Cheesy French Onion Soup Pasta Casserole Recipe

Cheesy, rich French onion soup — nothing is cozier. To make it into a filling meal, Leah Maroney takes all of the flavors of French onion soup and adds hearty pasta and protein-packed ground beef to create this one-pot recipe.

Caramelized onions are a must for any French onion dish. But don't skimp on the cook time; these babies take a while to get golden brown and luscious. Make sure the heat isn't too high so the onions don't burn before they brown. The best pasta choice for all of the soupy goodness? Orecchiette. The little ears are like tiny bowls that delicately hold all of the onions, meat, and bubbly cheese.

Maroney likens this pasta to a fancy Hamburger Helper. "It has all the warm, cozy goodness of your favorite meal in a box. It's still super easy to make, but it's elevated by the caramelized onions, white wine, and Gruyère cheese.

Gather the ingredients for this cheesy French onion soup pasta casserole

Simple ingredients make the best dishes, and you'll have this French onion soup pasta casserole shopped for and on the table in no time. Gather lean ground beef, salted butter, sweet onions, garlic, and salt and pepper. A crisp white wine is used to deglaze the pan. Rich beef broth and heavy cream add thickness and a rounded, salty flavor. Orecchiette pasta is cooked in the bubbly liquid along with some fresh thyme. Nutty Gruyère cheese tops it all off. 

Step 1; Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 2; Add the ground beef

Add the ground beef to a large, broiler-safe saucepan set over high heat.

Step 3: Add the onions and garlic

Once beef is browned, remove from the pan, leaving the fat behind. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the butter, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pan.

Step 4: Caramelize the onions

Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Step 5: Deglaze the pan

Add the white wine to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze the brown bits.

Step 6: Reincorporate the beef

Add the beef back to the pan.

Step 7: Add the broth and heavy cream

Add the beef broth and heavy cream. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

Step 8: Add the pasta and thyme

Add the orecchiette and thyme to the pot.

Step 9: Cover and bake

Cover the pot and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

Step 10: Top with cheese

Remove pot from oven and uncover. Take out the thyme stems and top with the shredded Gruyère cheese.

Step 11: Turn on broiler

Set oven to broil.

Step 12: Broil until bubbly

Broil in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and browned.

Step 13: Rest and serve

Allow to sit for 5 minutes and serve.

What substitutions can I make in this dish?

If you don't have ground beef on hand, you can replace it with ground chicken or ground turkey. Believe it or not, you can even make this dish vegetarian! Simply leave out the ground beef or replace it with vegetarian crumbles. Then swap the beef broth with vegetable broth. You can also add in a cup of chopped mushrooms, whatever type you prefer, in place of the meat. The addition of mushrooms bring a nice meaty bite and even more flavor to the pasta casserole. 

You can change the pasta shape in this French onion pasta dish as well. However, long noodles like spaghetti or linguini do not work great with this cooking method. Choose a short cut pasta like elbows, medium shells, or a short rigatoni. The shorter shape will do a good job of holding the sauce and beef while cooking evenly in the oven. 

How do I store French onion soup pasta?

French onion soup pasta gets even better the next day. The rest time after baking is especially important. The dish comes out of the oven so hot, it needs a few minutes for the noodles to cool a bit and fully absorb the sauce and flavors. So of course the pasta levels up after a night in the fridge. Let the pasta cool and then just store it in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

You can also freeze the French onion pasta in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Whether reheating from the refrigerator or the freezer, make sure to do so with a little water or extra broth. This helps the pasta regain some of its sauciness. The pasta reheats nicely in a lightly-oiled saucepan, but the microwave also works. You can always add some extra cheese when reheating, too, even if its just grated Parmesan ... the more cheese the better!

Cheesy French Onion Soup Pasta Casserole Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
A hearty take on the classic soup, this French onion pasta casserole is made more substantial with ground beef and orecchiette. It's also a one-pot dish.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
french onion soup pasta
Total time: 1 hour
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 4 medium sweet onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ pound orecchiette
  • Small bunch fresh thyme
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Add the ground beef to a large saucepan set over high heat.
  3. Once beef is browned, remove from the pan, leaving the fat behind. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the butter, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pan.
  4. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the white wine to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze the brown bits.
  6. Add the beef back to the pan.
  7. Add the beef broth and heavy cream. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  8. Add the orecchiette and thyme to the pot.
  9. Cover the pot and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  10. Remove pot from oven and uncover. Take out the thyme stems and top with the shredded Gruyère cheese.
  11. Set oven to broil.
  12. Broil in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and browned.
  13. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and serve.
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