Easy French Onion Soup – #SoupSwappers

An easy French onion soup, which is similar to Panera Bread's. This version calls for the use of a crockpot to caramelize the onions as a way to save time.

There are very few fast-food restaurants that I deem worthy enough to eat at. I am of course a diehard fan of Chick-fil-A, although I am seriously upset with them for changing their menu and retiring their coleslaw. You see, I refuse to eat fast-food fries and I also prefer to ditch the bun, so without an alternative side to order, I’ve been forced to turn to their Cobb Salad, which although very yummy, just doesn’t have that hint of pickle flavor that I so look forward to.

The other fast-food restaurant that I will often frequent is Panera. I pretty much order the same three things every single time I go there; Caesar Salad with Chicken, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, or Bistro French Onion Soup. The last is one of my favorites, especially on a cold rainy day. So for this month’s “Copycat Soup Recipes” themed Soup Saturday Swappers hosted by Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, I chose to recreate Panera’s recipe.

French Onion Soup isn’t that hard to make, however, it does require a great deal of time standing next to the stove, slowly caramelizing onions and feeling like you’ve wasted several precious minutes of your life. Instead of slaving away over a hot stove, I chose to make Crockpot Caramelized Onions, which not only made my life a whole lot easier but also gave me more time to spend doing the things I actually love to do. Like chasing after Brenna in the attempt to get a few cute pics of her to share with y’all on Instagram.

The great thing about this soup is that you can put the onions in the crockpot before you leave for work and they will be perfectly caramelized by the time you return home. After that, you simply add everything to a big pot or Dutch oven and let it simmer for 20 minutes. How much easier does it get than that? While the soup is bubbling away, you can toast some French bread in the oven and grate whatever type of cheese you prefer to garnish the soup with. My favorite is Manchego, however, you can use whatever type of cheese you happen to have on hand in your fridge. Now that I have this easy recipe to turn to, I’ll be spending a lot less time at Panera.

An easy French onion soup, which is similar to Panera Bread's. This version calls for the use of a crockpot to caramelize the onions as a way to save time.

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Large Sweet Yellow Onions
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 (32-oz.) Carton Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Steak Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Finely Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hot Sauce

Garnish:

  • French Bread
  • Freshly Shredded Cheese

An easy French onion soup, which is similar to Panera Bread's. This version calls for the use of a crockpot to caramelize the onions as a way to save time.

Directions:

Soup:

  1. Liberally grease a crockpot with butter.
  2. Peel and slice each onion in half, and then thinly slice each half with a sharp knife or mandoline.
  3. Place the sliced onions in a crockpot with olive oil and sea salt; mix well.
  4. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low heat.
  5. Place the onions in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
  6. Cook for two minutes and then sprinkle with the flour.
  7. Stir to combine, and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
  8. Add the remaining soup ingredients and allow to come to a boil.
  9. Reduce the soup to medium heat and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Garnish:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the French bread into 1-inch cubes and place the cubes on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes to prevent burning.
  4. Top each bowl of soup with shredded cheese and a handful of the French bread croutons.

An easy French onion soup, which is similar to Panera Bread's. This version calls for the use of a crockpot to caramelize the onions as a way to save time.

Suggestions:

  • If you are home while cooking the onions in the crockpot, give them a quick stir every few hours. If not, a few on the side of the crockpot may burn. Just remove them before combining the onions with the all-purpose flour and making the soup.
  • There will be some liquid present in the crockpot after the onions have cooked down. Pour this liquid into the Dutch oven along with the caramelized onions; it will help add flavor to the soup.

An easy French onion soup, which is similar to Panera Bread's. This version calls for the use of a crockpot to caramelize the onions as a way to save time.

Improvements:

  • Garnish with fresh thyme.
  • A Mandoline Slicer like the one pictured below makes thinly slicing onions a breeze.
  • Consider investing in an Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven for recipes like this one. Yes, I am aware that it is a fairly expensive investment, however, I promise you that it will last forever and come in very handy in the kichen. I’m not sure how I would survive without mine.
  • Click HERE to see the original recipe for Crockpot Caramelized Onions and HERE to see how I used them in Classic French Onion Dressing & Dip.

Easy French Onion Soup

Easy French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

    Soup:
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Large Sweet Yellow Onions
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 (32-oz.) Carton Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Steak Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Finely Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hot Sauce
  • Garnish:
  • French Bread
  • Freshly Shredded Cheese

Directions:

    Soup:
  1. Liberally grease a crockpot with butter.
  2. Peel and slice each onion in half, and then thinly slice each half with a sharp knife or mandoline.
  3. Place the sliced onions in a crockpot with olive oil and sea salt; mix well.
  4. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low heat.
  5. Place the onions in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
  6. Cook for two minutes and then sprinkle with the flour.
  7. Stir to combine, and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
  8. Add the remaining soup ingredients and allow to come to a boil.
  9. Reduce the soup to medium heat and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  10. Garnish:
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  12. Cut the French bread into 1-inch cubes and place the cubes on a baking sheet.
  13. Bake for 12 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes to prevent burning.
  14. Top each bowl of soup with shredded cheese and a handful of the French bread croutons.
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This week, I’ll also be sharing this recipe on Kahakai Kitchen’s Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays.

An easy French onion soup, which is similar to Panera Bread's. This version calls for the use of a crockpot to caramelize the onions as a way to save time.

Don’t let this recipe slip away. How often do you find a recipe intriguing, yet forget where to find it when you finally get the hankering to make it? Instead of digging through old posts or wandering aimlessly around on the internet, why not Pin this recipe to Pinterest where you can find it when you eventually need it? Simply Pin the image above and you’ll have it when that time comes. You can follow us HERE on Pinterest or simply click HERE to find all of our pin-worthy recipes.





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  • P~

    French Onion Soup is one of my all time favorites! Nice work making it more time friendly! May I say…that spoon!? I LOVE it! It is gorgeous!

    • Thanks…I just picked it up at one of my favorite antique stores last week. They sell each piece individually for a somewhat fair price, so I’m always on the look out for something that will look pretty in photos and on my buffet table!!!

      • P~

        It seems we share an obsession. I’m drooling over it!

  • If I had to limit myself to one soup for the rest of my life, it would be French onion soup. I love the slow cooker method for the onions. I’m definitely trying this!

  • Oh man, I think I could eat French Onion soup every day! This looks delicious, and love that it’s a slow cooker option.

  • Kathy Walker

    Using the slow cooker is a great idea! Don’t know why I have always been shy about making this soup…. That must certainly change!

    • Kathy, I promise this is a pretty stupid simple recipe…it’s sure to become a favorite!

  • Wendy Klik

    Great idea, caramelizing the onions in the slow cooker, Colleen. I love French Onion soup and this version sounds wonderful.

  • Monika Dabrowski

    This is one soup I have never attempted making, your recipe looks gorgeous, might give it a try:) Thank you for sharing with FF:)

  • I love French onion soup and when I was a young bride, I got a recipe from a friend who had taken cooking lessons from Julia Child. The recipe was long and difficult, although amazing, and I never made it more than once. I am going to have to give this one a try.

    • I can only imagine how much of a pain it was to make it but at the same time it was probably some of the best French Onion Soup you ever ate!!!

  • This looks SO good! I dont think I have ever ate French Onion soup with croutons!

  • JTWisdom

    Delicious! French Onion Soup is one of my favorites. I have to try this recipe.

  • Susan

    Oh, I always loved my mom’s French Onion Soup. So glad to have a new recipe to try. Congrats, you’re featured this week at the This Is How We Roll Link Party.

    • Thanks so much for the feature Susan…this truly was one of my favorites…and I loved that it was so easy to throw together! The perfect Back-to-School Meal!!!

  • debinhawaii

    I have made slow cooker caramelized onions before but have not made them into French Onion Soup. This looks delicious. Thanks for sharing it with Super Sundays this week. 😉 Come back any time!

    • Thanks Deb…it’s a great time-saver! I’ll make sure to visit often!