This Copycat Panera French Onion Soup recipe tastes just like the real thing. It's rich and savory, and topped with a crunchy bread and perfectly melted cheese. And it’s super simple to make!
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They say imitation is the finest form of flattery - and that's why I love trying my hand at making copycat versions of my favorite restaurant recipes. It's so much fun experimenting and seeing if I can recreate the real thing!
All it takes to make this copycat Panera French Onion Soup is adding the ingredients to a big pot, pouring the soup into bowls, and topping it with a baguette and cheese. Then you just broil it, and you have a delicious restaurant-style dinner!
Who knew that making this tasty soup could be so easy?
This Panera French onion soup recipe is...
- savory and delicious.
- loaded with melted cheese.
- topped with crusty, fresh bread!
- gluten-free (without the bread topping)
- an easy weeknight meal
And if this hits the spot, be sure to check out my other copycat Panera recipes too!
How to Make Copycat Panera French Onion Soup
- Melt the butter and olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook until the onions are softened and semi-transparent.
- Add salt, pepper, and sugar to the pot, stirring constantly.
- Cook until the onions are caramelized and have a deep golden color.
- Increase the heat to high and add white wine.
- Cook until the wine has been reduced almost completely.
- Add the broth, rosemary, and thyme, and bring the soup to a simmer.
- Stir occasionally, and cook until the broth has thickened.
- Serve the soup in oven-proof bowls.
- Top the soup with a toasted baguette and a sprinkle of cheese.
- Broil the soup until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve immediately with fresh herbs and a crack of pepper.
Scroll down for the full recipe with measurements and detailed instructions.
Tips & Tricks
Use a High-Quality Broth
The trick to restaurant-quality French onion soup is to use a very high-quality broth. Make sure you buy the good stuff, because it’ll make all the difference! I'm a fan of the Pacific organic broths.
Storing the Soup
You can store the soup in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Don’t add the toppings to the soup before storing it though.
When you're ready to serve, heat the soup on the stove, then add the melted cheese and toasted bread.
This makes it a great meal prep recipe!
Use Oven-Proof Bowls
Make sure to use oven-safe bowls, because you’re going to put these bowls in the oven to broil and melt the cheese. A stoneware crock set like this works perfectly for french onion soup.
Make it Vegetarian
This soup is already vegetarian, with the exception of the beef stock. I actually make my own serving vegetarian by using a flavorful veggie broth, with a couple dashes of balsamic vinegar added for that savory flavor.
If you're feeling really ambitious, you can even make your own homemade broth.
Sherry Instead of Wine
French onion soup is often made with sherry which can be substituted for the white wine.
Using sherry will give your soup a slightly different flavor, but it’s another super tasty option!
Instead of using a baguette, you can top your soup with croutons. These can be homemade or store bought.
To make homemade croutons, just cut a baguette into small cubes. Toss them with olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Then bake them in the oven at 375°F for 15 minutes.
How can I add flavor to French onion soup?
If you want to add some extra flavor to your soup, use fresh bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary - or your own favorite fresh herbs. To make the broth more savory, you can also try adding a dash or two of balsamic vinegar.
Does French onion soup freeze well?
Yes! You can freeze the soup in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Don’t freeze the toppings though! When you’re ready to eat the soup, defrost it in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stovetop.
More Tasty Recipes
If you love this soup, be sure to check out these other delicious ideas:
- More Copycat Panera Bread Recipes to Make at Home
- 15+ Copycat Soup Recipes
- 55+ Copycat Restaurant Recipes You Can't Miss
Copycat Panera French Onion Soup
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 onions thinly sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 ¾ cup white wine
- 7 cups broth
- ½ tsp thyme
- ¼ tsp rosemary
- 1 baguette or crusty bread sliced and toasted
- 1 cup gruyere or mozzarella cheese
- fresh herbs
- Melt the butter and olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until the onions have softened and are transparent in color, around 18 to 20 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, and sugar. Stirring constantly, cook for 30 more minutes or until the onions are caramelized and have a deeper golden color.
- Increase the heat to high and add the white wine. Cook for 12 more minutes or until the wine has reduced almost completely.
- Add the broth, rosemary and thyme and bring to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook until the broth has thickened and the flavors have bloomed, around 20 more minutes.
- Serve the soup into bowls. Top with the toasted baguette and a sprinkle of cheese and take to the broiler. Broil for around 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve immediately topped with fresh herbs or a crack of pepper.
If you want to store your soup, skip the toppings and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Once you are ready to serve it, heat your soup on the stove and finish with fresh toasted bread and cheese. The result is just as good as the day you made it.
If you don’t have oven proof bowls, you can toast the bread with the cheese and then just top the soup with it.