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Classic French onion soup is like a hug in a bowl.
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5 from 4 votes

classic french onion soup

French onion soup is all about the onions. Take the time to brown them deeply and you will enjoy this classic dish as it's meant to be.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Keyword: french onion soup
Servings: 8
Calories: 585kcal


  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 8 large yellow onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup port
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 quarts good chicken stock. If there was ever a reason to make your own stock this is it.
  • 4 ounces 4-5 slices best quality bacon diced. Don't skimp here.
  • 2 sprigs of thyme plus one bay leaf tied together in a bouquet Garni
  • 16 slices baguette
  • 12 ounces gruyere cheese grated


The soup

  • Melt the butter over low heat in a 5-6 quart heavy pot.
  • Add the onions, stir and cover. Cook 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove lid, turn heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are well browned. This will take 30-40 minutes. It takes as long as it takes. This is how you make onion soup. Keep an eye on your onions. You don't want them to burn.
  • Once the onions are browned, turn the heat to medium high and stir in the port and balsamic vinegar. Give it a good stir to scape up any of the brown fond in the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the chicken stock, bacon and bouquet garni.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

The croutons

  • Pre-heat your oven to 325F. Drizzle the slices of baguette with a bit of olive oil and toast in the oven. You can rub them with a bit of garlic if you like.

To serve

  • Pre-heat your broiler.
  • Place your bowls on a cookie sheet. Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls. Float two croutons on top and add a good amount of cheese. It's OK if it melts down the side. That's tasty too.
  • Place the bowls and cookie sheet in the oven and broil until the cheese bubbles and browns.
  • If you are making 8 portions and you don't have a double pass broiler consider doing them in two batches. Don't worry. The soup will be plenty hot.


Serving: 8servings | Calories: 585kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 782mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 680IU | Vitamin C: 8.6mg | Calcium: 519mg | Iron: 2.8mg