Smoked French Onion Soup

Smoked French Onion Soup

This recipe is so good it will make you cry twice! First when you are chopping the onions and then again when you get a bite of the hot, sticky, gooey ooey cheese and bread with the delectable soup! French onion soup is one of my favorite meals. I love it because it can basically be made with kitchen scraps and yet it’s widely considered to be gourmet. The way the onions release their natural sugars with a little bit of help from the seasonings we are going to add makes this dish absolutely wonderful for a cold winter day.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Cheesy, Savoury
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 4 people
Author: Russell Bird


  • 8 each Medium White Onions
  • 2 litres Beef Stock
  • ¼ cup Yonedas Gold Seasoning
  • 2 each Bay Leaves
  • 1.5 cups Grated Gruyere Cheese
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Red Wine
  • 2 cups Croutons or Crusty French Bread
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 each Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbsp White Sugar



  • For this next step we recommend wearing onion goggles or at the least putting a wet paper towel on the corner of your cutting board. This will do a little to protect your eyes from watering as you slice the onions, also use a very sharp knife as this will help to prevent the onions from spraying their juices all over the kitchen, which is what makes you cry when slicing onions. Peel and slice all the onions and then get them into a frying pan on medium heat with about 4 tablespoons of water. The water will help to get the onions to start releasing some of their moisture to speed up the caramelization process. Try dicing or full rings as well!

Caramelizing the onions

  • Once the water has evaporated, add in the olive oil and butter and stir the onions frequently until they start to soften and turn brown. As the onions begin to turn brown add in the garlic, Yonedas gold seasoning and the sugar to help season the onions and speed up the caramelization. Continue stirring until the onions are nice and brown all over.

Deglazing the pan

  • Deglazing the pan is probably my favorite part of making French onion soup. Watching the onions start to stick to the edges of the pan really stresses me out, not knowing if they are going to burn a little. Knowing that the longer you let them stick to the pan, the deeper the color and flavor you are developing can be daunting. But now it’s time to pour in the wine and release all those flavors. Stir until the wine has reduced by about half and then add in the beef stock and bay leaves and let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Time to smoke it!

  • Get your smoker ready by preheating it to about 400 degrees. Get some oven safe bowls ready by putting a piece of French bread or the croutons into the bottom of the bowl and then ladle the soup over top of the bread. Once the soup is in the bowl, top it with a handful of the grated cheese and place on the smoker to melt. Once the cheese is melted and starting to turn brown you can remove it from the smoker and serve hot. Be sure not to touch the bowl as it will be extremely hot.

Step by Step

  • Slice your onions into thin strips
  • Caramelize the onions in a frying pan with olive oil and butter
  • Once the onions start to brown, add in the garlic and sugar
  • Deglaze the pan with red wine and then add the beef stock
  • Add in the bay leaves and let simmer for 20 minutes
  • Place bread into oven safe bowls and ladle soup over top
  • Cover with cheese and place on the smoker for about 15 minutes
  • Serve hot!


What are the best onions for French onion soup?

I think the best onions are medium white onions. Their strong flavor and low sugar content are great for slow caramelization. You can also use varietals like Large white, Large Red, Large Yellow, Walla Walla, Sweet Onions, Vidalia Onions, or other regional varieties. You will find that with red onions you get a little more bitterness and with yellow onions you get a little more sweetness. I use the white onions because they are the cheapest where I live, but I like to control the flavors with seasoning just as much as letting the onions do their work.

What is the best cheese for French onion soup?

I have used everything from Parmesan to Marble to Gruyere and Mozzarella cheese on my French onion soup. I find that the best cheese in my opinion is Gruyere. The soft white cheese is nice and gooey when you go to consume it and the flavors nicely compliment the onions and broth. If you have access to Gouda, Emmental, Edam or other semi soft cheeses you will be in good shape to knock this soup out of the park.

What if I am Gluten Free?

The only gluten in this recipe is the bread, so you could easily substitute the bread for gluten free bread of gluten free croutons. When I am using gluten free bread, I like to butter and toast it before putting it in the bottom of the bowl and ladling the soup over it.

How to tell if your onions are done caramelizing.

Julia Child said it best, you can tell your onions are done when they are a dark walnut color. You are looking for color but also texture, you want the onions to be very dark, but also very soft. So long as the color of the onions is even all over it means you did a good job stirring throughout the caramelization process, if you have dark spots and light spots then lower the heat and let the onions even out before proceeding to the next steps.
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