My Legendary French Onion Soup


Here is a dish that is a true pillar of the French culinary tradition! One would even say an icon of traditional French cuisine. I had posted about this years ago, but I thought we were due for a refresher post. Plus it’s so darn cold outside :0)

Try the recipe 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 red wine: 0) My 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 the first time and I did well to resist!

best recipe French-onion-soupFrench-onion-soup-recipe

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.

– 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.

A great thing about this dish is that everything can be done the day before, except for the last 3 steps which you’ll have to follow on the day. It is less stressful if you have guests: 0)



97 Comments Add yours

  1. This is my husband’s favourite soup, can’t wait to try your recipe! Looks amazing😊

  2. It looks wonderful!!! I’m going to make it at home 😉

  3. Je viens de manger … j’ai de nouveau faim !!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      C’est bon alors; j’ai accompli ma mission 😉

  4. Bonjour Stephane,
    Thank you for your post! I made an onion soup yesterday, and following this experience I was browsing the web to work on improving my recipe. Well, the pictures of your recipe speak so well! I have to work on my recipe a little bit more to achieve this beautiful caramel color. Thanks again for a beautiful blog 🙂

  5. Oh, that looks delicious! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  6. La Soupe a l’onion is a traditional dish in my family, my grandparents were having one almost every other week end in winter … It reminds me so many souvenirs . But I never did one myself .. I will have to try it

  7. Looks delicious…I must try!

  8. Bonjour Stéphane,

    Your website is beautiful! The photos are gorgeous and are very effectively set against the simple white background with the black/gray text. The text is also just right: there is a graciousness and sincerity that shines through them. I especially love the sample itineraries! I did wonder if perhaps some readers might appreciate a straightforward one-glance view of the entire itinerary at the beginning of each page (“above the fold” as they say) so that they can have a general idea of everything that’s going to happen, and then they can scroll down for the details and for photos. Either way, your foodie tours look and sound like an absolute dream, and your website made me want to join one if I could.

    All the best to you and your family!

  9. aliyajade says:

    Soup looks amazing- one of my favourites! Website looks good- easy to use and navigate around x

  10. Hi Stephane, I looked at your site and it just looks divine. I checked out each of the Foodie options that you provide and it just looks wonderful. All the best! Sora 🙂

  11. Stéphane, I love your onion soup recipe because it is so basic. I’ll have to try it, although I am very bad at staying with a pan for 30 minutes. Even when I make risotto, I cheat and do other things at the same time as well. The photos are great as usual.

    1. Salut Stéphane, I finally made this. Getting the onions to go brown took me a lot longer than 30 minutes. Perhaps I should have used a non-stick pan? But the result was great! I’m posting about it on my blog of course. Merci!

      1. My French Heaven says:

        Great! Truly one of my favorites!

  12. Must try this! My son will die as this is his all time favorite! It looks scrumptious!

  13. Marie Keates says:

    Ah, onion soup and a beautifully presented website. I loved the old photos.

  14. What a beautiful site, wonderful atmospheric photos and I should make onion soup again, très, très vite. Nicole

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Nicole! Enjoy the soup 😉

  15. What a gorgeous, soup! Fantastic. The new site looks great too – excellent quality!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks! It’s been a really cold week in Bordeaux and soup is all the rage these days 😉

  16. I’m drooling. What a great feast for a cold day. Heading over to check the site now.

  17. Lucia Roncelli says:

    Stephàne! You hit the target. But 😊 for whom as myself, love cooking, why not to add some pictures of it? The temple..
    Greetings from Italy! Lucia

  18. Both the soup and site look totally wonderful to me Stephane! 🙂 Really lovely!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Margot! Glad you liked both 😉

  19. platedujour says:

    Your new website looks good to me and I go to France regularly, as I live in Luxembourg and my boyfriend is from Lyon. Very classy and really shows the rustic character of this particular part of France. Good job 😊

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you Marta! I hope I get to welcome you to Bordeaux one day. I studied in Lyon. Lovely city too 😉

      1. platedujour says:

        I love Lyon, for its food and places. The whole area around it is truly beautiful. Yes, I’m sure we’ll meet at some point. I was already planning on visiting Bordeaux last year, but didn’t make it, so hopefully this year…;)

  20. The soup looks very tempting for a cold day like today. Had a look at your website – great photography. Best of luck with it!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Graham!!!

  21. Stéphane, the website is amazing!!! I love it and it makes me want to book with you tout de suite…which, I believe, is the point. 🙂 All of the photos are gorgeous, of course, but it is especially wonderful that you included your family photos too. That instantly connects the viewer with a longevity and a true knowledge that you have for your beautiful region. One thing: I saw an extra space before an “I” on the opening page. Otherwise, bravo and I hope that it brings you a lot of clients!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much dear Heather!!!

  22. Nathalie says:

    Dear Stephane,

    I have only been following your blog for a couple of months but I absolutely love it – it transpires Joie de vivre!
    About Foodie Days, I like the look of the website, very clear, concise and elegant. I would like to know a bit more about how you came to start Foodie Days and how long have you been running this business for example. And perhaps more general info about the Bordeaux region (i.e. what would make this a different and special experience).
    One final thought, a more obvious link on your blog redirecting your readers to the Foodie Days website and attract more potential customers? I can see at the top of the blog that there is a link if you click on ‘Contact’ but not everyone would necessarily click on this link.

    I am looking forward to reading more inspiring posts on My French Heaven and am hoping I can book a Foodie Day experience myself some day, best of luck!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I do hope we get to meet one days as well Nathalie! And thank you for the thoughtful feedback. Both points are excellent. So glad I asked you guys to help. I will explain how the Foodie Days came about and include a link in the blog soon. Thanks again and have a lovely weekend!!!

    2. My French Heaven says:

      I just added a little bit to “your host”. Not sure the way I explained to origins of the Foodie Days works. If you have a second to go check it out, I’d love to hear what you think… 😉

  23. Back from visiting your new site and I have to say… Oh, my! You make a visit sound so very appealing. I love your pictures and descriptions and the fine selection of slices of your French heaven. If I ever cross the ocean, I will definitely have to purchase one of your lovely packages. Wishing you the very very best!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks dear Tamara! I really hope we get to properly meet one day!! 🙂

  24. Oh, oh, oh! So much YUM going on here! Thank you, Stephane!

  25. Your site looks great. Simple. Clean. Informative. Beautiful images.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Perfect! Thank you so much dear Veronica!!

  26. Julie says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Stéphane – I can’t wait to make it! I took a look at the site, and apart from being wonderful and beautiful, I had one question remaining: whether the cost, which is given per person or party, is the cost per day. 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Great point. I need to go back to the cost page and make sure it all makes sense. Thanks a lot Julie!!!

  27. yogaleigh says:

    Okay, checked both pages under The Experience and saw no errors. And they look wonderful. I have to shift over to some other tasks but I’ll get back and proof the rest later.

  28. yogaleigh says:

    I actually used to proofread for a magazine, so I’m going to go through slowly. Read the About page (which looks lovely) and caught this: second to last paragraph, second line: “were” should be “where”. I’ll post separate comments as I make my way through.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh thank you so much!! I just corrected it. Your help is invaluable!!!

  29. First of all Stephane, I love your new site, the first thing you see is your wonderfully handsome and welcoming face. I love the family history and the testimonials and of course the gorgeous photo’s. As soon as I can I plan on coming to stay with your for a foodie adventure. I will try your onion soup as well and force myself to use water rather than stock, I love that.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I wonder how this is going to play out. Me in NYC or you in Bordeaux… Just hope we get to meet someday 😉 Thanks for your kind comment on the site. I was really reluctant to put my fat face on the front page but my friends forced my hand… 🙂

      1. Maybe both! Your face is not fat, it’s welcoming and happy just the kind of face I would like to greet me when I visit.

        1. My French Heaven says:


  30. talkavino says:

    Stephane, what are you doing? I told you last time I saw this post that this pictures are illegal – especially for someone who is sitting at the airport, waiting for delayed flight and just finished PizzaHut pizza joke because this is the only food available – really? This is not just a regular food port – this is hard core, sorry.
    But – I will gladly comply with your request and will try to make the soup over the weekend. Any wine recommendations to sip while cooking and then with the soup? 🙂 Cheers!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Hope you try the soup. I would go for a red of course and something a little stronger than a St Emilion. Maybe a Medoc or a Burgundy… You’re the expert! Why are you asking me? 😉

      1. talkavino says:

        Come on, Stephane – you know your wines, and you especially know wine and food. Will do my best to write the blog post, so you will know what will happen 🙂

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Perfect! Enjoy! 😉

  31. Conor Bofin says:

    We are looking at the site from here in Dublin this evening. We are thinking about our holiday planning for this year and we are yet again being drawn to the Bordeaux region.
    The site is lovely. It reflects the style and ethos of the Stephane we have got to know. As you know, we design and build sites for various clients in diverse businesses. If we could always end up with a match of style, substance and vision as appropriate as your shows, we would be very happy.
    I hope you are well and we are starting to think we will be seeing you again in 2015.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I didn’t remember you were in that business. It makes your feedback even more meaningful. Several people told me the picture of the two of you radiated love. You’ll notice that I am a good friend and didn’t include the one of you stuffing your face with that bread and butter bite 😉 I hope you’ll let me know when you’re here. We need to have dinner this time so we can spend some more quality time together!!!

      1. Conor Bofin says:

        That will be my pleasure. It will also be my turn to cook.

        1. My French Heaven says:

          All right then. Can’t wait!

          1. Conor Bofin says:

            We are booked. Arriving in France in early July. Staying near Libourne again. This time, we will cook for you.

          2. My French Heaven says:

            Can’t wait my friend!!!!

          3. Conor Bofin says:

            I will be in touch closer to the time to make appropriate arrangements. We are both looking forward to it.

  32. Amanda says:

    Oh Stephane, your site is beautiful. Love all those photos and your history. Very well done.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks a lot Amanda. It means a lot coming from you! Have a great weekend!

  33. Amanda says:

    Look at those caramelized onions. What gorgeous photos. I’ll check out your site. I’d love to come visit one day.

  34. A wonderful recipe and I loved your website, Stéphane. All your photos look good enough to eat. How I wish I could attend one of your ‘Foodie Days’. 🙂 Good luck.

  35. I love my heavy cast iron to get onions like this. Website looks lovely, and i have no ideas for change. Now just to win one of the lotteries here in the US.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      There is nothing like cast iron! I would never cook any traditional dish without one! Thanks for taking the time to check the site!!!

  36. I have just explored your new website, and I must say it is very appealing and I love the galleries! Every page loaded just fine for me, too. The sample itineraries are a great idea, as it gives a good perspective on all the activities and sights to see in the region. Well done!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You make my day my dear friend! Thank you so so much for taking the time. It means a lot, especially for a loyal reader of the blog 😉

  37. Doris Roux says:

    Bonjour Stéphane
    J’adore vous lire mais je me questionne beaucoup: pourquoi il n’y a plus jamais de texte en français? Je suis québécoise et ici nous nous battons pour que le français survive et puis j’aimais bien vous lire dans votre langue d’origine
    Sans rancune

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Je comprend Doris. C’est juste parce que 80% de mes lecteurs sont Anglophones et que je n’ai vraiment plus le temps de traduire chaque article en Français. Mais continuez à vous battre pour le Français, c’est une belle cause!!!

  38. I admit to adding wine and brandy to onion soup, but your soup looks so good, I will definitely try your method next time!

    I’ve found your site to be very user-friendly and beautiful. It has all the information needed and wonderful photos.
    I now wait for my lottery winning to book a few Foodie days… (Note to self – buy a lottery ticket asap! :D)
    Good luck! 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so funny! Thank you so much! You know, brandy in the soup sounds pretty great 😉

      1. I add the brandy just before adding the bread/cheese, so it still keeps it’s alcohol… 😉 😀

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Even better! 😀

  39. Tucsonbabe says:

    The website is enticing. My only suggestion would be to clarify the pricing. Are meals and beverages included? What is the approximate cost of lodging at your recommended places? An estimated price for the listed itineraries would be a good start. Good luck with your venture. I hope to partake of Foodie Days myself sometime.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. Thank you so much. I will add details to the cost page. Thanks again!!!

  40. Steve says:

    The Experience, Galleries, and Sample Itineraries links don’t work at the moment. I like the site overall. I’d like to see a little more About You and the family.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I checked the links and they work, but I will upload smaller pics so it all downloads faster. Thanks for the feedback friend!!!

  41. The soup looks amazing and yes, it seems easy to achieve. Thank you and bless you for sharing! As for the website, other than my natural inclination to fix some sentence construction which I tamped down, it is perfect. It grabbed me and made me want to be there. Which is, of course, what you are trying to achieve. Some day…..

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you my dear! The soup is super easy and delicious. It just demands complete focus. I hope you’ll try it 😉 And thanks for your feedback. I will ask my local British friends to look at the sentences and correct them for me 🙂 bI wouldn’t want people to think I’m dumb or something 😉

      1. You are FAR from dumb. I highly admire your ability to write as well as you do and am jealous as all get out since my feeble attempts to TRY to write in French are kindergarten level at best. Perhaps if I had spent as many years in France as you did here I might have made it to high school level. LOL

        1. My French Heaven says:

          You are so kind my dear friend! When you come visit we can get you back on track with your French when you come visit! All you really need is “j’ai faim” and “je reprendrai bien du vin” 😉

  42. I will definitely be trying this recipe for French Onion Soup – your photos are stunning and make me want to head to the kitchen and get cooking 🙂 I also love your website and certainly think you have met your aims – it’s easy to use and looks great and I really love the way that your photos are so engaging and full of special moments.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Elizabeth. It is so great to get proper feedback from the people whose taste I trust 😉

  43. Stephane, you’re making me so hungry. When we get back home, I’m going to have to give this a try. I’m on very limited internet right now, but I can’t wait to see your new site.


    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks J!!

  44. Your soup looks WONDERFUL, Stephane. There’s nothing like an excellent French onion soup. Will look at your new website later with my editor hat on 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Kay! Can’t wait for your feedback 😉 🙂

      1. Hi again Stephane, I’ve just had a quick look and it’s looking great. No obvious mistakes (though if I did a proper editing job I’d obviously take a lot more time). I think you make it all seem very appealing and like the way you’ve given examples of itineraries that others have done so one gets a good idea of what the holiday can be. Good luck!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Thanks for taking the time Kay!!!

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