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French onion soup topped with cheesy bread in a white bowl.
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French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a classic for a good reason - flavorful, savory, cheesy, simply irresistible. It's so easy to make at home and requires just a couple of ingredients to make it. You will need some patience to caramelize the onions but it will reward you with an amazing soup that your family will rave about!
Course Soup
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 495kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the soup:

  • 1/4 cup clarified butter (4 tablespoons), or 2 Tbsp olive oil + 2 Tbsp regular butter
  • 3 lbs yellow onions 1.4kg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • a couple of sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups beef broth* see notes
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • salt and pepper to taste

additionally:

  • 1/2 large baguette
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese 230g

Instructions

  • Caramelize the onions: Peel the onions, cut them in half, and then into 1/4-inch (7mm) slices. Heat the clarified butter or butter/olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When hot add the onions and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook them for about 45-50 minutes until caramelized - they will be soft and light brown in color. At the beginning you can stir the onions from time to time but as they darken you will need to stir more often. While stirring make sure to scrape all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Be careful not to burn the onions - they will be bitter. Anytime the onions look like they are starting to burn on the bottom of the pot - stir them with a spatula or deglaze the pot with a small amount of water.
  • Add finely chopped garlic and thyme to the pot. Cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the wine, cook until it's reduced in volume in 3/4.
  • Add the broth. Bring to a boil then simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, make the cheese croutons: Cut the baguette into thick slices and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 7 minutes or until golden. Top the toasted baguette slices with shredded cheese, bake until melted, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Add the brandy to the soup. Bring to a boil then immediately take the pot off the heat. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
  • Assemble: ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with a small amount of cheese then put 1-2 slices of baguette in the soup. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and enjoy!

Notes

  • Please only use beef broth in this soup if you have good-quality broth - taste it before using it in soup. Most of the store-bought beef broth doesn't taste very good. If you don't have a good quality beef broth you can use half beef broth and half chicken broth or just chicken broth. French onion soup made with good chicken broth is really good. Another great option is duck broth or goose broth made from bones and carcass leftover from roast duck or roast goose - they made fantastic onion soup.
  • If you use chicken broth for this soup, you can deepen its flavor with Worcestershire sauce.
  • Gruyere cheese substitutes: Swiss cheese, Provolone, Appenzeller, Emmentaler, Comte, Fontina, Jarlsberg, or Raclette.
  • Traditionally, the soup is poured into oven-safe bowls, then topped with toasted bread and sprinkled with cheese. Then it is baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly. I'm not a fan of this preparation method - the soup gets extremely hot and because the bowl is also hot, it cools down very slowly making the soup difficult to eat. That's why I prefer to make the cheesy bread separately and serve it on top of warm soup - it really tastes the same in my opinion and it's more convenient to eat.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/6 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!

Nutrition

Calories: 495kcal