French onion soup in a bowl with croutons and cheese

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A Brief History Of Onion Soup

Onion soup is considered in Five Michelin Stars restaurants as fine cooking, despite its humble ingredients: Onions, stock, croûtons, and cheese. Back in the Roman Empire, onion soup was a rustic food, for low-class people, because, onions were abundant and easy to cultivate.

Until the 17th century, onion soup had a royal twist, by King Louis XV [some food historians said Louis XIV], who added butter, croûtons, and Champagne. In the 18th century, in Paris, where cooks started to add cheese on top, over bread, and bake it, to get a rich and tasty soup, a little bit thick.

By the way, you can always warm your heart, on winter days, and at the comfort of your home, with a bowl of French Onion Soup, without or with cheese “au gratin“, for sure not royal and without Champagne, but still delicious and healthy.

How To Make Onion Soup?


  • 2              medium yellow onions
  • 4              tbsp butter
  • 2              tbsp oil
  • 3              tbsp flour
  • 2              cups chicken or beef stock
  • Dash of salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2  to 4      French bread (In France, they called it “baguette“) or croûtons
  • 1/2           cup grated Gruyère
  • Some parsley or thyme, to garnish.


  1. Peel and thinly slice the onions. Keep 1 tbsp butter, and “sauté” onions in the melted butter, with oil, over low heat.
  2. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender, brown, and caramelized.
  3. Add the stock, season with salt and black pepper, and simmer over medium heat, for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the flour gradually, and stir in for 3 minutes.
  5. Simmer uncovered, over low heat, for 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Place the soup in ramekins or bowls, top with bread, spread the remaining butter over it, and sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Broil, bake, or grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is crisp and golden, but not burned.
  8. Garnish with parsley or thyme. Serve hot.

Chef’s Tips

  • The best onions for the French Onion Soup, are Straw Yellow Onions Virtues (Jaune Paille Des Vertus).
  • Butter has a tendency to burn quickly, keep an eye, stirring from time to time.
  • The best flavor for Onion Soup is Gruyère cheese, but you can try Parmesan or Emmental (see: How To Cook With Cheese?).

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