Love French onion soup but not sure what herbs and spices to use?
You’re in luck!
In this article, I’m going to show you exactly how to take your French onion soup up a notch.
Whether you’re looking to add some extra flavor or just want to switch things up a little bit, these 12 herbs and spices can be the perfect companion for your favorite soup.
So if you want the fullest flavor when making classic French onion soup, read on!
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1. Sea Salt
Sea salt has a unique taste.
It is more intense than regular table salt, but still quite subtle and delicate; it adds a slightly salty flavor without overpowering the dish.
When it comes to how much to add, you should always start with a small amount and adjust as needed.
A good rule of thumb is to use about 1 teaspoon per 4 servings.
To prepare sea salt for your French onion soup recipe, simply sprinkle an appropriate amount on top of the dish before serving or mix it into the ingredients while cooking.
2. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder is a great way to add flavor to your French onion soup.
It has a pungent, savory, and slightly sweet taste that pairs well with the rich flavors of the soup.
When adding garlic powder to your recipe, it’s important not to overdo it as too much can overpower the other flavors in the dish.
A good starting point is about 1 teaspoon for every 4 cups of liquid in your recipe.
You may need to adjust this amount depending on how garlicky you want your soup to be!
To prepare garlic powder for use in cooking, simply sprinkle it directly into the pot when sautéing or simmering ingredients.
You can also mix it with herbs and spices such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, or sage if desired.
3. Onion Powder
Onion powder has a savory, pungent flavor with a hint of sweetness.
It’s great for adding depth and seasoning to your recipes.
When it comes to French onion soup, you’ll want to use about 1-2 teaspoons of onion powder per 6 servings.
4. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves have a woodsy and slightly bitter taste to them.
When using them in your cooking, it’s best to add just a few at a time.
Depending on the recipe, this could be anywhere from one to three bay leaves.
Bay leaves pair well with other herbs such as thyme, oregano, parsley, and rosemary.
Bay leaves are especially great for French onion soup!
They provide an extra layer of flavor that helps round off the sweet onions and beef broth.
If you’re making French onion soup, I would recommend adding two or three bay leaves for optimal flavor.
To enhance the overall taste of your soup even more, try adding some fresh thyme and sage – both pair nicely with bay leaves!
5. Black Pepper
Black pepper has a strong and pungent flavor with notes of heat and spice.
It is one of the most widely used spices in the world, so it’s no surprise that it pairs perfectly with French onion soup!
When adding black pepper to a recipe, it’s best to add it in small amounts because its taste can quickly become overwhelming.
Start by adding just 1/4 teaspoon per serving, then adjust according to your preferences.
Black pepper goes well with other herbs such as thyme and oregano, as well as vegetables like onions and garlic.
Its sharpness also works wonderfully when paired with creamy ingredients like cheese or cream-based soups.
Thyme has a mild flavor that is earthy, minty, and slightly peppery.
It pairs particularly well with French onion soup as it brings out the sweetness of the onions and complements other flavors like garlic and bay leaves.
When adding thyme to your recipe, start off small – about 1 teaspoon per 4 servings of soup should do the trick.
Taste the dish after you have added it in order to determine if you need more or less of this herb.
Thyme pairs well with ingredients like potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, oregano, rosemary, and sage.
You can also add some thyme to soups, stews, or marinades for an extra boost of flavor!
7. Dried Parsley
Dried parsley is a popular and versatile herb that has a mild, slightly grassy taste.
It’s an essential ingredient in French onion soup as it provides the perfect herbal flavor to this classic comfort food.
When adding dried parsley to your recipe, start with 1 teaspoon per serving of soup.
Feel free to adjust the amount according to your own taste preferences.
Dried parsley pairs well with many other herbs and spices like bay leaves, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, turmeric, and cumin – all of which are common ingredients in French onion soup!
Additionally, it goes great with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for added flavor and texture.
8. Celery Salt
Celery salt is a blend of ground celery seed and regular table salt.
It has an aromatic, earthy flavor that complements the savory flavors of French onion soup.
When adding celery salt to your recipe, it’s best to start with a small amount and adjust as needed.
You can always add more but you can’t take it out!
A good rule of thumb is ¼ teaspoon for every cup of broth or stock.
Celery salt pairs well with other herbs such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, and sage.
9. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper has a sharp, spicy taste that adds a powerful kick to any dish.
When added to recipes, it should be used sparingly as the flavor can quickly become overwhelming.
A good rule of thumb is to start with just one teaspoon and then adjust according to personal preference.
Cayenne pepper goes incredibly well with French onion soup!
Its bright flavor complements the sweetness of the onions and adds a bit of zest and warmth that really brings out all the other flavors in the soup.
You can also add some minced garlic or paprika for extra depth.
Rosemary is a fragrant and earthy herb that pairs particularly well with French onion soup.
It has a distinct, pungent flavor and scent, so you don’t need to add too much of it.
A teaspoon of dried rosemary or two tablespoons of fresh will do the trick!
Rosemary pairs best with ingredients like garlic, thyme, parsley, sage, oregano, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. It also goes very well with olive oil for added flavor.
To get a better sense of what rosemary tastes like without having to try it yourself firsthand: think pine-like flavors with hints of citrus and mint.
Sage has a very pronounced herbal flavor that is earthy and slightly peppery with hints of mint, eucalyptus, and lemon.
It is an excellent seasoning for many dishes, but it can be overpowering if added in too large a quantity.
For most recipes, 1 teaspoon of dried sage should suffice.
If you’re using fresh sage leaves instead, then use 2 teaspoons as they have a more intense flavor than the dried variety.
When adding this herb to your dish, take care not to add it too early in the cooking process as prolonged heating will cause its flavor to dissipate quickly.
You may also want to reduce the amount of other herbs or seasonings you plan on adding because sage packs quite a punch!
Sage works particularly well when paired with poultry such as turkey or chicken; fish like salmon; pork; squash; potatoes; onions; mushrooms; and Brussels sprouts.
Its strong aroma pairs nicely with heavier flavors such as garlic and rosemary too!
12. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has a strong and tangy flavor that is both sour and acidic.
When added to recipes, it adds a bright and zesty flavor that can really amp up the taste of your dish!
It’s important to be careful when adding lemon juice because too much can make a recipe overly tart.
As such, I recommend starting with just 1-2 tablespoons for every cup of other ingredients in your recipe.
You can always add more if needed but it’s difficult to take away the tartness once you’ve added too much.
Lemon pairs wonderfully with many different flavors including garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, and basil; as well as fruits like oranges and berries.
It also works great in salads or drinks like lemonade or tea!
12 Best Herbs and Spices for French Onion Soup
- Sea Salt
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Bay Leaves
- Black Pepper
- Dried Parsley
- Celery Salt
- Cayenne Pepper
- Lemon Juice
- Pick your favorite spices and herbs from this collection to add to your soup.
- Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
- Enjoy in no time!