Imagine the perfect bowl of French onion soup, with sweet, earthy caramelized onions, rich, boozy broth, thick croutons, and salty-citrusy alpine cheese. Now, imagine all of those flavors and textures—minus the broth, of course—on a pizza. French Onion Soup pizza?! Yeah, I know. Mind blown.
(Post and recipe updated on 2/24/22)
For inspiration, I turned to Julia Child's recipe for Soupe à L’Oignon (Onion Soup) in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She calls for both white wine and cognac in her broth, and I figured that, when cooked down to a sauce-like concentrate, these flavors would really bring the French in this French onion pizza.
To fake the slight crunch of the cheese-covered toast or crouton in the soup, I par-baked the crust for a few minutes before topping. I also splurged on fancy, local cheeses. A Gruyère-style called Somerset from Valley Shepherd Creamery and Oberlander Swiss from Alpine Heritage Creamery. With a pizza this simple—just caramelized onions and cheese—the quality of the ingredients really does make a difference.
Of course, if you don't have a fancy local cheese shop near you, a mix of any alpine cheeses (Swiss, Gruyère, Appenzeller, Emmentaler, etc.) will be delicious. Or, you could even try an aged farmhouse Cheddar if none of those options are available.
French Onion Pizza FAQs
This is one of my favorite recipes to demo in pizza-making classes. It's easy to make, universally loved, and it's just complicated enough to bring up lots of great questions. Here are some that come up in just about every class I teach:
For the most classic French onion soup flavor, you really should stick with a big yellow or Vidalia onion. If you use red or white instead, the taste won't be quite the same.
In a pinch, you can use rum instead of cognac. Or, if you don't keep any hard alcohol around, just use more white wine. The onions will lack some depth of flavor without the cognac (or rum), but they'll still be very tasty.
Sure! Any mixture of Swiss, Gruyère, Appenzeller, Emmentaler, or aged farmhouse Cheddar will work great. Ask your local cheesemonger for their favorite Alpine cheese, and experiment away! Or, if you don't have a cheese shop near you, just head to the fine cheese section of your grocery store (usually near the deli area).
If you want that iconic French onion soup flavor on your pizza, do me a favor and follow the recipe as it's written. Yes, I know it takes a little while, but the result is so worth it!
Of course! I like to sprinkle some chopped fresh parsley on top of my finished pizza, but tarragon is a good choice, too.
Looking for more onion pizza recipes? Try one of these:
- Green Tomato and Caramelized Onion Pizza
- Steakhouse Pizza with Blue Cheese and Onions
- Deep Dish Pizza with Sausage, Pepper, and Onion
- Kalamata Tapenade and Red Onion Pizza
French Onion Pizza
- Wooden spoon
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 jumbo yellow onion (or 2 medium; 1 to 1½ pounds), sliced into half-moons
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons cognac (or rum)
- 1½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
- 3 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
- Chopped fresh parsley or tarragon, for garnish (optional)
- Melt the butter in a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat. Dump in the onion slices and sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the onion slices are soft and tender, then pour in the wine, cognac, and beef broth. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid has mostly cooked off and the onions are very soft and deep amber in color. Stir in the sugar and season with salt as needed.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F. If using a baking stone/steel, place the stone/steel in the bottom third of the oven before you start preheating.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, just until the crust turns golden. Remove the parbaked crust from the oven.
- If you're using a baking stone or steel, switch your oven setting to Broil on high, and let it heat up for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Spoon the caramelized onions onto the parbaked crust, spreading them out evenly. Make sure you get as much of the gooey sauce as possible—it will really bring forward the French-onion-soup flavor. Sprinkle the cheeses over the onions.
- Transfer the topped crust to the oven and bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and charred in spots, about 5 minutes on a baking stone or steel, 5 to 7 minutes on a baking sheet.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Top with fresh parsley or tarragon if desired.