With perfectly caramelized onions in a savory beef broth topped with croutons and gooey provolone cheese, this French Onion Soup recipe is cozy and comforting, especially on chilly winter evenings!
Easy Homemade French Onion Soup
Is there anything more cozy than digging your spoon through that layer of melted, lightly browned cheese on a bowl of French onion soup? I can’t think of much!
I always thought of French onion soup as one of those dishes you get to enjoy at a diner or restaurant, until recently when I tried to make it at home. And I’m happy to say this homemade French onion soup tastes just as good as any you’ll find at a restaurant – and arguably better as you can add as much cheese as you’d like, ha!
Why This Is The Best French Onion Soup Recipe
Here are a few reasons why this is one of our favorite soup recipes.
- Less than 10 ingredients. Onions are the obvious star of the recipe. Beyond that, you’ll need broth, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar, and a few herbs and seasonings. Most ingredients are probably already in your cupboard!
- Ready in an hour. It takes about 30 minutes to caramelize the onions. After that, you just need to let everything simmer to meld the flavors then pop the bowls under the broiler for a few minutes.
- Gooey cheese topping. The most important part of any French onion soup recipe, in my opinion! Each bowl of soup is topped with some croutons and a few slices of provolone cheese, which melts so perfectly in the broiler! Feel free to substitute with gruyere cheese, swiss cheese or any other melty cheese that you prefer.
What You’ll Need
This French onion soup recipe requires just a handful of ingredients. Scroll down to the recipe card below for measurements.
- Onions – Yellow onions thinly sliced.
- Unsalted butter – For caramelizing the onions.
- Beef broth – You can also use vegetable broth but beef stock will offer a richer flavor.
- Worcestershire sauce – A splash of Worcestershire sauce enhances the savory flavors of the dish.
- Balsamic vinegar – Adds depth to the flavor of the soup.
- Herbs – Bay leaves and thyme add flavor to the soup. You can use dried thyme or fresh thyme leaves. You’ll also need salt and pepper to taste.
- Baguette slices – Or croutons. Placed on top under the cheese.
- Provolone cheese slices – Melted over the top before serving. You can also use gruyere, gouda, Swiss, or mozzarella cheese.
How to Make French Onion Soup
Here’s an overview of how to make homemade French onion soup. See the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.
- Caramelize the onions. Melt the butter over medium heat then add the sliced onions. Cook until soft and caramelized, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Simmer. Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, and herbs and spices to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
- Broil. Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls, filling each one 3/4 way. Top with a layer of croutons or baguette slices, then top with 2-3 slices of provolone cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly.
- Enjoy. Carefully remove the bowls from the oven then let cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Tips & Variations
Here are a few tips and variations for making this cozy soup recipe.
- Don’t rush the caramelization. The caramelized onions are the star of this French onion soup, so you want to ensure they’re fully caramelized before moving on to the next step. This is the most time-intensive part of the recipe, as it should take at least 25 minutes.
- If the butter is browning too fast while caramelizing the onions, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. This will help to prevent the butter from browning or burning while still keeping the butter hot enough to caramelize the onions.
- Add alcohol to the onions. If you’d like to add red wine or port wine to the recipe, you can do so after caramelizing the onions. Add 1/2 cup of your chosen wine and let it cook with the onions for a minute or two until the alcohol evaporates before adding the remaining ingredients.
- Take care removing the bowls from the broiler. The soup and the bowls they are broiled in will be HOT so be sure to remove them carefully, with oven mitts, and take care to not splash any broth or cheese over the edges of the bowl.
Let your French onion soup cool for a few minutes before diving in, as the soup beneath the melted cheese will be PIPING hot! Then dig in and enjoy. The perfect bite, in my onion, has a bit of soup, a crouton, and some gooey cheese!
A bowl of this French onion soup makes a light lunch or dinner on its own or you can pair it with your favorite salad or sandwich. A few favorites include brisket grilled cheese, air fryer grilled cheese, hot ham and cheese, wedge salad, and cobb salad.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- Fridge. Leftover French onion soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheat. To reheat, simply heat the soup on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
More Soup Recipes To Try
French Onion Soup
- 4 Large Onions Thinly Sliced
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 6 Cups Beef or Vegetable Broth
- 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme or 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Croutons or Baguette Slices
- Provolone Cheese Slices
- In a large pot, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions and cook until they become soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. This process will take about 25-30 minutes.
- Once the onions are nicely caramelized, add the beef or vegetable broth, worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves, dried thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together and develop a rich taste.
- Once the soup is ready, remove the bay leaves from the pot. Ladle the hot soup into individual oven-safe bowls or crocks, filling them about 3/4 full.
- Place a few toasted croutons or baguette slices on top of each bowl of soup, forming a single layer.
- Lay 2-3 slices of Provolone cheese over the croutons, ensuring it covers the entire surface of the bowl.
- Transfer the bowls to the broiler and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starts to bubble and brown slightly.
- Carefully remove the bowls from the broiler (remember, they will be hot!) using oven mitts or kitchen towels.
- Let the French onion soup cool for a couple of minutes before serving. The cheese will be gooey, and the soup underneath will be piping hot. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves, or parsley. Enjoy!