Home / Food / Instant Pot / Instant Pot French Onion Soup
A grey stoneware bowl filled with french onion soup and topped with golden baked cheese.

Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Last Updated on

French onion soup is an easy and comforting soup to make at home. The downside to making this rich and flavorful soup the traditional way is that it can take quite a while to make. Instant Pot French Onion Soup changes all that by caramelizing the onions in just half an hour, instead of the usual two or three hours when done on the stove top. This results in a comforting, rich, and hearty soup ready in just under an hour.

A grey stoneware bowl filled with instant pot french onion soup and topped with golden baked cheese.

This post contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated if a purchase is made through the links provided. For more information please read my affiliate disclosure.

Can You Caramelize Onions In A Pressure Cooker?

Due to the amount of time needed to properly caramelize onions on the stove top, french onion soup is not a recipe I would normally make during the week. This all changed though with the appearance of the Instant Pot in my kitchen.

By cooking sliced onions in a pressure cooker, (in this case the Instant Pot), you can drastically reduce the amount of time needed to caramelize the onions In this case, the caramelized onions are done in just 35 minutes when cooked on ‘manual > high’ in the Instant Pot.

The high pressure helps break down the onion, while at the same time caramelizing the natural sugars. Since the lid is sealed, and no liquid can escape, you don’t have to worry about the onions burning in the pot.

Instant Pot French Onion Soup Ingredients

Making this Instant Pot French onion soup happens in two parts. First we need to caramelize the onions.

You’ll need:

For The Soup

  • 6 Large Spanish onions peeled and roughly julienned
  • 4 large cloves of fresh garlic chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dry basil
  • 1/4 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/8th tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp clarified butter
  • 4 liters beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

For The Topping – Note: The French Onion Soup is easily kept gluten free and lactose free by using diet appropriate toppings!

  • French Baguette , Thickly Sliced
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. To reduce cooking time and make the best use of your time, multitask and pre-heat the Instant Pot while cutting the onions.  Press the ‘saute’ button, and then ‘adjust’ to switch the heat to high. While the pot heats up, peel and cut the onions as shown in the picture below.Julianne an onion in a few simple steps!Resist the urge to thinly slice the onions as they will shrink as they caramelize. Cutting the onions too thin will result in them completely disintegrating as they caramelize. – Chef Markus
  2. Add the clarified butter, (or oil) to the hot Instant Pot and then add the rough cut onions. I use clarified butter instead of whole butter so that it does not burn when it hits the hot surface of the pot. Instead of using clarified butter you could also use oil. Saute the onions in the pot for ten minutes, just to coat the onions in the fat and get them to start releasing some liquid.
  3. Turn off the Instant Pot, add the chopped garlic cloves, bayleaf, and salt to the Instant Pot. Lock the lid in place, and set the pot to cook on ‘High’ (manual setting) for 30 minutes.an instant pot with caramelized onions inside
  4. After the Instant Pot beeps signaling the 30 minutes of pressure cooking are over, quick release the lid. Be careful not to burn yourself as the hot steam releases! If using a smaller size model of the Instant Pot the onions may have some liquid in them. Turn the pot to saute to cook of the water and brown the onions.

    Tip: Use a dry dish cloth when moving the pressure release valve to “venting” to reduce the chances of getting burned. – Chef Markus

  5. Add the beef broth, red wine, remaining herbs, and pepper. Simmer on low for 10 minutes and then re-season with salt and pepper!
  6. Portion the French Onion Soup into individual oven safe bowls, top with the croustinis, cheese and then broil in the oven until melted and bubbly. About 3- 5 minutes. 
Related:  How To Blind Bake Pie Crust

The Instant Pot French onion soup can either be served right away or easily be stored in the fridge for up to a week. When ready to serve, heat the french onion soup in a pot (if it was in the fridge), and pour the soup into ceramic or heatproof stoneware bowls. Top the soup with some homemade croustinis, and then top with a generous handful of shredded cheese. Cheddar cheese will do just fine, but I would recommend using a cheese which has some sharpness to it such as Gruyere or aged Beemster. Place the filled bowl of French onion soup on a baking sheet (to catch spillage), and bake the soup in a 375F oven until the cheese is melted and slightly browned!

a stoneware style bowl filled with classic french onion soup topped with two croustinis and broiled cheese

Tried the recipe? Take a picture and tag me on Facebook & Instagram: @earthfoodandfire . For more from scratch recipes follow me on Instagram & Pinterest

A grey stoneware bowl filled with french onion soup and topped with golden baked cheese.
Print
4.84 from 6 votes

French Onion Soup (Made Easier In The Instant Pot)

A classic soup full of sweet caramelized onions, rich beef broth, and topped with cheesy goodness, making restaurant quality French onion soup couldn't be easier then with this Instant Pot recipe.
Course Soup
Cuisine French
Keyword best french onion soup, best pressure cooker onion soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 194.1kcal
Author Chef Markus Mueller | Earth, Food, and Fire

Ingredients

French Onion Soup Base

  • 6 Large Spanish onions peeled and roughly julienned
  • 4 large cloves of fresh garlic chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dry basil
  • 1/4 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/8 tspsalt salt
  • 2 Tbsp clarified butter
  • 4 liters beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

For the Topping

  • Baguette cut into slices
  • 4 cups of shredded cheese

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the Instant Pot by pressing 'saute' and then 'adjust' to turn the heat to high.
  • As the pot heats up, thickly julienne the onions, and chop the garlic.
  • Sautee the julienne onions & chopped garlic in some clarified butter or oil in the hot Instant Pot for 10 minutes, just to slightly soften them.
  • Add the bayleaf, and salt, to the pot. Close and latch the lid on the Instant Pot with the vent switch pointing to 'sealed'.
  • Switch the program to 'manual' and set the time to 30 minutes.
  • Once the onions have caramelized and the Instant Pot beeps, release the pressure using the instant release method.
  • If the onions have a lot of liquid in them, use the saute function to cook of the liquid and brown the onions. This may occur if using a smaller size model of the Instant Pot.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot and switch the program to sautee. "Adjust' the heat to LOW. Simmer the French onion soup for 10 minutes.
  • To serve pour the french onion soup into heat proof bowls, top with fresh cut baguette and shredded cheese.
  • Bake in a 375F oven until the cheese is golden brown.

Notes

Note: The French Onion Soup is easily kept gluten free and lactose free by using diet appropriate toppings!

This post contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated if a purchase is made through the links provided. For more information please read my affiliate disclosure.


Please note : We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

18 Comments

  1. Where did you find the soup pots? They’re perfect!

  2. Going to try it now but 4 litres is a lot more liquid than other recipes call for. Just confirming the amount

    • Hi Karen
      The amount is correct. You’ll notice that my recipe uses twice as much onion a as the other recipes: 6 large Spanish onion( 1 large Spanish onion, about the size of a grapefruit is about 16oz)

      Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  3. 4 stars
    What a great idea to caramelize the onions that way but don’t you need to add a little water to the onions when cooking in the pressure cooker?

    • Usually you do. I found that if I add water to the onions in my Ip -Lux80 that the onions don’t caramelize and just get mushy and watery. Different models heat differently though, so you can add a tiny splash of water if you want to ensure it wont burn

  4. 5 stars
    Caramelized onions in 35 minutes?! I must get myself and Instant Pot now!! I think I would be caramelizing onions all the time 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    French onion soup is my actual favorite. I will have it anytime, but especially love it on a cold winter day.

  6. Having fallen in love with my instant pot, I am always looking for new recipes to use it and this is definitely going on the list! I adore French onion soup!

  7. 5 stars
    We are huge fans of French onion soup around here. I would have never thought to make it in the instant pot. You have convinced me to give it a try! 🙂 Your pics are making me drool.

  8. 5 stars
    I love my Instant Pot—but only for certain recipes! Caramelizing onions in it is a brilliant idea! This recipe is drool-worthy!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this today, but substituted vermouth because had no wine. Absolutely delicious! Best I ever had and my husband had two bowls of it. Thank you so much.

  10. Can the wine be exchanged for water?

    • It certainly can be Karen! Tue resulting broth just may not be as flavorful. You could also add a dash of vinegar to add a little acid to the broth and bring out the flavors. Not a lot though!

  11. Looks amazing and ready to go get some butter and cheese. My question is this, “I thought the caramelization of the onions is what makes this dish.” If one has plenty of time and caramelizes the onions and then moves forward with the rest of the steps, does it change the flavor? Thank you

    • Hi Lisa, You are right, the caramelization is what makes the Onion Soup so tasty! You can of course caramelize the onions the traditional way in a pot on the stove, though depending on how many onions you are caramelizing, this can take quite a while! The Instant Pot lets you caramelize the onions in just half an hour by cooking the onions at high temperature while under pressure. Cooking under pressure speeds up cooking times. If you prefer to cook the onions in a pot on the stove though, that works just as well with the remaining steps in this recipe!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*