French Onion Soup

Wildly impressive for dinner guests or decadent comfort food just because – French onion soup is a hit on any occasion!

Credit: Catherine Roscoe Barr

The trick to elegantly eating French onion soup is cutting the bread into small pieces

French onion soup isn’t the speediest of recipes to prepare, but it’s definitely in the running for the most scrumptious!

My usual theme is easy and fast when it comes to making dinner, but every once in a while it’s worth the time and effort to make something a little out of the ordinary. This week that little something was French onion soup. This recipe is adapted from a great cookbook that my in-laws gave me for Christmas 10 years ago called The Soup Bible – an oldie but a goodie.

I love making French onion soup because a) it’s absolutely delicious, b) we got French onion soup bowls as wedding gifts, and c) *insert shameless self-promotion* it makes me look good – I even won second place with this recipe in an Iron Chef competition with some uber-gourmand friends.

One thing I don’t like about ordering French onion soup in a restaurant is that it’s hard to navigate the cheese-encrusted slice of bread while still looking somewhat elegant. This is why I cut my bread into bite-sized pieces (remember, I’ve got an image to uphold here). Also, I find that serving a delicious wine, like a rich Malbec, will help to distract your dinner mates from the broth dribbling down your chin or the bit of cheese stuck to your cheek.

This is a pretty big recipe, but you will love having leftovers for the week ahead. Any unused soup can be stored in the fridge for about a week and then heated up and combined with the bread and cheese when ready to serve. I’m sure the soup would freeze well, too, but it’s never come down to that around here.


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 lrg onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 btsp flour
  • 2 x 900mL boxes of beef broth
  • French bread, cut into bite-sized squares
  • 2 cups Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese, grated


  1. Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until they begin to brown.
  3. Add garlic, sugar and thyme, continuing to stir, for about 30 minutes until the onions are well browned.
  4. Add flour, mixing well, then broth, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
  6. Place a small handful of bread cubes in each soup bowl.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Place bowls on cookie sheet and place under broiler for about 3 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble and melt.


Catherine Roscoe Barr, BSc Neuroscience, is a Vancouver-based writer, editor, and fitness professional. Before settling on the west coast she lived in Sydney, Toronto, Oregon, Montana, and practically everywhere in Alberta. She can be found jogging with her adorable dog, dining with her fabulous husband or voraciously reading anywhere comfy.