Fast and Easy Instant Pot French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is a savory and filling soup perfect this time of year. Topped with melted Swiss or Gruyere cheese and sliced bread this dish is hearty and filling. No matter what your skill level is in the kitchen anyone can make French Onion Soup.

Making French Onion Soup in the Instant Pot takes it to the next level. The Instant Pot speeds up the cooking process and you can easily have the soup prepared in an hour. For some people less.

The prep work itself takes a little longer than the cooking process. My recipe differs from the traditional French recipe I do not use flour or cognac. This recipe can be frugal. Now Gruyere cheese is the most expensive ingredient. You can substitute Swiss or use half Swiss half Gruyere. I have heard of people using mozzarella instead of Swiss or Gruyere. 

The first time I had French Onion Soup was at Mimi’s Cafe and I loved it. Disneyland also has a wonderful French Onion soup at Cafe Orleans. When I tried canned French Onion soup, it disappointed me. I have tried several recipes on the stove over the years and hated them all. Not until I made French Onion Soup in the Instant Pot did I realize you can make delicious French Onion Soup at home.

I also like to take a few liberties with my soup. The recipe below is the one I have perfected and my family and friends love. However, if you are like me and like spicier dishes, you could add paprika. I have seen recipes that call for 2 tablespoons which too much. Since paprika adds more flavor, start with half a teaspoon when adding it for the first time.

Some people prefer lots of onions in the soup. I serve mine in 12 ounce crocks. My opinion is that 3 regular sized onions are enough. I add half of a regular onion or 1/4 of a large one to appease my husband. Some people may feel 3 onions are too much but many French Onion Soup recipes call for 4 onions. 

I also use three to four varieties of onion. My preference is a sweet, white, and red onion. I love onions and I love to cook with them however I feel the yellow variety are very strong. When I add an extra onion, I will use a yellow onion but not as much as the other varieties. 

I also find that the bread can get very soft and doughy if un-toasted before I put it in the crocks. I slice fresh  French bread from the local grocery store and bake it at 350 for 6 minutes. For presentation I always place the bread in the crocks they top with cheese. I will also garnish with paprika for additional taste and presentation. 

If this is the first time you are using your Instant Pot make sure you preform your water test first. French Onion Soup is the perfect for first timers. You can use the sauté function and pressure cook. This will help you become more familiar with your IP. 

Do not chop your onions they reduce as you caramelize them. Slice them into strips. Cutting the onion is the hardest and worst part of making French Onion Soup. If using bouillon heat, the water before adding your cubes. This will make dissolving the cube much easier. 

It also important to add brown sugar once you sauté the onions to help them caramelize. Some recipes call for white sugar. I think it is best to use brown sugar because the molasses helps add to the flavor.

I also sauté the onions for 15-18 minutes. You want them to cook down to half their original size and be translucent. The more onions you add the longer it will take to sauté so be patient. 

Make sure when it is time to cook you turn your vent to sealing. You can use the quick release function.

Before serving ladle into oven safe crocks. Top with bread and cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. 

Yield: 4 12 ounce bowls


prep time: 15 minscook time: 40 minstotal time: 55 mins

French Onion Soup is a savory soup anyone can make. Perfect for a cold winter night.


  • 1 red onion
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1/4 yellow onion. Optional if you desire extra onions.
  • 1.5 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups beef broth (if using bouillon follow instructions on box)
  • 1/2 cup Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce ( 1 tsp for a bolder flavor)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Slice onions into long strips. Do not chop.
  2. Add butter and vegetable oil to Instant Pot and press sauté.
  3. Once the butter has melted add the onions and brown sugar.
  4. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Sauté until onions have reduced to half their original size. This takes 15-20 minutes. Toast bread while waiting for the onions to reduce.
  5. Press Cancel.
  6. Add broth, wine, spices, bay leaves, and Worcestershire Sauce.
  7. Put lid on Instant Pot. Place vent on sealing and pressure cook for 8 minutes.
  8. Set oven to broil.
  9. When soup is done preform a quick release.
  10. Remove bay leaves and put soup in bowls.
  11. Top with toasted bread and cheese. Garnish with paprika if desired.
  12. Broil 4-5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  13. Let sit for a few minutes and serve.



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