The Very BEST Baked French Onion Soup

This rich broth-based Classic French Onion Soup recipe is topped with a cheesy crust that you will guard with your spoon…or knife.  No sharing allowed. Hearty and comforting, this easy onion soup makes a regular appearance on our table.

French onion soup in a white crock with stretchy cheese pull on a silver spoon. Bottle of red wine in the background on a blue table.

Are you wondering why I stated “Baked” in the title?  It has nothing to do with eating French Onion Soup while baked, I assure you. BUT, I learned a lesson once when I ordered a Classic French Onion Soup at a restaurant.  I assumed all versions were the same and all versions came with a thick, crusty topping of melted, gooey cheese.

I assumed they all had a dark, beefy broth.  I assumed they were all following the same recipe all over the globe and why would someone ever deviate from perfection.  I assumed…incorrectly.

At some restaurants….if their French Onion Soup is not baked….it is not topped with cheese and stuffed under the broiler.  That version is missing the most defining part of the soup for me.  HOW can someone skip cheese?  Doesn’t the entire population live to put cheese on everything every single chance they get? Doesn’t everyone like melty, gooey cheese?

Overhead shot of baked French onion soup with melted cheese in a white crock with a napkin underneath.

You can imagine my confusion when I ordered this soup at a restaurant one day and the cheese was MISSING!  I may or may not have looked at the waitress like she had six heads while trying to figure out if she had gotten my order wrong.  Nope, she did her job perfectly and brought me the exact soup I ordered.

I ate it, wallowing in my disappointment, weeping a little inside that it was missing my favorite part.  It was still fantastic, the buttery onions were perfectly caramelized and the broth was deeply flavored.  It could have been the best French Onion Soup recipe ever but I could only focus on the fact that the cheese was missing.

So, the moral of the story is….if you order this soup in a restaurant and it doesn’t state that it is baked….ask.  Ask if it’s blanketed with a thick layer of cheese and baked in the oven to an oozey goodness that makes it difficult to eat….because that’s what makes it amazing.

Baked French Onion Soup on a straw placemat in a white crock with a silver spoon in the bowl.

Or you can make it at home.  Which is what I did. I’m of the mindset that if you want something done right…..do it yourself. And so the very BEST BAKED French Onion Soup recipe was born. It’s fairly simple to make at home and it’s very similar to the French Onion Soup Julia Child’s once made which totally makes it a classic French onion soup recipe just because of that.

French Onion Soup is super easy to make at home and so impressive to share with guests.  It does take a while to cook the onions down but you can do this in advance and then store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.  Don’t become all impatient and shorten the cooking time on the onions.  You want a deep caramel color before you add the liquids.  This gives the broth that rich flavor that’s so prominent in the restaurant versions I’ve had.

Close up of baked French onion soup in a white crock with a bottle of red wine.

What’s in French Onion Soup?

This easy French Onion Soup recipe starts with just the simplest of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make the BEST French Onion Soup ever:

  • Onions
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sugar
  • thyme
  • red wine (optional)
  • beef stock
  • bay leaves
  • gruyere cheese (or other sharp Swiss cheese)
  • baguette slices, toasted

If you’re not into using alcohol in your recipes, you can totally make this French Onion Soup recipe without the wine and it will still be fantastic.  I just like to deglaze my pan with it to scrape up all those flavorful brown bits and it adds a great depth of flavor to the soup.

Baked French Onion Soup with a spoon pulling on the melty cheese.

What is the traditional cheese for French Onion Soup?

I’m a big fan of Gruyere cheese and, as I’ve heard, it’s the go-to cheese for topping French Onion Soup in most restaurants.  It’s rich, smooth, buttery and melts so easily….it’s also the key to getting that golden brown, bubbling crust that’s so iconic with Baked French Onion Soup.

If you’re not a fan of gruyere or Swiss cheese, you could use a mild cheddar, provolone or another mildly sharp cheese in it’s place.

Overhead Baked French Onion Soup with a silver spoon dug into the melty cheese.

How do you make the best French Onion Soup from scratch?

Making French Onion Soup from scratch is really easy to do. Follow these simple instructions for French Onion Soup perfection:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn over. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden.
  3. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until melted and starting to bubble. Add the onions to the pot and cook until softened stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the salt, pepper and sugar stirring to combine and continue cooking until the onions are a deep caramel color, approximately 45-50 minutes. Stir in the thyme and red wine.
  6. Continue cooking until the red wine has evaporated and then add the beef stock and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Ladle the soup into four oven-safe crocks or bowls. Top each bowl with one slice of baguette and 1/2 cup of cheese. Broil the soup under the broiler on low until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately.
The French onion soup base can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Heat the soup over low heat and then follow the directions for serving.
Close up of Baked French Onion Soup with a silver spoon dipped into the soup.

What is the best onion for French Onion Soup?

All onions would work well but my favorite onion for making French Onion Soup is the Vidalia or other sweet onion.  The sugars in the onion help the caramelization process along and really deeps the flavor lending a sorta sweet/savory thing going on that’s superbly splendid in this soup.

I use the same onions for this Caramelized Onion recipe….which is essentially the base for this easy French Onion Soup. If you can’t find Vidalia onions or other sweet onions, you can use a combination of yellow and red onions to get the rich, sweet flavor and deep, golden color.
Baked French Onion Soup | The Suburban Soapbox

How do you cut onions for French Onion Soup?

I like to thinly slice my onions for this French Onion Soup. Not too thick, not too thin. Too thick and they’ll take FOREVER to cook down and caramelize. Too thin and they’ll all apart and disintegrate in the soup leaving you with….well, just onion soup without the actual onions. 🙂

Bonus points for the freezability of this soup.  AND if you really want to…you can skip the cheese.  I won’t mind.  That’s more cheese for me.

Close up of Classic French Onion Soup in a white crock on a straw placemat.

What can you serve with French Onion Soup?

Because this Classic French Onion soup is already pretty hearty, I like to serve my soup with a side that’s a little lighter.  Here are my favorite sides to serve with French Onion Soup making it a full main course meal:

Bourbon Roasted Pear Salad with Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts | The Suburban Soapbox

Looking for a few more easy and hearty soup recipes?  Try these READER FAVORITES!

Creamy Chicken Soup with Artichokes and Mushrooms | TheSuburbanSoapbox.com

Want MORE family friendly recipes? Follow us over on Instagram!!!

 

Note: This recipe was originally published on January 29,2014. It was updated with improved recipe tips and photos on January 6, 2018. 

Baked French Onion Soup

Course: Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, Soup
Cuisine: French
Keyword: french onion soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 541 kcal
Author: Kellie

Fantastic for a cold winter day, Baked French Onion Soup is savory and hearty with a thick blanket of melted heaven.

Print

Ingredients

  • 4 large vidalia onions sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine I used Cabernet
  • 6 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 baguette sliced into 1/2 inch slices (you will need 4)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn over. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until melted and starting to bubble. Add the onions to the pot and cook until softened stirring occasionally. Add the salt, pepper and sugar stirring to combine and continue cooking until the onions are a deep caramel color, approximately 45-50 minutes. Stir in the thyme and red wine. Continue cooking until the red wine has evaporated and then add the beef stock and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Ladle the soup into four oven-safe crocks or bowls. Top each bowl with one slice of baguette and 1/2 cup of cheese. Broil the soup under the broiler on low until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately.
  5. Note: The soup can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Heat the soup over low heat and then follow the directions for serving. (beginning with Ladle the soup...)
Nutrition Facts
Baked French Onion Soup
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 541 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 68mg23%
Sodium 1091mg47%
Potassium 798mg23%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 735IU15%
Vitamin C 13.4mg16%
Calcium 550mg55%
Iron 2.9mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

14 comments on “The Very BEST Baked French Onion Soup”

  1. Looks delicious! Will add to my “to try” list. Found you via #SITSSharefest link up.

  2. Oh my goodness! Definitely pinning this! It looks amazing. I’m the only one in my house that likes french onion soup, but I probably wouldn’t want to share it anyway;) #sitsblogging

  3. How funny that I would find this today. I was wanting some of this today and have no idea where to get a good version in our town. Now I won’t have to go hunting, I can just make it myself. Yay!! #SITSBlogging

    • In my opinion….this is better than any I’ve had in a restaurant. But that’s just me patting myself on the back, maybe? Either way…it’s so good and sooo easy!

  4. I’ve been looking for a new onion soup recipe to try. Do you think I could substitute the beef stock with chicken or vegetable broth? #SITSBlogging

  5. This is the most delicious French onion soup I’ve ever had! I can’t believe how great it is! I can’t stop making it!

  6. I totally need this soup in my .life ASAP!!! That cheese on top … delish!!!

  7. There is absolutely NOTHING better than a hot bowl of French onion soup with EXTRA cheese on top. I just bought one of those 25-pound bags of onions from Sam’s, so guess what I’m going to make over the weekend?! YUM!

  8. The melty, gooey topping is the best part!! That cheesy goodness gets me every time. Love it!

  9. This soup will for sure hit the spot on a chilly day! Yum! I wish I had a bowl right now!

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