Classic French Onion Soup with Red Wine

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Classic French Onion Soup with Red Wine is the traditional recipe, with the volume turned up. Hearty red wine is simmered with caramelized onions and beef broth to create the most luxurious soup you’ve ever had!

French Onion Soup in a bowl

Classic French Onion Soup with Red Wine is one of those dishes that I simply cannot refuse. If I’m out to dinner, and it’s on the menu, I’m ordering it. I have this thing about ordering certain things if they’re on the menu. For instance, a wedge salad. I want to try everyone’s wedge salad to see how they do it. Just like a wedge salad, french onion soup is fairly simple. So, when you order it, and it blows your mind, you know you have to come home and recreate that version. Or at least that’s how I feel. ?

French Onion Soup Recipe


We’ve all seen the classic starter on any steakhouse menu. It’s caramelized onions and beef broth simmered with thyme. All gratinéed with a baguette slice and lots of gruyere cheese melted down the sides. 


  • Caramelized onions
  • Red Wine
  • Beef Stock/Broth
  • Thyme
  • French Bread/Croutons
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Individual oven-safe soup bowls
  • Broiler


I’ll walk you through each step…

First, you’ll need to caramelize a bunch of onions. Like, way more than you think. Here’s a throwback of a tutorial on how to caramelize onions. This was one of the very early recipes of Sweetpea. My love for this soup goes back that far! 

What you need to realize is caramelizing onions is delicious. But, if you’re feeding a crowd, you need a ton of them. For this recipe I’m walking you through now, I made it for one person, me! But, I used two Vidalia onions, about the size of baseballs. If it’s not Vidalia onion season, and you only have access to sweet onions, get the ones that are baseball size or larger. If you’re making this for a nice date night at home, you’ll need 4-5 onions. If you’re making this for a humble winter soup dinner around the table with friends you’ll probably need 8. Seriously, trust me! If you think you have too many onions, you’re right on target for just enough.  

Red wine and onions in a pot

Now, once you’re onions are caramelized, you’ll have some brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Pour about a cup of red wine in, and stir well with a wooden spoon. Scraping up all those flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan. In this recipe, you’ll end up using the entire bottle for a serving of six people. I’ve used a cup of red wine for this individual serving of french onion soup. 

red wine french onion soup

Allow the red wine to reduce into a thick syrup. You want to be able to scrape your spoon down the center, leaving a line before it trickles back together. In the center of this photo, you can see the bottom of the pot, that’s exactly what you want. It’s a pretty thick syrup, just like Aunt Jemima. 

Now, pour in 8 cups of beef stock + a few sprigs of thyme. Cover the pot, turn down to a simmer, and let it hang out for a while.


A french baguette is a classic choice. But, any hearty, crusty loaf will work. Ciabatta works well, too!

croutons in a skillet

Next, we’re going slightly rogue in the classic french onion soup recipe.

Y’all know Panera, right? Well, they have a mighty good ‘grab and go’ french onion soup. What I love best about it, is the bread cubes.

No more meddling in your soup and trying to hack off a bite-sized piece of bread! Throw some cubed french baguette pieces into a skillet with butter, salt, and a healthy grind of black pepper. 

bread in a skillet

salted bread in a skillet

Just toss these around a bunch in the butter, making sure every bread cube is covered! 

croutons on a sheet pan

Once each cube is sufficiently ‘buttered’ and slightly crispy, place on a sheet pan and separate each cube. Make sure they aren’t touching too much, so they can brown some more in the oven. Toast these at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Watch your oven folks! 

Now, let’s layer some soup!

croutons in a bowl

Alright, now get out your french onion soup dishes, like these. Toss in a layer of toasted bread cubes.

croutons and cheese

Add a sprinkle of gruyere cheese on top of those bread cubes. We’re making a layered soup, y’all. These ratios are so good!

french onion soup on top of croutons

Ladle in some of the simmered red wine, beef broth, thyme, and onions – the actual soup part – into the little bowls. Ladle it all the way up to almost the tippy top. You all know that with french onion soup it’s okay for the cheese to spill over the sides, so dripfest is okay here!

croutons on top of french onion soup

Top the soup portion with MORE toasted bread cubes! ??

broiling french onion soup

Now pick up the soup bowl, and place in an oven-safe baking dish. Top this soup bowl with LOTS of gruyere cheese.

french onion soup with gruyere in the broiler

Finally, broil until golden brown on top. See how dirty my oven is?! Pay no attention, y’all!

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Cheese

After all that, here is the final result. And it is absolute heaven. The red wine creates a whole new depth of flavor than the traditional white wine version of french onion soup. 

Onion Soup with Garlic Toast

The best part is cracking into this soup for the first time! And talk about a #cheesepull.

It will be everything you hoped for and more!

Spoon of French Onion Soup

French onion soup layered with bread and cheese

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Spoon of French Onion Soup

Classic French Onion Soup with Red Wine

5 from 7 reviews
  • Author: Sweetpea
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Category: soup
  • Method: stovetop cooking
  • Cuisine: french


Classic French Onion Soup with Red Wine is the traditional recipe, with the volume turned up.


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds (about 5 medium) sweet onions, sliced
  • 1 bottle dry red
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 (3/4-inch-thick) French baguette slices
  • 2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese


  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, and cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. If the pan gets too dry, feel free to add more butter or a swirl of olive oil.
  2. Stir in a cup of wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the stockpot.
  3. Pour the rest of the wine, add the beef stock, and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.
  4. While the soup simmers, cube bread slices and toast in a skillet with a couple of tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  5. Once the bread cubes are coated well with butter and starting to crisp, pour out onto a half sheet pan, and toast in a 350 oven for about 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven’s temperature.
  6. Remove from the oven, and begin layering your soup dishes.
  7. In oven-proof soup bowls, add a layer of bread and cheese, ladles of soup, and then another layer of bread and cheese. The top layer should cover as much of the bread cubes as possible. The bread cubes sticking out from the cheese have a tendency to burn faster than the cheese can melt and brown. Be careful!
  8. Preheat your broiler for a good 5 minutes.
  9. Place into oven and broil until golden brown and cheeses have melted; keep a very close eye! I also like to rotate my pan/dishes so they brown evenly. 
  10.  Serve immediately with extra toasted slices of bread for dipping!

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You can save this graphic below to your favorite soup board on Pinterest!

Classic French Onion Soup with Red Wine Recipe Idea from Sweetpea Lifestyle

In closing, I have a question for you! What restaurant menu items do you just have to order??

Tell me in the comments below!

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  1. Talk about real comfort food! This french onion soup is just what I want to come home to after a long day and the weather is cooler.

  2. Simmering that red wine must have given the dish so much flavor – I can’t wait to make this. I’ve got the perfect wine for it. Love how this soup looks – just the way I like it!

  3. I’m so excited soup season is here. French onion is one of my favorites and yours looks delectable. I’d love to cozy up with a bowl right now…yum!

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