French Onion Chicken Sandwiches

French Onion Chicken Sandwiches - all of the flavor of French Onion Soup, in a chicken sandwich! |

Toward the end of my advertising career, I traveled for a client meeting to a nondescript nowhere city in the Midwest. I was forced to endure an awkward coworker/client dinner at a steakhouse, where I witnessed a coworker request “French Onion Soup…..but I don’t want the onions. Can you strain those out, and just give me the broth?” I’ll always remember it as the moment when I decided to quit my job and go to culinary school.

I’m bringing ALL OF THE ONIONS to this fall’s tailgates. In fact, I’m getting rid of the broth from the soup altogether, and just making a French Onion Chicken Sandwich.

French Onion Chicken Sandwiches - all of the flavor of French Onion Soup, in a chicken sandwich! |

My in-laws are Michigan Football tailgating professionals, and my father-in-law always mans the grill. He doesn’t stick to just basic burgers and hot dogs – he’s also been known to grill up gyros, or throw a wok on the grill and be a one man stir fry machine. And yes, we even got him a chef’s hat:

That “we can make anything!” tailgating spirit inspired me to create this sandwich, which in turn was inspired by the interaction that finally sent me over the edge and made me change career paths. Double inspiration!

It’s a little something different, but it’s actually no more complicated than making grilled chicken sandwiches. The onions can be caramelized up to three days in advance and just kept in the fridge until the party starts, when you can gently reheat them in either a microwave or a small pan on the grill. Grill up your chicken, then top it with Swiss cheese and the onions for hearty french onion chicken sandwiches that taste like soup!

French Onion Chicken Sandwiches - all of the flavor of French Onion Soup, in a chicken sandwich! |

French Onion Chicken Sandwiches

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved crosswise and pounded to 1-inch thickness, if necessary
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 2 cups baby spinach


  1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sugar; cook 25 minutes or until onions are deeply caramelized, stirring frequently. This step can be done up to 3 days in advance. Re-warm onions in microwave or in a small pan on grill before proceeding.
  2. Preheat grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Spray chicken with nonstick spray. Transfer chicken to hot grill rack; cover and cook 10 minutes or until chicken loses its pink color throughout and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F, turning once.
  3. Place cheese slices on chicken pieces. Cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Build sandwiches using hamburger buns, spinach, chicken and caramelized onions.


This recipe originally appeared here on the Naturebox blog.

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  1. I would love lots of French onions on my burger, please. Very tasty!

  2. Oh my gosh, yummy sandwiches! You have good self restraint I probably would have slapped someone who asked for FO soup w/o the onions… 🙂

  3. Yum! What a yummy sandwich! Looks simply delicious!!

  4. Oh. My. Goodness. Yes. Those look SO good. I wasn’t even hungry and now my mouth is watering imagining biting into one of those. Perfection!

  5. Ohh!! This looks so yummy! I love French Onion Soup, but making it into a sandwich is brilliant.

  6. What a fabulous idea for a sandwich! Love it…..Must.Try.This!!

  7. I need a hat like that!!!!

  8. Sounds so good, love lots of those delicious onions on the burger, well chicken breast. I love the idea of french onion soup on a bun! Your father in law is adorable in his chefs hat.

  9. I’m sorry, French onion soup without the onions? No thank you please. I’ll take extra onions on top of this sandwich!

  10. This looks and sounds amazing! And so fun… I used to own an Ad Agency, but I worked for myself, and would have seriously fired anyone that would ask to strain the onions from French Onion Soup lol!!! Great recipe!

  11. This sounds so much better than the soup mix version I had growing up! yum…

  12. Oh my word, that story just KILLED me. I don’t know if I could’ve handled it. The other day I was at a Mexican restaurant and overheard the person beside me start her order with, “I can’t eat onions and don’t like spicy food, so…” I almost died. WHY would you choose a Mexican restaurant? Anyway, awkward menu orders aside, this looks totally drool worthy. The hubby and I would gobble this up! Melted cheeeeese!

  13. Oh my, French Onion Soup without onions – wow!!!

    Yes, give me all the onions too 🙂 Your French Onion Chicken Sandwiches looks and sound fantastic. It sounds like you got your tailgating all figured out with a perfect chef at the grill.

  14. Yum!! What a wonderful sandwich idea!! And I love the story that sent you ‘over the edge’. It’s amazing to me how – might I say stupid? – people can be at times. When I make caramelized onions I usually add a little butter & soy sauce at the end, which is wonderful when you are not trying to recreate French onion soup. It was an idea I got from a cookbook I was browsing through at a bookstore one evening, years ago. I’m looking forward to trying this sandwich.

    • Yes, STUPID is the word. People are just stupid sometimes, there’s no other way to put it! But I’m glad it happened, because now I’m here, and I’m much happier than I was in my old job.

      I love the idea of butter and soy sauce at the end. I keep learning new twists on caramelized onions! I just started adding a smidge of sugar earlier this year because I’d heard that it helps the onion caramelize better (and it does!). I’m trying the soy sauce and butter combo next time. Sounds amazing.

  15. Oh my, these are just incredible Lori! SO ridiculously good looking. The best idea for caramelized onions, and tailgating!

  16. For real? I mean seriously? How does one order French ONION soup without the onions? I don’t get people. I would have quit my job at that point too and thank goodness because you bring us yummy things like this, for all the people that love french onion soup!

  17. Nice change from beef!

  18. Laughing because I was at a restaurant yesterday and someone ordered a black and bleu burger without the bleu cheese. Like… can’t you just order a regular burger?? Crazy what people want.

  19. We love french onion soup and the sandwich version with chicken sounds awesome!

  20. That is a beautiful sandwich! DELICIOUS!

  21. This sandwich has my name written all over it! I love grilled onions, and the idea of making a “french onion” sandwich sounds crazy good!

  22. Just found this on pinterest and it looks divine! Had to laugh at the co-worker story. I will say, as a kid I might’ve done that. I loved the taste but didn’t like the onions. Now, as an adult, I can’t get enough and would eat FO soup weekly if I could.

  23. This looks delicious! I’ll have to try it, thanks!

  24. Sounds delightful. And I like your father in law. He’s cute. Go Blue!

  25. We tried these for lunch yesterday and really enjoyed them. I’m afraid I didn’t do a good job with caramelizing the onions, so they got a little burnt and left a long-lasting bitter taste in my mouth. That was even using sweet onions which I usually do okay with. The sandwich will stay on our lunch menu rotation, and I will do a better job (I hope) of cooking the onions from here on out…

  26. So glad you enjoyed them, Jesusan! It’s easy to burn onions, especially right at the end of their cooking time 🙁 Sometimes, if I have the time for it, I’ll cook them over medium-low to low heat for up to an hour. It takes patience, but it’s very unlikely they’ll burn. I’ll do this the night before I want to eat them with dinner, usually. I’ll just put the onions on the stove, and then do other stuff around the house, stirring them occasionally. Then, I just refrigerate them until I’m ready to eat them!

  27. I think I’ll make these tonight – tho I’ll have to do the chicken in the oven because it’s a little too cold to attempt to grill today lol 😉

  28. these were so good! Thank you – everyone from age 6 to 42 ate these too!!

  29. So glad to hear that, Danyelle! I love to know that my recipes are enjoyed by all ages 🙂

  30. I’m going to try to make these for Rivalry Game Day today. Do you think marinating the chicken in some French Onion Soup mix seasoning would be overkill?

  31. Hello!

    Tried these tonight for supper, very yummy!! Hubby said he’d like some sauce on it, what do you recommend? I was thinking French onion soup mix with sour cream, but wondered if that would be overkill. What do you think? 

    • Hmmmmm, I don’t know if you can ever have overkill when it comes to French Onion, just because I love the flavor so much! If you try that sauce, let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!

  32. We just made these for dinner and loved them. Admittedly, we made one alteration to the recipe. We marinated the chicken breasts in a little olive oil and a package of dried onion soup mix. We sealed the chicken, with about a tablespoon of olive oil and one package of onion soup mix into a zip lock bag (gave them a good squeeze to blend and coat all the chicken) for a couple hours before grilling them. To us, this step made the sandwich even more reminiscent of french onion soup – we actually cant imagine if we hadn’t done this step. We will definitely be making these again. Thanks for the recipe!

    • I am so glad your family loved these, Tina. I dig the idea of marinating them with onion soup mix. So smart!

  33. I did these inside (baseball playoffs going on with my wonderful husband totally engaged because his team is in), and sauteed the onions, then put the chicken breasts in the same pan, then, after they were fully cooked, deglazed the pan with a bit of beef broth.  So, we are getting the full experience – –

    • Haha, thanks Leslie. Hey, if the Detroit Tigers were in the playoffs, I’d be distracted too. But, that definitely didn’t happen this year. So glad these turned out well for you!

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