Panera Bread is known for its savory soups. This soup has a wonderfully savory broth with caramelized onions topped with cheese. Nothing is as comforting as a bowl of warm French Onion soup, with toasted bread and cheese on the top of the soup. Enjoy a bowl tonight!
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Panera French Onion Soup
What makes this soup special? This soup is full of chopped perfectly seasoned onions in every single bite. Topped with handfuls of croutons and melted cheese, it is hard to put your spoon down when you taste this comforting soup. 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 savory soup starts 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 a flavorful broth.
This is one of those onion soup recipes that you will prepare again and again. This soup reheats very well so this soup will taste even better the next day.
Ingredients you’ll need
Here’s what you need to make this copycat Panera Bistro French onion soup recipe: Get the full recipe by clicking on the recipe card.
- Butter – you can use either salted butter or unsalted butter
- Yellow onions
- All-purpose Flour
- Beef stock
- Chicken stock
- Dried thyme
- Beef base
- Gruyere cheese (commonly known as “Swiss cheese”)
- Asiago cheese
Beef base is sold in the grocery store, it is typically next to the beef bouillon cubes. It has less salt than the bouillon cubes.
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 the oven, or learn how to make croutons in an air fryer.
The cheese that tops the soup is Gruyere cheese combined with a touch of Asiago cheese.
How to make Panera French Onion Soup
- 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.
- Melt butter in a large pot, or a large Dutch oven, when the butter has melted add the chopped onion.
- Sprinkle a little salt over the onions so they sweat and brown.
- 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 do not burn.
- When the onions have browned, add the flour.
- Stir to coat the flour over the onions.
- Cook the onions for about a minute so the flour does not taste raw.
- Add the beef stock, chicken stock, beef base, and thyme. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- 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.
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, or a baguette.
How to serve Classic French Onion Soup
Ladle soup into some oven-safe bowls, or you could use a bread bowl. Then top with a handful of croutons and a heavy sprinkling of cheese. Place the soup under your oven’s broiler, and broil just until the cheese begins to brown. Remove soup from the oven and serve.
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. Thaw it in the fridge overnight.
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:
- Creamy Tomato Soup
- Broccoli Cheese soup
- Baked Potato Soup
- Autumn Squash Soup
- Black Bean Soup
- Warm Grain Bowl
Popular soup recipes
- Friendship Soup
- Copycat Zuppa Toscana Soup
- Potato Soup from Scratch
- Chili’s Enchilada Soup
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- Cheese Soup Recipe
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Panera Bread French Onion Soup
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 pounds yellow onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 32 ounces beef stock
- 14.5 ounces chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons beef base
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 cup croutons
- 1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1 tablespoon shredded Asiago cheese
- Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat, Add the chopped onions and salt and sauté for about 20 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown.
- Add 1 tablespoon of flour, stir to coat the onions, and sauté for another minute, until the flour becomes fragrant like pie crust.
- Add the beef stock, chicken stock, beef base, and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve topped with croutons and shredded Gruyère and Asiago cheese.