Have you ever wondered what type of onions are best to use in French Onion soup? Or how about which variety is most flavorful? Wonder no more! (Spoiler alert it’s yellow onions!) In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of onions and compare their flavor profiles as well as give some helpful tips on how to handle your onions from cutting to caramelizing when making this rich, brothy soup. So buckle up. You’re about to learn more about onions and french onion soup than you ever wanted to know!
French onion soup is a delicious and hearty dish that can be served as an appetizer or entrée. It’s made by slowly cooking (caramelizing) onions in butter until they turn a deep golden caramel brown color, then by adding beef broth and white wine and simmering for hours. The star of French onion soup is undoubtedly the onion. But, if you’re not a professional French chef, you may be having a hard time figuring out what the best onions to use for French onion soup are, which is understandable!
There are many types of onions to choose from when you are making French Onion Soup. Some people prefer red onion, while others might want to use sweet yellow onion or white onion. When you pull up recipes online, they either tell you to use this kind of onion or that, and oftentimes they don’t specify a type at all! For someone who is new to making this savory soup, it can be a headache!
So… What is the best type of onion for French Onion Soup? If you cheated and read the spoiler then you already know. If you kept your eyes clinched and it’s still a mystery, then know, this post will explore different varieties and answer all your questions so that you can select one that fits your taste to create a soup that the French would approve of. Let’s dive in!
What Are The BEST Onions For Making French Onion Soup?
To keep from overloading you with info, we are going to focus on the three main types of onions that are most commonly used for French Onion Soup. They are red onions, sweet yellow onions, and white onions.
Red Onions: These onions have a sharp flavor often desired in heavy, savory dishes like soups or braised meat recipes (like Beef Bourguignon). Red onions also contribute to the rich color of soups, thanks to the sulfur compounds that cause them to turn a dark brownish-red color. Other than their sharp flavor, they are typically on the sweet side and have very little “bite” or pungency compared to other onions. They also tend to be less expensive than yellow varieties too!
Sweet Yellow Onions: These types of onions offer a little bit of sweetness and a little bit of pungency. The flavor is milder than red or white varieties. Hence, they typically provide a more balanced taste to your dish, making them great for cooking within dishes where you want the onion to be noticeable but not overpowering (like French Onion soup).
White Onions: These onions are the most potent of all the types we are discussing and have a very strong onion flavor. They are often used in dishes where you want the onion to be present and in the forefront. They also don’t hold up as well to cooking as red or yellow onions.
Which Onion Is The Best For French Onion Soup?
Now that we have discussed the different types of onions, it’s time for us to answer the big question. What onion is best for French Onion Soup?
The truth of the matter is… it doesn’t really matter! You can use any type of onion you have available in your kitchen, all that matters are that you caramelize them properly. Hence, they deliver a rich flavor to your soup without being overwhelming or bitter. So don’t stress if you don’t have a sweet yellow onion on hand. Any type of onion will do!
That being said, if we had to recommend one type of onion specifically, it would be the sweet yellow variety. They offer a great flavor without being too sharp, and they are mild enough that they won’t overpower other flavors in your soup. The caramelization process brings out the natural sugars in these types of onions, which lends a slightly sweet flavor to your soup.
So there you have it! The best type of onion for French Onion Soup is any variety that can be properly caramelized without being too sharp or bitter (like red) and won’t overpower other flavors (like white). Sweet yellow onions are the best option, but any onion will do!
Choosing the Best onions for french onion soup faqs
Can I Use Two Different Types Of Onions To Make French Onion Soup?
If you’re feeling adventurous (or just don’t have enough of one variety of onions on hand), you can use two types of onions in your French onion soup. If you opt for this route, the best combination is to use half red and half sweet yellow or white. The flavor will still be delicious without being too overpowering!
How Many Onions do I need for a French Onion Soup recipe?
Traditionally, most recipes call for around three pounds of onions. However, you can use more or less depending on your own personal preference. Just make sure to caramelize them well so that they deliver a delicious flavor to your soup!
What’s the best way to caramelize onions for french onion soup?
The best way to caramelize your onions is to slow cook the onions over low heat in a large skillet. The key is to make sure your pan and oil are hot before adding in the onion, but you do NOT want them to be too hot, or they’ll burn! Once you add in all of your chopped onions, reduce your heat down to medium-low and allow them to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want them to start to turn a golden brown, but you do not want that sear on the outside. By cooking them at low heat, this will allow them to caramelize slowly and develop a rich flavor that you’ll love in your French onion soup!
What’s the difference between sweet onions and regular onions?
The most significant difference between sweet onions and regular onions is the taste. Sweet onions are milder than regular onions and have a slightly sweet flavor. They are perfect for dishes where you want the onion to be noticeable but not overpowering, like French Onion soup. Regular onions are sharper and have a more intense flavor. They are best used in dishes where you want the onion to be the star of the show, like a burger or pizza.
Can I use green onions instead of regular onions in french onion soup?
Technically, you can use green onions instead of regular onions in French Onion Soup, but that doesn’t mean you should, and we do not recommend it. Green onions are much more pungent than regular onions and will overpower the other flavors in your soup. They also do not caramelize, at all. Stick to using regular onions for the best results!
What is the best way to cut onions for french onion soup?
French onion soup typically calls for sliced onions. The best way to do this is to cut the onion in half from top to bottom, then peel off the skin. Next, slice the onion vertically and start chopping at an angle. This will give you evenly sliced onions that are perfect for your soup!
The Best Onions For French Onion Soup Are Yellow Onions
Now that you know all about the different types of onions and which one is best for French Onion Soup, it’s time to get cooking! Experiment with different types of onions in your French Onion Soup recipe and see what you like best! If anyone is brave enough to attempt using green onions we’d love to hear the results!