Guinness Irish Onion Soup

Onion soup gets an Irish makeover with a healthy dose of stout beer and Irish cheese, everyone will love this version of Guinness Irish Onion Soup!

Guinness Irish Onion Soup from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

At this point my “little secret” of being a picky eater as a kid isn’t so much of a little secret any more.  Not that really should have been a secret, what kid wasn’t picky about some foods at some point in their life, right?  The thing is, I was just picky about foods that maybe most kids wouldn’t be so picky about.  I couldn’t stand anything creamy (except ice cream but that doesn’t count), would never drink a glass of milk and don’t even think about putting beans, bananas or coconut in front of me {<— granted those 3 hold true to this day}.

Other foods I loved and if I saw it on a menu, you could guarantee I would order it.  My case in point, French onion soup.   My young palette didn’t really understand the nuances that went into the soup, I liked it because it was a) salty and b) had lots of cheese.  The more cheese the better for me.

Guinness Irish Onion Soup |

My love for this soup has not outgrown either, to this day I can hardly resist a crock when I see it on a menu.  Most versions are the same and half the time they disappoint, I guess that’s what happens when you grow up and understand that a truly good version takes hours of cooking down those onions and developing a rich broth.

Still though, back in December when we were visiting friends in the Jersey suburbs, I had to order the Irish onion soup at the Irish Pub we were dining at.  That one was new for me!  Beer instead of wine and possibly Irish cheese on top?  I was all for it!  The thing was, there was nothing Irish about this soup!  If there was beer in there, I didn’t taste it and that cheese most definitely was mozzarella and not Irish.   What a disappointment, I could do better.

Guinness Irish Onion Soup |

Really for a soup I love so much, I hardly ever do make it home because it is a good two to three hours out of my day.   Between the onion tears and stirring those onions so they don’t burn in the beginning, the time is completely worth it!  I know there are plenty of slow cooker versions to caramelize these beauties but I prefer the depth of flavor the old fashioned way – with lots of butter and some stirring from a wooden spoon!

It takes a good hour and a half  to get the onions to a gorgeous deep golden brown and after that I like to let the stock simmer to really soak up that flavor but the end result is a soup you can savor and enjoy.  Oh and let’s not forget the cheese! Go heavy handed and just slice chunks off the block to melt, you get the best coverage over the toasted bread before plunging into the Guinness scented, onion filled broth.

Guinness Irish Onion Soup
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  • 6 cups sliced yellow onions (about 5-6 medium onions, it's fine if you go over 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (Irish or European butter recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 12 ounces Guinness Extra Stout
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • day-old french bread, cut into 1 inch thick rounds, toasted
  • 8 ounces Irish cheese (such as cheddar or Dubliner), sliced


  1. In a large dutch oven or heavy duty stock pot over medium heat melt the butter and oil and add the sliced onions. Stir to coat with the butter and oil and cook down until they between to sweat and reduce in size - about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and leaves from the thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Once the onions have started to reduce in size and start to brown lightly, cover the dutch oven and cook the onions covered for 45 minutes, stirring once and awhile.
  3. After 45 minutes lift the cover and continue to cook the onions until they reach a deep caramelized golden brown color - about another 15 minutes.
  4. Pour in the Guinness and bring to a simmer, cook for 10 minutes before adding the stock.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  7. To serve, divide the soup between 4 oven save bowls or onion soup crocks and top with 1-2 pieces of bread and cheese.
  8. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and in your oven or broiler to melt and brown (for more bubbly, browned cheese, place under the broiler for about 30 seconds to a minute).
  9. Carefully remove and serve hot.
Recipe Type: Soup

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