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French Onion Soup

A classic recipe for French Onion Soup that can be on your table in 1 hour! Simple and so delicious, this soup is great as an appetizer or main dish.

This French Onion Soup recipe is a must make! A rich and flavourful broth with caramelized onions, topped with a delicious and cheesy bread crust…this soup will quickly become a family favourite comfort dish.

A top down view of a bowl of French Onion Soup topped with a cheesy bread crust.

French Onion Soup is so simple to make!

French Onion Soup is so easy to make, and worth the effort! This recipe is to die for. Seriously. It’s so flavourful and the taste is amazing.

A top down view of sliced white sweet onions

Full of delicious and simple ingredients!

Made with sweet onions, flavourful vegetable broth, fresh thyme, chunks of bread and loads of cheese!

A view of a bowl of French Onion Soup topped with a cheesy bread crust.

Comfort food at its best!

French Onion Soup seems to be one of those recipes that has gone out of ‘food fashion’ over the years…it was really popular in the 60’s. Why it hasn’t stayed that way is really beyond me. This soup is delicious and comforting. 

A top down view of bowls of French Onion Soup topped with cheesy bread crust.

More than meets the eye…or stomach!

This soup is much more filling that you might realize. Every time I make it I worry that it’s not enough for dinner, and think about doubling the recipe, but it’s not necessary. It comfortably serves our family of 5…the thick cheesy bread topping is filling in itself. But sometimes I’ll serve it with a green salad. 

A close up view of a bowl of French Onion Soup topped with a cheesy bread crust.

Have it ready in about an hour! 

As an added bonus, this soup only takes about 1 hour to make! The bulk of the time is spent caramelizing the onions. If you don’t mind the onions being a little less caramelized you can have it ready in even less time. And on the other hand, if you want really rich caramelized onions, feel free to saute them longer to get that rich caramel colour and flavour…which could mean that this soup will take a little longer than an hour to make.

A close up top down view of a bowl of French Onion Soup topped with a cheesy bread crust.

French Onion Soup Recipe Tips:

  • Broth: You can use vegetable or beef broth for this recipe.
  • Cheese: This recipe calls for shredded Swiss cheese, but sometimes I like to use 1/2 Swiss cheese and 1/2 Gouda cheese. Gruyere cheese is great too, and mozzarella or provolone also works in a pinch.
  • Bread: You can use a baguette slices for the topping, or any of your favourite bread…the more robust the loaf, the better.
  • Onions: You can use sweet onions or yellow onions. See above for a little tip on caramelizing onions!
  • Bowls: A bit about bowls…the best bowls to use for French Onion Soup, are French Onions Soup Bowls that are intended for this type of soup. They have handles that allow for ease of sliding bowls around in the oven, and traditional bowls have a smaller opening than the bottom of the bowl (like the bowl I have at the bottom of this post). In the pictures above, the opening of the bowl is as wide as the bottom, and honestly they don’t work as well because the wide opening allows for more bread, which soaks up the soup. SO if you can, use a french onion soup bowl like the one at the bottom of this post, with the smaller opening so that your soup doesn’t disappear into the bread! 😉
Two bowls of French Onion Soup topped with a cheesy bread crust.

French Onion Soup

  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup


Units Scale


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cups sliced onions (about 5 medium onions, cut in half then sliced)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 L of vegetable broth (or beef stock)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Bread and Cheese Topping:

  • 1 small baguette
  • butter
  • 2 cups grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Making the soup:

  1. In a large skillet or soup pot on low/medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil, then add the onions and sugar, and cook until soft and caramelized (don’t burn them). Stir often. Mine took about 30 minutes.
  2. Once the onions are caramelized, add the broth, water, wine, Dijon mustard, thyme and bay leaf.
  3. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.

Preparing the cheese/bread topping:

  1. Set your oven to the broil setting.
  2. While the soup is simmering, you can prepare the cheese and bread that make the topping.
  3. Shred the cheese. Set aside.
  4. Cut the baguette into 1/2 inch slices, and butter each side. Place them on a baking sheet.
  5. Put the bread slices in your preheated oven to toast, about 2 minutes per side. Careful not to burn them, you really just want them to be toasty like croutons!
  6. Once they are toasted, remove the toasts from the oven, and cut them into chunks that are just a little bigger than bite sized. Set aside.

Putting it all together:

  1. Once the soup has cooked for its 20-30 minutes, remove the thyme and the bay leaf.
  2. Ladle the soup into individual oven safe bowls. This recipe filled 4 bowls very generously, or you can spread them out between 6 small portions.
  3. Add the bread chunks to the top of the soup, being generous to cover the top.
  4. Sprinkle on the Swiss and parmesan cheeses.
  5. Sometimes I like to garnish the soups with a little sprig of fresh thyme.
  6. Line the bowls up on a cookie sheet, and put them in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is melted, bubbly and slightly browned, don’t burn them! This takes about 3 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Keywords: French onion soup recipe

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 Recipe adapted from Chatelaine.com

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I hope you enjoy this warm meal!  Have a delicious day!

Note:  This recipe was originally shared October 2012. I have since updated this post with new images and some recipe tips!

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  1. You know Jo, every time I see this soup of yours, my mouth waters without fail….as a matter of fact, i will order this next time I’m out…thanks for helping my hip situation…haha…..xo

  2. ohhhhhh YUMMMMMM I do not think you could have made that soup look any more delicious! I seriously wish I could taste it RIGHT NOW! I had better get grocery shopping! Thank you again this week for the wonderful inspiration!!
    Jaime from Crafty Scrappy Happy

  3. Beautiful photography!!! Just copied and saved – will be on the menu docket soon. We finally got some cool weather in Houston, Texas today so soups and stews will soon be popular for dinner. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. I can remember a local restaurant having the BEST French onion soup ever and it looked just like yours. I’m definitely going to try this recipe soon. It looks so delicious!!! Thanks for sharing it!

    xoxo laurie

  5. This looks so delicious. I need to try this soon. I haven’t found a restaurant yet that serves a good french onion soup so making it at home will be perfect. Thanks for sharing.