Easy French Onion Soup (Panera Bread Copycat)

Panera Bread is known for its savory soups. The Bistro French Onion Soup was removed from the menu, and now it is back. Enjoy a bowl of copycat Panera Bread Bistro French Onion Soup.

Homemade Panera French Onion Soup in a soup crock

Panera French Onion Soup

What makes this soup special? This soup is full of chopped perfectly seasoned onions in every single bite. There are lots of crispy croutons and an excellent blend of melted cheese on top. You can recreate this delicious soup at home with this easy to prepare copycat recipe.

What makes this copycat Panera French Onion soup so good?

Just like Panera Bread, this recipe starts off with clean and simple ingredients. This recipe is set apart by using both chicken stock and beef stock. The two different types of stock layer together to make for a wonderful flavor combination.

Ingredients for Panera Bread French Onion Soup

What do you need for this recipe? You will need beef stock, chicken stock, butter, and lots of onions. We are also going to add some beef soup base for a nice depth of flavor, and a touch of thyme.

  • Butter – you can use either salted butter or unsalted butter
  • Yellow onions
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Beef stock
  • Chicken stock
  • Dried thyme
  • Beef base – this is sold in the grocery store, it is typically sold next to the beef boullion cubes. It has less salt than the bouillon cubes.
  • Croutons
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Asiago cheese
Ingredients for Panera Bread Bistro French Onion Soup.

When preparing your onions for this recipe you will find that they chop their onions rather large, and they are chopped, not sliced. The chopped onions make sure that the onion pieces end up in every bite. It is nice when you can dive into a bowl of soup and get something more than broth in every single bite of soup.

When purchasing ingredients for the soup, I suggest that you buy stock instead of broth. I think it has more flavor, and you want all of the flavors you can get with this soup. The soup base also adds a lot of flavors. You will find it sold near the soups.

They top their soup with croutons. You can use store-bought, make them in a skillet, or learn how to make croutons in an air fryer.

The cheese that is tops the soup is Gruyere cheese combined with a touch of Asiago cheese.

This soup is a savory soup that is easy to prepare. This soup reheats very well so this soup will taste even better the next day.

How to make Panera French Onion Soup

  1. Peel and slice the onions. I like to slice my onions in half from root to the tip, and then slice them into half moon shapes.
  2. Heat butter in a large stock pot, and when the butter has melted, add the onions.
  3. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions to they sweat and brown.
  4. Browning onions can take a while, it will take about 20 minutes to sweat the onions. Stir them every few minutes, so they brown, but they do not burn.
  5. When the onions have browned, add the flour. Stir to coat the flour over the onions.
  6. Cook the onions for about a minute so the flour does not taste raw.
  7. Add the beef stock, chicken stock, beef base, and thyme. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Top with croutons and cheese. Serve immediately.

Homemade croutons are easy to make

If you would like to make your homemade croutons for the soup in a skillet, you can get a loaf of sourdough bread and cube it up into large pieces.

Add about a tablespoon of butter to a large skillet and then add the bread cubes. Sprinkle in seasoned salt and some garlic powder, and toast the bread until it becomes nice and brown.

If you have an air fryer, you may want to try my air fryer croutons.

French Onion Soup in a soup crock

What you can serve with French onion soup

You can serve many different things with French onion soup. If you are serving this as an appetizer it goes great with a steak. If you are enjoying it as a light lunch I would suggest making a salad, or serving this with some Parmesan cheese garlic bread.

Storing and Freezing French Onion soup

You can store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days. You can also freeze the soup in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Reheating French Onion soup

I recommend reheating the soup in a pot on the stovetop over low to medium heat until the soup has been heated through. I think reheating it on the stovetop reheats the soup more evenly than in the microwave.

Love Panera Bread Soups? Check out these recipes:

Take a look at more of my easy homemade soup recipes and the best Panera copycat recipes.

Homemade Panera French Onion Soup in a soup crock

Best French Onion Soup Recipe (Panera Bread Soup Copycat)

Make Panera Bistro French Onion Soup at home. 
4.82 from 43 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French Onion Soup, Panera Bread Bistro French Onion Soup Copycat
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 214kcal


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 pounds yellow onions chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 32 ounces beef stock
  • 14.5 ounces chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons beef base
  • 1 cup croutons

Cheese Mixture

  • 1/4 cup gruyere cheese shredded
  • 1 tablespoon asiago cheese


  • In a large stock pot over medium-high heat add chopped onions and butter. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the onions.
  • Saute the onions for about 20 minutes, or until they have become golden brown.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of flour, and stir to coat the onions with flour. Cook for the flour for another minute or until it becomes fragrant like pie crust.
  • Add in the beef stock, chicken stock, beef base, and thyme. Reduce heat to a low temperature.
  • Cook the soup for another 15 to 20 minutes. Before serving top with croutons and shredded cheeses.



Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 997mg | Potassium: 604mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 1.1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Elaine Sanchez

    I just made this and followed all directions and ingredients. It tastes good more beef flavor than the original. What is the best way to lessen the beef flavor?

  2. Rose cahoe

    5 stars
    Made this declious French soup today. Perfecto! My only tweak was to double the amount of flour, I like a thicker soup. in my favorites.

  3. Trisha

    This is absolutely delicious! I’m glad I decided to half the thyme because it for sure would have been too overpowering with using the full amount recommended.
    This is a keeper for sure!!!!
    Also I see people saying it wasn’t beefy enough for them. I thing making sure you buy a good beef base that’s rich and thick is the key to making this like Panera bread as far as that beef flavor.

  4. Melissa

    5 stars
    We absolutely love this recipe and it is a dead ringer for Panera soup. This is now the third time in two weeks that I’ve made it and we get nothing but compliments. You hit the nail on the head and thank you for that!

  5. Kaylynn

    I made this soup tonight. I did 1/2t thyme. And added 1 can Campbell’s French onion soup in it. Turned out good. But Next time, I’d half the servings of the beef broth and add 3 cans of French onion Campbell’s soup as I agree with other comments that I couldn’t pull out the beef flavor in the original recipe.

  6. Sherri

    5 stars
    Beyond delicious!! I’ve many your recipe many times and my husband and I cant get enough! Actually making it right now!! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  7. Christine

    The recipe does not match the video which I’m grateful I used your recipe listed. It was a bit heavy on the onions but I just added more beef stock and it was great. The cheese and homemade breadcrumbs are a must if you are truly wanting the Panera French onion soup. With the one change it was perfect for our family!! Thanks so much!

  8. Stefanie Alexander

    1 star
    This soup was not good. It was thin, way too many onions, too much thyme, not a strong enough beef flavor. Very disappointed.

    • Stephanie

      I am really sorry you didn’t like it. I appreciate descriptive comments. Again, my apologies this recipe didn’t give you the results you wanted.

      • Nicki Leto

        100% agree. I will definitely try it again without the thyme because it’s way too over powering of a flavor in this recipe.

  9. Karen Kleiboeker

    Just making this recipe for the first time. It smells great!! Can I make it ahead for a party and freeze it??

  10. Hope Jackson

    5 stars
    I absolute love Panera French Onion Soup. And making my own was a must. So I looked for a copy cat recipe. Omg this is beyond delicious. I put everything together and let it simmer in my 8 ounce slow cooker. Thank you so much.

  11. Pam

    5 stars
    For years I’ve started my French Onion Soup using the overnight crockpot method – The night before you want the soup, cut up 3-5 lbs of onions to fill a large oval slow cooker to heaping, put a whole stick of salted butter on top, put on the lid, turn it to low, and go to bed, Throughout the night you will enjoy the most delicious aroma, and in the morning you’ll have perfect golden brown onions, no stirring, no watching. I usually haul out the food processor and slice halved onions on the 2mm blade, but after having Panera’s onion soup earlier this week and appreciating that the chopped onions were easier to deal with than long strings of sliced onions, and somehow the soup seemed thicker, I coarsely chopped my onions manually. (Yay! no food processor to dig out of the pantry, assemble, disassemble, wash, and put away!)

    So, I googled and found your recipe, and followed it almost precisely except for overnight slow cooking the onions in the crockpot and switching the quantities of chicken vs beef stock. I bought Better Than Bouillon and reduced sodium beef broth (not stock), and since I always have chicken stock in the freezer (I never met a carcass I didn’t cook!), I reversed the chicken/beef quantities and used 32 oz of chicken stock and a 14.5 oz can of beef broth. I prefer the lighter taste of chicken and often use only chicken broth/stock in my onion soup. I added only 1/2 tsp of salt – coarse Kosher salt – and crumbled my thyme before putting it in. I have fresh on the patio, but at 1:30 AM I didn’t feel like venturing out and dealing with spiders.

    Usually at this point, onions cooked and seasoned, I freeze the “base” in 8 oz containers, and make soup whenever I feel like mixing one of those with in a can or pint of whatever stock I have on hand. But now, everything is simmering away merrily in the slow cooker, and it tastes superb! (can’t cook without tasting!) I got Gruyere and Fontina cheeses – couldn’t remember the Asiago and thought Fontina, being buttery-mild and very meltable – would be a good option. In awhile when the flour has thickened it up a bit I’ll refrigerate it and go to bed. I’m looking forward to this for lunch and/or dinner tomorrow 🙂

    • Stephanie

      I am so glad you enjoy the soup! I will have to try your method of cooking the onions in the future. I can just image how amazing your house smells while those are cooking.

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