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The Best Homemade French Onion Soup

This is the best Homemade French Onion Soup! It has a generous portion of caramelized onions in a rich, flavorful beef broth made from scratch. Three types of cheese are broiled on top of croutons to melty, toasty perfection. 

Homemade French Onion Soup

Everyone knows that the three key ingredients in French cuisine are butter, butter, and butter, but I would argue that there is a fourth. That secret is high quality ingredients. Real cream, quality cheese, fresh, in-season produce, and, of course, butter.

Homemade French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup, at its core, is a very simple soup. It is here that quality ingredients matter.

If you want to turn a good soup into a tantalizing culinary experience, you need to start with homemade beef broth. I’m talkin’ roasted veal and beef bones simmering for hours. Try it. Then you’ll understand.

You will want to make sure that your onions are deliciously caramelized. Almost more than you think is right. Even darker than the pictures in my initial post. They will smell sweet with a note of caramel, and should be a rich caramel brown.

Homemade French Onion Soup

My secret in this recipe? Cognac. There are only 2 tablespoons in 4 servings but this is the flavor that pulls the onions and broth and cheese together and makes a symphony of taste. It is the flavor that your guests won’t quite be able to pinpoint, but they will know there is something truly delightful and different about your French Onion Soup. Cognac.

French Onion Soup

Gruyere cheese is traditional and you would not be remiss using all gruyere, but I used a medley of gruyere, Swiss, and fontina and it was delicious.

Homemade French Onion Soup

Dig through the cheese and the bread with your spoon and scoop up some of the broth and onions into one complete bite. Marvel as your eyes close and you sigh in pleasure. It is seriously that delicious. Simple done right.

That is what home cooking is all about, right?

I didn’t need an excessive amount of salt in this soup, and that is how I wrote it below. Sometimes salt is a flavor enhancer and sometimes it is compensating for a lack of flavor development. Many a restaurant French onion soup is suffering from this disorder. Sad but true.

Homemade French Onion Soup

Homemade French Onion Soup

The Best French Onion Soup – A love story

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

This is the best Homemade French Onion Soup! It has a generous portion of caramelized onions in a rich, flavorful beef broth made from scratch. The cheese is broiled on top of croutons to melty, toasty perfection.

Ingredients

  • ~1 cup caramelized onions [or the entire homemade recipe here]
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (not packed)
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac*
  • 3 ½ cups beef broth [Preferably homemade or organic, low-sodium]
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • French baguette, sliced ¾ inch thick along a diagonal
  • 1 ½ cups (or more, I’m not judging.) gruyere, swiss and fontina cheese.**

Instructions

  1. When making French onion soup, I caramelize my onions in a Dutch oven, so that I only dirty one pot. L-A-Z-Y
  2. Once your onions are sufficiently caramelized (deep, rich caramel in color) sprinkle with the flour and stir to coat. Add the thyme, Cognac, two large pinches kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir to distribute the spices and allow to cook on low for a few minutes.
  3. Add your beef broth and simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes. This allows the flavors to develop.
  4. While your soup is simmering, toast your bread on a baking sheet under the broiler. Watch it carefully! Toast until brown on each side.
  5. Ladle an equal amount of soup into each broiler-safe, 13 ounce bowl. Top with several bread slices and then top with ¼ of the cheese mixture. Broil on a baking sheet until the cheese has melted and has started to bubble and brown.
  6. Serve immediately, but eat with care! HOT!

Notes:

*Cognac is brandy that has been made in Cognac, France. It is like the Champagne of brandy. You can taste the difference. The higher the quality, the better the taste of your soup. Since there is such a tiny amount in this recipe, you could buy those small airplane bottles or a pint. If Cognac is not an option, then opt for the best brandy you can afford.

**I used almost a cup of gruyere and then an overflowing ¼ cup each of fontina and swiss. You do your thing.

***My husband wanted more broth. I like it as written. If you know you would like a thinner soup (fewer onions in each bite) then increase your beef broth to 4 1/2 cups. As long as you are using quality beef broth, this should not impact the flavor too much. Feel free to throw in a little extra thyme and Cognac.

Based on a recipe by Martha Stewart

https://americanheritagecooking.com/2014/10/the-best-homemade-french-onion-soup-love-story/

Did you make this recipe? I want to hear all about it! 🥳 Tag me on Instagram @cheflindseyfarr and use the hashtag #americanheritagecooking

Other Heart Warming Recipes:

Heritage Beef & Vegetable Stew

Heritage Beef-Vegetable StewHealthy Italian Turkey Sausage Soup

Healthy Italian Turkey Sausage Soup

Cilantro Sherry Chili 

Sherry Cilantro Chili

Healthy Chipotle Chicken Chili and Shaker Cornbread {GF}Healthy Chipotle Chicken Chili with Shaker Cornbread | Gluten Free Meals | American Heritage Cooking

This recipe is linked to: Inspiration Monday, Two Cup Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Party Time, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Gluten Free Wednesday, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Gluten Free Friday, Foodie Friday, Flashback Friday, Food on Friday, Saturday Night Fever

67 Comments

  • Lelia Farr
    October 11, 2014 at 10:06 am

    How wonderful! Congratulations on your first wedding anniversary!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 11, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Thanks Mom!

      Reply
  • Liz
    October 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I always put cognac in my French onion soup, too, but the 3 cheeses is what got to me! Terrific idea…the more cheese, the better!!!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      I agree! Bring on the cheese!

      Reply
  • Thalia @ butter and brioche
    October 11, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    I too just made a french onion soup.. great minds obviously think alike! Yours looks alot different to mine though, I didn’t add cheese ontop but it is definitely something that I will be trying next time.. it looks seriously delicious!

    Reply
  • Valya @ Valya's Taste of Home says
    October 12, 2014 at 2:02 am

    Looks delicious! Love any kind of soups. They are perfect for fall cold days.

    Reply
  • Jess @ Sweet Menu
    October 12, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Talk about cheesy goodness! These photos are INCREDIBLE!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 12, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Thanks, Jess! It’s all about the cheese!

      Reply
  • Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen
    October 12, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Lindsey, this soup looks INCREDIBLE, and the photos are the bomb! Love, love, love! And, congratulations on your first wedding anniversary! You are lucky to have each other! Hugs! Oh…and PINNED! 🙂

    Reply
  • Kristine @ Kristine's Kitchen
    October 12, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Happy Anniversary, Lindsey! Your first wedding anniversary is something really special to celebrate!

    This soup… I can’t get over that cheese! I think I’d have to eat the whole bowl with a piece of that crusty bread, rather than a spoon. 🙂

    Reply
  • David @ Spiced
    October 12, 2014 at 10:58 am

    This soup looks absolutely delicious!!. I’ve actually been craving French Onion Soup lately, and now my craving has hit full stride. Oh, and Happy Anniversary, Lindsey! I hope you guys are off walking through Piedmont Park holding hands and looking longingly into each other’s eyes. After all, isn’t that what married folks do? 🙂

    Reply
  • marcie
    October 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    I thought your love story was just the soup! haha Seriously, happy anniversary! I feel the same way about French onion soup — my husband is French and he enjoys it as much as I do, but it hasn’t been the same outside of Paris. 🙁 However, making it at home it so easy and better than most restaurants. Yours looks phenomenal, and I love the addition of cognac! 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

      Thank you! Shhh I liked this one better than the ones we ate in Paris. And i could have written a love story just about French Onion Soup, but where’s the fun in that?! The cognac was such a good addition.

      Reply
  • Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
    October 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I am in love with this soup, Lindsey! I’m drooling over here! French onion is my absolute favorite, yet I have never made it on my own before. I need to change that asap! Pinned and making soon!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

      If it is one of your favorites, then you definitely need to make this one! It’s delicious. Thanks for the pin!

      Reply
  • Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust
    October 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Happy anniversary!! And oh, this soup. It needs to happen. We spent an anniversary in Paris and my husband loves French Onion Soup. He got all confused because there it’s just called Onion Soup on the menu, lol.

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 13, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Thanks, Dorothy! Paris is the perfect place to spend an anniversary…or really just any time. That’s adorable – but he should know he was not alone because my husband also was a little concerned that he initially couldn’t find it on any menu when, in fact, it was everywhere!

      Reply
  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
    October 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I DIIIIE! I adore beef, caramelized onions, and cheese soooo ya. YUMMALICIOUS

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 13, 2014 at 9:30 am

      You will LOVE this soup, Kayle! CHEESE!!!!

      Reply
  • Shashi @ runninsrilankan
    October 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Happy Happy Anniversary to you and your hubs, Lindsey!
    That first picture though had me mistaking love for lust – that’s foodporn at it’s finest!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks, Shashi!!! Haha thank you! Foodgawker didn’t agree 😉

      Reply
  • Manali @ CookWithManali
    October 13, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Happy Anniversary Lindsey! 🙂 Gorgeous pictures and the soup looks delicious!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 13, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks, Manali!!

      Reply
  • Kelly - Life Made Sweeter
    October 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Happy happy anniversary Lindsey! I love French Onion soup and yours looks seriously better than any we tried in Paris 🙂 I totally want to dive right head – the 3 cheeses in here sounds amazing!!! Pinning 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 13, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks, Kelly! The more the merrier when it comes to cheese!

      Reply
  • JanetFCTC
    October 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Awww, Happy Anniversary!!!

    And this is my all time favorite soup. You make it like I do in one way; covered in cheese, not some chintzy grating of Parmesan.

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 13, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks, Janet! Soup covered in chintzy grated parmesan does not even deserve to be called French Onion Soup. Must be melty cheese!

      Reply
  • Ella-HomeCookingAdventure
    October 14, 2014 at 3:39 am

    Ahh.. you did French Onion Soup.. I’ve been wanted to do this for some while.. but kept postponing.. your’s look really tempting. Wish you many happy anniversaries 🙂 We are about to celebrate 8 years at the end of October 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 14, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Congratulations on 8! You should absolutely try it! Knowing that you, you will make it all from scratch and it will be magnificent!

      Reply
  • Jess @ whatjessicabakednext
    October 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    French onion soup is my most favourite soup! This looks delicious, Lindsay!

    Reply
  • Judit @Glamorous Bite
    October 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Very Happy FIRST Anniversary Lindsey, and many, many more to come! Love French onion soup and for some reason it tastes so much better in Paris or Nice then back home. Your beautiful photos make me want to run to the kitchen and start cooking….
    Cheers,
    J

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 14, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks, Judit! Everything tastes better in France 😉

      Reply
  • Arpita@ The Gastronomic Bong
    October 15, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Happy First Anniversary Lindsey!! 🙂
    Love love love the soup.. looks fabulous.. 3 types of cheese on top and cognac in soup is just amazing.. love the pictures too.. 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 15, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks, Arpita! You are so sweet!

      Reply
  • Jacqui
    October 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I will have to try this! Thank you for linking up to Party Time and we hope to see you again next week!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 15, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Absolutely, Jacqui! Thanks for hosting.

      Reply
  • Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector)
    October 16, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    This looks really delicious!! Thanks for linking up with SNF! Pinned to our party board!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 17, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks, Jaren!

      Reply
  • Miss Kim @ behgopa
    October 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I love how your French Onion Soup represents your love story. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. It seems like yesterday that the wedding fairy was nagging you regularly lol.

    I love French Onion Soup. It’s what I used to sip regularly at my last job (seasonally) during those busy nights. It kept me from passing out from hunger since it was one of the few things I can nibble on without spending much time to prepare (since the soups served at restaurants are premade before service). Love the globs of cheese in yours. That’s the only way to eat it.

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Thank you for getting my parallel story! I knew I could count on you. I miss the Wedding Fairy. She was such a staple for a while. Sigh. I’m sure she is happily tormenting her new bride to be. 🙂

      French onion soup is the bomb. And the more the merrier on the cheese!!! It was for the photos and I felt guilty but I ate it ALL.

      Reply
  • […] […]

    Reply
  • rattlebridge farm --foodie friday
    October 21, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Your soup was chosen for the Foodie Friday round up! Have a great week.

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 21, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
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  • bill @thewoksoflife
    October 24, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Beautiful, enticing pictures that make me want this. I think it;s the cheese!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Cheese has a specially way of doing that!!

      Reply
  • […] French Onion Soup […]

    Reply
  • Shannon {Cozy Country Living}
    October 29, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Happy Anniversary! This soup looks amazing and I cannot wait to try it! 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 29, 2014 at 10:46 am

      THanks, Shannon! I hope you do!

      Reply
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    […] americanheritagecooking.com […]

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  • Tamara
    June 20, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I have a favorite French Onion Soup recipe already but I’m going to change it up and use your cheese combo next time. Sounds lovely! One thing I do that adds jus a little flavor hit is rub fresh garlic across the toasted bread slices before adding to the soup.

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      June 20, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Great idea, Tamera! A bit of garlic never hurt anything!

      Reply
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  • Mae Lynn
    April 1, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Thank you very much for your awesome recipe. It was my first time making French Onion Soup for my whole family and your recipe helped me tremendously! Everyone, even my fussy son enjoyed the soup. My mom-in-law also complimented me. Kudos to you! 😍😉😁

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      May 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Oh nothing beats the MIL approval! Kudos to you!!! 🙂

      Reply
  • Beth
    December 19, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I have made this multiple times and each time has been delicious! It’s my go to French onion soup recipe. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      December 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      I am so glad you love it as much as I do, Beth!

      Reply
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    December 18, 2018 at 7:48 pm

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    The Best Homemade French Onion Soup – A love story

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  • Indrajeet
    December 25, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    very nice recipe and I try this at home. e it’s so delicious

    Reply
  • Robin S.
    February 11, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    How well does this store in the refrigerator? If I need to make it a day ahead of when I will eat it, will it be just as good (or better) if warmed up?

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      February 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Robin, It will absolutely be even better the next day!

      Reply

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