French Onion Bites

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French Onion Bites are made with phyllo pastry and filled with sweet caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese just like the famous French onion soup we all love, but in appetizer form.

» You might also like this Irresistible Baked Fontina Dip and Everything Bagel Hummus.

French onion bites on a tray

For me, these delicious caramelized onion bites are a game-changer. They look fancy but are so simple and taste great. For those reasons, they’re ideal for serving to guests before a dinner party or on game day.

When you’re hosting, the last thing you want to do is spend too much time on one appetizer. Since you’re using premade phyllo shells, the only prep you really have to do for this appetizer is caramelize the onions.

These bite-sized snacks take all of the best parts of the popular classic soup – a taste explosion of melted Gruyere cheese and savory onions encased in pastry.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for French onion bites
  • Mini Phyllo Pastry Shells – Phyllo dough shells are widely available and can be found in almost any grocery store. Premade phyllo dough shells are convenient and can be used to make these delicious French onion bites as well as a variety of other appetizers, so they’re great to keep on hand in the freezer. If you can’t find them, they are available on Amazon.
  • Cooking Oil – It’s okay to use whatever cooking oil you prefer, though I always use a fruity, fragrant extra virgin olive oil.
  • Sweet Onions – I often prefer to use sweet onions because I like their flavor and low bitterness. White or yellow onions are a good alternative.
  • Salt & Black Pepper
  • Granulated Sugar – I use granulated sugar for this recipe. It aids in the caramelization process. You can use a sugar substitute like allulose or Erythritol if you want to cut the calories/carbs or you can leave it out all together.
  • Sherry – You can use a dry sherry or a cooking sherry, whatever is easiest for you to find. For me, the easiest brand to find is always Holland House.
  • Thyme – Fresh thyme adds a brightness that dry can’t, so use fresh if at all possible.
  • Gruyère cheese – The best choice for cheese is Gruyere. It melts well and tastes great. If this isn’t available, you can use Swiss or Emmental cheese.
  • Fresh Chives – Try using fresh chives if possible, chopped.
Holding up a French onion bite and more on a tray

How to Make French Onion Bites

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Set the phyllo shells on the baking sheet and set it aside for now.

Phyllo pastry cups

Next, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions, salt and pepper, and sugar. Break up the onions and stir everything together. Sauté the onions until they’re softened. This will take about 5 minutes.

Raw onions in a pan

Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the onions for about 25-35 minutes, until they’re caramelized and well reduced. During this time, you don’t need to keep a hawk eye on the onions – they won’t burn if you’ve turned it down to low. Stir them occasionally and be patient. The onions take on a delicious flavor as they caramelize.

Caramelized onions in a pan

Once the onions are sufficiently reduced and caramelized, stir in the sherry and the thyme. Cook for about one minute to burn off the alcohol scent.

Add 3/4 of the cheese to the pan and stir until it’s all melted, about 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat.

Caramelized onions with melted gruyere cheese

Fill each of the phyllo cups shells with some of the onion mixture. I just fill it to the top of the cup, not heaping over the top. Sprinkle them with the remaining cheese.

Filled pastry cups

Bake them for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly on top. Remove them from the oven and serve right away, while they’re still hot. Garnish with chives for a nice finish.

French onion bites on a baking tray

Additional Helpful Tips

  • If you can’t find the mini phyllo pastry shells at your local grocery store, you can purchase them on Amazon.
  • Gruyère is the classic French cheese used to make the soup, but if you can’t find it, you can use Swiss or Emmental cheese. Gouda will also work.
  • Since the most time-consuming part of this recipe is the caramelized onion mixture, you can make that ahead of time. Just heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to quickly bring it back to room temperature before putting it in the shells to bake.
  • Make sure you cook the onions long enough for them to truly caramelize. If they aren’t cooked enough, they’re still a bit stiff and haven’t given off all of their water content yet. They should be floppy like soggy noodles.
French onion bites on a tray

Frequently Asked Questions

How long in advance can I caramelize the onions?

You can caramelize the onions up to a few days in advance, which is good if you are trying to prepare for a large gathering. They will keep in the refrigerator for around 3 days. You can also put them in the freezer to last longer, if necessary.

How long do these bites last once made?

They are best served fresh for the pastry to be in the best quality – crispy and crunchy. Once you’ve added the onions to the pastry, it will start to become soggy and stale.

You can keep them in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge, with the understanding that the shells will become soggy. I would avoid heating them up in the microwave though. Reheat them in an air fryer if you have one, or in the oven.

Can I double the recipe to make more?

Yes, you can simply double the recipe to make a larger serving. I like to make them in batches for a party, so I’m baking only about 12 at a time. This way they are always being served fresh and hot. If I’m not sure how many I’ll go through, I always make double or triple the onions so I can continually make them. It’s never a bad thing to have some leftover caramelized onions!


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French onion bites on a tray
Yield: 15 Bites

French Onion Bites

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

French Onion Bites are made with phyllo pastry and filled with sweet caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese just like the famous French onion soup we all love, but in appetizer form.


  • 1 package mini phyllo pastry shells (15 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large sweet onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set the phyllo shells on the sheet and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and sugar. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook the onions for about 25-35 minutes, until caramelized and well reduced. Stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the sherry and thyme. Cook for one minute.
  4. Add half the cheese and stir until melted, about 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  5. Fill each of the phyllo cups shells with onion mixture. Top with a sprinkle of the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, until melted.
  7. Serve hot, on a tray, garnished with chives.

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French onion bites on a tray

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