French onion soup is one of my all-time favorite flavors, and that’s saying something coming from a soup lover such as myself.  Once spring weather starts to appear though, I’m not really in the mood for soups any more.  I’d rather be outside breathing in the fresh air than inside breathing in the smells from a simmering pot of soup, no matter how enticing they might be.  If there is one food I do love all year round, it’s grilled cheese.  I decided to combine the best of both worlds in this French onion grilled cheese.  It has all the flavors of French onion soup in the form of a fabulous gooey, cheesy sandwich.

The method here is fairly simple.  I caramelized some onions with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper, and a little bit of fresh thyme.  I love to let them cook until they get to that magical point where they are perfectly tender, browned, and slightly sweet.  Near the end of cooking I added a splash of wine to enhance the flavor of the onions.  Then I piled these lovely onions onto baguette slices sandwiched with thinly sliced Gouda and Gruyere cheeses, and cooked them until they were oh so melty good.  Just before serving I rubbed the bread with the cut side of a clove of garlic for a nice finishing touch.

I have a vivid childhood memory of going to one of my mom’s favorite restaurants and ordering my old standby a grilled cheese sandwich.  It arrived with a slice of onion on top and I refused to touch my meal.  Oh, how times have changed.  All in all, this is a sophisticated spin on one of my childhood favorites, and at least in this instance, I’m glad to be a grown-up.

Note: This recipe was developed as part of my ongoing contribution to the Go Bold with Butter blog.  Head over to see my posts as well as those of the other awesome bloggers involved with the project!


2 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
¾ tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
Splash of dry white wine*
4 baguette slices, cut on an extreme diagonal for maximum surface area
Thinly sliced Gouda cheese (about 2 oz.)
Thinly sliced Gruyere cheese (about 2 oz.)
1 clove garlic, peeled

*Feel free to substitute red wine or beef broth if desired 


  • 01

    To make the caramelized onions, melt 1½ tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced onions to the pan with the sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fully caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.  Stir in the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Increase the heat to medium-high.  Pour in the splash of wine and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has cooked off.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

  • 02

    To assemble the sandwiches, layer two baguette slices with a good portion of the caramelized onions.  Top with the sliced Gouda and Gruyere cheeses, and top with the remaining baguette slices.  Heat another skillet over medium-high heat and melt the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter.  Add the sandwiches to the pan and grill, turning once, until the bread is lightly browned and the cheese is melted.  (Lower the heat if the sandwiches are browning too quickly.)  Before serving, slice the clove of garlic in half and rub the cut side of the clove over the surface of the baguette slices.  Serve immediately.


  • Yum! I love grilled cheese and french onion soup, this recipe looks like a winner. Definitely agree that I’d be glad to be an adult to eat this grilled cheese; I used to freak out when anything touched my sandwich as a child as well :)

  • French onion soup in sandwich form – I LOVE IT! I’m a sucker for anything with caramelized onions.

  • Y.U.M.

  • sweetsugarbelle

    One of my faves, all grown up! This will be today’s lunch!

  • Great idea! My sister is graduating from med school (surgical residency, go her!), and your blog has been so helpful as my mom and I plan her graduation party.

  • That’s such a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • the cheeses you added to this grilled cheese are my top favorite! they just melt and taste so well together. I love that you took a classic soup and made it into a sandwich :) will be trying this very soon!

  • oohhhhh baby!!

  • Emilie

    love grilled cheese and all the new gourmet combos that have emerged. This one is obviously a winner in my book!

  • Galexicupcake

    Delicious sandwich..Sarah, from Tastespotting highlighted a very similar sandwich on her cover page. This is definitely a keeper recipe.

  • This sandwich is genius!

  • What a taste sensation Annie! I love this sandwich! French onion is one of my all time favorite soups – combining it with a grilled cheese is just pure brilliance!!

  • JensFavoriteCookies

    How funny, I was just dreaming of grilled cheese variations this morning. I love caramelized onions SO MUCH. I can’t wait to try this!!

  • emilyan128

    that looks like heaven!

  • Oh my….this sandwich look heavenly Annie! I’m seriously in love.

  • ohhhhh i love fresh onion soup too !!!!!!!!!!!!

    and french onion grilled cheese…. yummiiiiiii…….

    with best wishes from germany.
    have a nice evening and fun in kitchen


  • Great sandwich idea! You really managed to elevate the grilled cheese sandwich!

  • OHHH my, my. i LOVE caramelized onions, i LOVE grilled cheese. This is like one of the best creations in the world of food. God bless you, Annie!

  • Coby

    This just may have to go on this week’s menu plan!!!

  • Sarah


  • Amy @ The Nifty Foodie

    Yum! I love how simple this is, but I imagine it’s pretty darn tasty (can’t go wrong with caramelized onions)!

  • Suzanne Perazzini

    I had a caramelised onion tart for dinner one night on our road trip around England and I have never forgotten it, so whenever I see caramelised onion, my eyes brighten. This is definitely a keeper.

  • I love grilled cheese variations!

  • Sweet Bee Cottage

    You had me at cheese!

  • I cannot wait to try this! Such a great idea!

  • I love french onion and this looks amazing! I think I could eat caramelized onions on just about anything!

  • I had to laugh at your comment about the onion on top of your childhood sandwich. That sounds like my daughter, and ooooh how I hope times will change! One little dusting of parsley at a restaurant and a dish is ruined. Those darn garnishes.

    This recipe sounds great. I’ve been trying a lot of your recipes and they are always super. Thanks.

  • What a great idea for a grilled cheese sandwich. I cannot wait to try it.

  • Angela

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was awesome. I’m also glad…and slightly ashamed to say this was my first experience with both types of cheeses. Thanks for the delicious creation!

  • Macaroni and Cheesecake

    This sounds heavenly! So comforting and such a creative idea!

  • Grilled cheese HEAVEN.

  • Grilled Cheese HEAVEN.

  • Seriously this is amazing and brilliant all at the same time!

  • Sara Pratt

    Yum! We had this for dinner tonight and it was great! I love that it feels and tastes sophisticated even though it’s pretty easy to throw together.

  • I could really really go for this right now. Comfort food at it’s best. Yum!

  • Elizabeth

    I had my doubts about these since I’d never really tried caramelized onion before. But I just made some tonight and I loved them!!! Now I can’t wait to try another recipe with them :)

  • MelissaB

    Wow, this is quite honestly the best grilled cheese i have ever eaten! I love grilled cheese, and i love onions, especially caramelized. Wow this is too good for words and so very easy!

  • annieseats


  • Ravyn

    Made this last night for dinner … paired it with a simple roasted tomato soup. So good! We subbed the gruyere for havarti, and it was wonderful. Thank you for a, yet another, wonderful recipe!

  • This was outstanding! It is a repeater in our home!

  • marcie

    yum – another winner! thanks, this was great. we had these tonight with homemade chicken noodle soup. delicious!

  • kristea0337

    Oh my goodness. This is my new favorite sandwich ever!