This easy recipe for French onion soup includes a little trick to get the flavor of caramelized onions in a fraction of the time. So even if it’s a lazy day or a busy weeknight, you can still enjoy a big bowl layered with homemade onion soup, french bread, and savory cheeses.
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About Easy French Onion Soup
The chilly winter months call for a big dose of comfort food, and nothing says comfort quite like a big bowl of soup.
And when it comes to soup, what’s better than a layered soup? Or a soup that comes complete with its own crunchy bread or a crusty cheese topping?
I personally can’t think of any, and that’s exactly why I felt obligated to whip up a huge pot of French onion soup this week.
All this cold weather simply demanded it.
What is French onion soup?
A bowl of classic French onion soup is as much about the contents as it is about the presentation.
The soup itself a simple: a lightly flavored beef broth that’s simmered with sliced onions. And while this is delicious on its own, the real magic happens when it’s ready to serve.
Thick slices of french bread (or a healthy portion of crunchy croutons) are floated on top of the soup, which is then topped with various cheeses.
Set your oven to broil and cook the prepared soup for three to five minutes, just long enough to melt the cheeses and crisp the bread.
Garnish the soup with some chopped chives and enjoy!
What kind of onions for french onion soup?
Making this iconic soup is easy, and the key comes in picking which onions to use and how to prepare them.
Picking your onions: Typically, french onion soup is made with either yellow or sweet onions Both have a flavor that will complement the beef broth, but the yellow onions really bring out the intended flavor. You could also use white or red onions, but know that the flavor may be a bit off from what you’ve had at a restaurant. For this recipe, I used sweet onions.
Cooking your onions: When cooking, you can either saute the onions (for a quicker cook time) or you can caramelize the onions (a longer cook time, but it is the traditional way to make French onion soup).
For this recipe, I chose to saute the onions in order to save on time, but the trick is adding a little bit of sugar so that the onions still become a little “tacky” and flavorful before adding the broth.
If you would like to caramelize the onions instead, you can use all the same ingredients but cook the onions on medium-low for about 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are a dark caramel color. Check out this guide on How to Caramelize Onions for more tips.
What cheese goes on French onion soup?
The type of cheese used will vary per recipe, but feel free to use one (or many!) of the options below:
- Aged gruyère (most traditional)
- Provolone cheese
- Grated Parmesan
Can you freeze French onion soup?
Yes, you can freeze the prepared onion soup for two to three months.
However, I don’t recommend freezing the soup in the same container with the bread and the cheese. Either store these ingredients in separate containers or buy fresh bread and cheese to serve with the thawed soup.
For quick serving, separate the onion soup into individual-sized portions and seal in plastic containers.
notes & tips for this onion soup
- To make this soup, you’ll need to broil it, and to do that, you’ll need soup bowls that are oven-safe. I have a set of these soup bowls in a few different colors and love them!
- This soup is made using a dutch oven. There are plenty of pricey name-brand options out there, but I’ve used this Dutch oven for years and it’s still holding up just fine.
More great soup recipes
How to make easy french onion soup
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat, then toss in the onions. Season with garlic powder, pepper, and salt. If you want to make “classic” French onion soup, you can stir everything together and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until onions are browned and caramelized. However, this recipe is meant to be an “easier” version of french onion soup, so I like to add sugar to the skillet and cook the onions for about 10 minutes. The onions won’t turn a dark brown color (they’ll be a golden color) but you’ll have a similar taste and texture in a fraction of the cooking time. There’s no wrong way to go here, so use whichever method you prefer.
Step 2 – Add beef broth to the dutch oven, stir, and then allow to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 3 – Scoop out soup and transfer it to some oven-proof soup bowls, filling them up about 1/2 way. Top with a few slices of french bread, a slice of provolone cheese, and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.
Step 4 – Quickly broil the soups so the cheese melts and the bread turns crispy.
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
Easy French Onion Soup
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 large yellow onion, sliced into strips
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 pinch garlic powder
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 pinch salt, to taste
- 6 cup low sodium beef broth
- 1 loaf french bread, cut into thick slices
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
- fresh chives, chopped, for garnish, optional
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and season with sugar, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Toss onions to coat. Cook onions for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and slightly tacky. Note: see post for notes on how to caramelize onions instead.
- Pour beef broth into the Dutch oven and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan as needed. Bring soup to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Allow soup to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly reduced and fragrant.
- Pour soup into soup bowls, filling them about 1/2 way. Add a few pieces of french bread to each bowl, then top with a slice of provolone cheese and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
- Broil soups for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has melted and bread begins to brown. Be sure to keep an eye on the soup; they can burn quickly!
- Serve soup immediately with chopped chives as garnish.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I'm not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.