Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (2024)

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by Stephanie Manley 75 Comments

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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 Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (1)

Table of Contents

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
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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. Thechopped onionsmake 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 learnhow 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.
Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (3)
  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.
Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (4)

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.

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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.

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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
  • Celery Soup
  • Cheese Soup Recipe
  • Black Bean Soup

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

Panera Bread French Onion Soup

Make Panera Bread Bistro French Onion Soup at home.

4.84 from 48 votes

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Course: Soup

Cuisine: French

Keyword: French Onion Soup, Panera Bread Bistro French Onion Soup Copycat

Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes minutes

Servings: 8

Calories: 214kcal

Author: Stephanie Manley


  • 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. 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?


    • Stephanie Manley

      You could use vegetable stock.


  2. Rose cahoe

    Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (8)
    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. Leslie Boyette

    Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (9)
    I just made this soup yesterday and it really does taste like the Panera Bread soup. Delicious!


  5. Anshu

    Can we use vegetable stock besides beef and chicken?


    • Stephanie

      Yes, you can.


  6. Melissa

    Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (10)
    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!


  7. 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.


  8. Sherri

    Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (11)
    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!


    • Stephanie

      I am glad you liked it!


  9. 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!


    • Stephanie

      You are right, the video was not scripted, and it can be a smidge off. The written recipe is correct.


  10. Cooper

    Making it now can’t wait to see how it turns out thanks for the recipe!


    • Stephanie

      I hope you enjoy!


  11. Stefanie Alexander

    Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (12)
    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.

  12. Karen Kleiboeker

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


    • Stephanie

      I think that would work fine!


    • Vicky

      Yes! I have done that many times.


  13. Hope Jackson

    Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (13)
    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.


    • Brianne

      Did you just throw everything in the crockpot together and let it simmer and how long did you let it cook?


  14. Frank A Mcnew

    Making tonight. First thyme making French Onion soup. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Im excited!!!!


    • Stephanie

      I hope you liked it.


  15. Pam

    Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (14)
    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.


  16. dd

    PB soups are not made by PB – factory made it


    • Taylor

      Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (15)
      *crickets* ?


    • Andrea

      Copycat Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe - CopyKat Recipes (16)
      We don’t really care who makes it, we just know that we get it there, we love it, and want to make it ourselves – as long as it tastes like the factory made soup we buy there!


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