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Guinness Irish Onion Soup Recipe with Irish Cheddar Crouton

I’m really excited that Spring is even closer on its way to being here. The start of daylight savings time this past Sunday is always a key marker for me that spring is coming soon. Interestingly, we actually have a little bit of a cold snap here in New Orleans (again!) right now. It may end up being one of our last, and I’m perfectly okay with that. If it’s cold where you are too and you’re looking for something to warm you up, this Irish Onion Soup recipe is just the thing.


Since St. Patrick’s Day is coming this weekend, I am going to publish two “Irish-themed” recipes this week. This onion soup recipe is one, and tomorrow I’m going to publish a recipe for corned beef potato cakes. YUM. Can’t wait to share that one with you all!

Anyway, I was researching ideas for Irish dishes on the web and ran across Michael Chiarello’s recipe for Guinness and Onion Soup with Irish Cheddar Crouton. Since I already have a recipe for French Onion soup here on the blog, I figured I could easily adapt it by substituting Guinness for some of the beef stock and then using Irish Cheddar instead of Gruyère on the crouton. That’s really the only changes I made, but they really went a long way in improving the flavor.

Both Jeremy and I are really big fans of onion soup – Irish, French or otherwise. The deep caramelized onion flavor, the rich beefiness and the crispy, cheesy croutons are right up our alley. Below you can see the key ingredients for this recipe. The simplicity of very high quality few ingredients helps to ensure this recipe’s success.


I really like to use sweet onions in my onion soup recipes. I prefer the slightly sweet flavor of those onions to a regular yellow onion. You can certainly use regular yellow onions if you can’t find sweet onions or just prefer to use those. Also, this recipe calls for four pounds of onions. This might seem like a lot, but the onions are cooked low and slow until all the water is cooked out of them and they start to caramelize. This means that they shrink considerably in volume. Also, when the onions are properly caramelized, the sugar is coaxed out of the onions, and they have a remarkably sweet and delicious flavor.


The other star ingredient in this recipe is of course the Guinness. Guinness is THE beer of Ireland – basically the only beer that matters, that is. I’ve sadly never been to Ireland yet but one day, I’ll get there. Anyway, for those who may not know the original Guinness brew is an Irish dry stout. It’s got a slightly burnt (but not bitter) flavor. It is round, robust and totally delicious! Perfect for a hearty beef and onion soup.


So as I said before, the onions, spend quite a bit of time caramelizing. Of the hour and a half cooking time, half of that is spent in the caramelization process and the other half is spent simmering with the beer and beef broth. In the end, all of the alcohol flavor of the beer cooks off and the Guinness really just provides a pleasant flavor undertone – not something that jumps in your face. The onions and beef are the primary flavors.

And finally, the best part of the soup (to me) – the Irish cheddar crouton! I am a big fan of bread and cheese so I really loved being able to make this delicious little crouton. I bought the loaf of sour dough bellow at my local grocery store but it was actually made at the Maple Street Patisserie. It was delicious! And so pretty. The cheese is Kerrygold Dubliner Cheddar. I found this at Whole Foods, although you may be able to find it at a local grocery store with a large cheese selection.


Depending on how big the bowls are that you use for the soup, you can fit one to two croutons on top. I used small soup bowls so I made one crouton per bowl for Jeremy and me. The method for the croutons is simple. Just cut the bread to your desired thickness level (1/8″ is a good thickness) and top with the desired amount of shredded cheese (two tablespoons is adequate). Throw these in a toaster oven or under a broiler and they’ll be done in just a couple of minutes!


And there you have it – Irish Onion Soup. It’s a full-flavored, hearty soup that’s sure to satisfy. This recipe does make quite a bit of soup, but don’t worry – it reheats well and will keep in the fridge for 7-10 days in an air tight container. You can also freeze it where it’ll last up to a year – make sure to label and date the bag!


Are you ready to tackle this dish? Great! Let’s get to the recipe!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Guinness Irish Onion Soup Recipe with Irish Cheddar Crouton

This onion soup is rich, hearty and flavored with delicious ingredients like Guinness beer, beef stock and dried thyme leaves. Topped with a toasted Irish cheddar crouton, this soup is sure to satisfy.


  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 4 pounds sweet onions such as Vidalia, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1-12 ounce bottle of Guinness
  • 1 quart beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • Irish Cheddar, to taste
  • Sliced sourdough bread


  1. Over medium high heat, add olive oil, onions and kosher salt. Stir well to coat the onions in olive oil.
  2. Keep the pot covered and cook for 20 minutes total. Be sure to stir every few minutes to ensure even cooking and to make sure the onions aren’t sticking.
  3. When the onions in the pot are softened and translucent, you can remove the lid to really start caramelizing the onions. Keep the pot uncovered so the water from the onions can evaporate. As the water evaporates and the steam escapes, the sugars in the onion will emerge in the caramelization process. Stir often and keep on medium high heat. Cook uncovered for a total of 25 minutes. Onions will be very soft and a light brown color.
  4. Add the Guinness, beef stock and thyme, and cook uncovered for another 45 minutes, until flavors are married and soup is thickened.
  5. When ready to serve, top a few slices of bread with Irish Cheddar and melt cheese in a toaster oven or broiler. Serve atop piping hot bowls of soup.

Idea inspired by Michael Chiarello's recipe, and recipe is adapted from our own French onion soup recipe.

Prep:20 minutes

Cook:1 hour, 30 minutes

Total:1 hour, 50 minutes

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