Guinness Onion Soup with White Cheddar Croutons

Guinness Onion Soup with White Cheddar Croutons

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  • 3 pounds raw onion, caramelized, along with any juices from the process (see note)
  • 1/4 cup Sherry, brandy or Irish Whiskey (or any whiskey or bourbon)
  • 1 cup Guinness, poured into a glass and allowed to sit until it settles
  • 6 cups beef or combination of beef and chicken stock, preferably low sodium
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 small sprigs thyme or about 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a little dark jam or a pinch or two of sugar (optional) by taste to balance any bitterness
  • 1/2 to 1 loaf good bread (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons oil (or as needed)
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) or more large grate White Irish Cheddar or other good meltable cheese (see note)
  • optional, a little thyme to sprinkle on top of finished soup as a garnish


For the soup:

Add caramelized onions and any juices from the process to a large Dutch oven or pan. Add Brandy, Sherry, 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 if whole herbs were used, then season with salt and pepper. Taste for bitterness and add jam or sugar to taste, starting with about 1/4 teaspoon of jam or a pinch or two of sugar. Add more if needed.

For the croutons:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

While soup simmers, remove crust from bread, cut into 1/2″ cubes. Add to the teaspoon and toss with oil. The cubes should all be just coated. Spread to a single ng sheet and bake until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice and arranging as needed by hand. Set aside.

To serve:

Adjust oven rack so the top of the croutons are about six inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on a heavy baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup, leaving about 1/2″ at the top for the croutons.

Top each bowl with about a tablespoon and a half of cheese, then a layer of croutons. Top with more cheese. Add a few more croutons artfully on top of the first layer and top those with more cheese, taking care to as much as possible, coat the top of the croutons. You’ll be using about 1/2 cup of cheese per serving. See note.

Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool several minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a little extra thyme if desired.


  • There are three processes on my site to caramelize onions. The baked onions on my French Onion Soup, Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions and this Stovetop Method.
  • You’ll need enough croutons to cover the soup in about 1 1/2 layers and the amount depends on the diameter of your vessels.
  • It’s nice to have just a little extra cheese to add on any bare spots that become apparent as the soup toasts under the broiler.
  • 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 brandy, sherry, whiskey or bourbon.

Keywords: Alcohol, Bargain Meal of the Week, Beef Stock, bourbon, brandy, Bread, Caramelized Onion, Cheese, Chicken Stock, Freezes Well, french onion soup, Guinness, Irish, onions, sherry, Soup, whiskey, white cheddar

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