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bowl of Panera French onion soup with spoons and a baguette chunk

Panera Bistro French Onion Soup Copycat

  • Author: Brooke
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 7 cups 1x


Our Panera bistro French onion soup is an easy copycat recipe to make to impress your friends and family for dinner tonight.  Sweet caramelized onions, perfectly seasoned beef broth, crunchy croutons, and melted cheese turn this French classic into an unforgettable meal.



Soup Base

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (58g)
  • 10 cups yellow onion, chopped (1.2 kg)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (60g)
  • 1/2 cup sherry (120 ml)
  • 8 cups reduced sodium beef broth (1.9 liters)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (22 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (5 ml)
  • 1/3 cup tomato gastrique (see notes)


  • 1 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Finishing & Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (15 ml)
  • 2 1/4 cups black pepper focaccia croutons (86g)
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, finely grated (55g)


  • Caramelize the Onions: Melt the butter over medium high heat, then add the chopped onion and sprinkle on the salt to help draw out the water from the onions.  Cook and stir the onions occasionally for the first 10 minutes.  Sprinkle on the sugar and continue cooking the onions on medium high for another 15 minutes, stirring constantly.  Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for another 5 minutes, or until caramelized.
  • Tomato Gastrique: Pour the sugar and water in a small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat, then stir to dissolve the sugar.  When bubbles start to form, reduce the heat to just above medium and watch for it to change color to a medium caramel, then remove it from the heat and slowly whisk in the vinegar.  Be careful not to burn yourself, as the mixture is hotter than boiling water.  Whisk in the tomato paste until smooth.  Return to the heat and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for one to two minutes to thicken the sauce.  Pour it into a small bowl; the sauce will thicken to a molasses-like consistency as it cools.
  • Deglaze the Pan: Increase the heat to medium high, then pour in 1/2 cup of sherry.  Using a wooden turner, scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the brown bits off.  This will give the soup more flavor.
  • Make the Roux: Sprinkle on 1/4 cup of flour and cook it for 2 minutes while constantly stirring. The roux will help thicken the soup.
  • Deglaze the Pan: Pour in 1 to 2 cups of beef stock to deglaze the pan, so the bottom of the soup pot is clean and all that extra flavor is added to the soup.
  • Cook the Soup: Pour in the rest of the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce.  Add the bay leaf, dried spices, and tomato gastrique. (If the tomato gastrique has hardened, microwave it for 20 seconds and stir.)  Stir, cover, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.  During the last 10 minutes of cooking, taste and adjust spices, if necessary.
  • Finishing: Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Garnish: Top each bowl with the croutons and grated Gruyère cheese.  If desired, serve the soup in ovenproof bowls and put under the broiler for 2 minutes to melt the cheese.  Make it let Panera Bread and serve this soup with chunk of Panera's French baguette, kettle chips, or apple slices.


  • Tomato Gastrique: You'll need 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup cooking sherry vinegar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste.  Leftovers can be stored covered in the fridge for up to two weeks.  Make the gastrique while the onions are in the first ten minutes of cooking.
  • Black Pepper Focaccia Croutons: Cut a 7-inch round Panera Bread loaf into cubes, drizzle with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 400 F for 13 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking time.  Make the croutons while the soup is simmering.
  • Want less tears?  Peel and cut the onions in half, cover with foil and refrigerate to cool them before slicing.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Panera Bistro French Onion Soup Recipe, Nutrition


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