Panera Bread French Onion Soup

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! 

Copycat Panera French onion soup in two bowls.

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
  • Salt
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Beef stock
  • Chicken stock
  • Dried thyme
  • Beef base
  • Croutons
  • Gruyere cheese (commonly known as “Swiss cheese”)
  • Asiago cheese
Copycat Panera French onion soup ingredients on a tray.

Ingredient notes

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

  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. Melt butter in a large pot, or a large Dutch oven, when the butter has melted add the chopped onion. 
  3. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions so 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 do not burn.
  5. When the onions have browned, add the flour.
Collage of cooking onions for copycat Panera French onion soup.
  1. Stir to coat the flour over the onions.
  2. Cook the onions for about a minute so the flour does not taste raw.
  3. Add the beef stock, chicken stock, beef base, and thyme. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Top with croutons and cheese. Serve immediately.
Collage of making and serving copycat Panera French onion soup.

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.

Copycat Panera Bread French onion soup in two bowls and two spoons on napkins.

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.

Two bowls of copycat Panera French onion soup and two spoons.

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.

Copycat Panera French onion soup in two bowls.

Panera Bread French Onion Soup

Make Panera Bread Bistro French Onion Soup at home.
4.84 from 49 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
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 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.



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's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Amanda

    5 stars
    I just made this tonight and loved it! I just discovered Panera’s French onion soup last week, but didn’t want to keep spending all of my money there for lunch. This recipe was such a good alternative and a MUCH more cost effective option for this grad student. Thank you!

  2. Jan Morgan

    Can’t wait to make this. I lived in France for 3 years as a child (Army Brat) and one of the things I loved when we went to restaurants was the onion soup. Panera has the closest to what I remember, but without crutons and cheese. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  3. Tala

    I had to buy Swiss,mozzarella,and fontinella cheese to substitute,bc store didn’t have asiago and gureye cheese,how would I use those in their place?thank you

  4. Lizzie O

    Judy, you took this over the top. I made this last night and it was a very authentic taste against Panera’s. I made this exactly as written but I crocked it yesterday for the flavor to marinate in the onion and it was incredible. The cheese blend was perfect. The only thing that made me sad was that it precisely fed my family of 6 with no leftovers. I wanted to take some with me to work today! Great job on the recipe!

    • Pam

      5 stars
      I don’t think there’s such as thing as “too many onions”, “too much garlic”, “too much chocolate”. or “too much sleep”.

  5. Janet Parks

    Thanks so much for the Panera French Onions Soup. Tasted just like it and I loved it!!!!!
    You are a master chef!! Thanks so much!!!!!!

  6. Rachel

    I love this soup and I am thrilled to find a recipe for it! My husband doesn’t share my enthusiasm so I will be making it just for myself. Can I freeze the leftovers?

  7. Ilovesoups

    Made this recipe as exactly written- very good! Now that I tried it, I will go back and double the broth as lots of onions before I freeze. Good cheese blend too! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Sara B

    I’ve tried other mock recipes of this soup and this comes stunningly close to the original flavor. I definitely recommend the “Better Than Bouillon” brand beef base and chopping the onions in the shape you want them to appear in the soup. This recipe turns out amazing!

  9. Christine@Freebies4MeBeez

    Stephanie, this is one of my all-time favorite soups to eat and I order it every time I go to Panera Bread. I decided to try your recipe last night and absolutely LOVED it! I was seriously surprised at just how much it tasted like theirs. Thank you so much for this recipe. I can’t wait to make it again!!

  10. Judy Konos

    Stephanie it appears that the cut onions are lengthy rather than the cubed look? Or is that cheese in the photo. I will make this and wish to do it correctly, hoping I can find the stock that you speak of and is the base like the jar that has chicken bullion but instead beef?

    • Stephanie

      The onions a chopped onions, they are chopped into larger pieces. The beef base is a paste, it is typically sold near the dry bullion cubes. They make chicken base as well. These have a little less salt, and seem to have a flavor that is richer.

    • CLBD

      Judy, I think I can help you. It is located in the same aisle that the bouillon cubes are in. It is called ‘Better Than Bouillon’ and it’s an 8 oz. round jar with a black and white lid. When you open it, it’s a nice soft texture, but since it needs to be refrigerated, the texture is harder but with a spoon you can still dig it out. I use it for all my soups that call for broth.. Actually 1 jar lasts me about a year. I hope this helps!

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