Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (2024)

32 Comments | Jill Winger | Last Updated: June 13, 2023

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Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (1)

Is it possible to be addicted to soup?

Cause I think I am.

It’s pretty much all I want to eat right now, and I’m blazing through my stash of home canned broth as I ravenously feed my addiction.

I can’t help it.

My first attempts making french onion soup were pretty dismal; it tasted like limp onions floating in wallpaper paste. My husband was soooo impressed, as you can imagine.

But my unquenchable soup addictionhas propelled me forward, and I’ve happened upon just the right blend of flavors that makes this french onion soup recipe quite possibly one of the best things I’ve ever put into my mouth.

Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (2)

I like to use a mixture of yellow onions and purple onions, although if yellow is all you have, they’lltotally work too. I have to quell a bit of an unforgiving spiritevery time I reach into my pantry for my store-bought onions, sinceour lovely turkey demolished our entire homegrown crop this year… Forgiveness is hard.

Oh! You will NEED some crusty bread to go with your french onion soup, so plan on making my French bread recipe or grabbing a baguette from the local bakery or farmer’s market.

Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (3)

Best French Onion Soup Recipe

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4-5 medium to large onions (I prefer using several varieties for the best flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (or two sprigs fresh thyme)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups beef stock (how to make your own beef stock)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt/pepper to taste (I like this salt)
  • Cheese for garnish (see note below)
  • Crusty bread

Thinly slice the onions. I recommend using the slicing blade of a food processor for this. Otherwise, you’ll be crying your eyes out.

Melt the butter in a large stock pot, and add the onions, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until the onions are very soft and a lovely shade of golden brown. This should take 30-40 minutes.

Add the red wine all at once, and continuing cooking and stirring until the onions are dry and the wine has cooked out.

Remove the bay leaves and thyme springs (if you were using fresh).

Sprinkle the flour on top, and allow it to cook for another 5 minutes, or until it has browned.

Pour in the stock and balsamic vinegar and allow the soup to simmer and thicken for around 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (4)

Place the soup into oven-safe bowls or ramekins. Top with a slice of crusty bread and a generous handful of grated cheese.

Pop into the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and brown.

(If you don’t want to place your bread on top, you can serve it alongside as well. I give you my full permission.)

Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (5)

Kitchen Notes

  • The caramelization of the onions is the most important part of the entire recipe– don’t rush it. (And keep your eye on them to make sure they don’t burn!)
  • The quality of beef stock and chicken stock you use will either make or break this French onion soup recipe. I HIGHLY recommend you use homemade broth for this– here’s how to make it and can it yourself.
  • If you don’t want to use wine, you can substitute an extra cup of broth instead. However, the wine really brings a beautiful depth of flavor to this recipe, so I highly recommend it.
  • I have made this recipe without using flour, and it will still work. The addition of the flour just provides a slightly creamier texture, in my opinion.
  • French onion soup purists always use Gruyere cheese in their recipes. I love Gruyere, but it’s pretty expensive and I never seem to have it on hand. Therefore, I usually opt for swiss, Parmesan, or mozzarella instead. (Here’s how to make your own mozzarella)
  • I used these cute lil biscuit cutters(affiliate link) to cut little rounds of bread. They fit perfectly on top of my ramekins.
  • French onion soup gets even better the second day. If you have leftovers, that is.And that’s highly unlikely.

Print

French Onion Soup

Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (6)

  • Author: The Prairie Homestead
  • Category: Main Dish

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 45 medium to large onions (I prefer using several varieties for the best flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (or two sprigs fresh thyme)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt/pepper to taste (I use this salt)
  • Cheese for garnish (see note below)
  • Crusty bread

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the onions. I recommend using the slicing blade of a food processor for this.
  2. Melt the butter in a large stock pot, and add the onions, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until the onions are very soft and a lovely shade of golden brown. This should take 30-40 minutes.
  3. Add the red wine all at once, and continuing cooking and stirring until the onions are dry and the wine has cooked out.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and thyme springs (if you were using fresh).
  5. Sprinkle the flour on top, and allow it to cook for another 5 minutes, or until it has browned.
  6. Pour in the stock and balsamic vinegar and allow the soup to simmer and thicken for around 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Place the soup into oven-safe bowls or ramekins. Top with a slice of crusty bread and a generous handful of grated cheese.
  8. Pop into the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and brown.
  9. (If you don’t want to place your bread on top, you can serve it on the side.)

Notes

The caramelization of the onions is the most important part of the entire recipe– don’t rush it. (And keep your eye on them to make sure they don’t burn!)

The quality of beef stock and chicken stock you use will either make or break this French onion soup recipe. I HIGHLY recommend you use homemade broth for this.

If you don’t want to use wine, you can substitute an extra cup of broth instead. But the wine really brings a beautiful depth of flavor to this recipe.

I have made this recipe without using flour, and it will still work. So if you are gluten-free, that is definitely an option. The addition of the flour just provides a slightly creamier texture, in my opinion.

French onion soup purists always use Gruyere cheese in their recipes. I love Gruyere, but it’s pretty expensive and I never seem to have it on hand. Therefore, I usually opt for swiss, Parmesan, or mozzarella instead.

I suppose you could omit the balsamic vinegar, if you want, but I wouldn’t recommend it, as it adds the most perfect pop of extra flavor.

French onion soup gets even better the second day. If you have leftovers. Which you probably won’t.

More Soup Recipes:

  • Creamy Tomato Garlic Soup
  • Rustic Potato and Sausage Soup
  • Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup
  • Healthy Cheeseburger Soup

Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (7)

Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (8)

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Reader Interactions

32 Comments

  1. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (13)Lanie says

    This sounds like heaven! I have been craving French Onion Soup for a week now and I think today will be the day!! Your recipe sounds very similar to mine but I add a little twist sometimes. Instead of the red wine, I use some marsala wine (NOT the cooking wine) and occasionally some very browned mushrooms. I finish with just a bit of heavy cream as well. There is something about the thyme, onion and mushrooms that warms my tummy! Thanks for the “sign” that I just need to make the soup already…now, if only I can wait until dinner time! 🙂

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (14)Jill Winger says

      I’m liking the mushroom idea!

      reply to comment

      • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (15)Elfreda says

        Hi Jill I love all your recipes , gardening tips etc. Ordered the doTerra oils but have not received them yet,Really look forward to getting into ess.oils.Thank you for all the information you post.

        reply to comment

  2. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (16)Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek says

    What timing. I have had homemade beef broth that I canned and am making French Onion Soup Friday night. A side of Panini’s and my guys should be satisfied.
    Thanx for the recipe.

    reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (17)Jill Winger says

      Yay! I love timing like that!

      reply to comment

  3. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (18)Prairie Wife says

    I think it’s all this cloudy weather that has you on a soup kick…the same thing has been happening here. The Cowboy is going to leave and never come back if I don’t make a roast and potatoes for him soon! This baby LOVES French Onion soup and I’ve only been able to indulge a few times when we go out to eat (the package stuff doesn’t cut it) I’ll be making this next week!

    reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (19)Jill Winger says

      You and the baby are going to love it!

      reply to comment

  4. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (20)Jill@JillsHomeRemedies says

    This sounds sooo good! Will have to try!

    reply to comment

  5. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (21)Marcia Little says

    All I can say is that the ramekin is toooo small! Lol, I love French Onion Soup and I too add mushrooms to mine. Will have to try your recipe.

    reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (22)Jill Winger says

      I agree– it’s WAY too small! I was desperate for a pretty bowl to photograph it in, but I definitely eat it out of a much bigger dish!

      reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (23)Nancy Alexander says

      Hi. Have you ever pressure canned this recipe?

      reply to comment

  6. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (24)Amy @Home & Farm Sense says

    Jill – this recipe was so good! We made it tonight but I did have to substitute some rich turkey broth I had frozen from Thanksgiving in place of the beef broth. We used homemade sourdough bread and homemade farmhouse cheddar as well – even my non onion eaters loved it. Thanks so much!!

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (25)Jill Winger says

      Wahoo!! I love converting non-onion eaters… And the homemade sourdough… mmmmmmmmmm.

      reply to comment

      • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (26)Julie says

        I use my slow cooker to caramelize my onions for 12 hours hands free. So easy. My recipe is very similar to yours after. I served it for Christmas Eve dinner. So good! Thanks for sharing!

        reply to comment

  7. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (27)Kimberly @ KimRidge Farm says

    I wanted to be methodical when I saw your recipe for the first time a couple of days ago.

    I decided that I was going to make the soup, try it first, and then write my feedback in the comments.

    The only problem, I need to go grocery shopping. I don’t even have enough onions in the house and just a tiny piece of Gauda. So I haven’t made the soup yet.

    I looked at your recipe again today. As I was scrolling through the page, I took a huge gulp. I mean a mouthful of saliva made such a high tide in my mouth that my head involuntarily shifted forward.

    I’ll be making it pretty soon. Forget the diet.

    Thank you for the recipe.

    Kimberly

    reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (28)Jill Winger says

      LOL! Yeah, looking at the pics make my mouth water, too! Let me know what you think after you make it!

      reply to comment

  8. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (29)Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says

    I love French Onion Soup. Unfortunately the rest of my family doesn’t. Maybe it’s time to give it a try again….if they don’t want it that means more for me!

    reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (30)Jill Winger says

      Yeah this is one recipe I’m happy to eat all by myself, hehe! 🙂

      reply to comment

  9. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (31)Jody says

    This sounds incrediable. Do you thibk it can be frozen? Without the bread and cheese of course.

    reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (32)Jill Winger says

      I don’t see why not! 🙂

      reply to comment

  10. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (33)Ashley says

    oh man… I have read through three of your soup recipes and I am Pregnant and starving and feeling chilled with the crisp evening air in Oklahoma at 11pm at night and I am soooo wishing I had made this already so I could reheat some and EAT IT NOW!!! I want something HOT and Cheesy and delicious and can’t have it right now… I hope I still want it tomorrow because I am making one of your soups then!

    reply to comment

  11. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (34)Amy says

    I never comment on recipes, but I had to say how great this tasted! I used 2 Spanish, 1 white, 1 red and 1 yellow onion. Using the food processor to chop them saved a lot of time (and tears).
    I tried different types of cheese and Gruyere definitely was the best

    reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (35)Jill Winger says

      Thanks for commenting Amy– I’m thrilled you loved it! And I love Gruyere too. 🙂

      reply to comment

  12. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (36)jen says

    Your recipe is practically identical to mine, so I know it’s delish. The only differences-
    ~I have used red wine, but found that personally I prefer the flavor cream sherry imparts, and am more likely to have cooking sherry in my pantry than wine. (Because I use it for many things, deglazing camelized onions always, and always add i hornswaggle of it in any cream soup I make-SO good.
    ~I have never considered using vinegar in my french onion soup. I don’t use balsamic much because it’s just not an ingredient that was in our home growing up. I have used it employed as a chef but want to experiment with it more.
    That’s really it! The sun is shining brightly but there is still about 8 inches of snow remaining from the 30 inches that was dumped on us last week, and the wind is fierce, and you made up my mind to make french onion soup today! So, thanks!

    reply to comment

  13. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (37)rose says

    My son is a vegetarian can i use vegetable stock instead

    reply to comment

    • Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (38)Jill Winger says

      sure!

      reply to comment

  14. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (39)Alice says

    My bread alway sinks to the bottom, no matter what kind I use. Then the cheese is sunken also. How doI prevent this?

    reply to comment

  15. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (40)Jennifer says

    I usually place my onions in the freezer for about 10-20 minutes before cutting & cut off the root end last – these two tips have immensely reduced &/or eliminated the crying. Excellent recipe! This is my husband’s & my favorite soup!!

    reply to comment

  16. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (41)Vicki says

    I made this recipe tonight and it was great! I used turkey broth and added 2 teaspoons salt, one teaspoon pepper and one teaspoon sugar because I was a bit worried since the last time I tried to make this kind of soup it was a complete disaster! The butter I used was unsalted and the turkey broth was home made with less salt than normal in store bought so I worried about not enough salt but it was PERFECT. I had to put my OVEN SAFE bowls under the broiler when the cheese on the soup just took WAY too long to brown in the oven. I toasted the bread in the oven while the onions were taking FOREVER to cook as directed but it was all WORTH IT everyone loved it 100% THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    reply to comment

  17. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (42)Pat Kennedy says

    My wife is allergic to anything grape made, aka wine, also iodide, which includes salt with added iodide, seafood, celery, strawberries and any other natural source.

    We love French Onion soup or any kind of soup, what is a good alternative to cooking with wine? With celery, I substitute celery seed.

    reply to comment

  18. Best French Onion Soup Recipe | The Prairie Homestead (43)Tammie Warren says

    I love onion soup. My boyfriend says “Where’s the meat?” I put a small chuck roast in the crockpot and use the broth and shredded beef in the soup. We are both happy!

    reply to comment

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