Which Chain Has The Best French Onion Soup? Here's What Fast-Food Fans Say - Exclusive Survey

French onion soup is a powerhouse in the world of soup. At its most basic, it's simply caramelized onions condensed to a sweet, savory jam, floating in a rich broth, and topped with a piece of crusty bread and melted cheese. It's not too complicated to make and, depending on how you're preparing it, requires little to no hands-on effort aside from occasional stirring. This broth of onions, bread, and cheese has been enjoyed for centuries, whether it was supposedly invented out of pantry scraps to feed King Louis XV's hunting party (via Taste of France) or brought into national fervor in the 1960s through the likes of Julia Child and the Kennedy White House (via The Ellsworth American.). It may be a relatively simple dish ingredients-wise, but it's a wildly popular soup no matter how you look at it.

Of course, not everyone has the time to caramelize some onions and let them stew for an hour or two. In today's busy world, most people are lucky if they have time to cook at all. It's why most people go to restaurants to satisfy their cravings for a good bowl of onions and melted cheese, whether it's visiting the Applebee's down the street or the Panera Bread in the local shopping center.

But which chain restaurant supposedly has the best French onion soup? The Daily Meal asked its readers — and the results are in.

Panera Bread is said to have the best French onion soup

Out of 622 readers, it would appear that nearly half, 45.50%, say that Panera Bread was the best option to go to when you're in the mood for French onion soup. The chain beat out Outback Steakhouse at 20.74%, Longhorn Steakhouse at 14.63%, Red Robin at 11.41%, and Applebee's at 7.72%. While Panera Bread is known for its sandwiches and soup, is the claim that it has the best French onion soup out of these chains true?

Insider, while reviewing Panera's soup menu, had a fairly positive assessment of the French onion soup, with the review noting their "high expectations" had not been met. While the review lamented that the consistency was too watery and strong for their liking and that it could have benefitted from more cheese, the taste of the soup was exactly as one would expect: Onion-y, rich, and flavorful. While the consistency may not have been up to the reviewer's standard, the flavor of the soup did win out.

It seems that Panera's French onion soup is more popular than even the chain had in mind. FOX Business reported in 2020 that Panera had temporarily removed the soup to make way for another seasonal soup — something that lead to such an outcry that the chain hired Phyllis Smith from "The Office" to help manage the blowback until the soup made its proud return. A powerful sign for soup fans everywhere.