This vegan french onion soup with homemade mozzarella is everything french onion soup should be: packed with caramelized onions, salty, savory, and topped with a thick crouton and generous mound of melted cheese. This recipe was originally published on December 10, 2014. The post has since been updated with new photos. The recipe remains the same!
The below story is one I shared when I originally wrote this post in December 2014. Take a trip down memory lane with me or jump straight to the recipe if you prefer. Happy soup making and happy holidays!
The holidays veil my thoughts with a reminiscent spirit. I find myself passing the drive to and from work thinking about the past. Sometimes my thoughts float all the way back to my early childhood and settle into memories that have faded with time.
While Dan and I were home for Thanksgiving, we made a point to drive by the house I lived in until I was seven. It was the house my mom grew up in, and my parents purchased it from my grandparents shortly after I was born. The family that bought the house from my parents still lives in it to this very day, and they've maintained the same landscaping, colors, and overall appearance my parents had so many years ago.
After we drove past the house—figuratively traversing memory lane—and crossed back onto the highway, we passed the spot where our old favorite restaurant, Derby Street, used to reside. Within an instant, my mind flooded with memories.
My mom's love for rice pudding.
The way my little brother Brad and I used to exit the restaurants' booths by way of crawling underneath the table.
And French onion soup.
The above flurry of memories led me to later recreate a vegan variation of Derby Street's French onion soup.
When I share my plans to make a vegan version of French Onion Soup (let's shorten that to FOS) with my mom, she was encouragingly skeptical.
That sounds so good, but how are you going to do it without beef broth?
My mom had every right to ask this question because she's known for making an epic FOS. So, point well received and challenge accepted.
After some tinkering with seasonings, this vegan version of FOS came to be, and let me tell you: it's damn delicious. I hardly ever swear on here, so you best believe this is the good stuff. Bring your worries, cares, and doubts to the dinner table, because this soup will allay them all.
Dan took one bite, let out a tricky-to-interpret groan, and boldly declared this was the best French Onion Soup he'd ever tasted.
To make this soup, you'll start by melting down a large dab of coconut oil in a dutch oven or oven-safe pot. You'll then add in a mountain of sliced onions, cover the pot, and let them sweat for 30-ish minutes.
Once the onions have softened and mellowed, you'll pop the entire pot into the oven (hence the need for one that's oven-safe) and continue to cook and caramelize the onions for 45 minutes or so.
Once the onions have reduced to about ¼ of their original volume, you'll return the pot to the stove, add a generous splash of dry white wine, and simmer off the alcohol for a few minutes.
Then, stir in filtered water, low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme sprigs, and sea salt. The combination of white wine, tamari, and balsamic creates layers upon layers of flavor.
While the soup simmers, you'll make a batch of this vegan mozzarella cheese.
Once the soup is ready, ladle it into small crocks, top with toasted baguette slices, generously dollop on homemade vegan mozzarella, and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
I hope you love this vegan French onion soup with cashew mozzarella as much as our family does.
On that note, let's slice some onions and shed tears of happiness!
Vegan French Onion Soup
For the Soup
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 4 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari or to taste*
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 small bundle fresh thyme springs bound by kitchen twine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1 recipe Vegan Cashew Mozzarella
- Thick slices of regular, multigrain, or gluten-free baguette, toasted
For the French Onion Soup
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Melt the coconut oil in a dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions to the pot, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the pot to the oven and keep the lid slightly ajar. Bake the onions for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.
- Carefully remove the pot from the oven and return it to the stove.
- Before turning on the heat, add in the white wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape at the bottom and sides of the pan to release all of the flavorful onion bits (that's the good stuff).
- Turn the heat on medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
- Add the water, soy or tamari, balsamic vinegar, thyme bundle, garlic, and sea salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer (partially covered) for 40-45 minutes..
- When the soup has nearly finished simmering, make the cashew mozzarella.
To Top + Finish Soup
- Heat broiler to high.
- Once the soup has finished simmering, turn off heat, and carefully remove the thyme stems.
- Ladle the soup into small, oven-safe crocks, top with 1-2 pieces of toasted baguette, place a large dollop of vegan mozzarella on top (reheat the cheese, whisking in a small splash of water, if it has become too thick to easily dollop on top). Transfer the crocks to a rimmed baking sheet.
- Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly, making sure to watch carefully to avoid burning.
- Remove from oven, carefully transfer hot crocks to individual plates, garnish with a thyme sprig, and serve immediately.
**If you don't have a high-powered blender, be sure to soak the cashews in hot water for 30-45 minutes before blending.
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan says
Oh my goodness, I can't WAIT to try this!!
I hope you enjoy it, Abby!
Celeste Jackson says
Wow!!!! you did it and I must admit it looks very beefy! I think I'll make this for Grandma on New Year's Eve and see if it passes her test. Love, Mom
Love the memories!
Really?! Oh man, if it passes Grandma's test, then we've really got something special. Maybe we can also make it for Christmas Eve??
p.s. One of my memories was almost going to be Brad consistently choking on mozzarella sticks at Derby Street. Do you remember that? We always called it "choke-y cheese" after those instances.
OMG, literally was JUST thinking of FOS and how I could make it for dinner tonite! wow, thank you!!
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
You can never go wrong with a comforting bowl of french onion soup! I definitely am craving a bowl of your vegan version right now. Seriously props too for making your own "mozzarella"!
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health says
I am blow away by that mozzarella!! The golden bubbles on top make it look just like real cheese. And I believe you when you say it's damn delicious. It sure looks like it! :)
Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent says
This looks divine!! I rarely make French onion soup, because it takes so much time, but I'll have to make an exception for this recipe. YUM!!
Mary Jo says
Well that does it! I've been looking for an excuse to buy an oven-safe cast iron dutch oven. This soup looks so tasty that it's the first thinkg I'll make with it.
This looks amazing, especially that mozzarella! I can't wait to try it! :-)
This sounds soooo good! Was looking for a good vegan FOS recipe for tonight and I'm going to try yours. Question - I don't have any arrowroot powder on hand. Can I use cornstarch?
Hi, Marie! Cornstarch should work just fine. You might need to add a tiny bit more (a teaspoon or two) as arrowroot has more thickening power than cornstarch, although I would start with the same amount and eyeball it! :)
Thank you! I did use it and it came out great! This recipe is marvelous! I used vegetable stock instead of water (3/4ths stock, 1/4 water). It came out pretty intense. I can see where just the water would be perfectly fine. I was concerned that it would not have enough flavor. Silly me! Thank you for this recipe. Definitely will be making it again. I also shared it with my vegan group on Facebook. I love the vegan cheese! Going to make a batch of it today to put in the fridge and use on crackers. ;)
Definitely making this tonight! Do you think it would work the same with regular vinegar instead of white wine vinegar for the mozzarella?
Hi, Kristine! I'm sorry for the delay -- yes, regular vinegar should work just fine, might just be a sharper flavor. Apple cider vinegar works great as a substitute for the white wine vinegar as well. Hope this helps!
I just made this- the mozzarella is amazing!
I am a serious foodie and carnivore. Due to health issues, I have been forced to stop my flesh consuming ways and go to a vegan, gluten free diet. At first I was crushed. I thought to myself, " My days of tastebud celebration are over." Bring on the bland.
And then I found your website. Thank you for opening my mind and mouth to vegan goodness. This recipe is impossible to tell the difference between yours and my grandmother's FOS.
I have found a reason to eat again.
I cannot thank you enough for sharing your talent.
I'm not sure what went wrong when I tried to make it but the mozzarela did not bubble or turn golden in the oven, left it there or 10 minutes and there was still nothing. The soup also had too mcuh soy sauce for my flavor.
Hi, Rita! I'm so sorry that the mozzarella didn't work out for you. Do you have an open-flame/gas broiler or an electric broiler? Admittedly, I have only tested the mozzarella with the broiler in my oven, which is open-flame/gas, which typically broils things quite quickly. I didn't think of this when I was testing the recipe, but it's possible that an electric broiler would take much longer or maybe not even work. If this is the case, let me know, and I'll make a note in the recipe. Also, I'll update the recipe to note to add the reduced-sodium soy/tamari to taste. Thank you for sharing your feedback, and my apologies again! I know how frustrating it is when a recipe doesn't work out as stated, and it's always my goal to prevent this to the greatest extent possible. All my best, Ashley
Is there a way to make this in a crock pot? I don't have and pots that are oven safe.
Hi, Sess! I've never tested the recipe using a crockpot, so I'm not sure if and how it would work. I have a feeling a crockpot would struggle to caramelize the onions in the same way, so I can't confidently recommend it. I'm sorry I can't be of more help here!
I made this tonight and it was amazing!! Thanks so much for the recipe. I wish I could post a picture of how it turned out!!
Ok....so far have made this soup twice now. It's AMAZING!! I'm obsessed. Thank you for this amazing recipe. The only slight adjustment I made was a couple tablespoons less than the suggested amount of low sodium soy, Perfectly delicious!
Catherine Herkovic says
Hi-is there a substitute for the coconut oil?
Wow. I haven't eaten French Onion soup since going meat free 21 years ago. This was super easy to make and reminded of the French Onion soup I used to live at the Outback restaurant chains.
Allie Rezac says
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! French onion soup has always been a favorite of mine, and now I can have it vegan! I've made this recipe twice now and even my meat-loving family can't tell the difference! Adding this to my collection!
This is the best french onion soup I've ever had! Yes it takes a lot of time to get the prize but it's so worth it in the end! Even my meat loving brother couldn't get enough! I've already made it 3 times and I have a feeling it will be many more in the coming cold months! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
What wonderful feedback! Thank you for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts—means so much, and I'm thrilled to hear how much you and your family are enjoying it. Happy cooking to you!
Glad you’re enjoying the recipe, Kelley!
I've never had french onion soup, but I thought I would give it a try. It's currently simmering on the stove and it smells divine! Also, even without nutritional yeast (I just ran out *sigh*) this cheese recipe is AWESOME. It's definitely going to be a game changer in our house for sure. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
I’ve tried a few vegan French soup recipes over the years and while they are good, I always found them lacking something flavour wise.
While I made a few modifications to this based on what I had on hand, hands down this is amazing, and will be a recipe I come back to time and time again. Thanks so much for putting this together.
For those who are curious I used olive oil in place of the coconut butter and I used mushroom broth in place of most the water with a tablespoon of both soy and tamari.
Everyone do yourself a favour and go make this soup right now.
So glad to hear you enjoyed the soup, Cici! Thanks for taking time out of your weekend to come back and share your thoughts and adjustments—means so much.
I was so missing French Onion Soup...this recipe is so worth the time and effort. Magically Delicious! You are an angel. Thank you!
You're so sweet, Jennifer! Thank you for the kind words and for taking time out of your day to come back and share—means so much.
There is no other recipe for French Onion Soup that even comes close to comparison to this recipe. I have been cooking your recipe for over three years now for my boyfriend and my family. Everyone loves it! I can no longer go out and eat French Onion Soup in a restaurant because it’s not the same! Nothing comes close to this mouthful of amazing! Thank You!
Ahh, Betsy!! This feedback just made my morning. Thrilled to know you've been enjoying the recipe for so many years! Thank you for taking time out of your day to let me know—means so much.
Mary Callan says
How wonderful!! I used to LOVE French Onion Soup and now we can have our soup and eat it!!!
Fabulous flavors - this is so perfect for the cold winter nights.
Yes, exactly! Thanks for the kind words, Mary! Happy cooking. :)
So glad you reposted this. Loved the soup (used less soy sauce); and also loved the cheese. Thanks Ashley.
So glad you're enjoying the soup and cheese, Sue! Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. :)
Paayel Agarwaal says
Can alcohol be avoided or substituted with any other ingredient?
Hi, Paayel! You can omit it. I'd recommend replacing with a small amount (maybe a tablespoon or two) of light vinegar. Enjoy!