Stephane’s recipes: Soupe à l’oignon – True French Onion Soup

Voici une recette que je voulais faire depuis bien longtemps. Un vrai pilier de la tradition culinaire Française! Première tentative réussie! Je vais même me venter un petit peu et vous dire que c’est la meilleure soupe à l’oignon que j’ai jamais mangé:0) Essayez et vous m’en direz des nouvelles. Pour la petite anecdote, on appelait la soupe à l’oignon, la soupe des ivrognes, car elle cache très bien les odeurs d’alcool:0) La recette qui suit semble tellement simple, qu’on aurait envie de rajouter de la bière, du vin ou encore du bouillon de boeuf ou de volaille. N’EN FAITES RIEN! J’ai moi même été tenté et j’ai bien fait de résister!

Pour 3 bols:

– Coupez 9 petits oignons jaunes en fines lamelles (les petits oignons ont plus de goût et moins d’eau) et faites les revenir au beurre. C’est l’étape la plus importante et elle m’à pris environ 30mn sur feu moyen. Le but est de faire dorer les oignons jusqu’à obtenir une couleur brune caramel uniforme. VOUS DEVREZ RESTER À COTÉ TOUT LE TEMPS. Le goût de votre soupe dépendra de cette étape (les photos montent bien la couleur à obtenir).

– Saupoudrez une cuillère à soupe rase de farine et mélangez bien

– Ajoutez 1,5 litres d’eau et laissez mijoter environ un quart d’heure. Salez, poivrez et voilà! Goûtez et allongez à l’eau ou resalez si besoin.

L’avantage de la recette est que tout ceci peut être fait la veille, et les étapes suivantes, très rapides, peuvent être réalisées le jour même. C’est moins de stress si vous recevez:0)

– Mettez la soupe dans des bols allant au four jusqu’à un demi centimètre du haut (les photos montrent que j’étais environ un centimètre trop bas)

– Placez une rondelle de pain grillé sur le dessus puis une couche de comté râpé (mettez en pas mal pour qu’il fonde sur les cotés du bol, c’est plus joli (là aussi j’ai raté mon coup)

– Placez sous le grill quelques minutes. Sortez, saupoudrez de persil haché pour la couleur et servez très chaud. 

Here is a recipe that I wanted to try for a long long time. A true pillar of the French culinary tradition! My first attempt was a resounding success! I’ll even brag a little and tell you that this was the best onion soup I’ve ever had: 0) Try it and tell me how it was. For the anecdote, the onion soup was called the soup of the drunks, because it hides very well the smell of alcohol: 0) The following recipe seems so simple that you could be tempted to add beer , wine or beef/chicken broth. DO NOT DO IT! I myself was tempted and I did well to resist!

For 3 bowls:

– Cut 9 small yellow onions into thin strips (small onions have more flavor and less water) and sauté them in butter. This is the most important step and it took me about 30 minutes over medium heat. The goal is to sauté the onions until you get a uniform caramel color. If you burn them, you will have to start all over again as it will make your soup bitter. YOU WILL REMAIN BY YOUR STOVE AT ALL TIMES. The taste of your soup will depend on this step (The photos here will show you the exact color you need to get).

– Sprinkle a small tablespoon of flour and mix well

– Add 1.5 liters of water and let simmer for about 15mn. Salt, pepper and voila! Taste and add water or salt as necessary.

The advantage of this recipe is that everything can be done the day before, and the next steps, very fast, can be made the same day. It is less stressful if you have guests: 0)

– Put the soup into ovenproof bowls up to half a centimeter from the top (the pictures show that I was about a quarter of an inch too low)

– Place a slice of toasted baguette on top and then a layer of grated Comté 

– Place under the grill for a few minutes. Take it out and sprinkle chopped parsley for color. Serve very hot.


92 Comments Add yours

  1. Aubrianne says:

    I WANT TO EAT THIS SOO BAD! The pictures are astounding. How much butter is needed to caramelize the onions?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m glad you like this. Very little butter if any is needed. Just follow the recipe step by step…

  2. Sorry to repeat what everyone else has said.. but this looks INCREDIBLE. The photos are great. I love French onion soup and so will definitely try this one day!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are very kind!! You can repeat all you want, it’s good for my beaten-up male ego:0) Let me know how it goes when you finally decide to give it a go

  3. Yvonne says:

    Thank you for sharing this!
    Your pics are amazing!
    I tried the soup and there was no leftovers!
    I linked to your recipe in my blog.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks a lot Yvonne!!! I am glad the soup was a success:0)

  4. Melyssa658 says:

    des photos gourmandes qui mettent vraiment en appétit, merci pour le passage sur mon blog 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:


  5. chef mimi says:

    I just realized I’ve never made French onion soup! I must! And I will definitely use this recipe! Merci!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      tell me how it goes!!!

  6. cindy knoke says:

    May I have some please? DIVINE!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Absolutely! When you come visit, I’ll make you some:0) In the meantime, you should try the recipe. It is divine!

  7. Anita Mac says:

    OH, comme c’est beau!!!! French onion soup is my favourite soup! I always order it when I am out. It is such a treat! Your photos are so amazing…my mouth is watering as I read your recipe. Thanks for the tip about not using stock…that is how I used to do it.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks for the kind comments Anita. Try it without stock and let me know how it turns out.

  8. Crista says:

    I love this recipe. Does it really just call for onions & water? You don’t use any broth? I guess the onions make an onion broth….

    I typically don’t eat French onion soup because it is typically made with beef stock.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you! Onion soup is onion soup. I know it sound almost too simple, but it is the best recipe I know. The taste comes from the color. Try it and let me know how it went:0)

  9. I love French Onion Soup. This looks delicious!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you. You should try it as IT IS bloody delicious:0)

  10. These images are mouthwatering!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks a lot!!!

  11. suhpos says:

    Reblogged this on B.Y. and commented:
    Must try this!

  12. suhpos says:

    This is def a must try..I’m adding this to my “must try” list..I will post a pick whenever I get to it!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I can’t wait for your feedback:0)

  13. fatgirlkr says:

    Stephane, I made the soup but cracked at the end and used a spoon full of sugar and a chicken stockcube as it was still a bit watery. I caramelized the onions for an hour and boiled it for 30 but it still wasn’t quite right. I used the little onions but maybe they are just not flavourful enough in Korea. They kind of disintergrated a bit too. It was yummy in the end though and I’m going to put it on my blog (with a shout out to you of course). TRÈS BIEN

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am so glad you tried. I don’t think it comes from the onions. I don’t know, maybe it does… 1 hour is way to long to get to the caramel color. Maybe that’s why they disintegrated… Moral of the story: You need to come visit me so we can cook it together:0)

      1. fatgirlkr says:

        Yes I will just let you make it. I think I used too much butter and that’s why they took so long. But I didn’t think using too much butter in French cooking was ever a problem. 🙂

        1. My French Heaven says:


  14. I have a French Onion Soup recipe that I love but I am very excited to try yours now that I have read through it and your photograhs have completely convinced me that this is a “must try” recipe. You are a very gifted photographer – and Chef I am sure!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks D! You should indeed try this recipe. It is the most traditional one and if you do invest the time out of your busy day (as the recipe says, staying by your stove is key), the results will blow your mind:0)

  15. GORGEOUS food photography! now I want to eat French Onion Soup!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You should! Just have a few mints handy if you want to kiss someone afterwards:0)

  16. Fascinating. Years ago (like 30-40 years ago) I used to make ‘French onion soup’ regularly and I and guests loved it – but it was nothing as simple as this. As we now eat ‘without meat’ a couple of times a week this will be on the menu pretty soon as I’ve made enough of your recipes to know if you say it’s good, it is. By the way, my previous recipe is on p62 of ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol1 (Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, Julia Child) and for guests I often added the filip on p64 – ‘des Trois Gourmandes’.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Wow! I am flattered! Yes, you should try the soup. No meat in there whatsoever. I think a lot of people put in stock and there is really no need. I need to get that julia Child book. I met her once at the Ritz in San Francisco just before she passed… I hope you keep coming back! Have a nice Sunday. What will you cook?:0)

  17. That looks absolutely gorgeous! You are a true Frenchman! You should be so proud!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I am and thank you! Try the recipe. You will love it! Thank you for visiting my little blog:0)

  18. fatgirlkr says:

    I have to confess I am in love with your blog too. Your living my dream. I would love to live in Paris for a year and learn to be a pastry chef. Then move to a beautiful house in the country and bake all day long. I will certainly give your soup a try, it looks much nicer than the one I tried years ago x

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks a lot! It is never too late! Maybe you can move to Paris and live your dream! Life is short. Do what you love; be who you are! All the very best. I will continue to read your blog!!

      1. fatgirlkr says:

        Yes I’m sure I will make it one day. I have so many dreams I want to live. France is so close to home anyway, so I’m saving it for last x

  19. ahballing says:

    Thanks for taking the effort to translate your recipes into English! I look forward to trying this! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You should! It’s fantastic! I am now following you and I am looking forward to reading your posts!!

      1. ahballing says:

        I will! though I hope it does turn out as nice as your photographs :p Thank you! I will credit you when I try out your recipes 🙂

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Great! Thanks!!

  20. Emeline says:

    La soupe à l’oignon, ça me rappelle tout de suite ma grand-mère qui en fait une succulente. Je viens de découvrir ton blog, il est très beau, tes recettes sont appétissantes et tes photos alléchantes.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Merci beaucoup! Je suis le tiens aussi! Bonne soupe!

  21. cathynd95 says:

    Reblogged this on What's For Dinner? and commented:
    Mmmm, French onion soup!

  22. cathynd95 says:

    I have made onion soup with beef broth and it seemed so salty. I will definitely have to give this a try!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Hi Cathy. You should try the recipe, you’ll love it! You’ll only add salt to taste at the very end. Thanks for reblogging the post!!

  23. facealocean says:

    Bien que ce soit encore un peu tôt (18.00), je me laisserais bien tentée …

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Laissez vous tenter! La vie est courte:0)

  24. Jenn says:

    Ever since I saw your mouth watering photos yesterday, I was thinking about this soup. I made it for dinner tonight. It was worth the constant stirring of the onions because it is superb. I was surprised to find the cheese you recommended. But, I was able to in our local gourmet grocery store.

    Hands down, the best French Onion Soup ever. Thank you Stéphane.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh Jenn, you made my day! It is the first time one of my reader friends tries one of my recipes and tells me about it. I am so glad you liked it. On top of that, it is a great recipe to impress guests and yet it is so cheap and easy to make:0)

      1. Jenn says:

        My house still smells like onions 😉 But it gives the home a lived-in feeling, right?
        Yes, amazing soup. Since I cook, it was easy for me to guess on the amount of butter to add to the onions. That is the only thing I think you might’ve left out? Or else I didn’t read it close enough.

        Your photos are lovely. What kind of camera/lens do you use?

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Hi Jenn, I use a canon 600 rebel with a 60mm macro lens

  25. Francesca says:

    Great pictures …as always 🙂

  26. Zut ! J’ai mangé à 19h … en regardant ces superbes photos … j’ai faim !!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Merci Mathias. C’était en effet très bon. Maintenant tu sais quoi préparer pour ton diner de demain:0)

      1. Si j’avais tout sous la main, c’est maintenant que je cuisinerais 😀

  27. Barbara says:

    My all time favorite soup! And you make it look so gorgeous and delicious-I will be making this on the weekend for sure-Cheers! Barbara

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Barbara! Tell me how it goes!!

  28. Une très bonne soupe j’aime beaucoup avec des croûtons de pain . Je te souhaite une bonne soirée Jacques .
    (J’ai fermer mon blog WordPress j’en ai un autre a bientôt Jacques )

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Merci! Bonne chance avec le nouveau blog! Pourquoi as-tu changé?

  29. pdlyons says:

    beauty. will be trying this out very soon.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! Tell me how it goes:0)

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yes you should! Thanks for coming!

  30. photogjenn says:

    This looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! You should try. It is simple, really tasty and very impressive for dinner parties:0) Thanks for reading my little blog:0)

  31. French Onion soup practically makes my heart flutter, it’s my absolute favorite! Everything about this post is amazing. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much! You should try it. It’s easy and as you say quite amazing!! Thanks again for reading my blog!

  32. Harriet says:

    Awesome recipe! I usually use stock instead of water, and Gruyere cheese. Will try it your way with water and with Comte.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Great! Comté is (to my taste) mush smother and less aggressive to the palate than gruyere… Just make sure you get the onions dark enough. That where all the flavor comes from…

  33. Your photos are amazing! Wish I could get your DOF…not going green with envy (repeat 99 times).

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What camera do you use?

      1. It’s a small Olympus that only goes to f3.5, usually f4 within super and macro.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Have you considered getting a DSLR? It took me for ever to make up my mind, but it was the best investment I ever made. They come pretty cheap now, and Christmas is coming around soon:0)

          1. I don’t think I’d spend that sort of money on a DSLR. Instead, I’d go for a compact with interchangeable lenses. But, only if they have a suitable 105mm macro lens.

          2. My French Heaven says:

            That might be a good option!

  34. I can’t wait to make the soup as it looks delicious. I love onion soup on a cold fall day! thanks for sharing it with us. Laura

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Great! Tell me how it goes:0)

  35. ça fait carrément envie… je cours m’acheter des oignons ! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Cours! Cours! :0)

  36. Gary Lum says:

    I love the images, so well captured and can I say, I am so grateful for your English translation.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Gary! I hope this makes you want to learn French:0)

      1. Gary Lum says:

        That’s something I’ve never considered. I will give it some thought. 🙂

        1. My French Heaven says:

          No pressure!

  37. yannjouan says:

    oH mY God it looks so sweeeeeet!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! Try it and tell me how it goes! Be careful though, as no one will want to kiss you for days:0)

  38. christine says:

    Looks delicious I will try your recipe.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Christine. Let me know how it goes!

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