Ooey, gooey cheesy goodness, this French Onion Soup is as classic as it gets and could not be any simpler to make! It’s always been a true favourite in our house and I know this easy recipe will be a family favourite in yours, too!
French Onion Soup was a staple in the Lagana family household growing up. I find this fact kinda funny. You see, 2/5 Lagana’s despise onions. They never complained about it in the soup, though, cause momma always made THE best. And, let’s be honest, when it really comes down to it, ain’t nobody in this family complaining about ANYTHING covered in melted cheese. Trust me.
Me, on the other hand, along with the 2 leftover Laganas, absolutely LOVE onions! I’m not lying when I tell you I could prrrrobably take a bite out of one, unbothered (NOT coming from personal experience…or is it?! lol).
There was this one time, though, in the remote jungle of Iquitos, Peru, aka one of my favourite places in the world, where I was most thankful I love onions as much as I do. We had just finished our 10 day Ayahausca Retreat. And, if you know anything about Aya at all, it’s the diet that goes with her. No onions. Or garlic. No spices. Or pork. No sugar. Basically nothing but a bland ol’ bowl of lentil and potato soup I actually came to love during my time there.
Anyway, my point being, after the 10 days of really not eating much at all, we broke our diet by having to mow a plate of sliced RAW onions marinated simply in lime and salt. I kid you not, this tasted like pure Heaven to me but I couldn’t help but think of how my dad and sister (aka the onion haters of the family) would react. You didn’t have a choice in the matter, either.
You do have a choice in this matter, though and I highly suggest making this soup. It’s my momma’s recipe that she’s been using for years, the one we grew up eating. It’s seriously so simple (what can I say…she’s a simple gal!) and requires no fancy ingredients. The key is to simmer the onions away on the stove for at least an hour which, as you could probably guess, makes the house smell ammmmazing. There’s just nothing about this classic and simple French Onion Soup I don’t love. I mean, if there’s one thing left in the world that does NOT have to be complicated… it’s French Onion Soup!
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS SIMPLE FRENCH ONION SOUP RECIPE
We keep things as simple as they get with this French Onion Soup Recipe. If there’s one thing about my mom’s cooking compared to mine, let’s just say she likes to keep things simple and I enjoy complicating things (in the best way possible…or so I like to think). Here are the ingredients in a little bit more detail:
- Onions: Well, duh duh duh! Onions are probably the most important part of a good French Onion Soup as you obviously can’t have a good one without them. We think using yellow onions are best for this recipe but I’m sure you could get away with using white or red instead, if you prefer. Don’t worry… as the onions cook and caramelize, they lose that pungent overpowering onion flavour so even if you hate onions, I’m willing to bet, like my onion hating sister and father, you’ll still love this soup recipe!
- Beef Broth: Adds flavour to the base of the soup.
- Water: The other base of the soup. However, for extra flavour, omit the water completely and use more beef broth instead.
- Bread: A key ingredient in a good French Onion Soup. Normally, we use about 1-inch slices of baguette which we find to be perfect for this recipe. The bread adds texture to the soup as it soaks up the cheese, onions and broth.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Makes this French Onion Soup extra ooey, gooey, cheesy and delicious. Freshly grated works best in this recipe. However, you can use any cheese that melts well instead, if you prefer. I’ve done it in the past with cheddar, marbled, swiss and provolone, all with good results.
- Parmesan Cheese: Adds a rich, sharp flavour to the dish and a little bit of extra umph. Freshly grated works best in this recipe.
- Parsley: Totally optional and simply used for garnish and adding a final pop of colour to an otherwise bland looking dish. Therefore, freshly chopped parsley works best in this recipe if you’re going to use it at all.
- Butter: Used to sautée/caramelize the onions. Adds flavour. However, you can use oil (such as avocado oil) instead, if you prefer.
- Salt/Pepper: Honestly, my mom doesn’t even add these in but I couldn’t bare to post a soup recipe without adding a little bit of salt and pepper. You know what I’m saying?!
HOW TO MAKE FRENCH ONION SOUP (KEY TIPS)
- Thinly slice the onions so they cook evenly and they’re easily eatable once in the soup. Use a mandolin if you have one. If not, a sharp kitchen knife will do just fine. EXTRA TIP: Yes, we’re cutting a looooad of onions here, people. You’re likely bound to cry or at least tear up. Take breaks if you need to, wear onion goggles if you have them, do whatever you need to do to get the onions thinly sliced. It shouldn’t take too long. So just remind yourself that it’ll all be over soon and that every tear shed will totally worth it in the end 😉
- Caramelize the onions until they’re a nice brown colour (about 20-30 minutes) before adding any liquid. This will release their maximum flavour. It’ll also get rid of that overpowering pungent onion taste making the soup extra flavourful and delicious (even for onion haters!).
- Add a splash of water to the onions as they cook/caramelize in the pot to ensure they don’t burn. They’ll be cooking for quite a while so be sure to keep stirring them throughout and keeping an eye to ensure nothing burns.
- For a more flavourful soup, use all beef broth for the soup base instead of half beef broth and half water. However, rest assured, it truly comes out simply delicious just as the recipe is written.
- Allow the soup to simmer on low heat on the stove for at least an hour which is key to achieving maximum flavour.
- Ensure the baguette slices are about 1-inch thick for best results. They act as a vessel to soak up all the delicious broth, onions and cheese. Cut the bread too thin and you they won’t have the same affect in the soup.
- Toast the baguette slices. This will ensure the bread holds its shape and doesn’t become overly soggy after it’s topped with the hot soup.
- Use oven safe bowls. These bowls generally work best for this recipe. You want to be able to put the entire bowl directly into the oven so the cheese can melt properly and perfectly over top. EXTRA TIP: Once the hot bowl comes out of the oven, serve it on a plate to avoid anyone touching the hot bowl and burning themselves and to catch any soup that overflows from the top.
- Place the bowls of French Onion Soup on a baking sheet before baking. This will catch any liquid should it spill or fall over the tops as the soup bakes in the oven.
- Don’t skimp on the cheese and make sure to use a good, quality one that actually melts (we prefer freshly grated mozzarella mixed with a little bit of freshly grated parmesan). One of the best parts about a good bowl of French Onion Soup is the cheesy goodness on top melted to bubbly perfection! We’re here for those cheese pulls, baby!
- Broil the cheese in the last few minutes if you like it a tad bit crispy and browned.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We love and prefer using good ol’ yellow onions that are peeled and thinly sliced. However, thinly sliced white onions would also work just fine. And I’m sure you could make it work with red onions, too, if that’s all you have on hand.
Any cheese that melts into ooey, gooey perfection will do the trick for this French Onion Soup. I’m sure we can all agree that the bubbly cheese is one of the best parts of the entire soup! We normally use a mixture of freshly grated mozzarella cheese mixed with a little bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese. However, some other good options are swiss, gouda, Gruyère, provolone, fontina, cheddar, marble or monterey Jack.
This French Onion Soup broth is pretty simple. My mama keeps things pretty basic by using 1 carton of beef broth and 4 cups of water (so equal parts of each). However, for a more flavourful broth, feel free to omit the water completely and use 2 cartons of beef broth instead.
Leftover French Onion Soup will last up to 5 days if stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge. Don’t add the toasted baguette slice or grated cheeses until ready to bake. PRO TIP: Heat the soup up in a pot on the stove first. Then transfer it to the bowls with the baguette and cheese. Bake or broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Yes! The broth and onion portion of this French Onion Soup freezes beautifully (in other words, freeze it without the bread and cheeses). Portion it out (I like using these) and it’ll keep in the freezer for up to 4 months. When ready to eat, simply thaw and reheat. Then add the toasted baguette and freshly grated cheeses and bake or broil as instructed in the recipe card down below.
- 10 medium-large Yellow Onions
- 4 cups Beef Broth
- 4 cups Water*
- 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, freshly grated
- 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
- 2 tbsp Butter
- French Baguette (half loaf), cut into 1-inch thick slices
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Fresh Chopped Parsley, optional, for garnish
- Thinly slice the onions. Add the butter to a large pot over medium low heat and once almost melted, add the onions. Add a splash of water to ensure that the onions don't burn while cooking.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft, caramelized and tender, about 20-25 minutes.
- Add the beef broth, water and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour to allow the onions to release their maximum flavour.
- Toast the baguette slices. I just pop them under the broiler for a minute or two, keeping a close eye to ensure they don't burn.
- Place the toasted baguettes into individual oven safe bowls. Ladle the onion soup on top and then top with some freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350° for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly (I like to place the individual bowls on a baking sheet to catch any liquid that might boil or spill over the tops while baking). Additionally, broil for a few minutes to brown the tops and crisp up the cheese. Top with fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.
For a more flavourful soup, use all beef broth for the soup base instead of half beef broth and half water. However, rest assured, it truly comes out simply delicious just as the recipe is written.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 436Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1666mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 23g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
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