Onion Soup
(Soupe à l'oignon Gratinée) 

Onion soup has been popular since Roman times, and used to be the poor man’s soup because during that time there was an abundance of onions and they were easy to grow and store. Its origins are unclear but the modern version originated in France from the 18th century and became an emblematic dish of the classic French cuisine.​

Prep Time

Cook Time


En Español​​




  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds onions (about 5 to 6 ), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 9 cups beef stock or water
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac
  • slices stale or toasted French bread, cut ½-inch thick
  • 1/2 pound Gruyère cheese

1- In a large saucepan or 5-quart Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions and raise the temperature to medium-high, cook stirring occasionally, in about 10-12 minutes they well start turning brown.

2- Continue cooking for about 25 minutes or until the onions are dark brown, but not black.   Reduce the heat to medium, add salt, black pepper and flour and stir continuously for 3 minutes.

3- Gradually add the stock (or water) and the saffron, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.
4- Just before serving, add the cognac. Preheat the broiler.

5- Toast the baguette slices, place enough bread in each of 6 ovenproof bowls so the slices will cover the surface once the bowls are filled with the soup.  Ladle the soup into the bowls. Sprinkle the soup with the grated cheese and place the bowls on a cookie sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese melts and turns a light golden brown, (about 5 minutes).  Serve immediately

Cook's Notes​​

  • If you want to give it a different flavor, you can add 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, 1 bay leaf and white wine.

  • Or if you like rosemary, the combination of a little rosemary and a pinch of saffron goes very well in this soup.