1-Pot French Onion Soup (Vegan!)

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Fresh thyme sprig on a bowl of vegan french onion soup

After cracking the code on oil-free caramelized onions, we found ourselves craving French Onion Soup!

So we got to work creating a 1-pot, plant-based version that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Spoiler alert? Major success! Let us show you how it’s done!

Onion, vegetable broth, mushrooms, arrowroot starch, sourdough bread, miso, coconut aminos, avocado oil, bay leaves, garlic, and thyme

Origin of French Onion Soup

As the name suggests, French onion soup originated in France. Specifically, it’s believed that King Louis XV created it for a party when he was running low on ingredients (thank goodness for onions). Traditionally, this soup is made with a beef and onion base and topped with cheese and bread. The following is our plant-based take on the concept that doesn’t skimp on flavor or heartiness!

Sliced onions in a Dutch oven

Vegan French Onion Soup

The flavorful base for this soup starts with caramelizing the onions in either oil, vegan butter, or water (if oil-free). This method of cooking onions low and slow maximizes their natural sweetness and creates tender texture. And adding a pinch of salt and pepper while cooking helps infuse them with even more flavor.

Partially caramelized onions in a Dutch oven

Next, we added garlic and mushrooms to deepen the flavors and add an umami component. Optionally, arrowroot starch or cornstarch can be added at this time to help the soup become a thicker consistency (but it’s not necessary).

Dutch oven filled with caramelized onions

For earthiness and some herbal notes, we added bay leaves and fresh thyme.

Instead of the traditional beef broth, we used vegetable broth to keep this vegan. It’s equally as good (if not better), but it’s important to choose a rich and flavorful broth, such as our DIY vegetable broth or Pacific Foods for a store-bought option. Coconut aminos and miso paste are the final layers of flavor that add even more umami and take this soup to the next level. Swoon!

Pouring vegetable broth over caramelized onions and herbs

The final (optional) step is to top the soup with croutons. Homemade croutons are incredibly easy to make (see recipe notes for instructions) and pair perfectly with this soup. We go for a nice sourdough for maximum flavor and texture.

Want in on a secret? We like saving the best bites for last: A little onion soup and the last few croutons that remain crisp in parts but are slightly soft in others from soaking in the broth. SO satisfying!

Homemade croutons in a cast iron skillet

We hope you LOVE this vegan French onion soup! It’s:

Savory
Infused with caramelized onions
Comforting
Quick & easy
& So delicious!

It makes a satisfying entrée when topped with homemade croutons. And it’s also perfect as an appetizer or side, especially paired with other French-inspired recipes such as our Vegan Nicoise Salad (30 minutes!) or Vegan Zucchini Gratin.

Two bowls of vegan French onion soup topped with fresh thyme

More Comforting Soup Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Vintage spoon in a bowl of caramelized onion French onion soup

1-Pot French Onion Soup (Vegan!)

Comforting vegan French onion soup made in 1 pot! A quick and easy side or entrée infused with umami flavors.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Bowl of vegan french onion soup with homemade croutons
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 2 (Bowls)
Course Entree
Cuisine French-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp oil or vegan butter (or sub twice the amount in water, plus more as needed to prevent sticking)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled + sliced into slightly larger than 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 healthy pinch each salt and black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (adds depth of flavor and a bit of texture // okay to omit)
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch (optional // or all purpose flour if not gluten-free)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped (or sub 3/4 tsp dried thyme)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (we prefer Pacific brand or DIY)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos (or sub half the amount with tamari as it’s saltier)
  • 2 tsp miso paste (if soy-free, use chickpea miso // we like Miso Master brand)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Croutons (see notes for instructions)

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot, saucepan, or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, butter, or water and the sliced onions (they should be ~1/4 inch thick so the soup has nice texture). Stir and cover.
  • Cook the onions over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until they start to very slightly brown. Then turn heat to low and cook for a total of ~30-40 minutes, opening the lid and stirring every 5 minutes. The name of the game with caramelizing onions is to cook slow and low. NOTE: If cooking without oil, be sure to cover the pot with lid after stirring — this helps them cook more evenly. And add 1 Tbsp water more at a time as needed to prevent sticking/ burning.
  • How long you cook your onions depends on how deeply you want them caramelized. We found 30 minutes to produce a light golden brown color and sweet flavor, and 35-40 minutes to yield a deeper brown color and richer caramelized flavor. Be careful not to burn by keeping heat on low and adding a bit of water or broth as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add a healthy pinch of salt and pepper while sautéing, plus more to taste later as you season the soup.
  • When your onions are close to being caramelized, add minced garlic and mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes more. Then add arrowroot starch (optional, for slight thickness) and stir to fully combine (it should absorb fully into the onion mixture). Use a wooden spoon to disperse any clumps.
  • Add bay leaf, dried or fresh thyme, vegetable broth, and coconut aminos (reserve the miso for later).
  • Cover and simmer soup for about 20 minutes to develop and meld the flavors. Then simmer uncovered for another 5-10 minutes so it thickens slightly (the flavors will intensify even more). Ensure it isn’t boiling — only a gentle simmer. If serving with croutons, prepare at this time (see notes below).
  • To incorporate the miso, add it separately to a small dish and top with ~1/4 cup of the warm broth. Use a spoon or whisk to fully combine, ensuring there are little to no clumps. Then add back to the pot and turn off heat (this ensures you don’t cook the miso, which would dampen its nutritional benefits). Stir to combine.
  • Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more salt or pepper to taste, coconut aminos for depth of flavor, or miso for umami flavor.
  • Serve hot topped with toasted croutons (optional) and additional herbs and black pepper. Store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Store croutons separately (loosely covered) at room temperature up to 1-2 days.

Video

Notes

*To make croutons, slice desired amount of day-old bread (we like sourdough) into cubes using a serrated or bread knife (use scissors if your bread is difficult to slice with a knife). Add to a baking sheet and toss to coat with a little oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees F (204 C), or until golden brown and toasty. If oil-free, omit the oil and dry roast with the recommended seasonings. They won’t get as browned, but they will still be crispy.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with avocado oil and without optional ingredients or croutons.

Nutrition (1 of 2 servings)

Serving: 1 bowl Calories: 230 Carbohydrates: 23.5 g Protein: 2.7 g Fat: 14 g Saturated Fat: 1.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 9.7 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1374 mg Potassium: 316 mg Fiber: 5.2 g Sugar: 12 g Vitamin A: 49.7 IU Vitamin C: 10.5 mg Calcium: 76.6 mg Iron: 1.4 mg

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  1. Patricia Eilers says

    I made the recipe according to the directions, using fresh thyme and opting out of the cornstarch/arrowroot since I like my onion soup to be more of a broth. It took longer than 40 minutes to caramelize the onions but I may have had my heat lower than necessary.

    This is another Minimalist Baker winner! (Wishing I had doubled the recipe for leftovers….)

  2. Adrienne says

    It’s unbelievable how this easy recipe yielded such delicious results! We absolutely loved this, and it will be our go-to French onion soup recipe.

    Only modifications were: it took the onions over an hour to carmelize, even after turning it up from low; and we added 3 tsp. of miso paste at the end because we love salt & umami. We garnished it with black pepper and a little garlic salt, and served it with a homemade cob bread.

    Thanks for making our usual Monday night dinner a bit more special!

  3. Sarah says

    I am a huge lover of onion soup. I was wary of using miso, but could not believe how delicious this was! Better than a traditional beef stock. I gave a big pot with homemade sourdough bread to my brother for his birthday and he said it was the best soup he’s ever had.

  4. Gwen says

    This is a really delicious soup! We ate it for supper on a cold (-25C) Canadian evening! I used soy sauce instead of coconut aminos and dried thyme instead of fresh. I doubled the recipe more or less to have extras for lunch. Thanks for making French Onion soup so easy!

  5. Henna says

    This is delicious! I’ve never made a french onion soup before, and I was blown away by how simple it was!
    I didn’t have mushrooms or miso paste, and I’m allergic to garlic, so I made the recipe without those, and it was so tasty! I will definitely make this again!

  6. Shannon Milling says

    It was amazing!! Made this for my guests and they were obsessed. I think they ended up having 3 bowls each! :P

    • Yolanda says

      Incredibly flavorful. The shiitake mushrooms really took this to another level and is worth including. For the vegetable broth, I used Better Than Bouillon.
      I love so many of your recipes, and this is certainly going to be a keeper. Thank you so much for developing all these AMAZING recipes. Cheers!!

  7. Keekee Senkier says

    The most amazing vegan French Onion Soup! Out of convenience, we used soy sauce instead of coconut aminos! As an addition we put violife mozzarella shreds and bread on top and baked it all together in the pot for 5-7 minutes. The shiitakes develop an amazing flavor and meat-like texture!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Keekee. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  8. Joanne says

    I’ve been longing for a vegetarian onion soup and then your recipe arrived! Dream come true. Another foolproof (because you test so thoroughly) recipe from you. It was easy to make and delicious, with such a wonderful depth of flavor. Thank you.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Joanne. Thanks so much for your kind words and lovely review! xo

  9. Daina says

    This was my first time making French Onion soup and I’m so glad I tried this recipe. I subbed one red onion, chicken broth and mushroom powder as that is all I had on hand. It was delicious! I also made gluten free croutons to go on top. Yum!!

  10. robyn says

    My husband LOVES french onion soup. I made this especially for him tonight. It was outstanding! I cooked it in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I didn’t find the onions got very brown – they were a light brown and definitely tasted sweet – I did let them sit about 6 minutes before stirring them about each time. I cooked them about 45 minutes. I loved the addition of mushrooms. The flavor of the soup was spot on – rich and savory sweet. I did top ours with the traditional Gruyere cheese because we aren’t vegan and along with the ancient wheat sourdough that I travelled 30 minutes to buy to make the croutons. The bread was not a day old but the croutons were a huge success regardless. Truly heaven in a bowl – a party for our tastebuds!

  11. Stacey says

    Made this today and it was delicious! Great flavor! I didn’t add the mushrooms (because I didn’t have any) and i forgot to add the tamari and just salted to taste. I need to make croutons next time but I was too lazy and this is great on it’s own or with some crusty bread. Thanks!

  12. janan says

    This was really delicious! I caramelized the onions for about 1.5 hours, on a very low fire, used vegan butter (one of the eaters does not do dairy) and a little bit of water. I didn’t salt too much because the aminos (I used Braggs) and the miso at the end definitely add a good bit of salty flavor. I also used about 1/2 beef stock and 1/2 water for the broth. It was super rich and tasty – especially with the sourdough croutons. Thank you for another great recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I would think so, yes! The cook time would be fairly minimal. Perhaps 5 minutes once all ingredients are added and onions are caramelized? Let us know if you try!

  13. Liz says

    I made this tonight a few hours after I got the recipe in my email. SO GOOD. Thank you!! Love me some carmelized onions ❤️

  14. Sarah says

    So delicious! I doubled my mushrooms, garlic, and thyme to use up extra ingredients sitting around. This soup is amazing and so perfect for the colder weather. Tastes like it took longer to make than it did. Love!!

  15. Erin says

    Hi! I just made this recipe for dinner. It was so easy and is so very delicious! I can’t wait to make the croutons. :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Erin! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  16. Terre says

    OMG!

    I have been waiting for a French onion soup recipe from Minimalist Baker! Dana really gets flavor (her suggestions for adding this or that for more heat or sweetness or umami are so helpful to me), and her research into different foods and preparation methods is always fun and interesting.

    Thank you so much, Dana! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  17. Laura says

    Can’t wait to make this!! I’ve been dying for a good vegan french onion soup recipe, but was never brave enough to try some random recipe on the internet. I totally trust you though and am so happy you made one!

  18. Sarah says

    This recipe sounds wonderful! Could you sub Bragg Liquid Aminos for the coconut aminos, or would tamari taste better here?