French Onion Meatballs recipe

Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of French cuisine with this French Onion Meatballs recipe, blending the savory richness of classic French onion soup with the hearty comfort of tender, juicy meatballs. This dish takes the beloved flavors of caramelized onions, fragrant thyme, and savory Gruyère cheese, and combines them with perfectly seasoned beef meatballs in a luscious sauce, making for a truly exquisite meal. Serve over toasted baguette slices for a delightful crunch that complements the soft meatballs and gooey cheese, creating an experience that’s sure to impress at any dinner table.


For the Onions:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – To sauté the onions.
  • 4 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 6 cups) – The base of the flavorful sauce.
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced – Adds depth to the onion mixture.
  • 2 bay leaves – For a hint of herbal aroma.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt – Enhances the overall taste.
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves – Provides a subtle earthy flavor.
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper – Adds a bit of heat.
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc – Deglazes the pan and adds complexity.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter – For richness and to finish off the onion mixture.

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef – The main component of the meatballs.
  • 1 large egg, beaten – Binds the meatball ingredients together.
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs – Gives the meatballs a light texture.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt – Seasons the meat.
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper – For seasoning.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – To brown the meatballs.

For the Sauce and Serving:

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour – Thickens the sauce.
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth – The liquid base of the sauce.
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard – Adds tang and depth.
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce – For a hint of umami.
  • 6 ounces freshly grated Gruyère cheese (about 1 cup) – Melts beautifully over the meatballs.
  • Toasted baguette slices, for serving – The perfect accompaniment.


  1. Caramelize the Onions: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, kosher salt, thyme, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deeply caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine, cook until evaporated, then stir in the butter. Remove the bay leaves and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Meatballs: In a bowl, combine the ground beef, beaten egg, panko breadcrumbs, kosher salt, and black pepper. Form into small balls. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meatballs on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Make the Sauce: In the same skillet, sprinkle flour over the caramelized onions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, ensuring no lumps form. Add Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce, bringing to a simmer. Return the meatballs to the skillet, cover, and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through.
  4. Finish with Cheese: Sprinkle the grated Gruyère cheese over the meatballs and sauce. Cover until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  5. Serve: Serve the French Onion Meatballs hot, accompanied by toasted baguette slices for dipping into the sauce and enjoying the melty cheese.

This French Onion Meatballs recipe offers a unique twist on traditional flavors, combining the coziness of homemade meatballs with the sophisticated taste of French onion soup. It’s a dish that warms the soul and delights the palate, perfect for gatherings or a comforting family dinner. Enjoy the melding of flavors and textures that make this recipe a must-try for anyone who loves to explore the depths of French cuisine.