The Best French Onion Soup with Beer

Last modified on September 4th, 2019 at 10:40 am

Known for it’s richness, elegance and meaty broth, the best French Onion Soup boasts super caramelized onions, a crispy toasted baguette and a stringy cheese topping, and while ours honours the traditional, it’s the addition of Saisons Beer that adds soul, flavour and funk. 

Disclaimer: Our recipe for French Onion Soup is sponsored by The Exchange Brewery Inc. All opinions are our own.

French Onion Soup on a blue napkin next to a large bottle of beer

We all have that dish. You know, the one that no matter the restaurant, when you see it on the menu you have to order it. For me it’s chicken tenders, and while the majority of the time I’m debating whether or not its appropriate to order off the kids menu, it never fails to cross my mind. For Philip, his always order dish is one he never doubts, and no matter the season, a rich and elegant French Onion Soup always makes its way to our bill.

What is French Onion Soup?

Comfort food at its finest, the best French onion soup is luxurious yet simple, and a bistro favourite that involves caramelizing onions, adding broth, a splash of wine or sherry, and topping it with a cheesy piece of toasted bread. Aside from a list of on-hand ingredients, our keys to a pot of the best French Onion Soup involves patience, time and substituting alcohol for a couple cups of The Exchange Brewery’s award-winning Peppercorn Rye Saison.

Ingredients to make the best french onion soup
French Onion Soup on a blue napkin and plate

Brewed as the name suggests, The Exchange Brewery Saison Beer has an exquisite depth of flavour and funk evoked by peppercorns and rye malt, and is the ultimate flavour booster in our French Onion Soup. The tangy and fruity notes, and the spiciness from the peppercorn adds a sour tone to the sweetness of the caramelized onion, contrasting and complimenting the depths of this soup.

Known for its richness, elegance and meaty broth, French Onion Soup boasts super caramelized onions, a crispy toasted baguette and a stringy cheese topping. To eat a bowl of French Onion Soup is to have an experience, and while it may seem like a dish best suited to experienced chefs, our French Onion Soup is a recipe worth sharing and impressing those around your own holiday table with its simplicity and thoughtful flavour combinations.

Red Onions on a cutting board
Red onions before and after caramelization

What we love about our version of french onion soup is the addition of Exchange Brewery’s Peppercorn Rye Saison. It has qualities that mimic the wine and sherry you would normally have in the soup. The sweetness of the beer enhances the natural sugars present in the caramelized onions while the tartness and spice of the beer balances the sweetness making for a soup that hits all the senses, and dare I say, an even better version of the classic.

How to Make the Best French Onion Soup:

Caramelize the Onions

Melt the butter in a large pot set to medium-low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and allow them to cook down for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned and tender. Stir the onions every few minutes. Don’t rush this step, having nicely caramelized onions will result in a more flavourful soup.

Pouring beer into the caramelized onions for the french onion soup

Turn Onions into Soup

Once the onions are caramelized, turn the heat to medium high. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the Peppercorn Rye Saison and bring to a boil. Scrape any bits of flour left on the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Simmer covered for at least 30 minutes.

Two bowls of french onion soup on a sheet pan

All the Cheese

This is where the magic happens – creating the beautifully melted, cheesy crust that tops the french onion soup.  For this you need to butter both sides of your baguette slices. Toast in a preheated oven until browned. Using oven proof bowls on a baking sheet, fill them with the soup, leaving about a quarter inch of space. Top with a couple slices of baguette and smother with a handful of Swiss cheese. Switch your oven to broil and melt the cheese until golden and bubbly, about 3-4 minutes. They’ll be hot so allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Two bowls of the French Onion Soup next to a plate with onions, cheese and thyme
The Best French Onion Soup with two red onions and a bottle of beer behind it

If you know Mystique, then you know she loves soup. Try some of her other favourites featured below.

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The Best French Onion Soup with Beer

Two bowls of the best french onion soup with salt and pepper and peppercorn rye saison

Known for it’s richness, elegance and meaty broth, the best French Onion Soup boasts super caramelized onions, a crispy toasted baguette and a stringy cheese topping, and while ours honours the traditional, it’s the addition of Saisons Beer that adds soul, flavour and funk. 

  • Author: Chef Sous Chef
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Food and Drink, Soup, Appetizer, Main
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 60g salted butter + additional for buttering bread
  • 3 lbs red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups Exchange Brewery Peppercorn Rye Saison Beer
  • 4 cups stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 baguette, sliced
  • 300g Swiss cheese, grated

Instructions

No. 1 | Melt the butter in a large heavy bottom pot set to medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic and a half teaspoon of salt. Cook down for 30-40 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until lightly browned and tender.

No. 2 | Turn the heat to medium high. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and stir until the the onions get a deeper brown colour, about 1-2 minutes. Pour in the beer and stir, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the stock, bay leaves and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Taste the soup for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

No. 3 | Preheat your oven to 350°. Butter both sides of each slice of baguette, and lay them on a baking sheet. Place in the oven to toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.

No. 4 | Switch the oven to broil. Spoon the soup into oven safe bowls, leaving about a quarter inch of space. Top the soup with two slices of baguette, slightly overlapping. Place a handful of cheese on top and set the bowls on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.

No. 5 | Allow the soup to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • 3 lbs of onions will be about 10 cups when sliced.
  • Belgian style sour beers work best with this recipe

Keywords: soup with beer, french onion soup recipe with beer, french onion soup recipe

French Onion Soup in black bowl with bottle of beer, red onions, and spoon

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Stacey
    November 10, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Wow… I cannot believe how easy it was to make this soup. I always thought French onion soup would be hard to make but it wasn’t. Thanks for the recipe… delicious!

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      November 10, 2018 at 9:44 am

      Thanks Stacey. We agree, definitely an easier recipe than you would expect!

  • Reply
    Konstantina
    December 12, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Beer goes with everything!! This is such a great recipe for the cold winter days.

  • Reply
    Maggie Unzueta
    December 12, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Wow! This Onion Soup with Beer looks soooo delicious! I should try making this at home and let my taste buds do the tasting!

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      December 12, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Maggie. It’s not only delicious but actually pretty simple to make. Enjoy 😊

  • Reply
    Liz Bayardelle
    December 13, 2018 at 2:57 am

    I’m so glad to hear someone who cooks like you do is also a chicken tender fan. Gives me hope for my culinary tastes!

  • Reply
    Chloe @callmecoco.co
    December 13, 2018 at 3:00 am

    This recipe looks easier than I thought it would be! I’m French but I never tried to make this staple recipe. Also, I love the style of your pictures 🙂

  • Reply
    Rhian Westbury
    December 13, 2018 at 3:42 am

    It’s been such a long time since I had french onion soup as I don’t tend to eat a lot of soup. This looks so tasty though x

  • Reply
    Samantha Donnelly
    December 13, 2018 at 5:57 am

    I have never made french onion soup with beer before it sounds amazing

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      December 13, 2018 at 8:41 am

      It’s pretty simple to make and the beer adds a wonderful flavour.

  • Reply
    Lexa Fish
    December 13, 2018 at 6:03 am

    I’m so blown away right now. I love french onion soup and I order it everytime I see it at a restaraunt. I like cooking a lot of things from scratch though and I’m soooo up for making this. Your photographs are stunning, I’m in love with your site!!

  • Reply
    Surekha Busa
    December 13, 2018 at 6:22 am

    Thank you for sharing this step-by-step guide. It looks so yummy i hope i could perfectly cook it.

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      December 13, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Thanks Surekha. I’m sure you would make a great soup 😉

  • Reply
    aisasami
    December 13, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I never had French Onion Soup before. I have to try it this winter!

  • Reply
    Brandy
    December 13, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I love french onion soup, this is such a delicious idea to enjoy during the cold winter months.

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      December 13, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      Thanks Brandy! It’s so comforting on cold winter days 😉

  • Reply
    Luci Westphal
    December 13, 2018 at 10:26 am

    That looks scrumptious! All your photos of the detailed steps are beautiful, too. I like the beer-addition twist. Also, wasn’t familiar with the brewery. Learned a lot here and feel inspired. Thank you!
    xx Luci

  • Reply
    Erin Haugerud
    December 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Yum! Wow! This looks so good I can barely stand it! Now all I want is that soup!

  • Reply
    Fashion and Style Police
    December 15, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I love the sound of this recipe. Never tried anything like this before. Looks really yummy.

  • Reply
    Lali
    December 15, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Wow this looks absolutely amazing! I am going to try this out because I have been looking for a new soup recipe to try and this one looks like it has a deep flavor.

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      December 16, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Lali. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

  • Reply
    Jennifer Prince
    December 15, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Oh my word. I love cheese, and the top of that looks so great! I could just eat that and be good to go. Lol!!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O
    December 18, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    I love onion sup and yours looks divine. I will definitely try to make it.

  • Reply
    Liliana
    October 28, 2019 at 8:52 am

    I love this soup too. Hey guys, your blog it’s soooo beautiful to look at. I don’t actually need the recipe for this soup because I cooked it many times, but just looking at your pictures makes me feel oh good!!!! Everything is so tidy and well organized and the food looks always delicious 🙂

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      October 28, 2019 at 9:22 am

      Thanks for the kind words Liliana. So glad our photos give you all the feels! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply
    Vicki
    November 7, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for an experiment using left-over wort when we make our Pretty Purple Porter at our brewery (ManyFriends Brewing Company), and this is perfect! Wort is not as tasty as beer, but it still made an excellent base for this delicious soup. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply
      Chef Sous Chef
      November 8, 2019 at 10:44 am

      Love it! Thanks Vicki, so glad you enjoy the recipe. It works with lots of beers but we love the taste a sour beer gives the soup.

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