Pulling up a spoonful of caramelized French Onion Soup in a rich broth with crisp cheesy toast is something we can’t get enough of. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you will be impressed with the results. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to re-create this restaurant-quality French onion soup at home.

We love warm, comforting soup recipes from Tomato Soup to hearty Beef Stew and our famous Zuppa Toscana. If you are a soup lover, this French Onion Soup is a must-try!

French onion soup topped with cheesy toasts

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The Best French Onion Soup Recipe

I’m convinced this truly is the best recipe for homemade French Onion Soup. We have been perfecting this recipe for years (I am a major fan). After trying so many different versions at some of the best restaurants, this one is truly excellent. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Quicker cooking time – our tip for adding sugar cuts down the onion caramelization time significantly. When you caramelize onions on the stove, the heat draws out their natural sugars so adding just a little extra sugar will make the process go faster and develops a sweeter and more caramelized onion.
  • Make-ahead – you can make this ahead and impress your guests with gooey, cheesy topped soup without ‘sweating’ over the onions (some pun intended). It tastes even better as the flavors meld.
  • We got the flavors right – this recipe has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. You’d be surprised how many recipes don’t specify the correct onions and Sherry, which can make or break your French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup Video

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What is French Onion Soup?

French Onion Soup is made of caramelized onions in a rich beef-Sherry broth and is served with a signature cheesy toast topping. It originated in France which is why it’s called French Onion Soup and it has become one of the most iconic French soups. Just like our Ukrainian Borscht, it is timeless and well-loved.

This soup is often on the menu in high-end restaurants, but it’s simple to re-create at home. Just imagine you’re in Paris as you enjoy every bite.

french onion soup with gruyere cheese pull topping


The ingredients for French Onion Soup are simple, so quality ingredients are essential. A high-quality beef broth, gruyere cheese and fresh thyme will elevate your soup.

  • Onions – use yellow onions for the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
  • Sugar – just 1/2 teaspoon helps to speed up the caramelization process.
  • Garlic, bay leaf, and thyme – these aromatics, plus salt and pepper are all you need for flavor.
  • Beef Stock – using beef stock or broth will give you better taste and color versus chicken or vegetable stock.
  • Dry Sherry – be sure to pick a dry sherry wine so your soup doesn’t end up too sweet.
  • Baguette and Gruyere cheese – these two are combined to make the cheesy toast topping. Gruyere is the classic choice for this soup, but I did include some substitution options in the “common questions” section below.
Ingredients for onion soup with onions, sherry, beef broth, gruyere, thyme, baguette

The Best Onions for French Onion Soup:

  • Yellow onions are considered cooking onions and will work best for caramelizing with the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavor. We highly recommend yellow onions for French Onion Soup.
  • Sweet onions have 25% more sugar than yellow onions and will result in a sweeter soup. If using, be sure to use extra-dry sherry
  • White onions should be avoided since they taste flat when caramelized. Save them for guacamole.
  • Red onions can turn blueish with lengthy cooking.

Pro Tip for Slicing Onions: Thinly slice your onions parallel with the lines on the onion (from root to stem). It will look nicer in the soup and you’ll break less of the onion cells which release the onion vapors that make you cry. This means fewer tears while cutting onions.

Slicing onions parallel with the onion lines

How to Make French Onion Soup

The key to making great French Onion soup is in giving the onions time to caramelize properly. Don’t rush this process but we do have a secret (just a bit of sugar) to cut down the time significantly.

  1. Slice Onions – peel onions and thinly slice onions.
  2. Soften Onions – let the onions ‘sweat’ and soften for 10 minutes.
  3. Caramelize Onions – Add 1/2 tsp sugar to speed up the caramelization process. Sautee over medium heat until onions have browned (40 min).
  4. Add Garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant.
  5. Add Dry Sherry and cook down until all the wine has evaporated, scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan.
  6. Add beef stock along with aromatics (bay leaf and thyme), salt, and pepper. Simmer partially covered 30 minutes.
Step by step how to make french onion soup in pot

Common Questions:

Can I substitute the gruyere cheese?

Gruyere is the classic choice because it’s mild in flavor and melts beautifully. You could substitute with swiss cheese, provolone, fontina, or a blend of mozzarella (low-moisture part-skim) and parmesan.

Can I make French Onion Soup in a slow cooker?

You can finish the soup in a slow cooker, but we recommend first caramelizing the onions and reducing the sherry wine on the stovetop through step 5. In step 6, transfer to a slow cooker, add broth and seasonings and cook covered on low heat for 6 hours then season to taste.

Can I substitute the sherry wine?

Dry sherry is traditional for making French Onion Soup, but you can substitute it with a dry white wine such as vermouth. Also, keep in mind since the sherry is reduced, you essentially cook out most of the alcohol in the recipe.

Onion soup topped with cheesy toasts and thyme

How to Serve French Onion Soup (2 Ways)

The way you serve your soup will depend on whether or not you have broiler-safe bowls. If they aren’t broiler safe, the dishes can crack and create a mess in your oven. Whether you have high-heat safe bowls or not, both of these methods will produce delicious results.

With broiler-safe serving bowls:

  1. Toast bread slices on a baking sheet.
  2. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle the tops with cheese.
  3. Top with toasted bread then cover with more cheese.
  4. Broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted.
How to broil cheese and toasts over French onion soup

Without broiler-safe bowls:

  1. To prepare the topping toasts separately, brush toast with olive oil and bake.
  2. Top toasted bread with mounds of cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Ladle soup into warm bowls and sprinkle on cheese to melt.
  4. Place cheesy toasts over the hot soup bowls.
How to prepare cheesy toasts for French Onion soup


  • Refrigerate – You can refrigerate French Onion Soup for up to 3 days. Once the soup is done, let it cool then cover and refrigerate until ready to reheat and serve.
  • Freezing – cool the soup then freeze in freezer-safe storage containers or zip bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using, or you can speed-thaw your container in cold water.
  • Toasts – the bread toasts can be baked ahead and stored covered at room temperature for a few days since you are essentially making croutons. Add cheese and broil just before serving.
  • To Reheat – transfer the soup to a saucepan and set over medium heat until steaming hot.
french onion soup prepared in bowls ready to serve

Everyone needs a great French Onion Soup Recipe. The rich flavor and aroma of caramelized onions in a sherry-beef broth under a cheesy toast are irresistible.

More Cozy Soup Recipes

If you love this French Onion Soup, then you won’t want to miss these comforting, classic soup recipes. These are the soups we make on repeat:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

French Onion Soup Recipe

5 from 121 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
French onion soup with cheesy toast
This classic French Onion Soup has simple ingredients but rich flavor. Be sure to use yellow onions and dry sherry wine to ensure the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


Servings: 6 people
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more to brush toasts
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 lbs yellow onions, about 6 large onions, halved, peeled and thinly sliced with the grain
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry wine, or use dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 8 cups beef stock, or broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more to garnish (or 1/4 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste, divided
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 12 slices baguette
  • 8 oz gruyere cheese, 1 1/2 cups shredded, divided


How to Make French Onion Soup:

  • Cut onions in half, cut off the ends, then peel and slice onions thinly (cut parallel with the grain of the onion).
  • In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter. Add sliced onions and sauté uncovered, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the onions with 1/2 tsp sugar which will help the onions caramelize faster. Sauté uncovered for another 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized and browned. Stir more frequently towards the end to prevent scorching or burning the onions.
  • Once onions are caramelized, add minced garlic and sauté another minute.
  • Add 1/2 cup sherry and deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom. Continue stirring until all of the sherry has cooked out (about 3 minutes over medium heat).
  • Add 8 cups beef stock, 1 bay leaf, thyme and 1 tsp salt. Partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Add another 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper, or season to taste then remove from heat.

How to Make Crouton Topping:

  • While soup is finishing up, preheat oven to 400˚F. Slice baguette to 1/2” thick slices. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown at the edges.
  • Once the soup is ready to serve, top the toasts with half of the cheese and broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese melts and turns golden in spots.
  • Pour soup into warm bowls and sprinkle remaining cheese over the hot soup. Top with hot cheesy toasts then serve.

Nutrition Per Serving

545kcal Calories58g Carbs26g Protein24g Fat11g Saturated Fat52mg Cholesterol1745mg Sodium1024mg Potassium6g Fiber12g Sugar500IU Vitamin A18mg Vitamin C514mg Calcium3mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
French Onion Soup Recipe
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Keyword: french onion soup, how to make French onion soup
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 545

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating


  • Terry Dunham
    February 24, 2024

    This onion soup was so delicious! The only exception I made was I added a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.😋
    Thanks for a great recipe!


    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 24, 2024

      Hi Terry! You’re very welcome. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.


  • Colleen
    February 17, 2024

    This was the best French Onion Soup I’ve ever made. It is so delicious. My husband and I loved it and it was even better the next day. Thank you!


    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 17, 2024

      I’m so glad to hear that, Colleen! Thank you for the wonderful feedback.


  • Krystal
    January 26, 2024

    This was so good! I had no white wine or sherry so I used some port wine and it turned out good, will have to try again when I get some sherry. I received an excess of onions in my grocery order this week by mistake so I can definitely make it again 😀

    Thank you for the great recipe and instructions Natasha! Hubby and I loved it.


    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 26, 2024

      Hi Krystal! You’re very welcome. I’m glad it was enjoyed!


  • Janet Adkins
    January 8, 2024

    This is another recipe that knocked it out of the park. I’m so impressed with how detailed your recipes are which leaves very little room for misinterpretation and user error. Love your recipes. Thank you so much for your hard work and for sharing this recipe. This one’s in my rotation.


    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 8, 2024

      You’re so welcome, Janet. We appreciate your good comments and feedback!


  • Jen P
    January 7, 2024

    Natasha, this is delicious!
    However, in your cookbook it does not say to bring soup to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes after adding the thyme, bay leaf and salt/pepper. I’m glad I checked your youtube video. Please have your editors look into this!


    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 7, 2024

      Thank you for the feedback, Jen. We’ve already made the changes, unfortunately, we didn’t recognize it earlier.


  • Kay
    January 1, 2024

    I made the French onion soup to exact directions. This was second attempt. I cooked the onions for 45 mins and the just never would turn the caramel color,…I did use the sugar amount told. Wondering why they wouldn’t turn brown? I even gave it an extra fifteen minutes..but gave up and finished the recipe. I did use yellow skinned onions….help!


    • Natasha
      January 1, 2024

      Hi Kay, it might be as simple as turning up the heat to get that caramelization process jumpstarted. I suspect too low of heat if they haven’t caramelized after 45 minutes.


  • Cheryl B
    November 16, 2023

    Delicious soup Natasha! My first time making French Onion Soup and it was a success! YUM! I was actually making this from your new cookbook, but it seemed like an instruction was missing. I was so glad to find the recipe here as well, because yep…the “partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes for the flavors to meld” is not in #5 of the cookbook. Thought you’d like to know for future printings in case you’re not already aware.


    • Natasha
      November 18, 2023

      Hi Cheryl, yes you are correct and we are aware of the missing step. It was honestly pretty sad to realize that. I wish I could go in quickly and edit it the way I can on the blog but we did make the change for the next reprint. Thank you so much for pointing that out and I’m so glad you knew to come back to these instructions.


  • Debbie
    October 12, 2023

    Excellent soup on its own, without the baguette and cheese. Great lower-calorie, gluten- and dairy-free option.
    Amazing how far down the onions cook – I had no idea.
    Your specifics on which kind of onions and sherry to use were enlightening and much appreciated!


    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 12, 2023

      So glad you enjoyed that recipe, Debbie!


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