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French Onion Soup Recipe

French Onion Soup

The recipe I am sharing today is by no means a glamorous one, but it is a festive one nonetheless.

When my friend Renée asked me to share my onion soup recipe, I smiled. It is definitely traditional French food, and it is festive, but probably not in the way you would think of.

Whenever we have a big party where I am from, we have onion soup at the end of the night, around 5 or 6 a.m., as a way to wake us up before our drive home. If you are still there for onion soup towards the end of a party or wedding, you know for sure you have had a good time!

The only times I have ever had soupe à l’oignon has always been as described above. I asked my mum whether she had eaten it as part of a meal, and she had not either. Maybe it is just what we do in my family, but to me, onion soup will always be a tummy warming pick-me-up food that ends perfectly a great party. Before yesterday evening, I had never ever eaten onion soup as a starter. It tasted really nice but I have to admit it felt odd to eat it there and then.

French Onion Soup - Ingredients

It is a cheap and easy starter to make. Beanie rubbed the garlic on the slices of bread before I cut it, just to give our croutons a bit more flavour. You would normally serve the soup with grated Gruyère cheese on top, but I did not have any at home.

French Onion Soup - Making the Croutons

French Onion Soup

A nice, warming starter that is quick and cheap to make.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


  • - 25 g butter
  • - 4 large onions
  • - 2 garlic cloves
  • - 10g flour
  • - 750ml beef or vegetable stock
  • - 1 bay leaf
  • - salt and pepper
  • - 8 slices baguette a few days old if possible
  • - 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • - Grated Gruyère


  1. Melt the butter in a large pan. Slice the onions and let them caramelise over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Sprinkle the flour on top and add a clove of garlic, minced. Mix thoroughly. Add the hot stock and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, make the croutons. Rub both sides of each slice of bread with the second garlic clove, brush with oil and cut into 6 squares. Place on a baking sheet under the grill for a few minutes, until golden, stirring a couple of times.
  4. Remove the bay leaf, season to taste and serve with croutons and grated cheese.

Recipe Notes

If you have ovenproof bowls, serve the soup, add the croutons and the grated cheese on top. Place under the grill for a minute before serving.

If you have no Gruyère, you can use grated Emmental, Beaufort or Cheddar cheese.

You can make this recipe free from wheat and gluten by using a ‘free from’ flour blend (I use Doves Farm). For a dairy-free alternative, replace the butter with two tablespoons of olive oil or dairy-free spread like Pure.


  1. Julie's Family Kitchen
    22/11/2014 / 5:04 pm

    Simply stunning Mel, looks so delicious.

    • Mel
      22/11/2014 / 8:21 pm

      Thanks Julie!

  2. Eva
    22/11/2014 / 5:31 pm

    Ta soupe à l’oignon a l’air délicieuse ! En Espagne on la fait pareil, ma mère la fait très bonne !
    C’est une bonne idée, un recette simple mais qui fait un bien fou!
    Je te laisse un lien qui parle sur les allergies, peut-être ça pourra t’intéressé. Il est dans la réponse de mes biscuits à la cannelle 😉
    Happy weekend!

    • Mel
      22/11/2014 / 6:54 pm

      Je regarde de suite! Merci Eva. x

  3. adeline
    22/11/2014 / 6:11 pm

    souvenirs de fins de fêtes à Verzenay et de mariages…..

    • Mel
      22/11/2014 / 6:51 pm

      Je crois que la dernière fois que j’ai mangé de la soupe à l’oignon à un mariage, c’était le vôtre!

  4. 22/11/2014 / 7:32 pm

    Thanks so much for this my lovely, I’d have to make it without bread but the soup itself sounds delicious. Simple food is always best! Can’t wait to try it out xxx

    • Mel
      22/11/2014 / 8:02 pm

      It would be quite bland without the croutons but you could use rye any other ‘free from’ bread maybe. x

      • 22/11/2014 / 8:07 pm

        I don’t have any grains at all in my diet hon. Maybe I could try making bread from walnuts as i think they would compliment the onions xx

        • Mel
          22/11/2014 / 8:09 pm

          That would work nicely! If you manage to make bread from walnuts, make sure you share your recipe! x

          • 22/11/2014 / 8:26 pm

            Will do! Thanks again for this xx

          • Mel
            22/11/2014 / 8:29 pm

            My pleasure Renée! x

    • Mel
      22/11/2014 / 8:00 pm

      Thanks Charlotte.

  5. 23/11/2014 / 7:48 am

    This looks delicious! I LOVE the fact that you have this in the morning after an amazing night out! Sounds perfect! x

    • Mel
      23/11/2014 / 5:39 pm

      It is!

    • Mel
      23/11/2014 / 5:09 pm

      I could not agree more!

  6. detoutcoeur Limousin
    23/11/2014 / 5:00 pm

    A classic – one of my favourite soups.

    • Mel
      23/11/2014 / 5:15 pm

      Do you eat it as part of a meal in Limousin or at the end of parties?

  7. 23/11/2014 / 7:41 pm

    I love French Onion Soup, it reminds me of a Parisian restaurant I went to on my mini-moon. I will be coming back to try this recipe

    • Mel
      23/11/2014 / 9:22 pm

      I love it when food brings back memories!

  8. 24/11/2014 / 10:51 am

    Wowzers! You guys know how to party! I am not sure I have ever been up still at 5am…apart from when giving birth!! I am not a night owl at all! I love the story of having it at the end of a party so you can drive home!!! Made me laugh. You won’t be drunk still if you eat onion soup!!!

    • Mel
      24/11/2014 / 3:39 pm

      Ha ha, you made me laugh! I have to say the last time I had onion soup at a party was before having the children!

  9. 25/11/2014 / 6:13 pm

    Your soup looks delicious & so economical too. A lovely warming soup for this time of year.

    • Mel
      25/11/2014 / 6:16 pm

      It is really cheap to make and a great way to use stale bread, too!

  10. 26/11/2014 / 10:48 am

    This is one of my favourite soups, It looks lovely

    • Mel
      26/11/2014 / 11:37 am

      Thanks Alison.

  11. 27/11/2014 / 3:36 pm

    Oh Mel, I love hearing your stories about how your recipe fits into French life and this is a favourite. You are so glamorous, firstly we’d never make it to 5am, secondly, after a big party, we would be eating chips or some other greasy food from a take-away on the way home!! Thank you for sharing on #festivefoodfriday. xx

    • Mel
      27/11/2014 / 4:15 pm

      I am not sure you would find me glamorous at 5 a.m. my lovely, ha ha! At weddings, if you are still up after onion soup, you tend to walk to the bakery and get fresh croissants to go with (very) strong coffee!

  12. 28/11/2014 / 5:54 pm

    Yummy, my favourite soup-wish we lived closer! Thanks so much for linking up to #tastytuesdays

    • Mel
      28/11/2014 / 11:16 pm

      Me too!

  13. Not A Frumpy Mum
    29/11/2014 / 11:12 pm

    This looks lovely, I tried to make French Onion soul once before and it was a disaster but this looks delicious xx

    • Mel
      10/12/2014 / 12:25 am

      It is just simple, warming food. The croutons and grated cheese really add to it. x

  14. 02/12/2014 / 11:58 am

    This is a great recipe I found it on #RecipeOfTheWeek, I made French Onioin soup recently but your recipe is so much better than mine. Great job 😀

    • Mel
      10/12/2014 / 12:29 am

      Thanks a lot. It is perfect to warm up!

  15. 05/12/2014 / 3:55 pm

    I love French onion soup but simply do not have it enough! Thanks for reminding me 🙂 it looks delicious x #recipeoftheweek

    • Mel
      11/12/2014 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks Kirsty!

  16. Emily Leary
    06/12/2014 / 10:06 pm

    That looks perfect. Haven’t had French Onion Soup in years and this makes me want some NOW! Pinned. Thanks for joining in with #recipeoftheweek

    • Mel
      07/12/2014 / 1:27 pm

      Thanks Emily! Same here, I had not made it in years and it reminded me of my friend’s wedding!

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