French onion soup is a classic restaurant dish that can easily be made at home! This French onion soup recipe with red wine is rich, inviting, and classy.
French onion soup has a special place in my heart because it reminds me of my father-in-law. If French onion soup is on the menu at any restaurant, he orders it. Without fail. Everytime. But with some recent life changes, like retirement and a global pandemic, his access to this soup has gone down dramatically. So I wanted to create the perfect homemade French onion soup recipe just for him! You’ll be happy to know, he was the official taste-tester for this recipe, and it passed with flying colors!
I’ve also made this red wine French onion soup with bone broth, bringing additional nutrients and protein to this rich and cozy soup recipe. If you’re hosting a fall or winter time dinner party, have been looking for a new soup recipe to make at home, or are in need of a comforting meal – this French onion soup recipe is a must-try!
Why You’ll Love This red Wine French Onion Soup Recipe
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate. If you are a newer cook, you may consider this recipe to be moderate only because there is a fair amount of chopping to get your onions sliced and ready to cook. French onion soup also requires a bit of patience as it takes time to caramelize your onions. But other than slicing and time, this recipe is straightforward and easy to pull off!
Flavor: Onion is the predominant flavor, accented with the flavors of beef, bread, and cheese.
Time: It will take you about 75 minutes to make homemade French onion soup. This includes prep, cooking, and the final broiling time. As previously noted, the longest part of making this soup recipe is caramelizing your onions.
Yellow Onions (3-4 large onions)
Beef Bone Broth
Salt and Pepper
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Broth Options for French Onion Soup
You have several broth options when making French onion soup:
- Beef Broth – this would be the standard broth used in this soup recipe and is a great option if that is what you have in your pantry
- Beef Stock – this is pretty much the halfway step between broth and bone broth. Based on how stock is made, it is generally thicker and has more protein, vitamins, and minerals than broth.
- Beef Bone Broth – this is the type of broth I’ve recommended for your homemade French onion soup because it adds a lot of additional protein to your dish, as well as collagen and all kinds of nutrients. Because of this, bone broth French onion soup is much heartier, making it more sustaining! I like and use this beef bone broth.
The Best Wine for French Onion Soup
While I’ve created this French onion soup recipe with red wine (because I love how red wine plays off of the beef flavoring from the broth), you can use both red wine and white wine to make homemade French onion soup. No matter which type of wine you choose, select a wine you’d enjoy drinking on it’s own!
- The best red wine for French onion soup: select a drier red wine, such as a Pinot Nior (this is what I use), Merlot, or a Cabernet Sauvignon
- The best white wine for French onion soup: select a drier white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or an unoaked Chardonnay
- Caramelize onions with butter and herbs: Melt the butter in a Dutch oven (or another thick-bottomed soup kettle) over medium heat. Add in the onions, salt, bay leaf, and the sprigs of thyme and cook the onions until caramelized (~30-45 mins), stirring frequently. When caramelized, remove the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme. Add in the garlic and cook until aromatic (~30 seconds)
- Optional step to thicken your soup, add flour: Stir in flour to coat onions, allowing to thicken for 1-2 mins
- Add liquid: Deglaze your pan by adding the wine and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Then add in the bone broth and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste
- Prep crocks and melt your cheese: Heat your oven’s broiler. Spoon soup into crocks or oven-safe bowls. Top each bowl with 2-3 slices of bread and a generous amount of cheese. Broil to melt cheese (watch your soup closely!). Serve immediately
When putting your soup crocks under the broiler, place them on a baking sheet! Doing this makes it much easier to handle your soups, and safer to remove from a very hot oven.
Using a Dutch oven to caramelize your onions will be faster than a large saucepan. I’ve made this French onion soup recipe using both my Dutch oven and a large-sized soup kettle. Based on how a Dutch oven conducts and retains heat, it made the caramelization process faster (by almost 10-15 minutes!).
You can use both red wine and white wine to make homemade French onion soup. No matter which type of wine you choose, select a wine you’d enjoy drinking on it’s own!
The best red wine for French onion soup: select a drier red wine, such as a Pinot Nior (this is what I use), Merlot, or a Cabernet Sauvignon
The best white wine for French onion soup: select a drier white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or an unoaked Chardonnay
While this recipe uses a specialty cheese, Merlot Bellavitano (it’s just so good!), Gruyere, and swiss cheese are both excellent cheese options for your homemade French onion soup.
French onion soup is often served ahead of the main meal at restaurants. You could do this at home as well. Alternatively, serving this soup alongside a hearty fall salad or paired with your favorite sandwich would create a delightful meal!
To give your homemade French onion soup that restaurant vibe, you will want to serve your soup in a crock, like these. The mini cocottes shown in the photos are a little smaller, but I love them! You can also check your local home goods store for soup crocks. You can also use smaller sized oven-safe bowls. I usually serve this soup to my family using our everyday Fiesta stoneware bowls.
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French Onion Soup with Red Wine
- 4 tablespoon salted butter
- 3 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced (approx. 3-4 large onions)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Optional 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 C red wine (I use Pinot Noir)
- 4 C Beef Bone Broth*
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Baguette, sliced into ½" pieces
- Merlot BellaVitano Cheese, grated*
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup kettle over medium heat. Add in the onions, salt, bay leaf, and the sprigs of thyme and cook the onions until caramelized (~30-45 minutes), stirring frequently.
- When caramelized, remove the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme. Add in the garlic and cook until aromatic (~30 seconds)
- Optional step to thicken your soup: stir in flour to coat onions, allowing to thicken for 1-2 mins
- Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Add bone broth and simmer for 10 minutes
- Add additional salt and pepper to taste prior to spooning into crocks
- Heat your oven’s broiler. Spoon soup into crocks or oven-safe bowls. Top each bowl with 2-3 slices of bread and a generous amount of cheese. Broil to melt cheese (watch your soup closely!) and serve immediately
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