French Onion Soup


There's nothing like French onion soup on a cold day, and thankfully, this bistro classic is easy to make at home. We use sweet Vidalia onions and cook them slowly so they caramelize—that’s the key to this recipe. A touch of Marsala, Madeira, or Port adds richness to the beef stock. Serve the soup in ovenproof bowls so you can broil the Gruyere-topped toast in each portion.


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 pounds sweet onions, such as Vidalia, halved and thinly sliced (9 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

  • ½ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine

  • 2 quarts beef stock, preferably homemade

  • cup sweet Marsala, Madeira, or port wine

  • 6 slices French bread or other soft country loaf (each 1 inch thick), lightly toasted

  • 8 ounces Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to turn golden, 35 to 40 minutes (if onions develop color quickly, reduce heat).

  2. Add butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring a few times, until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Add vermouth and boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until mostly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Stir in stock and Marsala. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and gently simmer 45 minutes. Season to taste.

  4. Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into broiler-safe crocks or bowls set on a rimmed baking sheet. Nestle a piece of toast into each, partially submerged, and top each with 1/3 cup Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden brown in places, 2 to 4 minutes. (Soup without toast and cheese can be cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days, or frozen up to 6 months.)

    french onion soup served with cheesy bread
    Jenny Huang
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