Easy One-Hour French Onion Soup

Recently I was on vacation with my family and we ordered French onion soup in a restaurant.

I don’t think my daughter had ever had it before but after we all literally were about to start licking our bowls clean, I knew I had to come home and make it.

Easy One-Hour French Onion Soup - Learn how to make the classic soup in 1 hour and it's EASY! Full of rich, savory flavor and topped with French bread and melted cheese that's IRRESISTIBLE!!

I scoured the internet for French onion soup recipes and nothing seemed ‘just right’ for me and how I like to cook. Some recipes involved really lengthy cooking times in a slow cooker (12+ hours), others called for homemade beef stock although which I’m sure is lovely, I just can’t be bothered. And others seemed incredibly fussy and complicated.

Enter this easy, straightforward recipe that’s ready in one hour. Perfect for when you want French onion soup but don’t want to be tormented for an entire day by the smell of onions cooking and wafting through the house.

The broth has rich flavor, the onions are perfectly caramelized, and that cheese. Be still, my heart.

Easy One-Hour French Onion Soup - Learn how to make the classic soup in 1 hour and it's EASY! Full of rich, savory flavor and topped with French bread and melted cheese that's IRRESISTIBLE!!

MY OTHER RECIPES


Notes about the recipe:

Cooking sherry is inexpensive and usually found near oils and vinegars in the grocery store. It adds a depth of flavor soup that’s key. If you don’t have it but do have a dry white wine, wine can be substituted.

I used reduced sodium beef broth so I can better control the salt level.

Toasting the bread in a regular toaster before adding it on top of the soup yields a less soggy, slimy result on top of the soup.

There is no substitution for Gruyere cheese. It melts beautifully, it has the perfect savory quality, and it is what makes French onion soup quintessentially French onion soup. It’s a little pricey but worth it (and the other ingredients in the soup are quite inexpensive, so it balances out). Buy a block, grate it yourself, and savor it.

If you don’t have oven-safe bowls or are unsure if they are, add the toasted bread slices to a sheet pan, cover the bread with the cheese, place the sheet pan under the broiler, and then top each bowl of soup with the broiled bread/cheese, thereby keeping your questionable bowls out of the oven. It’s not quite the same, but it’s a pinch hitter move.

Print Recipe

Easy One-Hour French Onion Soup

This easy, straightforward recipe is ready in one hour. The broth has rich flavor, the onions are perfectly caramelized, and that cheese is heavenly. Make sure to read the blog post 'Notes about the recipe' for tips and suggestions.

Yield: about 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 55 to 60 minutes

Total Time: about 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds sweet Vidalia onions (yellow onions may be substituted), peeled and sliced root to tip in long thin segments
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 1/3  cup dry cooking sherry (dry white wine may be substituted)
  • 8 cups (64 ounces) reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional and to taste
  • 1 French baguette, sliced into eight 1/2-inch thick slices (or as needed based on how many bowls you're portioning out), toasted
  • about 2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated and divided

Directions:

  1. To a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the oil, onions, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, toss to coat, and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes until onions have softened and are caramelized; stir intermittently.
  2. Add the butter, garlic, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add the sherry to deglaze the pan (use caution, it will bubble up). Scrape up and loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, thyme, bring to a simmer, cover, and allow soup to maintain a low simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until broth has reduced slightly and thickened slightly.
  5. While soup simmers, slice and toast the bread. Simply toast it in a regular toaster to a light/medium color (I find toasted bread to be less soggy and slimy on top of the finished soup); set aside.
  6. Preheat oven broiler to high.
  7. After soup has simmered, taste it and optionally add 1 additional teaspoon salt, or as necessary to taste. Optionally add sugar, to taste. I used about 2 teaspoons salt total and 1 heaping teaspoon sugar because I think it balances the flavors. Remove the bay leaves.
  8. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls, top each bowl with a slice of bread, about 1/3 cup cheese per bowl or as desired, places bowls on a sheet pan, and broil for about 1 to 3 minutes, or until cheese has melted and is as dark as desired. Watch cheese closely so it doesn't burn. All broilers vary in intensity. Serve immediately. Tip - If you don't have oven-safe bowls or are unsure if they are, add the toasted bread slices to a sheet pan, cover bread with cheese, place sheet pan under broiler, and top each bowl of soup with the broiled bread/cheese. Soup is best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Do not add the bread/cheese until you are ready to serve.

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22 comments

  1. I’ve gotta add cooking sherry next time! This looks totally delicious, and I really recognize myself in your way of thinking – all those recipes that aren’t right, we wanna do it our way! Well, ‘easy’ and ‘one hour’ is definitely my way ;)
    Have a great week!

  2. What a classic! I remember my mom making this for dinner parties when I was very young. I don’t think I was too interested in all those onions at that age but I’ve since grown up and totally love caramelized onions and guyere. This looks delicious and not too fussy!!

  3. I love French onion soup but I’m in your camp of “these recipes are too labor intensive” when I have looked into making it on my own. Trust you to come up with a simpler version!

  4. This is my husbands absolute favorite. I need to make it for him!

  5. It’s been way too long since I had this classic! Can’t wait to make this this week!

  6. YUM. This looks like an easy way to make French onion soup happen! That gooey cheese on top has really always been my motivation for ordering the dish, and it looks spot on here. Thanks for a much quicker solution that looks just as delicious as the soup served in a french cafe!

  7. This is my moms absolute favorite soup! I will definitely be making this soon (especially since she’s sick right now)! What a great thing to bring over!

  8. YES! You have SOLVED the French Onion Soup Dilemma!! I dusted off the bowls and started peeling the remainder of a huge bag of (yellow) onions I got on special around Christmas time. Since I’m going away for a 2-week vacation this weekend, I NEEDED to use these up. Then your newsletter comes thru my inbox on Monday … I’ve JUST finished eating the first bowl and it’ll be hard NOT to scoff (vb. to eat (food) fast and greedily; devour) another one!!! OMG! Here’s what I substituted other than the of onions: red wine in place of sherry and Swiss cheese in place of Gruyere (Which I LOVE but didn’t have). All of the substitutes worked just fine and the result is AMAZING!!! Thank You Averie, you are a culinary angel! … Just as a P.S. – this recipe even outshines the one I have in Julia Child’s French Cooking!!!!!!! I’m SURE I’ll Never have to go out for French Onion Soup again!! Love. C.

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Even better than Julia Child’s, wow I am honored!! Red wine rather than sherry sounds great and glad the Swiss worked too!

  9. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Even better than Julia Child’s, wow I am honored!! Red wine rather than sherry sounds great and glad the Swiss worked too!

  10. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Even better than Julia Child’s, wow I am honored!! Red wine rather than sherry sounds great and glad the Swiss worked too!

  11. Hi Averie,
    This French Onion Soup spoke to me as soon as I spotted it on twitter the other day. I think, I will have to make this for Valentine’s Day as an Entrée :-) I totally hear you, when it comes to being put off by lengthy, complicated recipes. I will always try and cut corners when it comes to time and effort lol, but not when it comes to taste haha. Will be keeping an eye out on your page for further ideas for Valentine’s Day :-D Thank you so much for your inspirations x

  12. When I made this the onions never carmalized. They cooked down then cooked in liquid. Should I have drained the liquid? The flavor was delicious, but I would have preferred the onions carmalized. Also, I used Texas toast on top and that was great! Thank you.

    • I think that you could have cooked them longer to caramelize them. The will release their juices and then in time the liquid evaporates and you’re left with caramelized onions. A little more patience next time and I think you’ll be good!

  13. I made this last night, and my husband and I loved it. I didn’t have cooking sherry, but I replaced it with cooking wine and it worked like a charm.

    Looking forwards to leftovers tonight!

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