French Onion Soup

Cook, Mains, Recipes, Soups, Starters, Sunday Supper

Meltingly tender onions, meaty stock, and rich, nutty melted cheese—these are the indispensable elements that make this boldly flavored soup a hallmark of French cuisine—and a favorite of American tables, too. Take the time to make your own stock and you will be rewarded with deep flavor and savory goodness.


French Onion Soup


2 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 1/2 lbs. yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1 cup dry white wine

8 cups beef stock

2 tsp. minced fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 crusty baguette

2 2/3 cups shredded Gruyère cheese


In a large, heavy sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, stir well, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and deep golden brown, about 30 minutes.


Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir until combined. Gradually stir in the wine, then the stock, and finally the thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until slightly reduced, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.


Meanwhile, preheat a broiler. Have ready eight 1 1/2-cup broilerproof soup crocks. Cut the baguette into 16 slices, sizing them so that 2 slices will fit inside each crock. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and broil, turning once, until lightly toasted on both sides, about 1 minute total. Set the slices aside. Position the oven rack about 12 inches from the heat source, and leave the broiler on.


Ladle the hot soup into the crocks. Place 2 toasted bread slices, overlapping if necessary, on top of the soup and sprinkle each crock evenly with about 1/3 cup of the Gruyère. Broil until the cheese is bubbling, about 2 minutes. Serve at once. Serves 8.

29 comments about “French Onion Soup

    1. Greg G

      I’ve found that the “alcohol free” white wine found in many grocery deli sections is a good substitute. I’ve used this in Swiss Fondue and it actually worked quite well and had a comparable flavor.

  1. Leslie

    Love this recipe. And can you tell me where I can find these crocks!! They’re perfect!

  2. Cindy Montagno

    Please let us know what crocks these are that can be put under the broiler. Thanks !

  3. Herbs in winter… it’s about Thyme! « EntwinedLife

  4. Croque-Monsieur & Corn Maque Choux « LauraLovingLife

  5. Cooking With Onions « jovinacooksitalian

  6. And the Award Goes to… Oscar Party Ideas 2013 |

  7. Kiwi Blogger » Blog Archive » Making Homemade Beef Stock

  8. Nita

    Why don’t you use corn flour instead of wheat flour? Then people who have coeliac disease could eat this! Try thinking outside of the square, just because its always been done that way doesn’t mean you can’t change it!

    1. Ellen Evars

      Yep…..your right. You may make any changes you would like. I’m sure the chef that published this recipe used wheat or white flour because most people have it stocked in their kitchen. Go right ahead and use what ever flour works for your dietary restrictions. If you or a love one has coeliac disease, you might want to check out recipes on line or purchase a cookbook that has only recipes directed for this disease.

    1. Darcy Nikolajsen

      yes. I have used chicken stock instead of beef stock….its not as rich but still very good.

  9. Charlie

    Thanks Greg for the alcohol free wine tip.
    I’m always a little skeptical about how much alcohol
    actually burns off during the cooking process.

    1. JenMc

      With a cup of white wine for eight servings, each person would only be getting an ounce of wine if nothing burned off during the cooking process. This is about 1/3 of a tsp of alcohol by volume, if my math is on (11.0% by volume of 1 oz). Again, that’s if NOTHING burns off after 30 minutes of cooking. I’d feel ok about that amount, even for kids.

      1. SFCook

        Just to clarify: 8 weight is not the same as 8 fl. oz. (1 cup). There are 16 Tbs. in a cup so the amount of alcohol per person would be 2 Tbs.

        Although in the past, it was accepted that alcohol burned off during cooking, that thinking has been corrected. As noted at
        “The conventional wisdom accepted by just about everyone in the food world is that all the alcohol you add to a dish evaporates or dissipates during cooking. It’s wrong. In fact, you have to cook something for a good 3 hours to eradicate all traces of alcohol…”

  10. Lori Mellon

    ALL the alcohol cooks off: alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. And this amount of cooking time would basically destroy the flavor imparted by the wine (which is what it’s added for, after all) except for the large volume of water/stock made with water in relation to the wine.

  11. Roseann Boyce

    French Onion Soup has never appealed to me, but this…oh wow! My mouth is watering and I’ve popped it straight onto the ‘to-try’ list! thank you

  12. 14 Très Chic Recipes to Celebrate like a French Girl for Bastille Day

  13. Lianne

    Would really like to know the wine you would pair with this recipe. Not to familiar with the dry whites

    1. Williams-Sonoma Editors Post author

      Lianne: On the white side, you might try an aromatic white like a Pinot Gris or a Viognier; on the red side, try something lighter and fruitier, such as a fruity Pinot Noir or a nice Cru Beaujolais. Hope this helps!

  14. Beauty and the Beast Menu | Williams Sonoma Taste

  15. Food News: March 4, 2017 | Williams Sonoma Taste

  16. Be Our Guest! How to Host a Beauty & the Beast Extravaganza | Williams-Sonoma Taste

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *