Here we call it French Onion Soup, in France it's just Onion Soup, but today, we call it French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread. In reality it's far more popular than I had expected.
In my ethnocentric mind it was a popular American dish imitating an old French classic. While there is still some truth to that, you will still find it on most menus at sidewalk cafes and fine dining brasseries.
Though there are a few differences between what you will find in Paris to here in the U.S. Here or there, it's a savory blend of beef stock and simmered onions that is soul comforting. Slightly sweet onions with slurpy, savory soup, crunchy yet soggy soup-filled bread, and the ooeyiest, gooiest cheese.
Each bite is soup nirvana from inside your heart to the tips of your fingers and toes.
Table of contents
Do you know what's hard about soup? Sharing. Problem, meet solution
Cheesy French Onion Bread - Tear and Share
All the best parts about french onion soup - stock-soaked bread, caramelized onions, tangy, melty cheese - become a finger food! No bowls or spoons are necessary.
The first time I experimented with this idea, I brought the result to my monthly wine club (yup, that's a thing and it's beautiful) and it literally disappeared in under 5 minutes.
Even better now, each time I make this shareable, crowd-pleasing French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread, I'll be transported to a Parisian sidewalk brasserie people-watching with great friends.
You don't have to travel to Paris to enjoy this pull apart bread, but it couldn't hurt right? Kidding. Perhaps a little french jazz in the background will do just fine.
Pull apart breads are incredibly fun to serve with everyone going after the 'perfect piece'. What's better is they're so easy the throw together and great for sharing with a large group.
Almost soup, in a flash.
French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread tastes like it's been simmering for hours, but you can have this on the table in under 45 minutes. The onions simmer in a butter and olive oil mixture for perfect caramelization.
Even if they overcook just a tad, the beef consommé addition will simmer out, but the best part is you really don't have to stir too much while caramelizing the onions.
Slice onions in ¼" half-moon slices. Heat a large sauté pan on medium. Melt butter and olive oil together. Working in three rounds, layer sliced onions and sprinkle with salt. Let simmer for 5 minutes on medium, then turn heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes before stirring.
The onions should be just slightly browned and translucent before stirring.
Halfway through cooking the onions should have lost most of their white color. When done cooking, onions will be a deep rich brown.
Once onions are caramelized and brown, add beef consummé and reduce over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring continuously. There should be a little remaining, thickened, liquid in the pan.
Slice bread crosswise in roughly 1" squares. Slice deep enough to reach the bottom of the bread without cutting through.
Stuff the cracks with soup and onion mixture. Spread any additional soup and onion mixture over the top.
Stuff the grated cheese into the cracks and all over the top.
Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes in a dutch oven or high-lipped baking dish (I love my 10 inch cast iron!)
Ingredients and Substitutions
If you can't find beef consommé, regular beef stock will work. Beef consommé is my go-to since it contains a bit of gelatin, making it more like soup and thickening the soup and onion mixture faster.
The most important piece is your bread selection. Sourdough bread is an obsession in my life. The perfect sour tang and soft texture, and can be soaked without falling apart. A large, french style loaf is ideal, but any hearty, crusty bread you can find that is firm and soakable will work.
Cheese selection is personal. Swiss is my favorite go-to for this savory pull apart bread recipe, is just a little tangy without bringing an overpowering flavor, but Gruyere will also bring similar flavors. Top your onions with shredded, cheesy bliss - bake, broil, serve.
Side walk brasserie optional - but recommended.
My Top Tips 'Crack' Bread
When slicing, you want to slice almost all the way down, keep the bottom part of the bread intact. Otherwise, you may end up with thick onion and cheese bake. Not that anyone would complain about it I'm sure, but we're aiming for pull apart bread.
Then you stuff all those cracks with cheesy, soupy, sweet onion goodness.
A cast iron pan is the best tool for this recipe but you can also use a dutch oven, just make sure you line it with parchment paper, it makes it much easier to get the bread out, there's nothing more devastating than trying to scrape it off the pan and destroying the pull apart bread in the process.
This recipe is super easy, you can make it harder by baking your own sourdough bread, but I personally choose the easy route.
However, I have had a couple of questions regarding the dish, please feel free to leave a comment below if your question wasn't answered.
I normally opt for sweet onions for this recipe, they tend to be larger and have thinner skin. I love the flavor they add the dish too!
I normally don't ever make it that far myself, but yes you can. Wait until it has properly cooled down and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 - 3 days. You can heat it up in the microwave or the oven - but I really do suggest using Sourdough if you want to save it and reheat it later, as most other breads will go soggy while it is being stored
Looking for More??
If you loved this recipe then check out my traditional slow cooker French Onion Soup. I love cooking soup in a slow cooker or instant pot as I can toss in the ingredients and walk away!
This pull-apart bread is a great side dish for my smokey eggplant pasta and makes a great, crowd-pleasing appetizer, you can serve it with my mozzarella and garlic balls to really impress.
I really hope you enjoyed this recipe and devoured the most delicious cheesy French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread! Leave a comment below if you tried it with your thoughts, or you can tag me in your Instagram and Facebook stories and pictures. Don't forget you can always follow me on Pinterest to keep up with the latest.
French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread
- 1 large French sourdough loaf
- 3 large sweet onions
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cup swiss or gruyere (fresh grated)
- ¾ cup beef consommé
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Slice onions in ¼" half-moon slices. Heat a large sauté pan on medium. Melt butter and olive oil together. Working in three rounds, layer sliced onions and sprinkle with salt. Let simmer for 5 minutes on medium, then turn heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes before stirring.
- Cook onions until caramelized and browning. Add beef consommé and reduce over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring continuously. There should be some liquid, but thickened.
- Slice bread crosswise in 1" squares. Stuff the cracks with soup and onion mixture. Spread any addition soup and onion mixture over the top. Repeat with grated cheese.
- Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, uncovered, in a dutch oven, cast iron pan, or high lipped baking dish. Finish by broiling on high for 5 minutes.
- Line the pan or baking dish with a piece of parchment paper for easier removal from the hot pan.
- To make this recipe even faster, you can cook the onions in advance.