make the onion soup a day ahead and refrigerate it in a container with a tight fitting lid. The day of the festivities, gently heat the soup in a saucepan or pot until it comes to a simmer. Then build the French onion soup as described above. Problem solved!

 

French Onion Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 35 mins
Total Time
1 hr 50 mins
 
This French onion soup is easy to make, but it takes time and patience. You can’t rush caramelizing onions.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Keyword: soup
Servings: 6
Calories: 309 kcal
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 4 Large White Onions peeled, halved and sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 sprigs of thyme tied together with kitchen twine for easy removal
  • ½ tsp. Salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper to taste
  • Crusty French Baguette sliced into ½-1 inch thick rounds
  • 6-8 oz. Provolone Cheese 4-6 thick slices, if the slices are thin, double up
Instructions
  1. Halve and peel the onions. Cut them into ¼ inch slices.
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. When the butter is melted and foaming add the sliced onions.

  3. Cook the onions for 45-60 minutes, stirring the onions only occasionally at first. As they begin to turn a caramel color start stirring more often to prevent them burning on the bottom.

  4. When the onions are a golden brown color, deglaze the pot with the white wine. Cook approximately 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked out, while stirring and gently scraping the bits off the bottom of the pot.

  5. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir well.

  6. Bring the onion soup to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Keep the onion soup at a simmer, if it’s boiling too vigorously, lower heat a bit more.

  7. While the soup cooks, preheat the oven to 200°F - 250°F.

  8. Slice the bread into roughly ½ inch rounds. Lightly toast the bread; this should only take about 5-7 minutes.

  9. Take the soup off the heat and discard the bay leaf and thyme. Try the onion soup and add salt and pepper to taste.

  10. Preheat oven to the low broil setting.
  11. Ladle the soup into individual, broiler safe bowls (like a soup crock or ramekin). Depending on the size of the bowl, place one or two slices of the bread on the soup, don’t overlap. Place a slice (or two) of cheese over the bread.
  12. Place the bowls on a baking sheet; this will prevent the cheese from melting all over your oven. Plus it makes getting them in and out of the oven a lot easier.

  13. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown. This step will only take a few minutes. Check them every minute. Don’t leave the oven’s side, turn on the oven light and keep a close eye on the cheese to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Recipe Notes
  • Don’t slice the onions too thin or they will completely dissolve during the caramelizing process.
  • Don’t add salt to the soup until the end. Prepackaged broths contain a good amount of salt, and it’s hard to tell how much, especially after it’s simmered for a while. Wait until the onion soup is done, then adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  • If you’re not a big wine drinker and, like me, hate opening a whole bottle to use one cup, I have a solution for you. Large, mainstream wine companies, make these little plastic bottles, like for picnics, they usually come in four packs. Those are great and I store any leftovers in refrigerator and keep unopened bottles in my cupboard. If you don’t drink wine, deglaze to the pot with chicken broth, follow the same instructions above.
  • French onion soup takes a long time to make, caramelizing the onions takes at least 45 minutes to an hour. Your house will smell like onions, you will smell like onions and if you’re making this soup for a dinner party or date night, your guests will smell like onions. Instead, make the onion soup a day ahead and refrigerate it in a container with a tight fitting lid. The day of the festivities, gently heat the soup in a saucepan or pot until it comes to a simmer. Then build the French onion soup as described above. Problem solved!
Nutrition Facts
French Onion Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 309 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 1435mg 60%
Potassium 385mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 3g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 7.9%
Vitamin C 27.5%
Calcium 26.7%
Iron 8.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
French Onion Soup is a restaurant classic, it’s easy to make, but it takes time and patience. This recipe includes step by step instructions on how to caramelize onions, but you can’t rush the process. So it's best you make this delicious soup with a partner, serve up your favorite beverage, and take it slow. #frenchonionsoup #onionsoup #soup #comfortfood #startersoups

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