French onion soup

French onion soup

A rich, savoury-sweet broth crowned with molten cheese? It’s a classic for a reason. Gruyère is traditional but, for that Instagram-worthy ‘cheese pull’, swap or combine it with grated mozzarella.

4 out of 5 stars(1) Rate this recipe
  • Serves4
  • CourseStarter
  • Prepare20 mins
  • Cook2 hrs 50 mins
  • Total time3 hrs 10 mins

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  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 1kg onions, finely sliced
  • tbsp plain flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprig/s fresh thyme
  • 2 sprig/s sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1.2 L beef or vegetable stock (made with 3 stock cubes)
  • 1 tbsp Calvados (or other brandy)
  • ½ tbsp light brown soft sugar (optional)
  • 1 baguette (about 200g)
  • 150g Gruyère, grated (or grated mozzarella)
  • ½ x 20g pack chives, chopped


  1. In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onions, stir to coat in the butter, then cook for 1½–2 hours, stirring frequently, until really brown and very soft, lowering the heat if they are catching. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Meanwhile, tie the herbs together for convenience with cooking string, if liked.

  2. Add the herbs, vinegar and stock to the casserole; season. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Stir through the Calvados, taste and add the sugar as needed to sweeten. Season, then remove and discard the herbs.

  3. Preheat the grill to high. Cut the baguette into 2cm slices. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls, if you have them. Lay 2 slices of baguette on top of each bowl and sprinkle over a generous amount of cheese. Put the bowls in a roasting tin and grill for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. If you do not have ovenproof bowls, arrange the bread slices in pairs on a foil-lined tray; cover each with cheese, grill until melted, then arrange on top of the soup. Scatter over the chives and serve straight away.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


2,559kJ/ 612kcals



Saturated Fat












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Overall rating (4/5)

4 out of 5 stars1 rating