Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

I love love love French Onion Soup! It’s a beautiful thing. For St. Patrick’s day, though, I have been dying to try out one of the Guinness Onion Soups I’ve seen floating around. How could I resist, really? Caramelized onions, toasty melty cheese!

Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

I think I read 20 recipes here and there (and all the notes and comments) and in the end decided my best bet would be to just make up my own…it was a good call. I relied heavily on everything I’ve learned from CI and the French Onion Soup on my site.

When you add Guinness to a recipe, you get a deep stouty flavor but you risk a bit of bitterness – a lesson I learned from my Guinness Stew in my Beef & Guinness Pies.

Counteract that bitternes with just a bit of sumpin’ sweet. Today I added a spoonful (to taste) of a blackberry preserve. It gave a bit of complexity to the broth and just a touch of sweet to counteract that bitterness – and don’t worry, I didn’t put in enough to give the soup a blackberry flavor!

Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

But that brings us to the second potential pitfall of any French Onion Soup made from store brought broth – that broth has got to be a good one or frankly, you won’t like the soup. I use a combo of beef and a little chicken stock, which makes all the difference in the world.

With any recipe, don’t fall for the idea that you’ll turn this amount of onions into rich, buttery, beautifully caramelized onions in 15, 20 or 30 minutes. This takes time. Low and slow cooking. So make onions on the stove, in the oven or in a crockpot, and keep in mind having the onions right is going to “make” the soup. I did mine in the crockpot for this soup.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned with onion soup, and this Guinness Onion Soup is no different – it tastes better the next day! Seriously. While its good the first day, its marvelous the second! 🙂 The flavors blend and smooth out and something magical happens. Check out my Savings on St. Patrick’s Day, which has a few ideas on how to save on some of these items.

Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

Guinness Onion Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
  • 3 pounds raw onion cooked – see Slow cooker caramelized onions or use an alternate recipe for caramelized onions
  • 1/4 cup brandy Irish Whiskey (or any whiskey or bourbon)
  • 1 cup Guinness, poured into a glass and allowed to sit for three minutes
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 6 sprigs thyme, or about 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • salt and pepper
  • around a teaspoon (to taste) of dark jam or 1/2 teaspoon (to taste) sugar
  • 1/2 inch slices of baguette, 6 total
  • 6 slices (enough to cover the top of the bowl) Irish Cheddar or other good meltable cheese.

For the soup:

Add caramelized onions and any juices from the process to a large Dutch oven or pan. Add Whiskey or Bourbon, heat through. Ignite if you feel comfortable and allow to burn down.

Stir in Guinness and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced by half, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper. Taste for bitterness and add jam or sugar to taste.

For the croutons:

While soup simmers, arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

To serve:

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup, leaving enough room at the top for the croutons. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and cover with thinly sliced cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.


  • Cook’s Illustrated suggests using Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth and Pacific Beef Broth – I’ve had very good results with the Aldi brand in a box. We like it better than Swanson.
  • If you like a thicker body to your soup, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over the caramelized onion, cook a minute or two, then add your whiskey or bourbon

from the kitchen of


You know I’ll be bringing this to our Throwback Thursday #29 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!

Click over to our Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the Throwback Thursday Posts or enter your own!

I’ll also be bringing this recipe to Fiesta Friday 111 hosted by Angie and cohosted this week by Naina @ Spice in the City and Julianna @ Foodie On Board, as well as Freedom Fridays, What’s Cooking Wednesdays & Weekend Potluck.


23 thoughts on “Guinness & Onion Soup with a Cheddar Crouton

  1. Pingback: 10 Frugal Cooking Blogs That Will Keep Your Grocery Bill Under Control

  2. Getting a GOOD ‘French’ onion soup is why I order it out very rarely when I get a craving. It takes time and more effort than I feel like investing. 🙂

      • No crockpot and even though I HAVE a food processor, with a sharp knife I can get thinly sliced onions. It’s more about buying a good beef stock as my home made one just took more trouble to make than it was worth. And then there’s the gruyere, toast etc. Some things I’m just willing to let a restaurant do. 🙂

    • Thanks Conor, although not very Irish, lol, but who can pass up the chance to use a little Guinness? And have French Onion Soup…

      I didn’t realize you were in Dublin, the “sister city” to my hometown of Emmetsburg, population about 2,400. We’ve actually had several Dublin Mayors visit us and present us with a key to Dublin, we boast a statue of Robert Emmet outside our courthouse along with a chunk of the Blarney Stone. I have kissed it by the way, just not hanging upside down…

      Happy St. Paddy’s!

  3. This looks divine and I love the addition of baguette slices with cheese on top of the soup. Yummy. I must admit I love soup the next day too. The flavours just seem to meld together.better. I have Guiness to use up, so will need to give this a go.

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