Beer in Your French Onion Soup – A recipe

French Onion Soup with Ale and Cheddar

The perennially popular beverage – beer – gets featured in my favourite French onion soup recipe. Beer gives traditional French onion soup a full, rich body and delicious depth of flavour.  

This recipe is easy to make and takes a fraction of the time many onion soups take.

Mixing the cheeses for broiling on top of the soup with sour cream, creates extra tang that contrasts perfectly with the rich broth.

French Onion Soup with Cheddar and Ale
Makes 6 servings

4 large onions, peeled and sliced

2 tbsp butter

1 cup beer, preferably ale

¾ tsp dried thyme leaves

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 cups beef stock

12 slices baguette bread

1 ½ cups old cheddar or Gruyère cheese

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

⅓ cup sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice the onions about ¼ inch thick. In a large, wide saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook them, separating the slices into rings and stirring frequently, until browned, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the beer, thyme, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil uncovered. Stir the mixture often until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the broth. Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer for 5–10 minutes to develop the flavours. 

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (You can prepare the recipe to this point and refrigerate it for up to five days.). Skim any foam that appears on the surface of the pot often.

  5. Cut a baguette into ½” slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet and toast them lightly in the oven. 

  6. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the cheddar and parmesan cheese and sour cream

  7. Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls, leaving space for toast. Place bowls on a baking sheet.

  8. Spread the cheese mixture onto the toast, and float two pieces of toast on each bowl of soup. 

  9. Bake the filled bowls in a 450°F oven until the cheese is golden and the soup bubbles, about 13 minutes. Serve immediately.