Onion Soup

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The onions for an onion soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor which characterizes a perfect brew. You should therefore count on 2½ hours at least from start to finish. Though the preliminary cooking in butter requires some watching, the actual simmering can proceed almost unattended.

6 to 8 servings

Cooking Methodsauteeing


Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseappetizer

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



Taste and Texturebubbly, cheesy, juicy, rich, savory, sweet

Type of Dishhot soup, soup


  • 1½ lbs or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 3 Tb butter
  • 1 Tb oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar (helps the onions to brown)
  • 3 Tb flour
  • 2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart of boiling water and 1 quart of stock or bouillon
  • ½ cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tb cognac
  • Rounds of hard-toasted French bread (see below)
  • 1 to 2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in the covered saucepan for 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.

  2. Off heat, blend in the boiling liquid. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning.

  3. Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Then reheat to the simmer.

  4. Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into a soup tureen or soup cups over the rounds of bread, and pass the cheese separately.

    Garnishings for Onion Soup (Croûtes-Hard-Toasted French Bread)

    12 to 16 slices of French bread cut ¾ to 1 inch thick

    Olive oil or beef drippings

    A cut clove of garlic

  5. Place the bread in one layer in a roasting pan and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about half an hour, until it is thoroughly dried out and lightly browned. Halfway through the baking, each side may be basted with a teaspoon of olive oil or beef drippings; and after baking, each piece may be rubbed with cut garlic.

    Croûtes au Fromage (Cheese Croûtes)

    Grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese

    Olive oil or beef drippings

  6. Spread one side of each croûte with grated cheese and sprinkle with drops of olive oil or beef drippings. Brown under a hot broiler before serving.


    Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinee (Onion Soup Gratineed with Cheese)

    The preceding onion soup

    A fireproof tureen or casserole or individual onion soup pots

    2 ounces Swiss cheese cut into very thin slivers

    1 Tb grated raw onion

    12 to 16 rounds of hard toasted French bread

    1½ cups grated Swiss, or Swiss and Parmesan cheese

    1 Tb olive oil or melted butter

  8. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring the soup to the boil and pour into the tureen or soup pots. Stir in the slivered cheese and grated onion. Float the rounds of toast on top of the soup, and spread the grated cheese over it. Sprinkle with the oil or butter. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, then set for a minute or two under a preheated broiler to brown the top lightly. Serve immediately.

    Soupe Gratinee des Trois Gourmandes (Onion Soup Gratineed de Luxe)

  9. A final fillip to the preceding onion soup may be accomplished in the kitchen just before serving or by the server at the table.

    A 2-quart bowl

    1 tsp cornstarch

    1 egg yolk

    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

    3 Tb cognac

    The preceding onion soup

    A soup ladle

    A serving fork

  10. Beat the cornstarch into the egg yolk, then the Worcestershire and the cognac.

  11. Just before serving the soup, lift up an edge of the crust with a fork and remove a ladleful of soup. In a thin stream of droplets, beat the soup into the egg yolk mixture with a fork. Gradually beat in two more ladlefuls, which may be added more rapidly. Again lifting up the crust, pour the mixture back into the soup. Then reach in under the crust with the ladle and stir gently to blend the mixture into the rest of the soup. Serve.


Free recipes, giveaways, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!


I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Facebook Twitter
Sign In using Email and Password