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Beefy French Onion Soup

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This classic Beefy French Onion Soup is thick with caramelized onions in a rich, beef and wine broth. Each serving of soup is topped with a slice of toasted bread and gooey melted Gruyère cheese.

Bowl of soup with napkin in background

It is the long, slow cooking process under low heat that creates the caramelizing of the onions and their complex flavors. This soup is one of life’s simple pleasures.

How do you make Beefy French Onion Soup?

As one would rightly assume, this soup originated in France and includes beef broth along with wine and fresh thyme. Here is the short version of how to make this soup. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page for the full recipe plus additional tips in the Notes section.  

Soup pot with onion soup

Tips for Making Our Beefy French Onion Soup.

  • Take your time when you caramelize the onions. The onions are the backbone of this soup. It takes time for the sugar molecules to break down and develop the intense flavor that this soup is all about.
  • Deglaze the pan with the wine scraping up the bits stuck on the pan bottom until the wine evaporates.  This is an important step as the wine not only deglazes the pan, but it adds another layer of flavor to the soup. If you prefer not to use wine just sub it with a cup of broth.
  • Add the brandy after you remove the pot from the heat. It is amazing how that splash of brandy enhances the flavor.
  • Use broiler-safe soup bowls so you can melt the cheese under the broiler without cracking the bowls.

How to Slice Onions Without Crying.

If you tear up every time you slice onions, try chilling the onions before you take a knife to them. You could dunk them in cold water, stick them in the fridge for a few hours, or stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

There are compounds in the onions that release gasses when you slice them open. When the compounds are cold, they are less likely to release that eye-burning gas.

two servings of onion soup

The Best Bread to Use for French Onion Soup.

As much as I love a good sourdough bread I don’t use it with this beefy French onion soup.  That delicious artisan sourdough bread is dense and takes time to soak up in the soup.  It is also more troublesome to cut with a spoon.

Close up view of spoonful of onion soup

I buy a nice soft loaf of French or Italian bread that soaks up that rich broth and is easily cut with the spoon. Sourdough bread is another option, although it is a little denser and doesn’t soak the broth up as quick. ?

The classic French onion soup is made with beef broth, although it is great when made with chicken broth as in our French Onion Soup recipe.  

Whether you use beef broth or chicken broth your soup it will have a decidedly superior flavor if you take the time to make a homemade beef broth or chicken broth.  


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Minestrone Soup: A traditional Italian minestrone soup recipe that is full of vegetables and flavor. This is a healthy one-pot, low-calorie meal!

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Check out our soup cookbook. It is filled with wholesome and hearty soups. Each soup recipe is from scratch with real ingredients and filling enough to be enjoyed as a main-course meal. 

Bowl of soup with napkin in background

Beefy French Onion Soup

This classic Beefy French Onion Soup is thick with caramelized onions in a rich, beef and wine broth. Each serving of soup is topped with a slice of toasted bread and gooey melted Gruyère cheese. 
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 230kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 1 recipe Caramelize Onions
  • 1 cup dry white wine or additional broth see notes
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups beef broth homemade or store bought
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 or three sprigs of thyme tied together with a string
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup brandy optional
  • 6 slices soft regular sandwich bread toasted and cut to fit the bowl.
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese


  • Prepare the Caramelized Onions
  • Adjust the heat to medium under the Dutch oven containing the caramelized onions.  Pour the wine into the pot to deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping loose the bits stuck to the pan bottom. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes to reduce.  Sprinkle the flour over the caramelized onions, stir and cook for 1 minutes so the flour loses it’s starch taste.
  • Add the beef broth, bay leaf and the thyme and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low.  
  • Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer from the heat and remove and discard the bay leaf and the thyme.  Season the soup with salt and pepper and stir in the brandy if using.
  • Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls and add 1 slice of toast topped with cheese to each bowl.
  • Set the oven to ‘Broil’ and adjust the rack to the upper position.  
  • Place the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and slide them under the broiler and heat until the cheese is melted, bubbly and has a little brown coloring.  
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately with warm garlic bread slices.


  • Homemade beef broth adds huge flavor to this soup.  If homemade is not an option buy the best beef broth you can afford.  
  • We used a dry Sauvignon Blanc wine.  Another option would be Pinot Grigio.  
  • If you choose not to use wine, add another cup of broth.
  • Use a bread that is soft and will quickly absorb the soup and be easy to eat with the spoon.  A firm sourdough or artisan bread will be difficult to manipulate into bites.
  • Gruyère cheese can be substituted with Swiss, Fontina or another easy melting cheese.
  • Brandy is optional but it adds a nice finish. If using, stir it in at the end of cooking.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.5g | Protein: 4.2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4.5g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 758mg | Fiber: 4.2g | Sugar: 9g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

Ann Low

Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

Love onion soup and that's a delicious soup!

Pat Nyswonger

Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

Thank you, is really delicious!

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