Our French Onion Soup Recipe Uses A Slow Cooker To Shortcut The Process Without Sacrificing Any Delicious Flavor
Growing up, my mother always made French onion soup on special occasions. It might seem like an odd thing to include on the Thanksgiving table, but it was my fathers favorite soup. Since the onions required hours of babysitting to prevent them from burning, Mom was only willing to make the dish a few times a year! If only she had known about our slow cooker method she would have cooked it more often.
Ingredients You Will Need
This easy French Onion Soup recipe starts with just the simplest of ingredients. Heres what youll need to make the BEST French Onion Soup ever:
- gruyere cheese
- baguette slices, toasted
If youre not into using alcohol in your recipes, you can totally make this homemade French Onion Soup recipe without the wine and it will still be fantastic. I just like to deglaze my pan with it to scrape up all those flavorful brown bits and it adds a great depth of flavor to the soup.
Other Variations And Substitutions:
- Substitute for white wine. You can use a half cup white grape juice, chicken broth, or ginger ale.
- Substitute Croutons. Croutons are often used on top of French onion soup. If you dont want to bother broiling a baguette, this works great too.
- To make it vegetarian: substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth along with about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce. This will add a richness that will help mimic the richness of the beef broth.
- To make it vegan: Make the same substitution listed above and substitute olive oil for the butter, and use hemp seed crumble cheese and vegan gruyere.
- To make it gluten-free: substitute gluten-free flour and gluten free artisan bread.
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Serve Your French Onion Soup Topped With Cheesy Bread
After you’ve pulled your toasted bread from the oven, your soup is almost ready to go. You may have noticed you still haven’t used the several tablespoons of salt you have set aside. Now’s the time to add the salt, little by little, to taste. “I recommend salting at the very end so the cook does not need to anticipate the effects of reduction in concentrating the salt flavor,” Lee says. When you’re satisfied with the flavor, it’s ready to serve! Simply top each bowl of soup with a slice of the cheesy bread. And just like that, you’ve got a warm, hearty bowl of French onion soup.
How To Make Easy French Onion Soup
To prepare this flavorful soup, begin by sautéeing sliced onions in butter for about 7-8 minutes, until tender. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and salt to taste. Then, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Keep the soup warm until ready to serve. When ready to serve, preheat your broiler. Place oven-proof individual bowls on a baking sheet and ladle soup into each. Finish by topping each with a slice of thick crusty toasted bread and a slice of provolone cheese. Place under broiler until cheese melts and is slightly golden. See how easy that is?
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Prep Your Bread And Cheese
As the onions are sautéing, use your time to prep your bread and cheese. Slice the bread into ½-inch thick slices and set aside, then grate your cheese. Of course, if you can find a pre-shredded Gruyere cheese, there’s no need to take the time to grate your own, but Lee points out that’s typically tricky. “Finding pre-shredded Gruyere is fairly difficult,” he explains. “It’s normally sold in a block unless you have a very well-stocked grocery store.” Lee also notes that you could switch out the type of cheese and veer away from Gruyere altogether. “If you’re using a different melting cheese like jack or provolone, shredding it yourself allows you to pick cheeses with specific water content,” he notes. “The less moisture of fat or water in the cheese, the less stringy it will be.” It’s all about personal preference!
French Onion Soup Bowls
Want that bistro style look and feel? Then you need to serve this soup in some French onion soup bowls. True French Onion Soup made in restaurants will always be served in special crocks. Some come with lids and handles, some are more basic, but theyre always made of a good quality ceramic that can withstand high heat in the oven and are 10 ounces in size anything larger and the cheese will sink into the soup instead of being stuck to the outside. Special bowls are not required, of course, but they are nice to have, not only for this soup, but also to serve other soups and chili in.
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French Onion Soup Recipe Notes
- Caramelizing onions is a chemical thing. It happens when the natural sugar in the onions reaches a certain temperature. This takes a while, which is why you need to be patient and stir occasionally, not constantly, or they wont brown. While the sugar in the beginning is optional , the salt is a must. Dont skip it.
- You can make this vegetarian by replacing the beef and chicken stock with vegetable stock and use vegan Worcestershire.
- The red wine not only deglazes the pan, but it cooks off and deepens the flavor of this soup. Having said that, if you are completely opposed to using it, you can skip it, but note that the soup will not be as tasty.
- If you dont have oven-safe bowls , you can skip the broiling part, make cheese toasts on a baking sheet and top the soup with those, or even use croutons.
Flavor Boosters For This Vegetarian And Vegan Lentil Soup
The best way to create depth of flavor for this vegetarian soup is to caramelize the onions, toast the tomato paste and add loads of carrots and celery.
- Caramelizing onions is simply a process of browning them slowly in the pan. They eventually shrink and become a little sticky, and the sugar in the onions becomes more pronounced. If the bottom of the pan browns before the onions are soft, add water, a tablespoon at a time to scrape up the brown bitsit soon evaporates and helps color and flavor the onions.
- Toasting tomato paste in the pot is another trick to add intense flavor. It just takes a few minutes of stirring until it turns dark and ruddy.
- The final trick is to add plenty of carrots and celery. They are the supporting actors and essentially provide the same amount of flavor as vegetable stock would.
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What Is The Best Onion For French Onion Soup
All onions would work well but my favorite onion for making French Onion Soup is the Vidalia or other sweet onion. The sugars in the onion help the caramelization process along and really deeps the flavor lending a sorta sweet/savory thing going on thats superbly splendid in this soup.
I use the same onions for this Caramelized Onion recipe.which is essentially the base for this easy French Onion Soup. If you cant find Vidalia onions or other sweet onions, you can use a combination of yellow and red onions to get the rich, sweet flavor and deep, golden color.
Caramelize Your Vidalia Onions Slowly
As we read through your comments on the French Onion Soup recipes on the site, we heard you loud and clear: More onions! After all, its not called Broth Soup or Cheesy Bread Soup. So we took a cue from another Bon Appétit recipe and upped our onion-to-broth ratio to let the main ingredient shine.
We also found many recipes that just called for onions. But what kind of onions make for the best soup? We tried caramelizing red, yellow, and Vidalia onions andshockerthe sweet Vidalias came out on top. Just a sprinkle of sugar and salt transform these sweet onions into sweet, nutty, silky strands of pure gold.
But perfectly caramelized onions take time. Undercook your onions, and youll miss out on all that the savory sweetness. Some recipes call for cooking them for as little as 15 minutes, but we felt that this was not enough time to draw out their full flavor potential. Cook them too quickly over heat thats too high, and you risk burning them and adding a scorched, bitter taste to your soup, so resist the urge to speed up this step. This French Onion Soup with Comté calls for cooking the onions for about an hour, which we thought was just right. When your onions are an even, deep golden brown like the kind of tan everyone wanted in the 80s, you know they’re ready.
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The Best Cheese For French Onion Soup
Lets be realjust about any melty cheese is going to be delicious when broiled on top of a crusty slice of bread.
The traditional cheese is Gruyere . Its nutty, slightly sweet taste complements the beefy, oniony broth. If you cant find Gruyere, use Jarlsberg, Emmental, or any Swiss cheese for a similar substitute. Sharp cheddar would be tasty, too.
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Choosing And Caramelizing The Onions
One of the most common beliefs surrounding French onion soup is that the onions must be cooked to a deep, deep, dark, dark mahogany brown. I’m going to start off by calling BS on that premise. It’s not that I think it’s wrong to caramelize the onions darkly I just don’t think it’s necessary for great results. I also think there’s a big risk in going very dark: Unless you’re exceedingly careful, it’s very easy to introduce unpleasantly bitter flavors to the onionone of the culprits in so much of the bad French onion soup out there.
In test after test, I found that great French onion soup can be made with more lightly caramelized onions. The deep, sweet flavor that we want arrives long before they turn the color of dark chocolate. And, as I researched other French onion soup recipes, I discovered I wasn’t alone in this realization. In fact, some of the people I trust most on this topic have said exactly the same thing.
Here’s the acclaimed chef André Soltner in the preface to the onion soup recipe in his Lutèce Cookbook:
“Do not think for a minute that this is the notorious soup you get in Paris workingmen’s cafes at five o’clock in the morning…. In those soups the onions are sautéed until they are black, and the soup is dark and bitter. Some people like it that waywhich I can never understand.”
“So what do we really want from the onions? We want them incredibly soft, with a deep, sweet flavor and a color that’s a rich golden brown.”
Gather Your Ingredients To Make Easy French Onion Soup
The beauty of this classic French onion soup recipe is that it requires so few ingredients with very little prep work. Simply gather a stick of butter, four onions , half a bottle of red wine, two cartons of beef stock, a half-loaf of country bread from your local bakery, a cup of shredded Gruyere cheese, and several tablespoons of salt. The thing is, with so few ingredients, each ingredient really is important to the overall taste of the dish. Specifically, while you can use any red wine, there are reasons why a pinot noir or burgundy are best. “Traditionally, French onion soup is made with burgundy wines which are medium body, dry, and have slight spice,” Lee explains. “Any red wine can be substituted in a pinch, but whatever wine you use will impart significant flavor to the dish. I would not recommend very heavy or sweet wines like zinfandel, merlot, or syrah, unless those taste profiles are specifically desired.”
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How To Cut An Onion For This Soup
- First trim a small portion from the top of the onion so it has a flat side to rest on to slice in half.
- Then turn to that trimmed side facing down on the cutting board chop the onion in half from the root end to the top.
- Cut each half portion into thin slices from top to root end, then trim away the root end.
- Tip: I recommend using large onions in this soup. Less peeling and theyre easier to chop.
What Kind Of Onions Do You Use For French Onion Soup
Caramelized onions can develop different flavour profiles depending on the type of onion you use:
- White onion: sweet and mild.
- Red onion: stronger onion flavour, slightly bitter and not as sweet.
- Yellow onion: our favourite foe this type of soup. Nice and mild with a naturally occurring sweetness you want for caramelised onions.
Cut onions in half from top to bottom and slice just a little bit of the root section off but not all of it. Place onion cut-side down and slice from the side of the onion.
As a result, the onion rings stay together while slicing and cooking, instead of falling apart.
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Easy French Onion Soup Recipe
This quick and Easy French Onion Soup recipe can be ready in no time so it can be enjoyed any day of the week.
Comfort food comes in all shapes and sizes for people. It doesnt have to be complicated or fancy. Easy and simple comfort food is the best, isnt it? We have many dishes that fall under the category of comfort food, but soup is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods. There is nothing better than cozying up with a big bowl of warm soup on a chilly night or after a long day at work. It hits the spot.
This quick and Easy French Onion Soup recipe is a simplified version of the favorite classic. Did you read that? Simplified. Again, simple comfort food is a good thing, dont you agree? Seriously, forget that canned French Onion Soup and make your own in no time right at home with basic ingredients, straightforward preparation and in just under 45 minutes. Its super simple soup making, yall. The most difficult part is slicing the onions and we all know slicing onions is easy peasy.
Expert Tips And Tricks For The Perfect French Onion Soup Every Time
- Dont skimp Add more wine while deglazing if you cant get up all the brown bits. It wont ruin your soup.
- Gluten Free and Vegetarian options You can easily customize this recipe for vegetarians or those with gluten sensitivities by swapping the stock for veggie and the flour for gluten-free, respectively. Gluten-free bread can also be used!
- Cheese options While Gruyere cheese is the traditional cheese to use, this recipe uses Swiss which is easier to find . You can also use gouda, mozzarella, or even provolone!
- No bread? Use croutons!
- Get the perfect top Use your broiler to melt the sprinkling of cheese to make the perfect topping to your soup.
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Add Wine And Stock To Your Pot
With your bread and cheese prepped, head back to the stove and start turning those onions into soup. Go ahead and add the wine and beef stock to the pot. You’ll allow the soup to cook on high for a full hour. Just remember, set your timer for 50 minutes rather than 60 minutes as a reminder to toast your bread before the soup has finished cooking. Also, now’s the time to go ahead and preheat the oven to 425 F so that it’ll be nice and hot for toasting your bread.
The Key To Perfect French Onion Soup:
- Caramelized onions. This is the most essential part of great French onion soup and it takes a little time and patience. You will need 3 large yellow onions sliced thinly and cooked very slowly in butter until they reach a nice caramelized brown color.
- High quality cheese. The cheese in French onion soup is also a vital ingredient! Use a good, fresh block of gruyere and parmesan cheese. No pre-shredded cheese please! If you dont have gruyere cheese, you can substitute Swiss cheese.
- High quality bread. Fresh baguette is best, or make your own!
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Good Beef Broth Is A Must
If you use store bought, which I often do, use a good quality beef broth/stock. I personally do not recommend any of the mainstream brands sold in Australian supermarkets. I use Maggie Beer and Moredough from Harris Farms , or private labels from butchers.
If you cant get good quality beef broth, use chicken or vegetable instead. I find that the quality of those by mainstream brands is much better than the beef stock. The beef is fine to use in things like gravy and stews, but not when its a key ingredient like in this recipe.
How To Make French Onion Soup:
Once your onions are caramelized and ready to go, simply:
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