This Traditional French Onion Soup is made by simmering thyme-seasoned caramelized onions in a rich red wine and beef broth. Serve topped with crusty bread and melted Gruyere for a decadent better-than-restaurant french onion soup.
I am SO excited to share my Traditional French Onion Soup recipe with you today! Traditional french onion soup topped with gooey melted cheese and crusty bread is the ultimate comfort food for me.
And this was so good the first time around that not only did I make it again for lunch the next day, but my husband, who NEVER finishes a bowl of french onion, ate his faster than me!
See, I am truer-than-true french onion soup addict. This may be the one meal that I have eaten more than anything else.
You know the etiquette rules of never eating something messy and gassy while on a date, particularly a first date, or in a business meeting? Well, on my first date with my now husband, what did I order?
FRENCH ONION SOUP!
There was a time that my grandmother took me to lunch three times a week (she had just retired and was bored!) and I ate french onion soup and Ceasar salad exactly three times a week. For an entire summer. And I never got sick of it.
When I went off to college I still wanted (and needed) my fix of french onion soup. So I bought canned french onion soup, heated it on the stove, and then broiled it with crusty bread and cheese. I thought it was delicious.
Enter: homemade traditional french onion soup. Inspired by my favorite Christmas gift this year, soup crocks!
Never again will I eat canned french onion soup. Never again will I eat french onion soup at a restaurant and think it's the best thing I've ever devoured (unless I am at a French restaurant, or even better, in France!).
This soup is unbelievably rich and comforting and amazing. So come join me in making it this cold and rainy weekend...we are on bowl 3 this week!
Traditional french onion soup is made with these ingredients:
For the broth:
- Sweet onions
- Salt + pepper
- Bay leaves
- Red wine *see note below
- Beef broth [or bouillon cubes + water]
For the bread topping:
- Gruyere cheese, shredded
- Crusty baguette
- Paprika [optional]
💭 Expert Tips
Onions: I believe that sweet onions make the best traditional french onion soup. But, if you only have yellow onions, these will do fine. Just promise me that next time you make it, you'll use the sweet onions!
Red Wine: Using real red wine and not cooking wine is what makes this soup better than any restaurant's. Red wine creates a truly rich and decadent broth that will make you never want to stop eating it. Please, do not use cooking wine.
I have made this French onion soup using Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Both give it stunning flavor, but I prefer the Cabernet for slightly more kick.
🔪 Step-By-Step Directions
Traditional French Onion Soup is quite easy to make. Here's how to do it:
First, cut the onions into thin slices and dice the garlic clove.
Second, melt the butter in a large pan and add the onions, garlic, thyme, and a bay leaf. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper (no need to measure, you'll season it later).
Cook for 25 minutes, until the onions are caramelized. Stir it every so often, but not too much. You want to give the onions a chance to brown, but not burn.
Now add the red wine and simmer until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Then discard the bay leaf. Sprinkle the onions with flour and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often so the flour doesn't burn. You can use the spoon while stirring to cut your onions further if they are too big.
Now add the beef broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper. Taste as you go to add salt and pepper to your liking.
While the broth simmers cut a baguette into six ½ inch slices. Sprinkle the bread with Gruyere cheese and a little paprika. Broil for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.
Transfer the soup to crocks and top with 2-3 slices of cheesy bread.
I love serving all soup, especially this recipe, in soup crocks. The handles and lid make it so much easier to carry to the table than handle-less soup bowls.
Traditional French Onion Soup
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 sweet onions, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ cup red wine (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon)*
- 1 ½ tbsp flour
- 4 cups beef broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 baguette slices
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
- paprika to taste
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook until onions and soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add the wine, bring to a boil, and then simmer until the wine is absorbed and onions are mostly dry, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf, and sprinkle onions with the flour. Reduce heat so the flour doesn't burn and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the beef broth [bouillon cubes + water] and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet, top with Gruyere, and sprinkle with a little paprika. Broil until browned and bubbly, about 3 minutes.
🍴Serving and Storing
The broth tastes best when eaten fresh, right off the stove. You should serve it immediately if possible, but warming up in the microwave later in the day is the next best thing.
You could freeze it if you absolutely had to, but I don't recommend it because the flavors will break down.
However, there are plenty of soups that freeze beautifully. You should try these comforting soups, where many of them are freezer-friendly!
- Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
- Thick and Hearty Vegetable Soup
- Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Beef Barley Soup
Not-so-freezer friendly, but still delicious soups:
- 20 Minute Spinach Tortellini Soup
- 15 Minute Veggie Ramen Noodle Soup