Onion soup: I could take it or leave it. But add the word French to the front, and things get exciting. French onion soup is a culinary masterpiece. The combination of sweet onions caramelized with salty broth, creamy cheese, and bread is exquisite.

If you’ve landed on this page, you likely need to know what goes with French onion soup? We have some tasty ideas that will take your dinner from good to amazing. Keep reading to find out what to pair with a French onion soup.

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What to eat with French onion soup

The best dishes to serve will bring something new to the table. Your soup doesn’t have bitter or sour flavors, so ingredients with this profile will balance your meal.

1. Vegetables that increase the bitterness

Bitter Food
Artichokes balance a meal thanks to their bitterness

Astringent taste plays a vital role in cleansing the palate. This is especially important with French onion soup because of its rich ingredients.

All of the following vegetables can be sauteed and served with a light sprinkling of sea salt flakes. Avoid adding extra sauces because it will be taste overload.

2. Dishes that provide sourness

Sour food
Kimchi or sauerkraut go well with French onion soup

A burst of sour flavor will provide the dinner table with some welcome relief from the combination of cheese, beef broth and onions.

  • Vinaigrette splashed onto a leafy green salad.
  • Tomatoes sliced and dressed with balsamic vinegar
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Capers
  • Olives

3. Lean meat and fish

Steak
Choose lean meat or fish

A bowl of French onion soup could be considered a meal in itself. So if you decide to add protein to the menu, keep the portion sizes to a minimum.

  • Snapper with a slice of lemon
  • Filet mignon with a sprinkle of watercress
  • Venison served with a black currant relish and arungula

4. Bread will always be a winner

Bread
Freshly bought baked bread.

Can you ever have too much bread? It’s an excellent accompaniment to French onion soup thanks to its neutral flavor that goes with anything.

Your soup already has delicious toasted bread included – but why not add a baguette to the table. It’s a great filler for those at the table that have a big appetite.

5. Ingredients that freshen the palate

Fresh tasting food
Kohlrabi is excellent for providing freshening the palate.

Kohlrabi is refreshing, and most people enjoy it – that is if they’ve tried it. Other green vegetables also offer a light, crispy element. They take a heavy dish and make it the perfect meal. Recommended options are kohlrabi or fennel thinly sliced.

6. Wine rounds off the meal

Red wine
Choose a Shiraz or Pinot Noir.

No French-inspired meal would be complete without a good drop of red or white. But which is the best to serve?

Have you used beef broth to make the soup? Serve a full-bodied red that can hold its own against this soup. My preferred choice is Shiraz or Pinot Noir.

Sometimes chefs will use chicken broth in their soup. Choose a bottle of white wine in this case, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc are excellent choices.

Not everyone loves wine. If you’re a beer drinker, then I’d recommend a dark beer – Stout, Dark Ale, or a Munich Dunkel.

French onion soup fun fact
Onions were an acceptable form of rent payment in the Middle Ages.

Methodology

This article took five hours of research. I started by running a Facebook survey in a cooking group, then consulting an online resource called Foodpairing. Finally, I did some testing in the kitchen to see what I thought was good, and not so great.

Watch the 1-minute video

French onion soup recipe

​Although this recipe is suitable for beginners, it does require a little more TLC than other soups as you need to work on caramelizing that onion. That’s what will give your soup the lovely sweet flavor.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3lb yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 6 slices of baguette, toasted
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped

Method

  1. Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan on low-med until sizzling.
  2. Add onions, salt, and pepper and mix a little to coat the onion with butter. Cover with lid and cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
  3. Add sugar and increase heat to medium and continue cooking uncovered for another 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and reduce heat if the onion starts to burn.
  4. While your onions cook, heat the broth in a different saucepan.
  5. Add flour to the onions and cook for about 1 minute, then pour in the broth and white wine. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and allow the soup to simmer for an hour. Season with extra salt and pepper if required.
  6. Heat oven to 350°F and divide the soup into oven-safe bowls or mugs. Top each bowl with a toasted baguette slice and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and nicely browned.
  7. Remove the pots from the oven carefully and allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving, garnished with spring onions.

Quick Fact
The first written version of the French onion soup recipe dates back to 1651. When it came to preparing easy recipes that were popular with the masses, the French were ahead of their time.

Related reading:
What is the difference between onion powder and onion flakes?

Final Words

I hope you have a better idea of what goes with French onion soup now. The ideas on this page are just a starting point. Have some fun with your food pairing, and get a little creative.

When you’re choosing your accompaniments, remember the golden word: balance. French onion soup is a heavy, rich dish with sweet and salty flavor profiles. Balance out the plate with food that’s bitter or sour. A serving of sauteed kale or a salad with a zesty vinaigrette will work wonders.

Have you made French onion soup before? What did you serve with it that tasted great? Share it with us in the comments below.