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French Onion Soup Recipe

French Onion Soup
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French Onion Soup

A true classic French soup, this is packed with onion flavour and is delicious for those occasions when soul food is needed to raise the spirits.

Serve French Onion soup with bread and a salad and it makes a meal all of its own!

The recipe also describes how to make the easy cheese topped bread, essential for a soup like this. Serve French Onion soup with bread and a salad and it makes a meal all of its own!


4 medium sized onions

2 tablespoons of margarine or butter

850ml / 3¾ cups / 1½ pints vegetable stock

120ml / ½ cup white wine (sherry will also do)

1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme

1 fresh garlic clove finely chopped

1 French Bread stick (normal bread will do fine)

1 tablespoon per topping gruyere or mozzarella cheese to top the bread. Most cheeses will do instead

¼ teaspoon pepper

Salt to taste (not much needed)

The ingredients in the French Onion soup recipe will make enough for four good portions. As far as the French Bread is concerned, you can substitute it with normal white or brown bread that has been toasted. We used garlic bread which went down just lovely!

The exact proportions of some ingredients are a matter of taste. Some people really like the flavour of Worcestershire sauce and I know my son would double or even triple the amount I use. Have a taste of the soup when it's nearly cooked and add a bit more of what excites your taste buds.

Nutrition information per portion
: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
SERVINGS: Four servings
EQUIPMENT: 1 Medium-sized frying pan
1 Large-sized pan


Start by peeling the four onions and chopping them into small bits.

This is the most laborious part of this recipe - it takes 10 minutes or so to chop up four onions and the tears will flow!

Chopped onions
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Chopped Onions


Just one note - chopping up 4 onions is a very 'crying' experience! I've no magic recipe to stop the tears, but the result is well worth it. Apparently chewing gum whilst chopping the onions does make some difference but I'm not guaranteeing it!

See the cooments section at the end of this recipe for many ideas on how to peel onions. For me personally, I avoid the problem altogether and chop them up using a food processor - guaranteed no tears!



Put the onions into a frying pan, add the butter, margarine or olive oil and turn up to a medium heat. If, after 15 minutes or so, the onions aren't beginning to turn to a golden brown,  turn the heat up slightly. Don't cover with a lid.

Turn the onions every minute or so to ensure they are evenly cooked. Aim to cook the onions until they are a medium brown colour.

Browning the onions
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Browning the onions


Transfer the onions from the frying pan to a large pan and add all the ingredients except the cheese and bread.

Cook the soup on a medium heat for about 30 minutes. The aim is to get the onions so they are soft but not falling apart.

Cooking French Onion Soup
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Cooking French Onion Soup


While the soup is cooking, put the soup bowls in the oven on a low heat to warm them..

Cut up the French bread into slices and put them under the grill to very lightly toast them (a bit less toasted than shown in the picture!).

When lightly toasted, place some cheese over each slice of bread.

Toasted French Bread
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Toasted French Bread


Just before the soup is ready to be served, put the cheese topped bread under the grill and cook until the cheese starts to bubble.

The bread is then meant to be put on the top of the soup and served. However, we weren't too keen on this so in the picture below the bread is served on a separate plate.

This looks like a snack-sized meal but in fact it's quite filling. With enough toast and a crisp green side salad, it's a meal all on its own.

French Onion Soup woth Toast
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French Onion Soup with Toast

25 RATINGS GIVEN - AVERAGE xxxxxxxxxxxx star rating
5 star rating 5 June 2013 From: Neil
If you peel them underwater in a half filled basin or sink there will be no tears. It takes a bit of getting used to but it works! Me, personally, I just bite the bullet but for those of you who can't stand it then this is for you.

5 star rating 17 April 2012 From: Christine
Lovely soup! Absolutely gorgeous, I'm gonna cook it again and try the recommendations for red onions too, thank you!

5 star rating 30 March 2012 From: SJP
Lovely soup but if you want a bit of kick : I added extra to the soup; teaspoon of dried chopped chillies, spoon Worcestershire sauce and right at the end (2min) fresh chopped dill.

Four star rating 17 October 2010 From: Sarah
Best cold remedy ever and very tasty.

Four star rating 25 October 2010 From: Cindy
Put a slice of bread in your mouth when slicing your onions so your don't cry.

25 October 2010 From: Sally
I peel onions near an open window - no tears!  The soup is scrumptious esp when served with hot bread and cheese on top as described by Peter. I recommend DON'T BLEND - surely that's criminal :)

10 November 2010 From: Joanna
Fingers crossed I can do it - my brother and sisters and I are doing Come Dine With Me as a family - starting with my brother this week! Menu going in from me is going to include this soup - wish me luck.

12 November 2010 From: Nigel
Here's my tip for peeling and chopping onions. Wear swimming goggles. You don't look 'cool' and everyone may laugh but no tears guaranteed!

18 November 2010 From: Jonny H
Tip for chopping onions. wet the spoon end of a wooden spoon and hold it in your mouth at the handle end. Wet spoon absorbs all the onion fumes :)

22 November 2010 From: J Morgan
I added a pinch of dry mustard when I made this soup it is now a regular on the menu.

24 November 2010 From: Chris
Just tried something with this that we used to have when we lived in Tenerife. Grate some HARD cheeses onto the top of the soup when served into the bowls, place under HOT HOT grill or use cooks blow torch until thick golden cheesey crust forms break with bread and enjoy Hmmmmm

30 November 2010 From: Linda

21 December 2010 From: Leisa
I made this a few months ago my kids and hubby loved it.. I will just add more garlic and garlic bread instead of cheese... its a starter on my xmas menu...

24 December 2010 From: Lloyd
V good.

07 January 2011 From: Andy
Just finished this French onion soup, and it's lovely, great taste, very filling loved it ! ! !

24 January 2011 From: Lindi

5 February 2011 From: Suzanne D
This is the first time I have made French Onion Soup - it was delicious and easy - to carmelise the onions to a sticky golden brown it took about 50-60 mins but well worth the time as the taste was fantastic - I would recommend to anyone looking for an easy but extremely tasty soup - didn't use worcestershire sauce after reading recommendations - didn't need it beautiful.

20 November 2011 From: Joan Howell
Very tasty soup and easy to make.

25 November 2011 From: Annette
Real easy to make and taste lovely: My husband made it!! he's the cook in our home
15 December 2011 From: Ruth
This soup is so tasty. I didn't use any garlic though. I also added some fresh rosemary too. It's quick to make & tastes just lovely. I will definitely be making more. Also one bowl just isn't enough!

17 December 2011 From: Gerry
Soup tasty I made it with red onions try them some time.

6 February 2012 From: Cristina
Loved it!! and so did my housemate! :D I'm very inexperienced at cooking, yet this was quite straightforward to make and sooooo tasty! Next time, I'd probably caramelise the onions more, though it was still yummy. Also, I'd advise against using olive oil - otherwise your onion soup will end up smelling like olives, like mine did :) didn't really affect the taste though, but next time, I'll try butter.

6 February 2012 From: Claire
So easy and so yummy, everyone in the house has a cold was a great pick me up. I used red and white onions. Give this recipe a go.

6 February 2012 From: Mark
i need a healthy diet onion good taste recipe!!!

28 March 2012 From: Monkfish
Did exactly as the recipe said although took over an hour to caramelize the onions, also added 2 garlic cloves instead of one for an added kick!

11 April 2012 From: Finlay
My dad made this soup for us. My whole family loved it.

Four star rating 20 May 2012 From: Not Given
Just Coolest ever soupdelicious !!

5 star rating 17 July 2012 From: Lilly
I can't believe it - this soup is delicious. I accidentally defrosted a bag of frozen onions - what to do? I would never choose to make French Onion soup but I'm so glad I've found this recipe. Thank you.

Not Given 16 July 2012 From: Kat
Veggie option (never really checked if beef oxo cubes are veggie?) make the stock with a vegetable oxo cube and add a teaspoon of yeast extract/marmite (:
RESPONSE: Thanks for that Kat, For information Oxo cubes do contain a small amount beef - very small but it is on their ingredients list.

4 star rating 18 November 2012 From: Colin
All these weird and wonderful ways to not cry when cutting onions. For goodness sake, just keep them in the fridge and cut when cold. Not only so easy, but also the best.

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Copyright 2006 - 22 CookUK. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2006 - 22 CookUK. All rights reserved.




Copyright 2006 - 22 CookUK. All rights reserved.