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French Onion Pasta

This epic French onion pasta is unbelievably creamy, indulgent, and simply the best comfort food you could ask for. Plenty of onions are caramelized low and slow, before adding white wine, vegetable stock, pasta, cream, and cheese for a super cozy, creamy pasta recipe.

french onion pasta in a white bowl

I’ve been on a roll trying my own twist on viral pasta recipe trends recently – first with this baked feta pasta with butternut squash, then this Boursin pasta variety, and now, French onion pasta.

When I saw this trend pop up on my TikTok feed (come hang out with me there if you’re not already!), I knew it was going to be good. The dish first went viral about a year ago or so – but I have to be honest – it wasn’t until I made it for myself that I was truly blown away.

Vegetarian French Onion Pasta

I’ve added this recipe to make it vegetarian-friendly. The vast majority of French onion pasta recipes use:

  • Worcestershire sauce – Traditionally, this contains anchovies or fish sauce, which is not vegetarian or vegan-friendly. I used tamari for that savory addition instead.
  • Beef stock – I swapped out beef stock for vegetable stock instead.
  •  Gruyère cheese – While you may be able to find a vegetarian-friendly version, Gruyère cheese often contains animal rennet, which is not vegetarian. In this recipe, we use mature aged cheddar instead.

My Top Tip For Excellent French Onion Pasta

The real secret, for my version of this recipe, was caramelizing the onions super low and slow. We’re talking a good 40 minutes dedicated to simply cooking the onions, allowing them to soften and then slowly deepen in color and flavor as they caramelize.

Is it a little boring? Yes. Is it a long time to spend just cooking onions? Yes. But is it 100% worth the effort? Oooooh yes.

The beautifully flavorful, fragrant caramelized onions give this French onion pasta dish its base, but the addition of fresh thyme, white wine, cream, and cheese

What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe

Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this page to find the full recipe card with exact quantities and instructions for making this mind-blowingly good pasta recipe!

In this section, I’ve included the ingredients you need (and why I pick them), plus a few possible swaps if you can’t find something.


  • Large White Onion: Unsurprisingly, onions are a pretty key part of this recipe! For this recipe to serve three, I used one very large onion. Use two or three medium-sized onions if you can’t find a large one.
  • Garlic Cloves: Garlic adds depth and aromatic richness to the French onion pasta. Make sure it’s freshly minced for the best flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is used for sautéing the onions and garlic. You could use vegetable oil or rapeseed oil if you prefer. Don’t be afraid of the oil in this dish – you need it for the onions!
  • Butter: Butter contributes to the dish’s creamy texture and richness. You could omit it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Seasonings: All you need for this recipe is salt, black pepper (freshly cracked, preferably!), and fresh thyme.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar offers a sweet and tangy note to complement the onions, helps with that final caramelization, and adds a darker color to the onions. You could sub with sugar.
  • Tamari: Tamari is a great vegetarian-friendly substitute for Worcestershire sauce, which is often added to French onion soup and pasta.
  • White Wine: Opt for a dry white wine if possible. You could omit the wine and use something like apple cider vinegar if you would prefer a non-alcoholic option, but adding that acidic element is a must.
  • Plain Flour: Flour is used for thickening the sauce.
  • Vegetable Stock: Vegetable stock forms the flavorful base of the sauce for this recipe. If you eat meat, you could use beef stock.
  • Farfalle Pasta: Of course, use whatever pasta shape you prefer most – farfalle is my preference for this recipe.
  • Double Cream: Adding a dash of double cream to your pasta just before serving really does elevate this dish – I would highly advise not skipping this step!
  • Cheese: Cheese typically provides a luscious, melty topping for a traditional French onion soup (on top of a crouton/baguette) – so for the French onion pasta, I instead stirred cheese into the sauce and also added some on top before serving. I used a mature-aged cheddar. You could top your pasta with a melty, cheesy crouton, but I felt it was rich enough as it was!

Expert Tip: Gruyère cheese adds a nutty and slightly sweet flavor to the dish, while cheddar cheese offers a sharper and more robust taste. Just be mindful that Grueye often is not suitable for vegetarians. You can choose one or use a combination of both for a unique flavor profile if you don’t have any dietary requirements, however.


Good news – this is a one-pot dish! I use my trusty casserole pan for this recipe, which is well worth the investment in my opinion. Whatever pot you use, make sure you have a lid that fits.

You’ll also need a sharp knife and cutting board or a mandolin for the onions, a wooden spoon for stirring, and a grater for the cheese.

Step-by-step instructions

Again, I’ve included the full instructions and ingredients in one central place in the recipe card at the bottom of this page. Use that for easy step-by-step instructions.

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll do to bring this French onion pasta to fruition.

  1. Caramelize the Onions

Start by thinly slicing your white onion. I cut the stem off the onion, then cut it in half from the root (so cutting the root exactly in half) and peel the skin away. Then, place the flat section down on your chopping board, and thinly slice the onion crosswise (as opposed to from stem to root).

Then, heat your oil in your casserole pan and add the onions. Saute on a low heat for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring intermittently. The onions should have softened at this point.

Then, add the butter, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook the onions for a further 20 minutes. The onions should turn a lovely golden brown as they caramelize.

2. Add garlic, tamari, balsamic, and thyme

Once the onions have caramelized for about 40 minutes, add the minced garlic, tamari sauce, balsamic vinegar, and fresh thyme.

You can either add the sprigs of thyme as they are and just remove the stems before serving, or you could pull the leaves off the stems and add the leaves to the pan.

Step 3: Add flour and deglaze with white wine

Next, we add plain flour to help thicken the pasta sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add your dry white wine to deglaze the pan and add an acidic note to the French onion pasta recipe.

Step 4: Add stock and pasta

Pour in your vegetable stock and the pasta of your choice, uncooked. The pasta will cook in the sauce – cover the dish and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes while it does.

Stir every few minutes to avoid the bottom of the pan burning.

Step 5: Add cream and cheese

To finish, pour in your double cream and the grated cheese, and stir.

Dish up the French onion pasta and sprinkle over a little more grated cheese, fresh black pepper, and thyme leaves. Enjoy!

Tips and tricks

After making this recipe on repeat for the past few weeks (I’m officially obsessed!), here are a few tips I’ve picked up that might help:

  • Slice the onions as thinly as possible, using your knuckles to guide you. Thinly sliced onions caramelize better and really are worth the effort. Have a look at this video on slicing onions if you’re not the best at slicing.
  • Low and slow is the ultimate secret for perfectly caramelized onions. It may feel painstakingly slow waiting at least 40 minutes just for your onions to cook, but it really is worth it. Put in the effort to allow the onions to cook down into a deliciously golden, jammy consistency and the taste of this dish will be all the reward you need.
  • The onions may look a little ‘foamy’ once you’ve added the white wine – this is because of the wine reacting with the flour. Don’t worry – just keep stirring!
  • Stir the pasta once you’ve added it to avoid any sinking to the bottom and sticking.
  • Pull the thyme leaves off the stems and add them to the dish rather than adding the whole sprig to ensure they spread evenly throughout the dish.
  • If needed, just add a little more water to the pan while the pasta is cooking. If it looks very watery at first, just remember the uncooked pasta will absorb a lot of the liquid while cooking, resulting in a thick and creamy sauce.
  • Add the cream and cheese just before serving for a super creamy pasta.
  • Feel free to make your caramelized onions ahead of time, storing them in the fridge until you’re ready. Cook them the same as this recipe instructs, up to adding in the tamari/balsamic and stop before you add the flour. Then, just pick up where you left off after slowly reheating the onions.
French onion pasta on a spatula

Ingredient variations

I’ve included a few potential variations in the ingredient notes above, but here are a couple more potential variations for this recipe:

  • Make it vegan: Use vegan butter, vegan double cream (I always use the Elmea plant-based cream), and vegan cheddar cheese to make this French onion pasta vegan-friendly!
  • Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free plain flour or cornflour and gluten-free pasta for a gluten-free version of this recipe.
  • Add cheddar and mozzarella on top: Add more grated cheese on top of the finished dish and broil for 5 minutes for a super melty, cheesy topping for your pasta!
  • Pair with cheesy garlic bread: I felt this dish was already rich enough to need extra carbs in the form of croutons or bread, but you could definitely pair it with garlic bread if you want to!

Storing Instructions

This French Onion Pasta is definitely best enjoyed freshly made, but it can be stored for later enjoyment or as leftovers. Here’s how to do it:

  • Refrigeration: Place any remaining pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate it for 2-3 days. When reheating, consider adding a splash of vegetable stock or cream to maintain the desired consistency.
  • Freezing: While it’s possible to freeze French Onion Pasta, keep in mind that the texture may change upon thawing. If you decide to freeze it, use a freezer-safe container and consume it within 1-2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


Devour the whole thing straight from the bowl, or you could serve it with:

  • Garlic bread or (even better) cheesy garlic bread on the side
  • A crisp green side salad to add a bit of lightness to the recipe
  • With steamed tender stem broccoli or roasted green beans


  1. Can I use another type of pasta?
    Absolutely! While this recipe uses farfalle pasta, you can choose your favorite pasta shape. Just keep in mind that different pasta shapes may affect cooking times.
  2. Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for white wine?
    Yes, you can replace white wine with apple cider vinegar (use less) for a non-alcoholic alternative. It adds a similar sweetness and depth of flavor.
  3. Can I make this dish in advance for a dinner party?
    French Onion Pasta can be made in advance and reheated when needed. Store it in the refrigerator and gently reheat it on the stove, adding a bit of liquid if it thickens too much. Alternatively, just make the caramelized onions ahead of time so you’ve reduced the time it will take you to bring everything together.
  4. What’s the best cheese for this recipe?
    Gruyère cheese is traditionally used in French Onion Soup, but you can also use Swiss, Emmental, Mature Cheddar (what I’ve used here), or a combination of cheeses for a rich and creamy flavor.
  5. How can I make this dish vegetarian?
    This recipe is already vegetarian-friendly. If you’re looking to make it vegan, substitute dairy products with non-dairy alternatives, and ensure the cheese is vegan.
french onion pasta in a white bowl

French Onion Pasta

Yield: 3 portions
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This epic French onion pasta is unbelievably creamy, indulgent, and simply the best comfort food you could ask for. Onions are caramelized low and slow for a super cozy, creamy pasta recipe


  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt & 1 black pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 225g farfalle pasta
  • 60ml double cream
  • 60g mature cheddar cheese


  1. Peel your onion and slice thinly.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the thinly sliced onion. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 15 - 20 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, and butter and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. The onions should be beginning to turn a deep golden brown at this point. Stir often.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar, tamari, thyme, and minced garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the flour and stir into the onions, then add the white wine and deglaze the pan, cooking for another 5-8 minutes until the white wine has cooked down.
  6. Add the pasta and vegetable stock, stir, and cover the pan to simmer for another 10 minutes or until the pasta has cooked.
  7. Stir in the cream and grated cheese until the cheese has melted and then serve with more cheese and black pepper to finish.


Ths recipe is best enjoyed fresh, but French Onion Pasta can be stored for later enjoyment or as leftovers. Here's how to do it:

  • Refrigeration: Place any remaining pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 2-3 days. When reheating, consider adding a splash of vegetable stock or cream to maintain the desired consistency.
  • Freezing: While it's possible to freeze French Onion Pasta, keep in mind that the texture may change upon thawing. If you decide to freeze it, use a freezer-safe container and consume it within 1-2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

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