How to Make Onion Soup from Scratch
How to make onion soup from scratch in your own kitchen using just a few simple ingredients. Just follow the easy steps below, and you’ll have restaurant-quality onion soup in no time.
Note that this recipe serves four people, so be sure to scale up if you’re cooking for more. This will yield enough soup to serve each person at least two bowls of soup with bread on the side.
While homemade onion soup is easy to make, you’ll need a few ingredients: butter (1 tablespoon), chopped onions (2 cups), white wine (2 cups), beef broth (3 quarts), bay leaves (3), and thyme leaves (6 sprigs).
When making homemade onion soup, keep in mind that your soup will be better if you use real ingredients. You can also add thick-cut bacon, shallots, or even Gruyère cheese.
If you want to learn how to make onion soup, start with these basic ingredients. Then experiment with other additions to find what works best for you.
Here’s How To Do It:
1.) Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat
2.) Add onions and cook until translucent
3.) Pour in the wine
4.) Add beef broth
5.) Stir in bay leaves
6.) Bring mixture to a boil
7.) Reduce heat
8.) Simmer for 30 minutes
9.) Remove bay leaves
10.) Strain mixture
11.) Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh thyme
12.) Serve immediately
13.) If you’re looking for an easy homemade onion soup recipe, start here.
You can also add other ingredients, such as bacon or cheese if you want. Try different combinations of spices to see what works best for your taste buds.
If you like onion soup, it’s easy to make at home. All you need is some basic ingredients and about an hour of time. If you want to learn how to make onion soup from scratch, try these simple steps today.
Preparing the Onions
Slice off and discard both ends of each onion, then cut in half lengthwise. Remove any loose papery skin, but leave most of it intact. If you plan on serving your soup later in the day or a few days after making it, there’s no need to peel them – just slice right through a thin layer of skin on each half.
However, if you’re planning on eating your soup immediately or within a few hours of preparing it, peeling is essential for removing any bitterness from them as they cook.
To do so, first, halve each onion again lengthwise, then remove two outer layers of skin (one at a time) with a sharp paring knife. Halve each remaining piece again crosswise and use your knife to remove an additional outer layer of skin (again one at a time).
Now that all four pieces are peeled, slice thinly into strips using either your knife or food processor. Once sliced, transfer onions to a large pot and fill with water until completely submerged.
Bring water to boil over high heat before reducing heat to medium-low; simmer until onions are soft enough that they can be easily pierced with a fork (about 20 minutes).
Drain liquid from onions before transferring back into pot; set aside until ready for the next step. Alternatively, you can choose to blanch onions in boiling water for about 5 minutes instead of simmering them.
Blanching will make cooking them faster, but may also result in a more bitter taste and/or mushy texture due to shortened cooking time. It’s recommended that you try both methods at least once to see which works best for you.
Preparing the Meat and Vegetables
The key ingredient in onion soup is a good, strong broth. To prepare it, start by roughly chopping any vegetables you want to include (carrots, celery, and/or leeks). In a large pot, add 2-3 pounds of chopped veal or beef (depending on how large your family is), 1 quartered onion, 2-3 garlic cloves, and a bay leaf.
Fill it with water (the amount will depend on how many people you’re serving) and simmer over low heat for 4 hours. Skim off any fat that rises. When finished, strain through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer. You can store it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days.
If you don’t have time to make homemade stock, go ahead and use canned chicken broth. Just be sure not to dilute its flavor too much by adding more than what’s called for here.
Remember: Your onion soup should taste like meaty goodness with just a hint of onions not like onions floating around in salty liquid! For one batch of onion soup, you’ll need about 6 cups of broth.
It freezes well if stored in individual portions (like Ziploc bags). Note: For those who are vegetarian or vegan, try substituting vegetable stock for the beef broth.
In a separate pan, melt some butter over medium heat and sauté your chopped onions until they’re soft and translucent but not browned (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Add them to your strained broth along with another cup of water; cover tightly and keep warm until ready to serve. While waiting for everything else to cook, slice 1 pound of thickly sliced French bread into 1⁄2 inch cubes; set aside until needed later on.
Also, if you want to include any other ingredients in your soup (carrots, celery, or leeks), now is when you should add them. If desired, you can also make a roux by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour and continue whisking for about 5 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly before adding it to your soup.
You can make one batch of roux ahead of time it keeps well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days—and add it directly into each bowl when serving if desired.
The Finishing Touches
A traditional French onion soup, as you might see at a bistro or pub, is generally made with beef broth and sherry. But a home version can be made easily with simple ingredients, including onions, beef broth, thyme, butter, and egg noodles.
And because it’s low in calories and high in healthy nutrients such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, onion soup makes for a healthful meal or lunch on any occasion even if it isn’t your birthday.
Note: When making your own soup at home, you may want to use homemade chicken broth (or another broth of your choice) instead of store-bought varieties because of added salt or preservatives. If you choose to do so, be sure to adjust seasonings accordingly.
Also, note that some recipes call for bread in place of egg noodles; feel free to experiment with both options! You may also substitute other herbs for thyme, depending on what flavors you prefer. For example, rosemary adds an earthy flavor while basil lends a spicy kick.
As always, when cooking with fresh produce make sure to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before using them.
Be sure to use unsalted butter when making your soup and don’t add salt until after tasting, as many brands of bouillon cubes already contain sodium. Finally, you’ll need four cups of chopped yellow onions to complete your recipe.
Serving the Delicious Onion Soup
One essential step in making a great onion soup is in caramelizing your onions, as it adds sweetness and depth. Onions have plenty of water content, so it’s important not to rush your caramelization process.
Slice them thinly and slowly cook them on medium heat with some olive oil for about 20 minutes. Cooking too quickly or at too high a temperature will cause burning, resulting in an acrid flavor that will make your soup unpalatable.
A thick-bottomed pot helps distribute heat evenly, although you can also use a large skillet if you choose just be sure to give your onions sufficient room so they don’t steam rather than caramelize. Once your onions are soft and translucent, remove them from heat and set them aside.
You may want to place a piece of parchment paper over your pot before adding more oil; otherwise, you may end up having to clean it later. Note: Caramelized onions can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Just reheat gently before serving.
When ready to serve, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Fill each bowl with one cup of hot beef broth and ladle 2 tablespoons of onions into each bowl.
Season with salt and pepper as desired. Place bowls into the oven until cheese has melted, about five minutes.