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Does French onion soup have a lot of fat?

French onion soup is a classic French dish that is beloved for its deep, savory flavor. It consists of caramelized onions simmered in broth and topped with croutons and melted cheese. While delicious, some people may wonder if this hearty soup is high in fat and calories.

Ingredients in French Onion Soup

The main ingredients in classic French onion soup are:

  • Onions – Onions contain minimal fat and calories and are the star of this soup.
  • Butter and oil – Used to cook the onions until caramelized. Moderate amounts add flavor.
  • Beef or chicken stock – Provides an savory base without much fat.
  • Dry white wine – Often used to deglaze the pan. Adds flavor without fat.
  • Croutons – Croutons enriched with olive oil or butter add crunch.
  • Gruyere or Comte cheese – Melted cheese on top is high in fat but used sparingly.

So while French onion soup uses ingredients with some fat like butter and cheese, much of the fat and calories comes from the caramelized onions and flavorful stocks. By choosing low-fat cooking methods and watching portion sizes, this soup can be part of healthy diet.

Nutrition Info Per Serving

The nutrition information for one cup of French onion soup can vary greatly depending on the recipe, but on average:

  • Calories: 200-300 calories per cup.
  • Total fat: 10-15 grams per cup
  • Saturated fat: 6-8 grams per cup
  • Carbohydrates: 15-25 grams per cup
  • Protein: 5-10 grams per cup
  • Sodium: 500-800 milligrams per cup

So in a single cup serving, French onion soup provides 10-30% of calories from fat, which is considered moderate. The saturated fat content is also moderate compared to other soups.

Ways to Lighten Up French Onion Soup

There are several easy ways to reduce the fat and calorie content in French onion soup:

  • Use reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth instead of high-fat beef broth.
  • Cook onions in broth instead of butter or oil.
  • Use just a touch of olive oil instead of butter for cooking onions.
  • Limit added salt and use more herbs and spices for flavor.
  • Go easy on the cheese and use reduced-fat versions.
  • Use just a light brush of olive oil on croutons instead of soaking in butter.
  • Choose a lighter beer or wine to deglaze the pan.

Making these simple substitutions can reduce the fat content by more than half in many recipes.

How French Onion Soup Compares to Other Soups

Compared to many cream-based soups and chowders, French onion soup is moderately low in fat. For example:

Soup Total Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g)
French onion soup (1 cup) 10-15 6-8
Broccoli cheddar soup (1 cup) 15-25 10-15
Clam chowder (1 cup) 10-15 5-8
Loaded potato soup (1 cup) 20-30 12-15

So while French onion soup has more fat than broth-based soups like chicken noodle, it contains less than many cream and cheese-based soups.

Tips for Enjoying French Onion Soup While Limiting Fat

Here are some final tips to keep French onion soup relatively healthy:

  • Choose homemade versions over restaurant preparations which can be very high in fat and calories.
  • Stick to a 1-cup portion size to control calories.
  • Round out the meal with a healthy salad and lean protein like chicken or fish.
  • Balance intake throughout the day and week instead of overindulging in this higher fat choice.
  • Select lighter wine and limit buttery, oil-soaked croutons.
  • Skip the cheese or use just a teaspoon of strongly-flavored cheese.


In moderation, French onion soup can be part of healthy diet. While it does contain a moderate amount of fat from ingredients like cheese and butter, the serving size is small. Making some substitutions and enjoying sensible portions makes this flavorful soup a tasty treat. Focus the rest of your diet on lean proteins, produce, whole grains and healthy fats for balanced nutrition.