Classic French Onion Soup

Classic French onion soup is a sure fire way to please your whole family. This Panera Bread copycat recipe gives you the taste of their famous soup at home anytime you want it.

a classic bistro style french onion soup served in a bowl with a spoon and topped with a layer of melted cheese

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My family loves French onion soup.

We get it almost anytime we go out and without fail every time we hit Panera.

Of course, that gets expensive and with 4 boys to feed that’s not ideal.

This Panera Bread copycat recipe tastes just like their version but you can make it for much less than the cost of ordering a portion for everyone right in your own home.

a blue pot filled with french onion soup with a silver ladle off to the side

English onion soup vs. French onion soup?

My soup follows more of the French soup style, specifically the Panera Bread version.

It is generally more agreeable with the American pallet.

French and English versions of the soup both contain onions cooked in butter or oil.

The French version uses only one type of onion, like yellow or red, while the English version uses a combination of onions like yellow, white, red, and shallots.

Similarly, both soups use broths or stocks.

French uses beef stock, but English versions could use beef, chicken, vegetable, or a combination of all three.

French often also adds a wine like red or sherry, while English often uses Worcestershire sauce.

For added flavor, they both uses herbs like thyme for French and sage for English versions.

The final differences come from the bread and cheese put on top.

The French uses French bread and typically either Swiss, Gruyere, or Emmental cheeses.

The English version can use any stale bread and typically uses cheddar cheese.

a silver ladle shown scooping a bit of classic french onion soup from a blue heavy bottomed pot

Is French onion soup healthy? 

French onion soup is not the healthiest option, but it is not totally bad for you.

The worst part is the added butter.

It also uses broth, which have higher sodium content.

You can reduce the amount of sodium by using lower sodium broth.

You could also use olive oil instead of butter, but the flavor will change some and won’t be a copycat of Panera Bread’s soup.

a classic bistro style french onion soup served in a bowl with a spoon and topped with a layer of melted cheese

Ingredients

There are a lot of herbs and spices that help make the soup taste just like Panera Bread.

You should have most of the ingredients on hand already or be able to find them easily at your local store:

Butter – Butter gives incredible body and richness to the caramelized onions.
Yellow onions – Thinly slice them.
Broths – This version uses mostly both beef broth with a little bit of chicken broth and some added water.
All purpose flour – Flour helps to thicken the soup.
Herbs and flavorings – To get the flavor right, you’ll need ketchup, freshly ground black pepper, salt, dried thyme, garlic powder and Tabasco sauce.
Toppings – You’ll need a nice piece of crusty bread and Swiss cheese.

a classic bistro style french onion soup served in a bowl with a spoon and topped with a layer of melted cheese

Instructions

French Onion soup is pretty easy to make.

Here’s what you’ll need to do.

If you haven’t sliced the onion yet, start by slicing your onions into thin slices.

Once they are sliced, melt the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.

When the butter is melted, mix in the onions.

Sauté the onions for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly caramelized and browned.

Next, mix in all of the remaining ingredients, except the bread and cheese.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls.

Place the bread and cheese on top or skip if you prefer.

Serving and storing

French onion soup tastes great served fresh from the pot with a hunk of crusty bread and cheese on top.

You can even use your boiler to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

Just make sure you use oven safe bowls or crocks to serve.

You can store the soup easily in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days.

To store, place the soup in an air tight container.

a blue pot filled with french onion soup with a silver ladle off to the side

Tips and tricks

  • Use French bread for a more authentic soup.
  • Add a splash of sherry, about a 1/4 cup, to the soup for a bit more flavor.
  • Melt the cheese and toast the bread under the broiler for about 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Other Copycat Panera Recipes You’ll Love

Classic French onion soup is the ultimate in comforting, savory soup.

Make it the next time you have the urge to hit Panera and save yourself some cash while enjoying the flavor you know and love.

If you love Panera, check out these other favorites:

Recreate the full restaurant experience at home by serving this soup with a warm baguette, fresh from the oven using our quick & easy, fool-proof recipe.

If you’ve tried this CLASSIC FRENCH ONION SOUP, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTERESTFACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more amazing recipes and whatever else we’ve got going on!

a classic bistro style french onion soup served in a bowl with a spoon and topped with a layer of melted cheese

Classic French Onion Soup

Classic French onion soup is a sure fire way to please your whole family. This Panera Bread copycat recipe gives you the taste of their famous soup at home anytime you want it.
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Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine: American, French
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 182kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 cups thinly sliced yellow onions or 4 medium sized yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 14 oz cans beef broth
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 drops tabasco sauce
  • crusty bread for garnish
  • shredded Swiss cheese for garnish

Instructions

  • To a large soup pot, or Dutch oven, add the butter and melt it over medium heat.
  • Once the butter's melted, add the onions to the pot. Gently toss them to coat in butter.
  • Sauté the onions, for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally- until lightly caramelized and browned.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the garnish, to the pot and stir to evenly combine.
  • Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the soup simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  • Ladle the hot soup into bowls, and serve as is or with a slice of crusty bread on top & a couple tablespoons of shredded Swiss cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1292mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 259IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg

This post may contain affiliate links. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full Disclosure Policy for details. As always, all opinions are my own.

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