Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Instant pot French onion soup

The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
872 Calories
29g Fat
119g Carbs
37g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 872
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 15g 77%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 2466mg 107%
Total Carbohydrate 119g 43%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 20g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 13mg 63%
Calcium 543mg 42%
Iron 8mg 44%
Potassium 701mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Instant Pot French onion soup is assembled and finished in the oven with toasted French bread slices and a generous amount of Gruyère cheese.

French onion soup is a comforting lunch or dinner soup. It's the perfect soup for a cold, snowy, or rainy day, or serve as a dinner party first course or appetizer. Using the Instant Pot, the onions are caramelized quickly and require very little hands-on attention. And if you have a food processor with a slicing disc, prep is a breeze.

For the toasted bread topping, use either one large or two small slices to cover the entire top of the soup. A French baguette is ideal.


  • 3 pounds yellow or sweet onions

  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced

  • 2 quarts unsalted or low-sodium beef stock, divided

  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry, or red wine, optional

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 sprigs thyme

  • 6 to 12 slices French baguette, depending on size, toasted

  • Thyme leaves, or chopped chives, optional garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Instant Pot onion soup recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  2. Slice off the ends of the onions and then slice the onions in half lengthwise; peel them and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Slice the onions by hand or use a food processor with the slicing disc. Shred the Gruyère cheese, and refrigerate it until you are ready to assemble the topping.

    Slice the onions and shred the Gruyère cheese

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  3. Choose the sauté function on the Instant Pot and adjust it to the lowest setting. When the pot is hot, add the butter and swirl it around until it is melted and begins to bubble. Add the onions and baking soda and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions soften and "sweat," or about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Cancel the sauté function.

    Sauté the onions in the Instant Pot

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  4. Add about 1/4 cup of the beef stock (or 2 tablespoons of sherry or red wine and 2 tablespoons of stock) to the onions and lock the lid in place. Turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Choose the pressure cook or manual button, high pressure, and set the time for 18 minutes. When the time is up, carefully turn the steam release valve to venting to release the steam quickly.

  5. Choose the sauté function and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until much of the liquid has evaporated and the onions are deep golden brown.

    Cook the onions in the Instant Pot to caramelize

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  6. Add the salt, pepper, remaining beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, the bay leaf, and thyme. Turn the sauté function to the highest setting and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the sauté function to the lowest setting and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Making Instant Pot French onion soup

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  7. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings.

    French onion soup from the Instant Pot pressure cooker

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  8. Preheat the broiler. Place oven-safe bowls on a baking sheet and fill them with soup. Place a slice or two of toasted bread on each bowl of soup and cover with a generous amount of the shredded Gruyère cheese. Broil the soup about 4 to 6 inches from the heating element until the cheese is melted and the bread is nicely browned around the edges.

    Instant Pot French onion soup in a lion's head bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

  9. Garnish each serving with thyme leaves or chopped chives and enjoy.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

Recipe Variation

Gruyère is a Swiss cheese that melts beautifully, making it an ideal (and authentic) choice for French onion soup. To substitute, try Emmental or Jarlsberg.

How to Toast Bread Slices

Heat the oven to 400 F. Arrange the baguette slices (about 3/4-inch-thick slices) on a baking sheet. Brush the slices lightly with olive oil or melted butter. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.

How to Store French Onion Soup

  • Instant Pot French onion soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days.
  • You can also freeze it for up to three months.