French onion soup is a classic soup made from onions, and beef broth, often served with croutons and melted cheese on top.
It is a very flavorful type of soup that originated in France. It is typically made from beef stock, caramelized onions, and topped with a large slice of cheese. There are several versions of French onion soup to choose from: some are made with sherry wine, and others are not.
Key ingredient in French Onion Soup
The key ingredient in French onion soup is caramelized onions. They add so many flavors to the soup that you don't need to add much else. Sometimes you can even skip the beef broth altogether and use water instead. The onions will still add tons of flavors!
It is easy to make and does not require many ingredients. You can use any onions for this recipe;
- However, yellow onions are preferred because of their taste.
- The primary flavors of this soup come from caramelized onions and beef stock.
There are various recipes available for making this delicious soup. However, there are specific steps that you must follow while cooking it.
History of French Onion Soup
The history of French onion soup dates back to ancient Rome, when it was used as a restorative broth for injured soldiers returning from war. The soldiers would eat the broth and then soak their wounds in it because it had healing properties for cuts and bruises. However, people began eating this soup more regularly over time because it tasted so good!
It wasn't until the 18th century that French onion soup became popular outside of France, but everyone wanted some once it did! Traditionally, French onion soup was a way to use leftover onions in the winter. However, evidence suggests that a soup vendor invented it in Paris in the 18th century.
It's thought to have become popular because it was surprisingly cheap and filling and the onions were thought to be healthy. It soon became the food of choice for Parisian workers who needed something quick and cheap to eat during their lunch break.
The first recorded version of French onion soup was found in Alexandre Grimod de la Reynière's cookbook Almanach des Gourmands in 1808. The recipe book also included many other recipes from famous chefs.
Steps to Make French Onion Soup
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 6 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves mince
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 8 c. low-sodium beef broth or chicken broth
- 1/3 c. dry red wine or water
Crusty bread or baguettes, sliced and toasted (for serving)
Grated Gruyère cheese (for serving)
- Slice onions thinly and uniformly.
- In a large stockpot, heat butter to medium-low heat. Add sliced onion and cook for about 15 minutes or softened and translucent.
- Season with salt and pepper. Stir in flour to coat onions well and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes, so the bottom doesn't burn.
- Pour in the wine and stir well to incorporate flour mixture into the liquid.
- Add beef stock, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot. Stir well to combine, and then bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low so that soup is at a very gentle simmering (almost no bubbles coming up from the pot).
- Simmer soup uncovered for 45 minutes on low heat, occasionally stirring (but not too often). Check to season (might need more salt) and adjust if necessary. If you prefer a thicker broth, simmer for another 30 minutes uncovered until desired thickness is reached (I usually cook mine 1-1/2 hours total).
- Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs before ladling soup into oven-safe bowls on top of croutons and cheese (if using). Broil on Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler to high with the rack on the top rung of the oven, such as:
- Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet; toast until golden brown on both sides, turning once halfway through cooking time.
- Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls, top each with a piece of baguette and sprinkle generously with cheese (the more, the better!). Broil until cheese is melted.
- The soup is finished with a few slices of crusty bread, melted Gruyère cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- The crusty bread soaks up some of the broth, while the gooey cheese gets browned by a broiler for a delicious finish.
Wine is a great way to add flavor to French Onion Soup. But what if you want to make it alcohol-free?
The acidity of wine helps balance the rich, sweet flavors of caramelized onions and beef broth in this classic soup. Replacing it with an acid such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can help fill the gap. Try adding a splash of vinegar or citrus juice at the end of cooking and adjust to taste.
Another option is to use a non-alcoholic wine substitute. You can find these in most liquor stores and some grocery stores. Check the label and make sure it doesn't contain alcohol — some wine substitutes contain trace amounts, while others are entirely free of alcohol.
Restoring French Onion Soup
If you have a bowl of French onion soup leftover from dinner, it can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Use microwave-safe containers so the soup can be reheated in the microwave. However, if the soup has been left out for more than 2 hours, it should be thrown out.
The safest way to store French onion soup is in a sealed container in the refrigerator, where it should keep for 3-4 days. If you want to reheat the soup, transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl and heat it that way. Alternatively, you can heat it on the stovetop or in a saucepan.
Vegetarian French Onion Soup
Vegetarian French Onion Soup is a dairy-free and vegetarian twist on the classic. It's rich, hearty, and satisfying — just what you need to warm up and fill up this fall. This soup is delicious! The broth is savory and sweet from the caramelized onions, it's topped with crusty bread and bubbly cheese, and it's perfect for a chilly night.
So what happens when you're making a vegetarian version?
You can't use beef stock, but the vegetable stock doesn't have the same rich flavor. Enter mushrooms: They're rich and earthy, making up for the lack of meat.
This recipe starts with whole shallots (which are milder than yellow onions), slices them thinly, and then caramelize them until they are jammy and sweet. Dried porcini are then rehydrated and simmered in the shallot pot liquor to add a deeper flavor to the stock. Finally, fresh mushrooms are added to ensure plenty of mushroom flavors throughout. The result is an incredibly flavorful vegetarian soup that will satisfy any meat lover.
Best cheese for French onion soup
The traditional cheese for French onion soup, which we prefer, is Gruyère. It has a nutty sweetness that perfectly complements the caramelized onions.
French Onion Soup in UK
French onion soup is a delicious must-try in the UK. This dish is served as a starter or light meal by almost every restaurant in the country. The soup is made from caramelized onions, beef stock, sherry, and gruyere cheese. The taste of the sweet onions melts in your mouth with each spoonful. It's topped with bread that's been toasted in butter and melted gruyere cheese.
French onion soup has been famous in the United Kingdom since the 18th century, known as "soupe à l'oignon." It was initially created by the French chef Antoine Beauvilliers at his restaurant in Paris, but it wasn't until 1786 that the recipe was published in his cookbook L'Art du Cuisinier. By then, French onion soup had already been adopted as a favorite dish in Britain.
French onion soup is a delicious, classic dish that combines bread, cheese, and broth. The soup's rich flavor makes it a popular choice for many people. You may be wondering why French onion soup is so prevalent in the UK.
The answer is that it is both easy to make and tasty. It can be made with various ingredients, including onions, garlic, carrots, or other vegetables. The flavor combinations are endless!
Simple Tips for making French Onion Soup
French onion soup is an excellent choice for the cold winter days. The dish warms you right up and fills your stomach with a delicious taste that you won't find anywhere else in the world. You'll be impressed by how flavorful this simple recipe can be.
To help you make this classic bistro soup at home, here are a few simple tips:
- Use suitable onions. Yellow onions have a greater depth of flavor than white onions, Vidalia onions, or sweet onions, but red onions will give a more bitter result.
- Sauté the onions until they become very dark brown. They should be dark enough to turn the broth from amber to dark brown. (If you are using red wine in your stock, the color will be redder.)
- Use good beef stock. Homemade stock is best, but if you don't have time for that, there are many good boxed stocks available at supermarkets these days.
- Just stay away from anything labeled "beef broth," which is lighter than stock and doesn't have as much body. And if you want to make this fast, you can use water instead of stock; it just won't be quite as flavorful.
French Onion Soup is a healthy food
- French onion soup is usually made with beef stock, high in saturated fat. It can also be high in sodium since the beef stock is naturally salty and often requires added salt for flavor enhancement.
- The cheese topping on French onion soup adds saturated fat and cholesterol, making the dish even less healthy. However, you can reduce the sodium content of the soup by using a low-sodium beef stock or chicken broth instead of regular stock. You can also reduce cholesterol by leaving off the cheeses and replacing them with onions.
- It can be a tasty choice that works with your weight-loss diet. The key to enjoying it without too much guilt is to choose your restaurant wisely and be selective about how much you eat.
- French onion soup is often served as an appetizer before heartier entrees, such as steak or pasta. Since these foods are also high in calories, fat, and sodium, eating them along with your soup increases your risk for weight gain.
- The classic French onion soup recipe calls for a large amount of butter and olive oil to caramelize the onions, which boosts their saturated fat content significantly. You can reduce the amount or eliminate it to decrease the total fat in your soup without sacrificing flavor too much.
- French onion soup is a broth-based soup, which is made with onions. According to nutritionists, the quantity of onion used in this soup can make it very healthy.
- Onions are rich in antioxidants and minerals that help you stay healthy. The sulfur content in onions helps you get rid of toxins from your body and protect your liver. It can be high in calories, fat, and sodium, but there are ways to make it healthier.
Here are some tips to healthily this French classic:
- Use low-sodium beef broth. A cup of beef broth contains around 900 mg of sodium — nearly half of your recommended daily intake.
- Substitute low-sodium beef broth or vegetable broth to cut back on sodium.
- Go easy on the cheese. Some restaurant versions of French onion soup contain 1,400 calories and 100 grams of saturated fat per serving.
- Use less cheese or swap for shredded part-skim mozzarella or another lower-fat cheese to reduce calories and fat.
- Choose whole-grain bread. Serve your soup with whole-grain bread instead of white bread to increase its fiber content and boost satiety.
- Include extra vegetables. Add chopped carrots, celery, or zucchini to boost the nutrition content of your soup and make it even more filling.
So, French onion soup's deep, rich flavor and aroma make it the ultimate comfort food. This classic dish is made by simmering onions in butter until they become caramelized, beef broth, and a splash of sherry or brandy. The soup is finished by baking it with a crust of Gruyere cheese on top.