Restaurant Style French Onion Soup

Restaurant Style French Onion Soup

Soup season is upon us! And one of our faves to make is this Restaurant Style French Onion Soup! Who can resist that cheesy bread topped soup??? This is a rich, comforting, and delicious soup that tastes just like your favorite restaurant version, made in the comfort of your own home! This homemade French Onion Soup recipe will transport you straight to a French bistro!

What makes French Onion Soup taste so good?

Two words: caramelized onions.

Caramelizing the onions in this soup results in a rich flavor that is slightly sweet. They add so much to this soup on their own, but when combined with the other ingredients in this dish, the result is an absolute flavor bomb!

The soup should have some body and be slightly thicker than a brothy soup. The soup thickens a bit as it cooks. The broth is very rich, not thin and watery.

What onions are best in French Onion Soup?

Yellow sweet onions are typically used in French Onion Soup. These onions are a bit sweeter than other varieties and caramelize nicely for that ultimate sweet and savory taste.

Restaurant Style French Onion Soup

You can, of course, use a different type of onion variety but the flavor profile will change slightly based on what you use. For example, red onions pack more of an onion punch and don’t have as much of the sweet component. This may result in a more savory soup and may require the addition of a bit more sugar to balance out the flavors.

French Onion Soup Bowls

French Onion Soup is typically served in a very distinctive bowl. Find ones similar to those pictured throughout this post HERE.

Can you use a different broth?

A classic French Onion Soup recipe is made with beef broth. Beef broth gives the soup a depth of flavor that isn’t quite matched by lighter stocks. We feel that the best French Onion Soup is made this way, but you can substitute it if you wish.

If you would prefer to make this soup as a vegetarian option, substituting the beef broth for vegetable broth will still result in a delicious bowl of soup!

Additionally, using chicken stock works here as well, but if you are using an animal-based stock, we recommend beef over chicken for a deeper, richer flavor.

Restaurant Style French Onion Soup

What cheese is used on top of French Onion Soup?

Grùyere is a type of Swiss cheese that is grated and melted on top of a slice of French bread on the bowl of this Restaurant Style French Onion Soup. Grùyere has a distinct flavor that complements the rich onion flavor of the soup.

Substitues for Grùyere include: Fontina, Emmental, Comté, Jarlsberg or Gouda.  


We hope you enjoy our recipe for this Restaurant Style French Onion Soup! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Restaurant Style French Onion Soup

If you want more recipes for soups and stews, check out some of our popular recipes below:

French Onion Soup

5 from 5 votes
Recipe by Angela and Mark Course: Soups, DinnerCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time






  • 2 large 2 sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced

  • 3 tbsp 3 unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp 1 sugar

  • 2 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp pepper

  • ¼ cup white wine

  • 1 tbsp 1 tomato paste

  • 5 cups 5 beef stock

  • 1 1 bay leaf

  • bouquet garni (dried or fresh) *see notes*

  • 2 oz 2 brandy

  • french bread, lightly toasted

  • 8 oz 8 gruyere cheese

  • 2 sprigs 2 thyme, leaves removed for garnish


  • Melt butter in a large soup pot or large dutch oven over medium heat then add the onions. Cook the onions for approximately 5 min over medium to medium-high heat then add the sugar. Stir occasionally. Continue to cook the onions until they begin to caramelize to a deep golden brown. You do not need all onions to brown, but a good mix of caramelized onions and less cooked onions is ideal.
  • Once onions are caramelized, add garlic, salt and pepper and stir. Let cook for 1 minute.
  • Add wine to deglaze the pan and continue to cook for 2 minutes to cook out the alcohol. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits (fond).
  • Add beef stock, tomato paste, bouquet garni (see notes), bay leaf and brandy. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  • While soup is simmering, thinly slice or grate the cheese, and cut slices of crusty bread that will cover the top of the bowl. Toast bread lightly – this prevents the bread from getting too soggy once placed on top of the soup.
  • Once ready, ladle soup into oven-safe bowls and cover with bread. Sprinkle cheese on top of bread, as much as you prefer. Place soup bowls in an oven safe tray or dish and place them on the middle rack to broil for 2-5 minutes until cheese has melted completely and begins to brown.
  • Remove soup bowls from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Top with fresh thyme leaves for garnish.


  • Notes: For the bouquet garni you can use fresh or dried herbs. For fresh herbs, use 5 sprigs of thyme, 1 sprig oregano, and two sprigs of parsley. For dried herbs, use 1 tsp of each herb. If using fresh herbs, wrap all the herbs in a cheesecloth with the bay leaf and tie it with kitchen twine.

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Join the Conversation

  1. French Onion Soup was out of this world!! Brought back a lovely memory for my husband and me. Thank you Angela and Mark

    1. Angela and Mark Author says:

      So happy to hear that you loved it!!

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