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Easy Vegan French Onion Soup Recipe

vegan french onion soup recipe _ elizabeth rider

Vegan French onion soup is hearty and elegant, and surprisingly easy to make.

This is my vegan twist on classic French onion soup, the main difference being that I use vegetable stock instead of beef stock.

With just six ingredients and a little (hands-off) patience while the onions caramelize, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making this for years to use up any onions you have sitting on your counter.

Aside from being delicious, this vegan french onion soup recipe has nourishing and healing properties

Give it a try, you’ll be surprised at how much it tastes like the original. I prefer a few big white or yellow onions in this soup but you can use any combo of onions you have on hand—they all become sweet when cooked down and caramelized.

The hands-on time for this recipe is really limited; most of the time it takes is spent on the stove without your help. It’s the perfect thing to make on a weekend afternoon while you’re doing other chores around the house. It makes your kitchen and house smell amazing.

Vegan French Onion Soup Ingredient Notes

Onions (Of Course!)

Onions, along with garlic, shallots, scallions, and leeks, come from the Allium family and are loaded with antioxidant power.

Alliums are particularly high in flavonoids that stimulate the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant for your liver that helps eliminate toxins.

Onions also contain high levels of sulfur and quercetin, which help neutralize free radicals in the body and protect cell membranes.

vegan french onion soup

Thyme (Preferably Fresh)

Our other star ingredient, thyme, has been used for its medicinal purposes for centuries to treat things like gastrointestinal issues, laryngitis, and lack of appetite.

Thyme can also help relieve respiratory ailments related to the common cold and flu. Thymol, flavonoids, B vitamins, vitamin C, and others give thyme its healing properties.

Fresh thyme is an incredible aroma and flavor that’s hard to capture when it’s dried. Use fresh thyme if you can, but it’s not a problem to use dried thyme if you can’t find it fresh.

Thyme is a hearty herb and grows well in pots and planters, so if you find yourself making vegan french onion soup often, then grab yourself a little thyme plant at your local garden store for around $3 and you can enjoy thyme all year round.

Vegan French onion soup is easy and extra good for you, so eat up!

If you like this soup, try dozens more healthy soup recipes in the recipe archive.

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vegan french onion soup recipe _elizabeth rider

Easy Vegan French Onion Soup Recipe

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


This vegan French onion soup recipe has been a top Google search result for almost 10 years now—for good reason! It’s healthy, simple to make, and absolutely delicious. If you love it, please leave a star rating in the comments below to help other readers in our community.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large white or yellow onions, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs (about 1 tbsp), leaves stripped, OR ½ teaspoon dried
  • 4 cups (1 quart) vegetable stock/broth (no salt added), OR (if not vegan) beef broth or chicken broth)*
  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt, divided (plus more to taste if needed)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • sprouted whole grain bread
  • vegan cheese melted on top

(Non-Vegan Version):

  • grated Gruyere cheese or Swiss cheese (obviously not vegan!) is traditional to melt on top of French onion soup if you follow a “flexitarian” eating style


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add the onions, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the onions; lower the heat to medium-low. The onions may be filling the pot completely but will cook down to about ⅓ of their mass.
  3. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the onions caramelize and turn light golden brown, about 50-60 minutes.
  4. Add the balsamic and cook until it’s absorbed and the onions are a deeper brown, about 15 more minutes.
  5. Add the stock, water, bay leaf, remaining salt, and pepper, then bring to a boil.
  6. Turn the heat to low and simmer at least 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
  8. I usually eat it just like this, but you can also serve it with toasted sprouted grain bread and melted gruyere cheese for a more classic presentation (adding the cheese of course makes it not vegan). Instead of baking the cheese onto the soup, put slices of sprouted grain bread on a baking sheet, rub the tops with a fresh garlic clove, drizzle with a little olive oil, and top with the gruyere cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 350º until the cheese is melted. Top each cup of soup with a slice of the cheesy bread and serve.
  9. This soup (minus the cheese and bread) freezes well in an airtight glass container.
  10. Tip: You can also substitute 1/4 cup of good quality, bold red wine for the balsamic vinegar. I suggest a burgundy or cabernet sauvignon if you want to use wine instead of balsamic vinegar.


*Note on choosing stock: This recipe is written to be vegan so I use vegetable broth. I’ve included these substitutions if making it vegan is not important to you:

  • (Non-vegan options) Beef broth is traditional in French onion soup and has a deep earthy flavor. Chicken stock is also a great option here if you prefer it. When choosing beef or chicken stock, I suggest a high-quality (preferably organic) stock that does not contain added preservatives or excess sodium. (I like the brands Pacific, 365 from Whole Foods and Kirkland from Costco.) You can also use my homemade chicken stock (aka bone broth) recipe or store-bought bone broth to make this soup for extra protein and healing properties.

Keywords: vegan french onion soup, french onion soup recipe, french onion soup



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  1. Truly appreciate the way you made this wonderful soup. Everything is so nicely described that really helped me. And the best part which make it so different from other it is totally Vegan. We thoroughly enjoyed it at home. Looking forward for more such delicious recipes in future too.

  2. Sheila says:

    I think you’re being very unrealistic. 90% of Vegan recipes have been adapted from meat eating recipes. I think it’s wonderful that we can have the flavours and in some cases the memories they evoke, in a guilt free , cruelty free version . We ALL grew up eating meat, none of us ever said we didn’t like the taste or texture, we just don’t want the cruelty that goes with it. I think you owe this lady an apology.

  3. Terre rivera says:

    This was such a delicious dish that was inexpensive and so easy to make. For this recipe, I didn’t have any thyme or balsamic vinegar handy so I substituted them with oregano and ACV. Plus I added chopped kale. It was amazing!!

  4. Saheli says:

    Thank you for this and other lovely recipes. Inspired to make these.!

  5. Lynn says:

    Just made this for the first time, absolutely delicious!!!! I used a vegan provolone and sprouted grain bread…will definitely be making this again and sharing with friends! Thank you!

  6. Mary Sheehan Dakin says:

    Delicious. I wanted a meaty flavor so added 4 oz sliced mushrooms when the onions were almost carmelized. It’s definitely a keeper. Good enough for company. Thank you

  7. Mac907 says:

    I know this post is old, but just in case anybody stumbles upon this comment…
    I recommend getting the veggie stock and herbs simmering while the onions are cooking. I also added a dash of soy sauce and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce to the stock. After the balsamic vinegar cooked off, I added the stock and let it simmer for only a few minutes instead of 30. Was a great way to shave off some time without a noticeable difference. Delicious recipe, by the way. I haven’t eaten French onion soup in almost a year since going vegetarian/vegan. Have made it twice in the past 2 weeks. The second time around, I made a double batch and froze half into individual portions in baggies to heat for a quick lunch or dinner. Thanks!

  8. NYVegan says:

    Cheese isn’t plant-based, so vegans could use an alternative (e.g., a cashew/nutritional yeast combo with a touch of light vinegar). Also find it curious that bread is listed under the optional “non-vegan” version. Just don’t top it with dairy cheese.

    • Thanks for stopping by, and, you’re right! Cheese isn’t vegan or plant-based, that’s why it’s listed under “Optional (non-vegan version).” I think the sprouted grain bread I was using had dairy in it so it’s listed there too. This is a great recipe to make you own. ~Elizabeth

  9. Christina Bebee says:

    Me and my hubby love this soup! Have already made it twice since finding it a couple weeks ago. I doubled up the latest batch in hopes of freezing some, though we may not have leftovers at this rate! Have added to my personal recipe collection. Thank you!!

  10. Tweeter says:

    This soup is BOMB. Made for under $1 but super nutritious! Didn’t have thyme or pepper. Replaced with a dash of red pepper flakes, a few generous dashes of curry powder, and a generous sprinkling of dried basil. Vegan onion soup with a kick!! YUM! Already made it twice.

  11. Frédéric C.B. says:

    How can this recipe be vegan if there is “Grated Gruyere cheese” as ingredient?
    If you want to make it vegan, maybe Daiya would help.

  12. Loved the Recipe. I think the vegetable broth we used had too much sodium though so it was a little salty. I noticed the particular broth we used had more sodium than the other in our cabinet. otherwise, i will certainly be cooking this one again

  13. Kara Nicholson says:

    Great recipe!! Also, I referenced this article/video just to confirm I had the right idea on half-mooning onions 🙂

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The Details

Instead of prescribing what I think you should do, I help you find what works for you.

A health expert, author, and creative entrepreneur

I’m Elizabeth

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