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Soupe à L'oignon or French Onion Soup

A true French classic, this onion soup will make any cold day a joy. With golden-brown melted cheese, and a healthy dose of garlic, this is the soup that heals all ailments, and wards off the chill of cooler days.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 Portions


  • Large saucepan, or Stockpot
  • Stirring Spoons
  • Measuring jug
  • Measuring cups
  • Serving bowls
  • Baking sheet


  • 1.5 kg yellow onions sliced
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 gr butter
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Salt
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lt beef stock
  • 125 ml dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • To Serve:
  • 1 stick French bread or baguette
  • 375 ml Comtè, Gruyere, or Emmental cheese grated


  • In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, or stockpot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, and begin to soften, stirring frequently, this should take 15-20mins.
  • Once softened, turn the heat up to medium high, add the butter, and cook the onions until they are golden brown, about another 10-15mins.
  • Add the sugar, this will help with the browning (caramelisation), and a little salt. After another 5-10mins, the onions should be thoroughly browned.
  • Finally, add the garlic, stir for another 5mins.
  • Once the garlic is cooked in, add the vermouth or white wine. Use a flat/square stirrer to scrape away the stuck bits at the bottom of the pot.
  • The soup base is now ready to add the stock, and the herbs.
  • Begin to simmer the soup with a lid, aim for a low simmer with only the occasional bubbling. The soup should simmer for about 30mins, to fully develop the flavours.
  • Add any additional salt and/or pepper to taste, remove the bay leaves, and finally, add the brandy to complete the dish.
  • As the soup simmers, preheat your oven to 220˚C/450°F, place a rack in the upper third of the oven, and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil - do not use parchment or baking paper, as this could burn at high heat.
  • Carefully cut the baguette into thick slices, about 1” or 2.5cm, and brush evenly with olive oil on both sides.
  • Toast the baguette n the oven until a light brown colour, 5mins should do.
  • Remove from the oven, and turn over to toast the other side, adding the Gruyere/Emmental cheese before returning to the oven. Bake until the cheese begins to bubble and get golden-brown spots.
  • Once the soup has simmered, and the cheese topped baguette is ready, serve by ladling soup into serving bowls, and place one to two slices of cheesy baguette on top.
  • You can also finish this soup in the oven: use individual oven-proof soup bowls, or a single large pot. Pour the soup into the bowl, top with the baguette when it’s only toasted on one side, un-toasted side up, scatter the cheese over the baguette and then bake or broil/grill until the cheese is golden-brown and bubbling, about 10mins.