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Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

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2 Classic French Onion Soup Recipes

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson
Homemade French onion soup... delicious and frugal. | Photo credit: MS Clips

Homemade French onion soup... delicious and frugal. | Photo credit: MS Clips

Here are two different recipes for homemade French onion soup. Both are outstanding and inexpensive to make for a family lunch or dinner.

They're simple to make and cost very little per serving. Rather than buy a can or box of manufactured French onion soup, you'll be amazed at how much better tasting it is when you do the food preparation yourself.

Wonderful to wolf down during a cold, drizzly winter evening or to sip during a summer brunch—hearty and low-fat, this soup is a guilt-free and exceedingly thrifty comfort food.

French onion soup has been a frugal staple in French homes for centuries, a way to efficiently use up stale bread. Use these recipes as a springboard to creating your own version, if you choose.

One steaming bowl of this rich flavorful soup ordered in an upscale restaurant can cost as much as 8 to 10 dollars... go figure.

This taste-bud twanging soup requires oven-safe bowls because the cheese is browned directly on top of the soup. The best choice is a small, deep bowl so that the cheese and bread completely cover the top of the soup.

Classic French Onion Soup Recipe #1 (from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)


  1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are dark and sticky, about 30 minutes.
  2. Stir in the vinegar and scrape the browned crust from the pot. Stir in the chicken broth, beef broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and discard the bay leaves.
  3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange oven-safe soup bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and ladle the soup into them. Top each bowl with 2 baguette slices and sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of the cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Serves 8.

To make ahead: This soup can be prepared through step 2, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat over low heat and proceed with step 3.

Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: Featuring More Than 1,200 Kitchen-Tested Recipes, America's Test Kitchen & Cook's Illustrated, 2005.

Classic French Onion Soup Recipe #2 (from


Always serve this marvelous French country dish as a meal, lunch, or dinner, with lots of salad and crusty French bread—hot to 8-12 people.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven and add the onions, stirring constantly. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until soft.

In the meantime, cut slices of French bread into 1/2-inch pieces and toast them at 350 deg. F in the oven for about 15 minutes—until they are dry crusts.

When the onions are soft, sprinkle them with flour, stir, then add 2 cups of beef stock and stir until the mixture is thickened. Add the remaining stock, stir into it the salt, the pepper, and the brandy. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour. Add the meat glaze and taste for seasoning.

When you're ready to serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls (use oven-safe bowls) and cover each with a thick handful of Gruyere cheese. Top each with a piece of the toasted bread, which has been drizzled with olive oil. Sprinkle it with the Parmesan, then run them under a broiler for a few minutes and carry the bowls out to the table to serve. The bowls will be hot, so be careful.

Source: SoupSong website (




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