A savory, warm, and easy french onion soup flavored with garlic, red wine, sweet Spanish onions, and topped with a crisp baguette and melted white cheese.
An easy French onion soup recipe is one of John’s favorite dishes. I’ve been making this soup for him for years. It’s one of the first soups that I mastered alongside loaded baked potato and broccoli cheese.
This French onion soup recipe is his favorite, though. It’s full of sweet, caramelized onions, savory thyme, beef broth, and a touch of red wine. It sounds complicated, but it couldn’t be simpler to make.
How to Make Easy French Onion Soup:
Start by slicing the onions. I like to use a food processor with a slicing blade to keep the teary eyes to a minimum. After the onions are sliced, heat a large, deep pan over low heat.
Add the butter, onions, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine, then allow the onions to cook until soft and translucent. They should begin to caramelize and turn a beautiful, golden brown.
After the onions start to caramelize, dust them with flour. Stir the onions around to make sure the flour is evenly distributed, and cook for a few more minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor.
Add the wine and cook until the wine is reduced and the alcohol has evaporated. Then, add the broth. Stir well to combine, increase the heat, and bring to a boil.
Once the French onion soup begins to boil, reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 20 minutes. While the soup simmers, cut the baguette and toast if desired.
When the soup is finished, ladle into individual oven safe bowls. Top each bowl with a baguette and your choice of cheese. Place the bowls on a baking sheet under the broiler. Once the cheese is brown and bubbly, remove from the oven and serve.
What are the best onions for French onion soup?
We like to use Spanish (yellow) or white onions for our easy French onion soup recipe. However, red onions are another option. Each type of onion provides a slightly different flavor, so pick out your favorite.
- Yellow onions are high in sulfur and have a very pungent flavor. They are not great tasting if you eat a bite of one raw, but yellow onions caramelize beautifully. The sugars and sweetness in the onion come out nicely, which make this variety our favorite when making French onion soup.
- White onions are sweeter than yellow onions. If you eat a piece of a white onion raw, it shouldn’t burn your mouth. That’s why they’re great on sandwiches, burgers, and in salads. Vidalia is a type of white onion and works well in French onion soup.
- Red onions are used in a lot of French onion soup recipes. They are very stout in smell and flavor but have a lot of sweetness when caramelized. Many people prefer the sweetness of red onions over white onions. They are well suited for grilling and pickling and add wonderful flavor to pizzas.
What is the best cheese for French onion soup?
John really enjoys provolone on his French onion soup, but some other popular options are Gruyere, Swiss, or even mozzarella.
- Provolone cheese is made from cow’s milk, is pale yellow to white in color and slightly sweet in taste. It pairs well with full-bodied and red wines, which makes it perfect for this easy French onion soup.
- Like provolone, Gruyere is also made from cow’s milk but is more yellow in color with a brownish colored rind. Gruyere has is earthy and nutty in flavor with a slightly fruity undertone. The earthy flavor of this cheese makes it a great choice for French onion soup.
- Swiss is a shiny, pale yellow cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a mild, sweet, nutty flavor and pairs well with either white or red wine.
- Mozzarella can be used in a pinch, but it’s not our top choice. It’s a soft, white cheese that is stringy and stretchy when melted. Mozzarella is easy to find and melts well, so that makes it a good choice for this soup if you love stretchy, mild cheese.
Looking for other warm and hearty soup recipes?
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 white or Spanish onions, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 32 ounces beef broth
- Baguette, sliced in circular pieces
- Sliced or shredded white cheese of your choice (We used provolone.)
Place butter, onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves in a large pan and heat over low-medium heat. Cook until onions are soft, translucent, and begin to caramelize (about 20-25 minutes).
Dust the mixture with flour and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes to cook out raw flour flavor.
Add wine and stir so onions and wine are mixed. Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat stirring occasionally. The liquid will reduce some but should not completely evaporate.
After the alcohol evaporates from the wine, pour in the beef broth. Stir to combine and bring to boil. Once mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 stirring occasionally.
While the soup cooks, place sliced baguette in the oven on 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until bread is toasted.
Pour soup into oven-safe bowls and top with a piece of toasted bread. Lay a slice of cheese over each piece of bread, and place the bowls on a baking sheet or baking pan.
Place the baking sheet or pan in the oven and turn on the broiler just long enough to cause the cheese to bubble and begin to brown. Carefully remove the soup from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.