The Best French Onion Soup Recipe Ever

If you love french onion soup like I do, you have to try this recipe. It’s seriously the best french onion soup that I’ve ever eaten, hands down. And aside from some stirring that you have to do in the middle, this recipe is super easy. I’m actually going to list ingredients and step by step directions because I love it so much, and I want you guys to get it right as well. I learned it from watching an episode of “America’s Test Kitchen”, which is one of my favorite cooking shows on PBS. All it takes is a little time and a little love, and you’ll have a huge pot of amazingly delicious french onion soup.

Best French Onion Soup Recipe
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

-4 lbs yellow onions
-3 tablespoons butter
-1/2 cup sherry
-4 cups chicken broth
-2 cups beef broth
-1 bay leaf
-sprig of thyme
-water
-salt
-pepper
-toasted baguette slices
-grated or thinly sliced cheese (any combination of gruyere, swiss, jarlsbeg, and parmesan)

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray the inside of a dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray, or pour some oil into the bottom and spread it all around with a paper towel. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and scatter it around the bottom of the dutch oven. Cut the onions in half through the root end, and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices from pole to pole. Put the slices of onion into the dutch oven and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the top. Cover the dutch oven and place it into the oven for 1 hour.

Four pounds of sliced yellow onions in a dutch oven with three tablespoons of butter

2. Remove the dutch oven after an hour and take off the cover (use oven mitts!), stirring the onions and scraping down the sides. The onions should just be starting to brown. Replace the cover on the dutch oven but leave it slightly ajar cook for another hour. Stir and scrape down the sides again, then put it back in the oven with the cover still ajar for another 45 minutes.

Onions after one hour in the oven

Onions after two hours and 45 minutes in the oven

3. Remove the pot and place it on the stove over a medium high heat. Stir frequently and scrape down the sides. After 15 minutes, a dark crust should form at the bottom of the dutch oven. Don’t be alarmed! This is fond, and it’s full of flavor. It can get to be a very dark brown, just watch that it doesn’t get too black or burned. Turn down the heat if necessary. After the fond is formed, pour in 1/4 cup of water and scrape the fond up from the bottom, stirring it into the onions. After the water has evaporated, cook the onions for another 6-8 minutes until another fond crust forms at the bottom of the dutch oven. Add another 1/4 cup of water and scrape it up from the bottom, mixing it into the onions. Repeat this process 4 times in total. The onions will be very brown and soft at this point – that’s a good sign!

Developing dark fond at the bottom of the pot

Adding water and scraping up the fond from the bottom

4. After the fourth scraping, let the fond develop one more time, then deglaze with 1/2 cup of sherry. Scrape up all the brown bits and mix it with the onions. At this point the onions should be a very dark, deep brown color.

Adding sherry and deglazing the bottom of the pot one more time

5. Pour in 2 cups of water and both the chicken and beef broths. Add in the bay leaf and a sprig of thyme. Stir to combine, then turn the heat up to high. When the soup starts to boil, cover the dutch oven and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Adding in chicken broth, beef broth, and water, and simmering with a bay leaf and thyme

6. To prepare the soup for serving, toast slices of baguette. Ladle some hot soup into an oven safe bowl and cover the top of the soup with the toasted baguette. Top the baguette slices with cheese. Gruyere is the classic preference but I like to use a combination of jarlsberg and parmesan. Place the bowls of soup on a cookie sheet and side it under the broiler. Watch it very carefully as the cheese bubbles and browns very quickly.

After the soup is done simmering, ladle some into oven safe bowls

Top the soup with toasted baguette slices

Slices of jarlsberg go on top

Bubbling and browning cheese under the broiler

7. Remove the bowls from the oven very carefully and place on plates to serve. The bowls are super hot so be careful! Let it cool down a bit but be sure to eat it while it’s hot and the cheese is melted and stringy.

Homemade french onion soup hot and ready to eat

Every time I eat this soup, I still marvel about just how tasty it is. The broth is rich and deep, and the onion flavor really shines through. It’s better than any french onion soup that I’ve had at restaurants, and it’s really easy to make, I promise! Please try this recipe, and let me know how it turns out!

Bon appetit!

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11 Responses to “The Best French Onion Soup Recipe Ever”

  1. Tom says:

    Thanks for publishing this. I’ve been looking all over for it.

  2. Howie says:

    Thanks for the recipe, it IS the best French Onion soup I’ve ever tasted. Like so many good things….. it just takes time!! Soups and stews just get better when made a day or two ahead so this is a great to serve to company for lunch with a nice salad.

  3. Angelle says:

    Rich, yummy, hearty soup recipe. Second time I’ve made it and it never gets old. I sprinkle chopped time over the top right before serving.
    Thank you very much for publishing,
    Angelle from New Orleans

  4. Beth says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this recipe. I am bookmarking it and am sure I’ll return multiple times. I love ATK and saw this episode. Made the soup at the time and it was sublime! But their website is has gotten so much more restrictive … seems like almost everything is “premium content” now. I know the economy has affected everyone – businesses and individuals alike – but it bothers me that they now require a paid subscription for recipes that were shown on TV before the current season!

  5. Janus says:

    Thanks for posting this. I saw this episode too! Always wanted to try this and will try it now. I remember Becky Hayes did it and said she learned the multi deglaze/fond scrape step from a French chef. I agree with you, “America’s Test Kitchen”, is one of my favorite cooking shows. I visited there and they want $30 for one year to become a member and view all the recipes. I didn’t join, but after some thought, I think I am getting enough enjoyment out of the show that I can spare the $30 for the year to make sure the show stays around, and so I can go in and get all the great recipes in there, like this one…Thanks again! Janus

  6. Rick says:

    Just got the cookbook and made this soup: Dark and rich and delicious! Worth the effort!

    Rick in Tarpon Springs, FLA

  7. Michelle says:

    how many servings does this make?

  8. josh says:

    Officially 6. One New Year’s Eve we were able to get 7 small bowls (the crocks in the picture) though.

  9. Jacob says:

    Would the soup refrigerate or freeze well, do you think?

    As in, if I did all the steps up to filling the individual bowls, could I chill it and have a bowl (or two) a day for a few days, or does it need to be served all at once?

  10. virginia says:

    The soup refrigerates well. I’ve made a pot for just Josh and myself and will keep it in the fridge for a few days until we finish eating all of it. If anything, the flavor enhances as it sits. I’ve reheated the soup both on the stove and in the microwave (either was fine), and then put it in the crocks to finish up with the bread/cheese on top. I’ve never frozen it before though, but I imagine it would be fine since the onions are already so soft and fall apart easily to begin with.

  11. AnneMarie says:

    Thank you so much! My grandpa told me he hasn’t had his favorite soup – French Onion – in years, so I thought I would surprise him with it tomorrow :) I will try to remember to come back and let you know how it turned out! I caramelize onions in my crock pot regularly just to have…I eat caramelized onions on everything! I can’t believe I haven’t made this soup yet!

    I love the name of your website, and your personality! I have you bookmarked. I just know I’m going to love coming back and trying out your other treasures! Thank you again! :)

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