HomeAppetizer Panera (Inspired) French Onion Soup

Panera (Inspired) French Onion Soup

Comments : 23 Posted in : Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch on by : Chris Tags: , , , , ,

French Onion Soup
Panera’s French Onion Soup, indeed the chain restaurant itself, holds a special place in my heart (and stomach). Just as I have a food association with muffins and bringing home Baby Boy, I associate Panera – and French Onion Soup – with Rachel. Indeed, I can’t walk into a Panera without immediately thinking of my beautiful wife. What’s so special about Panera? It was our “date” spot.

French Onion Soup
I met Rachel our first week at college. It was some freshman ice breaker event where we all went overnight camping at a local lake. I wasn’t thrilled about going but my roommate Dave, who is my childhood friend, went so I felt compelled to.

That next morning I got a late start (waking up late is a distant memory now that Baby Boy is here). I found Dave already at breakfast, sitting with a group of girls (of course). Dave introduced me to the group who, he told me, not only lived on the same dorm room floor as us, but just a few doors down.

One of those girls was Rachel. I won’t say it was love at first sight (she doesn’t really remember meeting me there) but I did think there was something different about her (in a good way!).

Panera French Onion Soup

Turned out I was in the same Psychology and Music classes as Rachel. Every time she was leaving for class I was too (just a coincidence, right?), so we’d walk together and talk. I’d visit her and her roommate Gabrielle, who we are still good friends with, or she would come and pester me and Dave. The more I got to know Rachel, the more I would think “there is something special about this girl”.

I can’t really explain how it happened other than to say the planets somehow aligned and a unicorn must have flown over a rainbow; we started dating.

Panera French Onion Soup

College cafeteria food not being the greatest, I would take Rachel to a local, newly opened Panera where we would sit for an hour or two over bowls of French Onion Soup or Chai Tea, just talking. That was our place; Panera. And we’d always get the same thing, French Onion Soup; me in a cup with a sandwich, her in a sour dough bread bowl. So many conversations; some serious, some silly. Sometimes not saying anything at all. Just enjoying each other’s company.

Through college, engagement, and marriage, Panera was still is our spot. We don’t eat out much these days, with Baby Boy now with us. But we don’t mind. We enjoy spending time at home, cooking together, being together and with our little boy.

French Onion Soup

Last Friday Rachel called me just before I left work. She asked me to pick up some Asiago bread to go with dinner. Sure, what are we having I asked? She told me I’d see.

I walked in to the delicious aroma of this Panera inspired French Onion Soup. We cut up the bread, filled our bowls with soup, and sat down to a meal we’ve been sharing for some 11 years now.

Sitting there enjoying this soup, my beautiful wife next to me, and Baby Boy laughing in his sleep as he napped in his crib, I quietly said thank you that the stars and planets aligned all those years ago. That I was lucky enough to meet this special lady who I would want to spend the rest of my days with.

French Onion Soup

In the monitor, Chris putting Baby Boy down for the night.

Recipe: Panera (Inspired) French Onion Soup


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) beef broth
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 drops Tabasco sauce
  • Asiago Cheese Bread (or a french or other bread)
  • Swiss cheese


  1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan, then add the onions. Saute over medium heat until the onions are soft and slightly browned.
  2. Pour in the remaining ingredients into the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered.
  3. Once soup has simmered and top with a slice of bread and shaved cheese. Place under broiler until cheese has melted, then serve.

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

French Onion Soup


23 thoughts

  • September 27, 2011 at 7:42 am

    You are my new best friend! This is my favorite soup ever and I have been living on it lately. I have a good recipe but will be trying this one!

    • Chris
      September 27, 2011 at 8:05 am

      Lol, thanks Cassie. I’ve been really enjoying the broccoli cheddar lately. Think I may need to try making that one at home 🙂

    • Chris
      September 27, 2011 at 9:05 am

      Oh no! What was the sandwich? I usually go with the bacon turkey bravo, but I’ve tried one or two others. It’s always so hard trying something new when you enjoy your “Regular”

  • September 27, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Okay, I thought that the posts about Baby Boy were the sweetest things ever, but *this* may take the cake, my friend. I love that you and Rachel share your stories with us every week! I always look forward to the recipes, but I think that I’m equally excited to see what comes along with them. 🙂

    I definitely know what it’s like to have that “place” you associate with somebody special in your life–and Panera’s a tasty one! Yum. 🙂

    • Chris
      September 27, 2011 at 9:11 am

      Thank you Tara, glad you enjoy! I enjoy writing posts like this. It’s especially fun to sit back and watch Rachel’s expression as she reads them for the first time 🙂

    • Chris
      September 27, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      He’ll love this soup Rachel! Be sure to top with some crusty bread and cheese 🙂

    • Chris
      September 29, 2011 at 9:36 am

      Thanks Christina! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

  • Melanie Keenan
    September 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

    NOM NOM NOM yours looks like it came out better than mine when i attempted it a few weeks ago!

    I think we should NOM on this soon

    • Chris
      September 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      Lol! Thanks Mel 🙂 Maybe well make it again next time we come up

  • September 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    such a sweet post. i totally want my husband to start a blog so he’ll write amazing stuff like this about me. =) kidding! (sort of) also, it goes without saying that this soup looks divine. will have to try it!

    • Chris
      September 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      Hahah. Thanks Amy! 🙂

  • September 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    A beautiful story and a delicious recipe are the prefect combination. I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to french onion soup, so we really never can have enough recipes!

    • Chris
      October 3, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Thanks Ashley! You’ll love this recipe. And it’s super easy to make!

  • September 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Hi Chris, found your website through Twitter and just love it! The soup looks fantastic as does your other recipes. I am sure I will be trying a lot of them. Putting the soup on my Pinterest “recipes I want to make” board and adding your site to my favorite foodie blogs on my site! So nice to meet you!

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  • March 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Wow, what a nice post ! This soup looks yummy. Thanks for sharing nice recipe with us. I will try this at home. I love french soup as well as french cuisine food very much and i have tried many french recipes which i got from youtube and many other website. I like visiting French restaurants in weekend.

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