This Vegan French Onion Soup tastes just like the classic while being dairy-free & meatless! It's made with a rich & savory mushroom broth, caramelized onions, buttery toast, and melty vegan mozzarella for the best vegetarian soup recipe.
Is French onion soup vegan?
Traditionally, French Onion soup is not vegan. In fact, it is not even vegetarian since it is usually made with beef broth and Worcestershire sauce which has anchovies in it. Traditional French onion soup also contains broiled gruyere cheese on top.
Luckily, it's totally possible to make a delicious and hearty vegan french onion soup that tastes just like the classic we all love!
- Mushroom Broth: This gives this soup a rich umami flavor that is closer to beef broth. However, if you only have vegetable broth on hand that also works for this recipe. If using vegetable broth, try adding in ½ Tablespoon miso paste to get that same umami flavor.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Traditionally this sauce has anchovies in it, so just make sure to use a vegan brand. I personally love Annie's Vegan Worcestershire Sauce.
- Please note: This brand does have soy and wheat in it if you're trying to avoid either of those ingredients.
- Not pictured: I used my own homemade vegan mozzarella for this soup, but any store-bought vegan cheese works too. For the bread, I just sliced a baguette from the store and toasted it in a pan with vegan butter.
How to make vegan French onion soup
Caramelize the onions
The very first step to making this soup is to caramelize the onions. To do this, chop up the onions very thinly. When doing this, just make sure they're all the same size and width so they cook evenly.
Melt the vegan butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (I used my Le Creuset Dutch Oven) and then add in the onion slices. After that cook for at least 40 minutes over low/ medium heat until they are caramelized.
Cooking over medium heat leads to a "quick" caramelized onion that doesn't need as much cooking time. However, if you want them even more caramelized you can cook for 1-2 hours at low heat until they are super dark brown.
It's super important to stir the onions consistently during this process and cook the onions at a lower heat. If the heat is too high, the onions may burn which would make the soup bitter.
If the onions seem to be cooking too fast, a quick tip I like to use is adding a teaspoon of water at a time while cooking to deglaze the pan and help soften the onions.
Add garlic & spices
Once the onions are caramelized add in the minced garlic, dried parsley, dried thyme, salt, & pepper. Then saute everything for another 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant.
Add wine to deglaze
I chose to use white wine, specifically Sauvignon Blanc, for this recipe. However, red wine also works! Add it to the pot of hot veggies to deglaze the pan and remove any stuck bits from the bottom.
Then, mix and continue cooking for another 2 minutes or so before adding in the broth.
P.S.- If you're trying to avoid cooking with wine, just substitute it with a bit more veggie broth to deglaze. It will slightly change the flavor of this veggie French onion soup, but still be delicious.
Add broth & Worcestershire sauce
A lot of vegan French onion soup calls for vegetable broth, but if you can get your hands on it mushroom broth is SO much better for this soup.
It is closer in flavor to a traditional beef broth and really gives the soup an umami flavor.
We're also adding Worcestershire sauce to give this vegan onion soup an extra boost of flavor.
Cook soup for 10 minutes
Once all the soup ingredients are in, mix everything together and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for another 10 minutes.
Top with toast, cheese, & broil
Ladle the French onion soup into 4 oven-safe bowls. These are the porcelain french onion bowls I used for this recipe.
To make the toast I bought a baguette from the store, sliced & buttered it, and toasted it in a pan.
Then, I topped it with my homemade vegan mozzarella cheese. However, you can totally use store-bought cheese if that is easier for you!
After that add the bowls to a baking tray and broil them in the oven for around 5 minutes. This will brown the cheese giving it that perfect texture and flavor. If you don't have a broiler setting, you can bake the bowls of soup for about 15-20 minutes for a similar result.
Serve & enjoy!
To serve this vegan onion soup, top the soup with fresh thyme. Then, dig in while it's still warm and the cheese is nice and melty on top!
FAQ & Tips:
Can I make vegetarian french onion soup gluten-free?
Of course! You can use any gluten-free bread in place of the sourdough toast. Just make sure it's toasted before adding it to the soup for the best flavor.
You'll also want to use a different brand of Worcestershire sauce since the one I recommended does contain wheat.
How should I serve vegan french onion soup?
This soup is honestly great on its own and pretty filling with the bread and cheese on top.
How do I store this soup?
The leftover soup should be stored without the bread and vegan cheese as these will get soggy if left to sit too long and are best enjoyed freshly baked into the soup.
The brothy soup can be stored in a closed container for 3-4 days in the fridge and for up to 1 month in the freezer.
I recommend letting the soup thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Then, just reheat in a microwave-safe dish or on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed throughout.
This Vegan French Onion Soup is truly a win for vegetarians & vegans alike! It's hearty, comforting, and so darn delicious. Enjoy!
More vegan soup recipes you will love:
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Vegan French Onion Soup
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 3 yellow onions sliced thinly
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt add more or less depending on preference
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme or fresh
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup white wine
- 3-3 ½ cups mushroom broth Add up to 3 ½ cups broth for thinner soup
- 1 Tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
Other Soup Ingredients
- 4 slices toast
- ½ cup vegan mozzarella cheese add more or less depending on preference
- fresh thyme optional,as garnish
- First, slice the onions thinly and mince the garlic.
- Then, add the vegan butter to a large dutch oven or saucepan and turn on the heat.
- Once the butter has melted add in the sliced onions. Stir to coat with the butter and saute for at least 40 minutes over low/medium heat until the onions are soft, browned,and caramelized. It's important to stir the onions consistently so they cook evenly and do not burn. If they are cooking too fast, add a teaspoon of water at a time to help deglaze the pan as you cook them. For an even better flavor, cook the onions for 1-2 hours at a very low heat until they are a deep brown color.
- Next, add the minced garlic and the seasoning including the dried parsley, salt, pepper, and dried thyme to the pot. Saute with the onions for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the white wine into the pot to deglaze the pan and remove any stuck bits from the bottom. Then cook with the onion and garlic for another 2 minutes.
- Next, add in the mushroom broth and vegan worcestershire sauce. Stir everything together and bring the soup to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, add the lid, and cook the soup for another 10 minutes. While the soup is simmering, toast your slices of bread.
- Remove the soup from the heat and add the broth to 4 oven safe bowls. Top each bowl with a slice of toast and a healthy dose of vegan cheese (about 2 Tablespoons per bowl). Then, place the bowls on a baking tray and add to the oven to broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is begining to bubble and brown.
- Remove the tray of soup bowls from the oven, garnish with fresh thyme, and serve while hot.
- To make gluten-free: Use any toasted gluten-free bread in place of the sourdough toast. You'll also want to use a different brand of Worcestershire sauce since the one I recommended does contain wheat.
- I used my own homemade cheese, but any store-bought brand works and will save prep time. You can even use regular cheese to make this a vegetarian French onion soup.
- The soup should be stored without the bread and vegan cheese as these will get soggy if left to sit too long and are best enjoyed freshly baked into the soup. The brothy soup can be stored in a closed container for 3-4 days in the fridge and for up to 1 month in the freezer.
- I recommend letting the soup thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Then, just reheat in a microwave-safe dish or on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed throughout. You can also add the bread and cheese and broil it before serving leftovers.
- These are the porcelain french onion bowls I used for this recipe.