French Onion Meatballs

French onion meatballs capture the flavor of the iconic soup in a new, fun-to-eat dish. Sweet and tender onions flavor the meatballs and the sauce, and a sprinkle of Gruyere makes this recipe extra special

French onion soup is hearty enough for a cold winter’s day but still light enough to enjoy any time of year. This recipe distills the essence of the iconic soup into a sauce for tender meatballs.

But it’s not just the sauce that harkens to French onion soup—the meatballs themselves are packed full of sweet and savory onion flavor. You can serve French onion meatballs on their own for a crowd-pleasing party snack, but a healthy shower of Gruyere cheese and some crusty bread turns this dish into a meal.
The Key Ingredient: Onions
The humble onion does a magic trick as it cooks; initially sharp and strong, it develops into a silky, golden, sweet ingredient when patiently cooked over low heat. Low and slow-cooked onion adds complexity to so many dishes.

For this recipe, we’re not quite caramelizing (which involves taking them to a deep brown color), but still developing tons of flavor, particularly with the additions of thyme, bay leaves, and wine. Half of the flavorful onions are added to the meatballs, while the other half are added to the sauce.