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French Onion Meatballs

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French Onion Meatballs


When it comes to classic comfort food, French onion soup holds a special place in many hearts. Its rich, savory broth and caramelized onions are a culinary masterpiece. But what if we told you that you could enjoy all the flavors of French onion soup in the form of succulent meatballs? In this article, we’ll explore the delectable world of French Onion Meatballs, a savory twist on a beloved classic.

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Table of Contents:

  1. What You’ll Need
  2. Infusing the French Onion Flavor
  3. Preparing and Cooking the Meatballs
  4. Creating the Creamy Onion Gravy
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Health Benefits of Onions
  7. Variations and Substitutions
  8. Tips for Perfect French Onion Meatballs
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Conclusion

1. What You’ll Need:

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Before you embark on this flavorful journey, let’s gather the essential ingredients:

  • Ground Beef: For the meatballs, choose lean ground beef.
  • Onions: Sweet onions are preferred for their caramelization.
  • Beef Broth: To infuse that classic French onion soup flavor.
  • Breadcrumbs: For binding the meatballs.
  • Egg: To hold everything together.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Adds a savory depth to the meatballs.
  • Spices: A blend of garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.
  • Flour: For thickening the gravy.
  • Butter: To create a rich and creamy onion gravy.
  • Heavy Cream: For luxurious creaminess.
  • Salt and Pepper: To season to taste.
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2. Infusing the French Onion Flavor:

The key to these meatballs is infusing them with the rich, sweet flavor of caramelized onions. Slowly cook the onions until they turn a beautiful golden brown, just like in French onion soup.

3. Preparing and Cooking the Meatballs:

Mix the ground beef with breadcrumbs, egg, Parmesan cheese, and spices. Shape into meatballs and sear them until golden brown on the outside.

4. Creating the Creamy Onion Gravy:

To mimic the soup’s creamy broth, create a luscious gravy by making a roux with butter and flour, then adding beef broth and heavy cream. Simmer until it thickens and becomes velvety.

5. Serving Suggestions:

Serve your French Onion Meatballs over mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles. Drizzle the creamy onion gravy over the top, and you have a hearty and satisfying meal.

6. Health Benefits of Onions:

Onions are not only delicious but also nutritious. They’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthy addition to your meal.

7. Variations and Substitutions:

Feel free to get creative with your French Onion Meatballs. You can use ground chicken or turkey for a lighter option, or add mushrooms for an earthy twist.

8. Tips for Perfect French Onion Meatballs:

  • Patience is key when caramelizing onions; low and slow is the way to go.
  • Use a mix of sweet and yellow onions for a balanced flavor.
  • Be gentle when forming the meatballs to keep them tender.

9. Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: Can I make these meatballs in advance? Yes, you can prepare the meatballs and the gravy separately in advance and assemble them when ready to serve.

Q2: Can I use a different type of cheese? While Parmesan is traditional, you can experiment with Gruyere or Swiss for an authentic French onion flavor.

Q3: Can I make this dish vegetarian? Absolutely! You can make vegetarian meatballs using ingredients like mushrooms, lentils, or chickpeas and still enjoy the creamy onion gravy.

Q4: Is it okay to use store-bought beef broth? Yes, store-bought beef broth works well, but homemade broth can elevate the flavor even more.

Q5: What side dishes pair well with French Onion Meatballs? These meatballs go wonderfully with roasted vegetables, green beans, or a simple green salad.

10. Conclusion:

French Onion Meatballs offer a delightful twist on a classic favorite. With the savory essence of caramelized onions and the creamy richness of the gravy, this dish brings the flavors of French onion soup to your dinner table. So, dive into a bowl of comfort and savor the warmth of this delicious meal.

Source: thecozyapron.com

French Onion Meatballs

French Onion Meatballs

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

When it comes to classic comfort food, French onion soup holds a special place in many hearts. Its rich, savory broth and caramelized onions are a culinary masterpiece. But what if we told you that you could enjoy all the flavors of French onion soup in the form of succulent meatballs? In this article, we'll explore the delectable world of French Onion Meatballs, a savory twist on a beloved classic.


  • 1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs (or panko breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 ½ pounds organic ground beef (85/15 ratio)
  • 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • Salt (about 1 teaspoon, or your desired amount)
  • Black pepper (about ¼ teaspoon, or your desired amount)
  • ½ onion, finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • ¾ cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided use
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup shredded, whole milk mozzarella cheese

French Onion Sauce Ingredients::

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 2 ½ onions, halved and sliced
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup sherry (or white wine)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 2 ¼ cup beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves


  1. Begin by gathering and prepping all of your meatball ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
  2. Place your breadcrumbs into a dish, and add the milk to them to soak for 5 minutes. In the meantime, place your ground beef into a large bowl.
  3. After the breadcrumbs have soaked, add them to the ground beef, along with the parsley, thyme, herbes de Provence, salt, pepper, minced onion, garlic, ¼ cup of the shredded Gruyere cheese, and whisked egg.
  4. Using your clean hands, gently mix the beef together with the ingredients until well-combined, but taking care not to over mix to keep the meatballs tender. Scoop out 2 tablespoon-size portions of the meat mixture (I like to use my cookie scoop for this), and place onto a tray or large platter to hold.
  5. Wet your hands with a bit of water, and roll each portion into a round meatball, then place the rolled meatballs into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, gather and prep all of your French onion sauce ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
  7. Once the meatballs have chilled, place a large cast iron skillet (or other large, oven-safe, heavy bottom pan that can accommodate the meatballs and sauce) over medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  8. Once hot, add a batch of meatballs into the pan and allow them to sear and brown on all sides for about 8 to 10 minutes. Place the meatballs onto a tray or sheet pan to hold while you brown the rest of the meatballs.
  9. In the same skillet as you browned the meatballs (which should be on medium-high heat), add another 2 tablespoons of the oil (if there's already enough oil from browning the meatballs, skip the added oil), as well as the ghee or butter.
  10. Once hot and melted, add the onions plus a pinch of salt and pepper, and allow them to cook down and deeply caramelize for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions become very dark, soft and jammy.
  11. Then, stir in the garlic, herbes de Provence and dried thyme, just until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add in the sherry or wine, and allow it to bubble up and reduce for about 30 seconds.
  12. Sprinkle in the flour and stir that in to incorporate for about 30 seconds, then pour in the beef stock and whisk or vigorously stir to blend in and combine until smooth. Allow the French onion sauce to simmer to 5 minutes, just to tighten it up.
  13. Meanwhile, turn your broiler on “high”.
  14. Turn the heat off under the sauce, and stir in the fresh thyme leaves. Nestle back into the pan the browned meatballs, and top them with a combination of the Gruyere and mozzarella cheeses. Place under the broiler for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese becomes nice and gooey and melted.
  15. To serve, sprinkle over the meatballs some additional thyme leaves as garnish, and spoon 3 to 4 meatballs, along with lots of with sauce and cheese, into a bowl to enjoy with warm, toasted bread, or over hot mashed potatoes, if desired.


  • Lean ground beef for the meatballs: For tender, juicy meatballs, I typically opt for 85/15 lean organic, grass-fed beef—they have lots of flavor, and they're better quality as well. You can also use 97/3 lean to fat ratio if desired, but they will be a bit leaner in flavor.
  • Lots and lots of onions: The recipe calls for what seems like a ton of sliced onions. It seems like a lot in the beginning, but rest assured that the mound will dramatically cook down as the onions caramelize!
  • A kiss of sherry or white wine, or leave out the alcohol altogether: Sherry is often added into classic French onion soup, so I add a small splash into this sauce. But you can sub white wine if that's what you have on hand, or even leave out the alcohol completely if you prefer. In that case, just add a touch more beef stock.
  • Mozzarella and Gruyere cheeses for added gooeyness: While you can use all Gruyere or all mozzarella cheese here, I like the combination of cheeses. Gruyere is classic atop of French onion soup, and has a nutty, mildly sweet flavor, and the mozzarella has a terrific meltability and mildness, so I like using a bit of that. Feel free to use your favorite cheese that melts!
  • What to serve with French onion meatballs: If I'm looking to keep things simple and a light, I'll just lightly toast or warm up some nice crusty, rustic bread, and mop up the sauce and cheese with that. So yummy! Or, if I'm making more of a meal out these meatballs, I'll prep some creamy mashed potatoes, then spoon the sauce and meatballs over top.

Nutrition Information
Yield 1 Serving Size 6
Amount Per ServingCalories 4629Total Fat 296gSaturated Fat 121gTrans Fat 6gUnsaturated Fat 145gCholesterol 1128mgSodium 6272mgCarbohydrates 186gFiber 14gSugar 31gProtein 295g

The information contained herein is subject to change.

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