Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Instant Pot French Onion Soup

Instant Pot French Onion Soup is a restaurant quality dish full of onions, beef broth, melted cheese, and crusty croutons. This is perfect with my Instant Pot French Bread!

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close up view of two ramekins one white and one green with french onion soup with melted swiss guyere cheese on top of an aluminum baking sheet

History of French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup has been around since ancient times. The modern version that we know originated in France sometime in the 18th century. Eaten by both poor and rich folks this soup is made with lots of onions which are cheap and plentiful.

Legend also has it that King Louis XV of France created this recipe when he returned to his hunting cabin to find the cupboards were empty. The only ingredients said to be on hand were onions, beef stock, butter, and Champagne. According to Vice the king was suffering from some serious first world problems. However, we may never know for sure who had the incredible idea for this soup.

Wherever the recipe originated from this soup remains a staple of French culinary culture. A perfect and filling meal for any time of day. With a gratinee of gruyere cheese and toasted croutons that are broiled in the oven this is comfort food heaven.

This recipe was adapted for the Instant Pot from the cookbook by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One.

Prepping and cooking the onions

Cooking the onions properly is key to a successful French onion soup. The onions are cooked in two stages. First, we “sweat” or cook the onions. Second, we caramelize or “brown up” the onions for color and depth of flavor.

Choose yellow, Vidalia, or white onions for the best flavor. Thinly slice, and add the onions to the Instant Pot. But first, set the pot to saute to melt your six tablespoons of butter. Add a little salt and pepper for seasoning as well.

Close the lid, and cook on high (normal) pressure for zero (yes, really) minutes then follow with a quick release. This will ensure that you “sweat” the onions properly for the next step.

overhead view of sliced onions in instant pot with melted butter

What is a Maillard reaction anyhow?

Basically, it means a complex series of chemical reactions happen to make a party in your belly. 🙂 It’s what gives a browned food, like caramelized onions their special flavor and color.

There are a lot of different ways to make this happen. You can add a touch of sugar, brown sugar, or baking soda to create the reaction.

I like to keep it simple with just a little extra butter and a nice dose of salt. Turn the Instant Pot back to saute, add the remaining butter, and salt to the onions. Cook the onions for about 10 minutes or until they are as brown as you like. Add the flour, and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the white wine, and stir a few minutes more to reduce a bit. If you don’t care for wine you can omit this step and liquid.

overhead view of onions browning in the instant pot with a wooden spatula for stirring

Add the beef broth, then salt and pepper to taste. Keep the pressure cooker on saute stirring occasionally for a couple of minutes so everything combines.

overhead view of french onion soup in instant pot with wooden spatula for stirring

Turn off the saute function, and seal the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook on high (normal) pressure for 8 minutes then follow with a quick release. Slice your bread and place your French baguette slices on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides, and broil for a few minutes to lightly toast.

overhead shot of slices of french bread brushed witholive oil on aluminum tray on marble countertop

What cheese should I use?

The traditional cheese to use for the topping on this soup is Swiss Gruyere cheese. However, you can also choose from from regular Swiss cheese or even Parmesan cheese. If you would like more bite to the soup then try a regular Provolone or Smoked Provolone cheese. You can also grate fresh cheese, or top with thin slices.

Add the finishing touches

Place your serving bowls on a baking sheet. Place a slice of toasted baguette into each one, Ladle the soup into each bowl, and top with cheese. Add a little grated onion for a little something extra. Broil in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

stacked image of three showing how to prep the serving bowls for french onin soup

Serve the Instant Pot French Onion Soup immediately for a great meal! If you have leftovers they can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

close overhead view of french onion soup in a ramekin with melted browned cheese

Check out these other Instant Pot recipes like Beef Sirloin Tips with Mushroom Gravy, Chicken Stir Fry, or Cheesy Ziti (Johnny Marzetti)!

close overhead view of french onion soup in a ramekin with melted browned cheese

Instant Pot French Onion Soup

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: easy soup recipe, french onion soup, instant pot french onion soup, instant pot onion soup, instant pot soup recipe, onion soup, pressure cooker french onion soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 401kcal
Author: Tina


"Sweating" the Onions

  • 1 1/2 pounds onions, sliced thinly Yellow, Red, or Vidalia
  • 6 tbsp butter I used unsalted

Caramelizing the Onions

  • 1 tsp salt can reduce, to 1/2 or sub sea salt
  • 2 tbsp butter I used unsalted

Prepping the Soup

  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine optional, may omit
  • 8 cups beef broth or stock I used unsalted
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Finishing the Soup

  • 8 slices French or other crusty bread
  • 1 cup Swiss Gruyere cheese, shredded or sliced may substitute Swiss, Parmesan, or Provolone


"Sweating" the Onions

  • Melt the butter from this ingredient group in the Instant Pot, and then add the sliced onions. Turn off the saute function, and seal lid. Cook on high (normal) pressure for 0 minutes then follow with a quick release.

Caramelizing the Onions

  • Turn the Instant Pot to saute. Add the remaining butter, and salt. Cook for about ten minutes or until the onions have browned. Note you can add a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar if desired to help with browning.

Prepping the Soup

  • Leave pressure cooker on saute, and stir in flour. Cook for a couple of minutes so that the flour does not leave behind a doughy taste in the soup. Add the wine, and cook for a few minutes to reduce slightly.
  • Add the beef stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Seal lid on Instant Pot and cook on high (normal) pressure for 8 minutes then follow with a quick release.
  • While the soup is cooking, brush the sliced bread with olive oil, place on baking sheet, and broil for a few minutes to toast.

Finishing the Soup

  • Put your ramekins or bowls on a baking sheet. Place on a baking sheet. Put one slice of baguette in each bowl, ladle in soup, and top with cheese. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted, and slightly browned.
  • Serve immediately, or store remaining soup for up to three days in an airtight container.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 1192mg | Potassium: 684mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 462IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @MondayisMeatloaf or tag #mondayismeatloaf! I would love to see your amazing creations!

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