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Panera Bread French Onion Soup Recipe
Panera Bread French Onion Soup
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Soup
Calories: 180
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Recipe Rating: 4.1 (18 reviews)

The 1,115 Panera Bread locations are famous for fantastic sandwiches, but it's this delicious French onion soup that has inspired the most e-mail requests for a clone from the chain. The biggest difference I find with Panera's formula versus other onion soup recipes is the inclusion of a small, almost undetectable, bit of tomato sauce. But rather than opening up a whole can of tomato sauce to use just 1 tablespoon in this home kitchen counterpart, I found that a squirt of ketchup works perfectly. Panera Bread also makes their soup with just a bit of heat, so we'll add a little Tabasco pepper sauce to the pot to wake everything up. The croutons on top of the soup appear to be made from the chain's focaccia bread that has been buttered, cubed, and toasted until crispy, but you can use any bread you may have on hand. As for the cheese on top, the menu says it's Asiago-Parmesan, but the cheese I tasted was more Asiago than Parmesan, so you'll need to use only Asiago cheese (that's been shaved using a potato peeler) for a great clone.

Source: "Top Secret Recipes Unlocked" by Todd Wilbur.

1/4 cup butter
8 cups sliced white onions (4 to 5 medium onions)
Good, but not anything like Panera
Submitted on: 10/01/13
French onion soup is my favorite thing to make, and I agree that this tastes good, but it isn't close to Panera. The soup at Panera is significantly darker and much more "beefy" flavor. I suspect that they add extra buillon or something.
greatness !
Submitted on: 03/04/13
My 6 year old said this was " the best thing I have ever made !" He ate 3 bowls and even took some to school for lunch today ! This was excellent - close to Panera's version - now please get to work on the " asian sesame dressing" they have and I will be able to make our all time favorite lunch at home !!!
Panera Bread French Onion Soup
Submitted on: 02/28/13
Very good - with a little tweaking: Use half the amount of salt and pepper, then taste at the end and add more if desired. Get a tube of tomato paste and add a teaspoon of it instead of the ketchup. (Ketchup has a lot of sugar, so do onions. Using tomato paste will help it not be too sweet.)
Submitted on: 06/07/12
I'm a HUGE fan of the real thing, so I was THRILLED to try this out! Very simple to make, I already had almost every ingredient on-hand. One thing, though - scratch the ketchup and the Tobasco. There was WAY too much tomato taste in the soup for it to taste like the real thing. Other than that, not bad.
Submitted on: 12/25/08
OMG!! This is the best! I make it over and over again! Todd really hit this one out of the park! The thing that makes it especially great are the croutons and cheese. Just like the real thing.
Submitted on: 07/28/08
I am not generally an onion lover, but I really like this soup. My mother who has eaten this soup at Panera thought it tasted just like it.
Submitted on: 06/28/08
I just made this for supper. It was good but the color was a little lighter..and it was a little too sweet. It wasnt as good as theirs. The asiago is a must. I would make it again.
Submitted on: 09/14/07
I love the soup at panera bread and for me this did not resemble it at all! This version was so sweet unlike the "real" soup (from the onions i guess). I have liked all the recipes on here so maybe I did something wrong? Help!
Submitted on: 01/06/07
I love Panera's soup, and this version is dead on! Since all I had on hand was salted butter, I swapped out one can of regular beef brother for a low sodium version, as well as the low sodium chicken broth and it still tasted great. I would however, change the amount of pepper, way too much! the bite from the pepper was almost over powering. But either way, it is a great copy and I can't wait to make it again!
Submitted on: 03/14/06
I finally got around to making this recipe last night and I love it!! I do have to say that I think it calls for WAY too much black pepper. The taste of it is almost overwhelming, and I don't think it was like that at Panera's. I would change both this and the salt "to taste", or, maybe 1/2 tsp. each and then "to taste".
Submitted on: 03/03/06
I have to agree that this recipe is right on the money! I did however eliminate the pepper and the other "hot" spices. Otherwise the croutons were awesome and the soup was delicious. It doesn't even take that long to prep and cook either. I doubled up on the recipe and had a ton of leftovers. Do yourself a favor and make this recipe!!!
Submitted on: 02/06/06
Great soup! I added a little sherry instead of the chicken broth.
Submitted on: 01/21/06
LOVE this recipe! I was going to Panera's at least twice a week for this soup and I have to say this is dead on! I love it!! WoohOOOO :)
p and g  
Submitted on: 01/15/06
This soup was great!!!! As close as you can get without having the real thing!!!!
Panera Employee  
Submitted on: 11/22/05
You are very close on the crutons...we cut up the Asiago loaf to make them.
Submitted on: 11/19/05
Recipe calls for WAY too much salt! all I could taste.
Submitted on: 10/30/05
I am a French Onion Soup Fanatic and Panera Bread french onion soup is my all time favorite! This Recipe is as close to it as you can get! It is OUTSTANDING! Try it in a sour dough bread bowl! So DELICIOUS!
Submitted on: 08/08/05
Wow! I have to say that I have this soup from Panera at least once a week and this recipe was pretty much right on. Next time I'm going to use low sodium broth though.