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French Onion Soup 101

This classic soup is hearty and warming on a chilly night.

  • Servings: 16
  • Yield: Makes sixteen 1-cup servings

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2004


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 6 tablespoons, melted (2 sticks total)
  • 5 pounds onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 quarts Homemade Beef Stock or low-sodium store-bought beef stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons cognac
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 long baguette, cut into 32 rounds (3/4 inch thick each)
  • 12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater (4 cups)


  1. Melt 10 tablespoons butter in a large (7-quart) Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sprinkle with sugar. Cook onions, stirring only occasionally to prevent sticking, until very soft and translucent, 25 to 30 minutes.

  2. Reduce heat to medium; continue to cook onions, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until caramelized and deep brown, about 1 hour. (Adjust heat if the onions don't change color or if they darken quickly and stick to the skillet.)

  3. Sprinkle flour over onions; stir. Stir in stock, wine, and cognac; bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook, partially covered, until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes. Add salt, and season with pepper.

  4. Preheat broiler. Broil bread, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes (watch carefully so it doesn't burn). With the remaining 6 tablespoons melted butter, brush both sides of each slice.

  5. Divide soup among flameproof crocks or bowls. Place 2 slices of bread over soup in each crock, and sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over bread. Broil until the cheese is melted and brown around the edges.

Cook's Notes

This recipe can be halved. The soup can be refrigerated (without the bread and cheese) in airtight containers for up to three days or frozen for up to one month. To save a little time, heat the stock while you caramelize the onions so that the soup will come to a simmer quickly.

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