Let's make Vegan French Onion Soup! It's bold, rich, and packed with caramelized onion flavor. Delicious on its own but you really NEED a stack of toasty baguette and melty cheese on top to seal the deal!
"This is the BEST French Onion Soup recipe EVER!!!!!" - Rosebud ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ See more reviews →
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This Vegan French Onion Soup. I can't put into words how delicious it is...It's got a buttery, rich, sweet, super-concentrated caramelized onion base, just a touch of garlic for depth, and a "beefy", white wine, and herby broth.
Once you add in that generous pile of toasty baguette and melty cheese, the whole thing is going to have you coming back for more, and more...
I'm so excited to have this recipe on heavy rotation for all of soup season!
Gather your onions, baguette, and cheese, and get yourself ready for an amazing bowl of deeply flavored, toasty, melty, cheesy soup 🤩.
Here's what you need at a glance, along with some important notes and substitution ideas:
- Vegan Butter - In such a simple recipe every ingredient is important and adds another layer of flavor and depth. For every day something like Earth Balance is fine, but for a special occasion or if making for guests I use Miyoko's or Nuts For Butter (same company as Nuts For Cheese) because they are cultured and provide a really good flavorsome buttery base. Both are easy to find across Canada and the U.S.
- Onions - Yellow onions and lots of them!
- Stock - I like to make my stock with Better Than Bouillon No Beef for this recipe. Traditional French onion soup is beefy so it makes it more authentic. It also adds a ton of flavor and richness. If you can't get Better Than Bouillon, use any other "beef" flavored vegan stock, or utilize the Marmite in your pantry. Use one tablespoon of Marmite per cup (240 ml) of water to make your own "beef" stock. It dissolves more easily if you use very hot water.
- Flour - Just a touch. French onion soup is supposed to be quite a thin soup so we don't want to thicken it much at all. The many onions provide the substance.
- Wine - Essential for a really good French Onion Soup. It gives a complexity and depth of flavor like nothing else can and the acidity balances the sweetness of the onions. I used dry white wine. A variety such as sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, soave, or chardonnay will work well. Red wine makes a good substitute but will give the soup a different flavor and color. Surprisingly good quality dry cider (the alcoholic kind) is really good in this too, as is a good flavorsome dark ale.
- Garlic - Just a touch. Not enough to make it pronounced and overpower the onions, but just enough to add some depth. If you've got eagle eyes you'll notice I forgot to add it when I made the soup in my recipe video. It was still really nice but I could tell it was missing something!
- Thyme and bay leaf - Our aromatics. You can use fresh or dried. I don't recommend using any other herbs in this recipe.
- Cheese - A good melter. I used Violife mozzarella and gave it a bit of a helping hand (see my expert tip RE vegan cheese melting a little further down!)
- Baguette - Perfect if making individual portions in soup bowls and of course the traditional choice. However, when testing the recipe (many, many times!), I put the bread and cheese on top of the soup while still in the Dutch oven rather than portioning it out first. This means that you can use a bigger loaf of bread. It does need to be good quality sturdy bread though or it will just disintegrate into the soup. Crusty sourdough (homemade or from a good bakery) works well, and I even used a stale herby focaccia one night and that was really delicious!
How To Make French Onion Soup
Can't wait to make it? The full printable recipe is below, but first, let me give you a quick walkthrough to set you up for success. I recommend watching my recipe video if you're more of a visual learner:
- Melt the butter then add the onions and cook them long and slow so they caramelize. Patience is key here. It could take anything from 45 minutes to an hour depending on your pan. For the very best flavor, it's important not to rush this process. By the time they are done, they should be a deep, rich, mahogany brown color.
- Add the flour, and then the wine to deglaze the pan, add all of the other ingredients and allow the soup to heat through.
- Ladle soup into individual soup bowls.
- Top with baguette and lots of cheese then broil until melty and golden.
Vegan French Onion Soup can be served as an appetizer or a main course/entree. Just choose the size of your soup bowls accordingly.
Expert Cheese Melting Tip
Get yourself a little handheld water spray bottle and once the cheese is scattered over the top of the baguette, spray the surface with a generous amount of water before putting it under the broiler. Open the oven and spray again a few minutes later once it's on its way. The moisture helps the cheese melt beautifully! This also works for things like pasta bake, lasagna, etc.
Want To Skip The Topping?
The French Onion Soup is delicious on its own without the broiled baguette and cheese. Make it as per the recipe then serve just as it is in deep bowls. Top with croutons and a sprinkle of cheese shreds into the hot soup, or pair with some garlic bread, crusty bread, or baguette slathered in vegan butter.
Making In Advance & Storing
French Onion Soup can be made in advance and stored for up to 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
When you are ready to serve, heat it through in a pan on the stovetop or in a microwave, ladle into individual soup bowls, top with the baguette slices and cheese, then broil.
I hesitate to answer this because I think alcohol is key in some recipes and this is one of them. Any suggestion I give will make the recipe not as good. But, if you absolutely cannot use alcohol, my first choice would be non-alcoholic dry white wine. Second, would be good quality apple juice (apple cider in the USA) or white grape juice. But not a full cup as it's so sweet. I'd just use half a cup (120ml), along with an extra half a cup of "beefy" stock and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar for some acidity. Or if you're willing to sacrifice lots of complexity and flavor just replace the wine with more stock.
You can put the bread and cheese on top of the soup while still in the Dutch oven/soup pot, rather than portioning it out first, making yourself a giant version that can be served up at the table. Or just make some grilled cheese separately, dish the soup up into bowls, and place it on the top right before serving.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Vegan French Onion SoupAuthor:
- 3 tablespoons dairy-free butter
- 3lb (1.4 kg) thinly sliced yellow onions , (about 6 to 7 large onions)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine
- 5 cups (1200 ml) stock , preferably one with a "beefy" flavor
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme , or fresh
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt , plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 baguette
- 1½ cups (180 grams) vegan cheese shreds
- Heat a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot (that will hold at least 4 litres/quarts) over medium heat. Add the vegan butter. Once melted add the sliced onions and stir well. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently until they have turned a deep mahogany brown color. Turn the heat down a touch if they start catching. Don't rush this step or use any shortcuts. The time is important for the best flavor.
- Once the onions are caramelized add the garlic and allow to cook for 1 minute before adding the flour. Stir well and allow to cook for another minute.
- Add the white wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan well to remove any cooked on residue from the onions.
- Pour in the stock, then add the bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper, Stir well then allow the soup to heat through.
- Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper as necessary. The amount you need will vary depending on the stock you use. At this point you can continue to the next step, or leave the soup simmering on low for a bit longer if convenient.
- Before you take the soup off the heat, cut the baguette into thick slices, lay them on a small baking tray and toast on just one side.
- Ladle the soup into individual soup bowls. Don't fill them right to the top. Leave at least ½ an inch. Place as many pieces of baguette that will fit on top of the soup toasted side down then sprinkle the top of the bread very generously with shredded cheese.
- Broil (grill in the UK) until golden, melty, and bubbly. If you have a water spray bottle, spray the top of the cheese with water before you put it under the broiler. After a couple of minutes under there give it another quick spray. The moisture really helps the cheese melt.
- Serve immediately.