The best French Onion Soup that has ever crossed your lips! Throws together in less than 30 minutes, not even kidding right now! This Instant Pot version is so simple and it's gonna blow you away with how rich and flavorful it is!
Do you love French Onion Soup like I love French Onion Soup?
Do you hate caramelizing onions for 30 minutes like I hate this pungent task? I'll take folding laundry and cleaning up kids' dried toothpaste off the bathroom counter any day.
Speaking of which, why has no one invented a failproof system for keeping toothpaste under control?!
The last 2 times I remember making onion soup was when I lived in my brother's basement (the smell went up through the vents and his family smelled like onions for 2 weeks, oops) and again at my mom's (she opened up all her windows and doors and said she didn't care how good it tasted, I was not allowed to make it there ever again).
Funny, I don't think I've ever made it in my own home . . .
Poor stinky, delicious onions. Banished time and time again.
Well you guys, I cracked the code!!! Oh happy happy day when I figured this trick out!!!
The Instant Pot is taking one for the team here and caramelizing those onions in less than 10 minutes with only about 2 minutes of your helping hand required.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS EASY, CLASSIC FRENCH ONION SOUP
- Never again will you need to stir, stir, stir your onions into sweet, soft submission. A little butter, seasoning, a sprinkle of baking soda (the secret quick caramelizing ingredient) and some pressure cooking action get those onions brown and tender in no time
- If you want to read more on how baking soda creates a higher pH environment to increase browning, head to the smarty pants over at Cook's Illustrated for an interesting article on Quicker Caramelized Onions.
- Take it outside! Very often I take foods like Pot Roast and soups outside to cook in the Instant Pot. This means I can eat onion soup without smelling like a boys locker room for a week. Another point for electric pressure cooking!
- Crunchy croutons covered in cheese, what's not to love there.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST FRENCH ONION SOUP IN THE INSTANT POT
- Melt butter in the pressure cooker until just barely starting to brown
- Stir in sliced onions and seasonings, let cook just until the onions start to release liquid, about 3 minutes
- Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes, do a quick release of the pressure (smells amazing, but I suggest doing this outside if possible)
- Add broth, tomato paste, and a couple drops of hot sauce (if you like heat), use saute to heat it through
- Ladle into an oven-safe bowl
- Add homemade croutons and shredded cheese on top and place under the oven broiler until the cheese is melted and the croutons are extra brown and crunchy
You are going to have people pounding down your door for this recipe, I guarantee it.
If you cook it outside like I do, you're going to have animals and curious neighbors on your porch searching for the source of that glorious smell.
It's healthy, easy, quick Instant Pot French Onion Soup! That is a combo of words you will be very hard pressed to find together ever again.
There were two soups this month that really made me work hard to make them truly special in a sea of so many versions: Zuppa Toscana and this French Onion Soup.
But with lots of perseverance and tears (from slicing onions anyway – I'm not quite weird enough to cry over soup), I figured this one out and I seriously cannot wait for you guys to try this.
- To make this a Vegetarian French Onion Soup, omit the Worcestershire sauce and swap the beef broth for vegetable broth
- If you want something a bit more hearty, this flavorful broth is a perfect canvas for adding other ingredients too. Shredded chicken, steak, ravioli, gnocchi, steamed veggies, beans, etc.
HOW TO CUT ONIONS WITHOUT TEARS
See the recipe card for details on how to properly slice onions into perfect moon shapes, but here are some tricks that actually work to avoid the dreaded tear fest that accompanies slicing a pile of onions.
- Steal your kid's swimming goggles. There's a little bit of swallowing your pride on this one (oh the teasing I get), but it works. You can also buy onion goggles if you wanna go there (I'm so tempted)
- A fan! This works amazingly well. Just a small tabletop fan to blow away the sulfur fumes and you can slice away without the need to reapply makeup when you're done
- Chill it. Place peeled onions in the freezer for 10 minutes. This actually works, however, I could be done slicing onions by the time I pull them out of the freezer, soooooo there's that
- Rachael Ray's advice, “Just put your big girl pants on already and get the job done!” This tends to be my go to method, besides, it's good entertainment for the kids to watch
BEST CHEESE FOR FRENCH ONION SOUP
My answer will not be supported by Google here, but I LOVE Asiago on french onion soup. It has a strong flavor that compliments the broth beautifully, and since it's so flavorful, you don't need to use an enormous amount.
If you're looking for the classic cheese topping, go with Gruyere. Other options are white cheddar, fontina, or swiss.
BEST BREAD FOR THE BEST FRENCH ONION SOUP
Cut it up into large bite-size pieces and make your own homemade croutons by coating it with olive oil or melted butter, salt, and pepper. Cook in a 400° oven until browned and crunchy, about 10 minutes. Watch closely so it doesn't burn!
Traditionally french onion soup uses a baguette slice or two for the topping so when you try to take a scoop of soup, you have to wrestle with a soggy, tough baguette to get a single bite of bread with a spoonful of soup. Soggy bread, messy mess, stressful eating – be gone.
I implore you to try the homemade croutons! You'll get crunchy bites of bread in each mouthful and have enough of them to last you through the entire bowl of soup.
Later this week I'm showing you how to make a loaf of Instant Pot Asiago Rosemary Bread. The croutons I made out of the leftovers are the perfect partner here!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY FRENCH ONION SOUP
While being a broth-based soup, french onion soup isn't typically the healthiest soup on the menu, but I argue that it should be, so here's how I altered it.
- Most french onion soups start out with a LOT of butter for flavor and for carmelizing the onions. Using the pressure cooker, I reduced the butter to just a few tablespoons. For rich full flavor, I use spices, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste
- Use flavorful cheese! As discussed above, use a stronger tasting cheese and you can use less of it without sacrificing on flavor. Asiago all the way!
- For the croutons, try to hunt down a whole grain option. That's tough to come by in grocery stores, but not impossible, especially in specialty bread shops. Or of course, make your own.
The Instant Pot and Soup just belong together. Check out my Soup Archives for more recipes.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT EASY FRENCH ONION SOUP
- Instant Pot
- Oven Safe Soup Bowls (I don't own these yet but they are on my Amazon want list. They're so cute and I love the heatproof base idea)
Instant Pot Easy French Onion Soup
Rich, deep French Onion Flavor in a fraction of the time with the Instant Pot!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 5 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: French
- 4 –5 medium sweet or yellow onions
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (use up to 1 1/2 teaspoons, if you like it spicy)
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- splash of hot sauce (optional)
- Homemade Croutons (see notes)
- shredded asiago cheese or Gruyere, white cheddar, fontina, or swiss
- Cut the root and top end off of an onion. Slice the onion in half from top to bottom and remove the peel. Lay flat side on the cutting board and slice the onion into about 3/4 inch wide moon shapes. Repeat with remaining onions.
- Preheat the pressure cooker by selecting saute. When hot, add butter.
- When butter is melted, bubbling, and starting to brown, add the onions, Worcestershire sauce, baking soda, thyme, garlic powder, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine ingredients.
- Cook just until onions start to release their juices, about 3 minutes.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a quick release.
- Add beef broth, tomato paste, and hot sauce (if using); stir to incorporate tomato paste.
- Use the saute function to warm up the broth. Turn pressure cooker off.
- Ladle soup into an oven safe bowl, top with croutons and shredded cheese, place under the oven broiler until the cheese and croutons start to brown.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- To make homemade croutons, use a sturdy bread like a baguette, french bread, sourdough, or homemade Crusty Bread. Slice into large bite size pieces. Place cubes on a sheet pan and lightly coat with olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper. Bake at 400° until browned and crunchy, about 10 minutes. Serve.
Keywords: instant pot recipes, french onion soup, healthy soup
Recipe adapted from a Top Secret Recipes version of Panera Bread French Onion Soup