French Onion Soup

It's a stay i kind of night with French onion soup

Friday night date night freedom used to consume my being. There was a time when I would give anything to go out. Didn’t want to, couldn’t-wouldn’t, look at these four walls for one more second. But the littles who were so painstakingly precious are not so little anymore. And there are very few weeks where they’re not gone for at least one or two evenings. That Friday night date night freedom morphed from the saving grace of grandmas door into the slow realization that I no longer needed, nor was it practical, to go out every time the boys are gone. Those old routines and worries are shedding into new normals. But what do we do with ourselves on an at-home “date night” anyway?

French onion soup… This is one recipe where time and home are on your side. And what I mean by that is your going to put a few things in a pot cover it with a lid place it on the stove over super-low almost not there heat and forget about it for about an hour. Then you’re going to move the lid ever so slightly to the side and forget about it for another hour, maybe an hour and a half. And your home is going to start smelling like a French bistro and maybe you pour a glass of wine. Maybe you pull out your book and put your feet up. Maybe your hot date comes home and you’ve already had one of the most relaxing evenings you’ve had in a long while…. a French bistro has nothing on this.

homemade bread bowls for soup.
soup recipes for fall, French onion soup

Maybe you’ve had homemade French onion soup and the globby cheese sinking into a weak broth that is typical of this soup aren’t for you. Well, me neither so here are a few don’ts and do’s to help you achieve humble onion French bistro awesomeness.


Don’t, please for the love of all that is good and holy do not add sugar to this soup. Adding sugar is a common “trick” used as a cheat to avoid the long cooking process of caramelizing the onions. As a result, people spend 30 minutes making sickly-sweet soup with a watery broth.

Do add your aromatics (thyme & bay) right away. As the onions release their water it will start to mix and blend with the herbs making a more complex broth.

Don’t use sherry is you don’t like sherry.

Do add what you like. Dry white wine of any kind should do well in the broth if you also like to drink it. We like to add 2 Tbs. red miso for a deep earthy-salty taste. But if you want wine skip the miso and add 1/2 cup of whatever your drinking. Just please for the love of ….. no sweet wine.

Don’t scorch the onions :{

Do watch your pot the first time through if your not sure how “low” your low setting is. The onions should be in 1 to 2 inches of liquid after an hour. If your onions are getting dry or are caramelizing already just move through the deglazing process adjusting for the speed your onions caramelize at.

Don’t feel like you have to serve this soup in individual pots and make piles of dishes for what’s supposed to be a super simple meal.

Do top it however you like. I serve it in bread bowls on occasion but if you used a Dutch oven you can add a sliced baguette and some cheese right on top. Pop the whole thing under a high broiler on the lowest rack in the oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. But the simplest and my favorite way to serve french onion soup is to arrange slices of baguette on a parchment-lined baking sheet, top with shredded cheese and bake at 425 F for about 15 minutes until the bottoms are dry and brown and the tops are brown and bubbly. Then just simply serve the soup in whatever dish you like and top with toast just before serving.

healthy fall French onion soup
fall french onion soup in bread bowls

Happy happy soup season my friends!

French onion soup

Carmely onions in a not too sweet deep rich broth.

Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Keyword soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6
Author mandy tetrault


  • 4 lbs yellow onions (4-5 large)
  • 3 oz butter (6 Tbps.)
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 48 oz beef broth (6 cups)
  • 1.5 oz red miso ( 2 Tbsp.)
  • 8 oz water ( about 1 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cheese croutons

  • 12 ½ inch slices of baguette (or other good bread)
  • or 6 very crusty rolls for bread bowls
  • 3 oz havarti


Carmelize the onions

  1. Slice the onions to (about) ¼ inch pieces.

  2. In a large Dutch oven (7 quart) melt butter over medium-high heat.

  3. Turn the heat down to low add onions, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover tightly. Let onions wilt until they have released most of their water, about 1 hour.

  4. After about an hour or when the onions have released most of their liquid crack the lid open about ½ inch to simmer the liquid off 1 to 1 ½ hours. (This could go a lot faster depending on how "low" your low setting is.)

  5. Continue to cook until the onions have developed a dark brown color and all those brown bits start to stick to the bottom and sides of the pan.

  6. Add about ½ cup of water and stir to deglaze the pan. Be careful not to crush the thyme or bay. If the thyme has lost all it's leaves discard the little stick branches now.

  7. Turn the heat up to med-low and evaporate the water so the onions carmelize on the bottom of the pan for a second time. About 5-10 minutes this time.

  8. Add a second ½ cup of water to deglaze the pan, stir to loosen all the bits, and evaporate the water to carmelize the onions for the third time.

Add broth

  1. Stir in the miso and add the broth to deglaze the pan for the second time.

  2. Turn the heat back to low, cover and simmer soup for about 30 minutes.

  3. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (you probably won't need much salt because of the miso.)

Cheese croutons

  1. For bread bowls: preheat oven broiler to high. Cut a large circle in the top of each roll. Scoop out the inside leaving about 1 inch inside all the way around. Place rolls on a baking tray and fill with soup. Top bread bowls with about ½ oz. cheese. Place the bread bowls about 5 inches under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. About 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.

  2. For "regular" croutons: Preheat oven to 425° F. Arrange bread slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with cheese. Bake about 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and just browning. Scoop soup into bowls and top each with two cheese croutons.

Recipe Notes

One of the easiest ways to forget about this soup without accidentally burning it is to set 30 to 45-minute timers. It’s super easy if you have something like Alexa just say “Alexa set a 45-minute timer” 


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