Golden French Onion Soup

By Sally Cameron on December 19, 2011

Soups, Stews & Chilies, the daniel plan, Vegetarian

A steaming bowl of French onion soup topped with melted Gruyere cheese; classic comfort food and a dinner solution for the craziness of a holiday week. Historically considered peasant food, onion soups have been around since Roman times but it was the French who turned it into a classic. Made ahead, golden French onion soup reheats beautifully after a busy day of shopping, wrapping and getting ready for Christmas.

french onion soup |

Golden French Onion Soup

Usually left to play a supporting role in everything from stocks, soups and stews, to salads and sauces, the humble onion becomes the star of the show in this soup. With slow cooking, onions become meltingly tender and sweet. When you start with sweet onions it’s even better.

Besides tasting great, an added benefit to cooking with sweet onions is they don’t make you cry. No more bleary, stinging eyes from running tears and stopping to blow your nose.

Onion Prep

You will need 3 pounds of sweet onions. Cut them in half stem to root and slice crosswise into thin half rounds. For a rich flavor, I use both olive oil and unsalted butter to cook the onions. You can use all olive oil if you prefer.

Make the Soup

Cook the sliced onions over low heat in a heavy pot (like a Le Creuset Dutch Oven) with a little garlic, white wine, thyme sprigs and a bay leaf. After low and slow cooking for about 45-60 minutes, the onions are so tender they almost melt in your mouth. I use chicken broth versus the traditional beef broth for a lighter, golden soup.

Just before serving, top with toasted homemade croutons (regular or gluten-free), grated Gruyere and a little Parmesan. Melt under the broiler or use that blowtorch you only get out for Crème Brulee. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives for garnish and fresh flavor. 

Nutrition Facts
Golden French Onion Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 479 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 915mg40%
Potassium 835mg24%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 17g19%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 402IU8%
Vitamin C 26mg32%
Calcium 440mg44%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Golden French Onion Soup

With low, slow cooking, the humble onion is transformed into the comfort food classic, onion soup.  Sweet onions are my choice for onions, like Mayan Sweets or OsoSweets, but other sweet onions will work well. I use chicken broth versus beef broth for a lighter, golden color and flavor. If you are a vegetarian, use homemade vegetable broth instead. Top with toasted bread or homemade croutons, cave-aged Gruyere cheese and a little Parmesan. Yield: about 7 cups or 1 ½ liters
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword onion, Soup
Servings 4
Calories 479kcal


  • 3 pounds  sweet onions
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth preferably homemade
  • 4 slices crusty artisan bread
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese grated
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  • A splash of dry sherry
  • A sprinkle of chopped chives


  • Cut onions in half through the room and the stem ends. Peel and thinly slice into half moons. In a large heavy pan (5 1/2 quart), melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions salt and pepper. Turn heat to low. Slowly cook onions until soft and translucent, 45-60 minutes. Partially cover the pan with a lid during cooking.  Half of the way through, add garlic, wine, thyme, bay leaf. Onions may caramelize and become a golden brown. If not, don’t worry. If they start to brown quickly, turn your heat down. You want a low, slow heat for onions that practically melt.
  • When onions are completely tender, discard the bay leaf and what’s left of the thyme sprigs. Add the broth and heat until the soup is hot and flavors have incorporated, 15-20 minutes. If you want, add a splash of dry sherry but it's optional.
  • To serve, heat up your broiler. Ready oven safe soup bowls. Cut a piece of bread so that it fits in the soup bowl. Toast the bread brushed with a little olive oil under the broiler (or in a toaster) until golden. Bread can also be cut into large cubes, tossed with olive oil and browned in a fry pan or skillet until golden. Homemade croutons really make this soup extra good.
  • Place soup in the bowl, top with toasted bread or bread cubes and grated cheeses. Place the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and place under the broiler to melt the cheese. Don’t use the top broiler rack. Use the level at least one below and watch carefully so the cheese melts and gets golden but does not burn.


Another way to get the tops browned is to use a blowtorch. Here’s another use for that torch you bought for making Creme Brulee.


Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 915mg | Potassium: 835mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 402IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 440mg | Iron: 2mg
No Comments
  1. Heidi @ Food Doodles - December 20th, 2011

    This looks amazing. I use a very (very!) basic recipe for french onion soup, but I’m very interested in trying this. It looks delicious!

  2. Sally - December 20th, 2011

    It’s really good Heidi! In fact, I just finished a bowl for a late lunch. It’s even better the next day. You can make it ahead and it heats up beautifully. The croutons really make it good. I do the cubed version as it’s easier to eat. Any questions please let me know, and report back after you’ve made it!

  3. Karen - December 20th, 2011

    This recipe looks wonderful! I love french onion soup, and can’t wait to try this recipe. This is definitely one I am going to make over the Christmas holiday!

  4. Madonna - December 20th, 2011

    I just love your food, and your presentation, and all the other info you provide. I think I read that your husband takes your photos. Any chance he would submit a remedial lesson or two ever once in awhile.

  5. Sally - December 20th, 2011

    Thanks for the kind words Madonna. He is talented and I am lucky to have him to collaborate with. He would be a terrific teacher, but has no time at this point in his life. I hope he will have time to teach in the future.

  6. Suzanne - December 21st, 2011

    yum this soup looks great, I love onion soup but haven’t seen one with chicken broth before. I’m putting this on my list to make soon thanks 🙂

  7. Megan - December 21st, 2011

    Found your post on Tastespotting. I love your blog and your photos are lovely! Hope you enjoy the Christmas season. Feel free to pop over and say hi or subscribe sometime at
    I am always looking for new friends, especially if they are into food!

  8. Sally - December 21st, 2011

    Thanks Megan! You too. From Sydney, Australia? Wonderful place! Read your about. Keep cooking!

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