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VEGAN FRENCH ONION SOUP

Vegan French Onion Soup features caramelized onions and savory thyme broth served with warm and crusty sliced baguette and gooey cheese overtop for a delicious entree or starter soup!

top down view of baked french onion soup in bowls and mini dutch ovens ready to eat.

Warm, cozy, and perfect for the cooler months this Vegan French Onion Soup recipe is my plant based version of the beloved original, and is just as good!

Made with just a handful of ingredients, this onion soup is both comforting and savory, while being light. It would pair fantastic with a slice of this Fennel & Cannellini Flatbread for a full and hearty meal!

When you’re craving Classic French Onion Soup with it’s addicting caramelized onions, this is a pretty darn good recipe if I do say so myself. And I think you’ll love it as much as we do!

So without further ado, let’s get caramelizing!

top down view of ingredients used to make vegan french onion soup recipe.

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this recipe, onions, butter and thyme are simmered with dry wine and vegetable broth, then baked with cheese layered sliced baguette overtop for savory and delicious vegan French Onion Soup!

Here is everything you will need, including substitutions:

  • Onion – stick with yellow or white onions since they won’t be overly sweet once caramelized (red onions will do fine too if needed)
  • Vegan butter – I use and recommend Miyoko’s Vegan Butter with it’s ‘clean’ ingredients
  • Dry wine – both white or red dry wine will work, use red for a more full-bodied & robust flavor
  • Flour – unbleached all-purpose, whole wheat, spelt, 1-1 gluten-free flour blend, or arrowroot
  • Thyme – fresh or dried
  • Bay leaves
  • Vegetable broth – I used 1 + 1/2 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Veg Paste (affiliate link) with water
  • Salt + pepper
  • Baguette – small or medium baguette
  • Vegan cheese – gruyere cheese is traditional, but I used Miyoko’s Vegan Mozzarella cheese and it was delish. You can just as easily dollop the baguette slices with this quick and easy Cashew Ricotta Cheese!

side by side photos of prepped onions and measuring onions on a scale.

How To Make Vegan French Onion Soup

Making French onion soup isn’t the prettiest thanks to it’s very brown finish. But here you ‘ll find a few of the steps with photos to reference while cooking.

Note, the full printable recipe is at the bottom of this post in the recipe card.

  • Prep the onions. Cut the onions lengthwise, lay cut sides on a flat surface and trim the ends. Peel away the outer skin, first thin layer of the onion. Place onion on one of the end cuts and slice lengthwise into thin strips. You should end up with about 2 lbs. of sliced onions (about 8 – 9 cups).

side by side photos showing the process of caramelizing onions.

  • Caramelize the onions. Using a 4 or 5 qt. pot, heat vegan butter or olive oil over medium heat, add the onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt (or salt + pepper). Cook the onions over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently. When done, onions will have softened and turned a deep golden brown, as shown above right.
  • Add the flour. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring to incorporate until there are no white streaks, cook for about 1 minute.

side by side photos showing the process of adding liquids to make french onion soup.

  • Add the wine. Pour in the vegan wine and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce the wine.
  • Add the vegetable broth. Lastly, add the broth and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.

side by side photos of finished french onion soup and soup in mini dutch oven pots ready for the oven.

  • Get ready to serve. Enjoy the soup as is with crusty bread, or bake individual portions as is traditional.
  • Assemble soup bowls. Ladle French onion soup into individual, oven safe, bowls. Add 1 or 2 slices of the baguette on top of the soup, and add a layer of cheese and sprig of thyme. Place bowls on a rimmed baking sheet as shown above right.
  • Bake or broil. Place in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees F. for about 20 minutes. Alternatively, place 5 or 6 inches away from the broiler for about 5 – 7 minutes. The bread should get crispy on the edges, and the cheese will melt and may turn golden and slightly char.

And that’s it! This easy French Onion Soup takes about 1 and a half hour to complete, but it’s so worth the wait!

Tips + Faqs

  • Add extra depth of flavor. Try adding 1 – 2 teaspoons of vegan Worcestershire sauce when adding the vegetable broth. Or at the end, add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
  • Speedy caramelized onions. You can cut the caramelization time in half by using this quick method. Simply caramelize the onions over high heat for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring frequently and adding 1/4 cup water or broth as needed every 5 minutes or so to deglaze the pan so the onions don’t stick to the bottom.
  • Can I make French Onion Soup without wine? Yes, simply omit the wine, no need to add anything in its place.
  • Where can I find vegan wine? To check and see if your favorite wine is vegan or to research and find new ones, check out this guide that covers worldwide: Barnivore Vegan Wine Guide

top down view of freshly made vegan french onion soup just pulled from the oven.

How To Store + Reheat

  • Refrigerator: Leftover soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days.
  • Freezer: French Onion Soup can be stored in the freezer, without the bread and cheese, for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and transfer to multi-use freezer containers (affiliate link). Let soup thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  • Reheat: To reheat, simply warm in a pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. Alternatively, warm in the microwave for a couple minutes, stirring after a minute or two, until warm.

Serving Suggestions

top down view of baked french onion soup in bowls and mini dutch ovens ready to eat.

More Vegan Soup Recipes

If you try this French onion soup recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

VEGAN FRENCH ONION SOUP

Warm and cozy, Vegan French Onion Soup simmer with caramelized onions, thyme and dry wine is perfect as a light entree or starter soup! Whole food plant based recipe and super easy to make!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Entree, Soup
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: French
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or olive oil (I used Miyoko’s Butter)
  • 4 white onions (about 2 lbs)
  • 34 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour (or arrowroot powder)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (can sub with red for full-bodied flavor)
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fresh cracked black or white
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • vegan cheese (I used Miyoko’s Mozzarella)

Instructions

Prep the onions. Cut the onions lengthwise, lay cut sides on flat surface and trim the ends. Peel away the outer skin, first thin layer of the onion. Place onion on one of the end cuts and slice lengthwise into thin strips. You should end up with about 2 lbs of sliced onions (about 8 – 9 cups).

Caramelize the onions. In at least a 4 qt. pan, heat vegan butter or olive oil over medium heat, add the onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt (or salt + pepper). Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes (could take up to 1 hour). Onions are ready when they have softened and turned a deep golden brown.

Add the flour. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring well to incorporate until there are no white streaks, cook for about 1 minute.

Add the wine. Pour in the wine, continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce the wine.

Add the vegetable broth. Lastly, add the broth and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Season to taste.

Assemble soup bowls. Ladle soup into individual, oven safe, bowls. Add 1 or 2 slices of the baguette on top of the soup, and add a layer of cheese and sprig of thyme. Place bowls on a rimmed baking sheet as shown above right. Alternatively, warm toast the baguette slice with cheese separately following instruction below, adding to the top of the soup when serving.

Bake or broil. Place in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees F. for about 20 minutes. Alternatively, place 5 or 6 inches away from the broiler for about 5 – 7 minutes. The bread should get crispy on the edges, and the cheese will melt and may turn golden and slightly char.

Serve: Soup is best served right away while it’s warm. Alternatively, enjoy the soup as is with crusty bread on the side for dipping.

Serves 4

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, without the toppings, for 5 – 6 days. To store longer, freeze for up to 2 – 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Notes

Add extra depth of flavor. Try adding 1 – 2 teaspoons of vegan Worcestershire sauce when adding the vegetable broth. Or at the end, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

Cook caramelized onions faster: You can cut the caramelization time in half by using this quick method. Simply caramelize the onions over medium-high to high heat for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring frequently and adding 1/4 cup water or broth as needed every 5 minutes or so to deglaze the pan so the onions don’t stick to the bottom.

Alcohol free: Omit the wine if you prefer, there is no need to add anything in its place.

Homemade Cashew Ricotta Cheese: This homemade cashew cheese will work too, simply dollop or spread on the sliced baguette before baking.

Vegan wine guide: To check and see if your favorite wine is vegan or to research and find new ones, check out this guide that covers worldwide: Barnivore Vegan Wine Guide

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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10 Comments

  1. Excellent soup! The entire family enjoyed it. I was at over 4000 ft elevation, so it took about 2 hours on med-high for the onions to caramelize.

  2. Do you think this can be made a day in advance and still taste fresh? Thanks!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, the soup will taste even better since the flavors will have to time really meld together well! The only step you can’t do ahead is adding the slice of bread and cheese, that needs to be done right before serving. Just make sure you heat the soup before adding the toppings and baking. Enjoy!

  3. This was so delicious! I picked a ton of onions from my garden yesterday and was looking for ways to use them up when I came across this recipe. This soup turned out better than I imagined! I followed it exactly as directed and it was amazing.

  4. This was absolutely delicious!!! I used red wine for more depth of flavor. It was soooo good! Highly recommend!

  5. Absolutely delicious! I was a little concerned when I was caramelising the onions & checking the other ingredients, that there wouldn’t be much flavour, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, thankfully!

  6. This was absolutely delicious! So flavorful and comforting. Cannot wait to make it again!

  7. This was a fantastic soup, everyone loved it!

  8. This was fantastic, a real keeper that I will make again and again
    I did add 2 tsp worstershire sauce, 1/2 tsp kitchen bouquet and only 1/2 cup of red wine as that was all I had left. Delicious

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thanks for sharing, Diane! Love the kitchen bouquet idea! Cheers :)

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