Best Traditional French Onion Soup Recipe

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Last updated Dec 6, 2023

French onion soup may seem like the simplest soup out there, and when it comes to the ingredients it really is. However, when it comes to getting the flavor right, it is not as simple as it seems.

The two most important things about this recipe are: picking the right onions and taking your time. This may seem simple, but that’s what makes this French onion soup recipe so much better than most other recipes out there.

Yellow onions are the best for French Onion soup. The sweet onions make the soup too sweet and ruin the flavor, on the other hand, red onions change the color of the broth which doesn’t make the soup look too appetizing.

When it comes to dedicating time to this recipe, it is the most crucial part. You simply cannot rush through it and allowing time to caramelize the onions to perfection is what achieves that extraordinary deep flavor.

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3 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 large yellow onions, cut into ¼” thick slices
2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
½ cup dry sherry
6 springs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Baguette slices
8 oz shredded Gruyère cheese

Step 1: Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. On the stovetop melt the butter in the heavy-duty Dutch oven, add onions, 1 tbsp salt, cover, and place in the oven for 1-hour.

Step 2: Remove pot from the oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of the pot. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook for another 1.5-hours. Stirring the onions and scraping the bottom of the pot once more during that time.

French Onion Soup

Step 3: Remove pot from the oven, uncover and cook the onions on medium-high heat until all the liquid evaporates, stirring frequently for 20-30 minutes. The bottom of the pot should be covered in the brown crust.

Step 4: Stir in ¼ cup water and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen the crust and cook until the water evaporated, and another dark crusty layer is created. Repeat this deglazing process 3 times, until onions are very dark brown.

French Onion Soup

Step 5: Stir in sherry, stirring frequently until it completely evaporates 5-7 minutes.

Step 6: Stir in chicken and beef broth, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and salt to taste and scrape up any final browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pot. Bring the soup to boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Step 7: While the soup is simmering, arrange baguette slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake at 400-degrees until baguette is crisp and golden at the edges, 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

Step 8: After 30 minutes of simmering, remove and discard herbs from the soup then season with salt and pepper.

Step 9: To serve the soup, turn the broiler on and arrange individual oven-safe soup bowls (crocks) on a baking sheet, fill each with approximately 1 ¾ cups of soup. Tops each soup bowl with a slice of baguette and sprinkle with shredded Gruyère. This portion creates 6-8 bowls of soup. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges.

Traditional Soup Recipes

Step 10: Let cool for 5 minutes before serving and Bon Appétit.

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