This French Onion Meatball Skillet is your favorite French onion soup – updated! Made with perfectly juicy, cheese-filled turkey meatballs, caramelized onions, and melted Gruyère cheese, this unforgettable main dish is perfect with fresh bread or creamy mashed potatoes.
French onion soup has always been my favorite appetizer soup.
My parents always hated when I would order it at restaurants because the rich broth and heavy cheese would always ruin my appetite and prevent me from eating the main course. I didn’t mind. After all, it was the best part!
This French onion meatball skillet combines the very best parts of French onion soup with savory, little meatballs for an easy appetizer turned the main course the whole family will love.
How to Make French Onion Meatballs
1. Prepare and cook the chicken meatballs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- NOTE: Since this recipe calls for 2 pounds of ground meat, you will probably need to cook your meatballs in two batches or using two baking sheets. If you prefer to have fewer meatballs, reduce the meatball ingredients by half.
In a large bowl mix together the ground chicken, onion, cheeses, bread crumbs, garlic, eggs, thyme, salt, and black pepper until fully combined.
Shape into approximately 32 meatballs (the total number of meatballs from one person to another will vary) and transfer to your prepared baking sheet.
Bake until golden and fully cooked, approximately 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees F as measured with a digital meat thermometer.
Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Can you use pre-made frozen meatballs? Yes, frozen meatballs that have been thawed will also work. Try to pick meatballs without any strong seasonings, however, as it may not pair well with the sauce.
2. Prepare the French onion soup sauce
As your meatballs cook, make the sauce.
Here we are going to caramelize our onions. For more detailed instructions, read all about how to caramelize onions in this post.
Add the olive oil and onions to a large skillet or Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes, then add the salt and butter.
Continue to cook, stirring as needed to prevent burning, until the onions are very soft and golden brown (approximately 30-45 minutes).
Add the garlic and the dry sherry (or dry white wine), and scrape up any bits that may be stuck on the bottom of the pan. Allow the alcohol to cook until it has reduced by half.
Add the beef broth, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.
3. Assembly and how to serve
Nestle your cooked meatballs into your sauce and sprinkle with shredded Gruyère cheese (or favorite cheese).
Cover and cook until the meatballs are warmed through and the cheese is melted.
Garnish with fresh thyme or fresh parsley and serve with fresh bread, creamy mashed potatoes, egg noodles, and your favorite steamed or roasted veggies.
More Delicious Recipes,
If you try making this Easy French Onion Meatball Skillet Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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French Onion Meatball Skillet
For the Meatballs
- 2 pounds ground chicken (or turkey)
- ½ onion (minced)
- ½ cup Gruyère cheese (shredded)
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- ⅓ cup bread crumbs
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
- 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
For the French Onion Soup Sauce
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large yellow onions (thinly sliced)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ cup dry sherry (or white wine (optional))
- 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (minced)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 2 cups Gruyère cheese (shredded)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (note - for this recipe you may need to cook the meatballs in 2 batches).
- In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs (the ground chicken, onion, cheeses, bread crumbs, garlic, eggs, thyme, salt, and black pepper) until fully combined. Shape into approximately 32 meatballs, then place on your prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until golden and fully cooked, approximately 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees F as measured with a digital meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- As the meatballs cook, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onions and mix well to coat in oil. Allow the onions to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the salt and butter. Continue to cook, stirring as needed to prevent burning, until the onions are very soft and golden-brown (see notes).
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Then add the dry sherry (or dry white wine), scraping up any bits that may be stuck on the bottom of the pan. Allow the alcohol to cook until it has reduced by half. Add the beef broth, fresh thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked meatballs to the skillet and sprinkle with the shredded Gruyère cheese. Cover with a lid and cook until the meatballs are warmed through and the cheese is melted approximately 5-10 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired, and serve warm with fresh bread or creamy mashed potatoes. Enjoy!
- Caramelizing onions is a slow process, but always worth the wait! I recommend giving your onions at least 30 minutes to cook, but for the most flavorful (and best) results, allow your onions to caramelize over medium to medium-low heat for at least 45 minutes.
- Learn more: How to Caramelize Onions
- If you find yourself with extra meatballs, simply freeze them. Learn more: Easy Freezer Meatball Recipe
- Optional: after you've returned your meatballs to the skillet and covered with cheese, set your oven to broil. Pop your (oven-safe) skillet in the oven and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is golden, melty, and bubbly.
- Feel free to skip the dry sherry or white wine and substitute it with extra beef broth.
- You may also use ground turkey, ground chicken, ground beef, ground pork, or even ground lamb to make these meatballs.
- The best cheeses for meatballs and the sauce include Gruyère cheese, Swiss cheese, mozzarella cheese, Asiago cheese, or white cheddar cheese.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute regular bread crumbs for your favorite gluten-free variety.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)