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The Most Authentic and Best French Onion Soup

This is the best French onion soup recipe to make if you want something closely resembling the classic French onion soup dish. Blending beef broth, thyme, onions, French bread, Gruyere cheese and more, this is a really traditional French onion soup recipe, which will appeal to adults and kids alike and makes a great family supper or a classic appetizer at a dinner party.

Sugar is often used in the best French onion soup recipes – just enough to help with the caramelization of the onions, not enough to make it overly sweet. This is not a necessary step but it does bring out the sweetness of the onions and a lot of French chefs like to use a sprinkling of sugar in their onion soup. You might want to forget the sugar if you are using Vidalia onions, though, or another type of sweet onions.

The white wine is not essential either but it gives the onion soup a gourmet taste and enhances the other flavors in the soup. It is best to use slightly stale French bread, rather than freshly baked bread, because slightly stale bread is drier and it is quicker to make croutons with. If you only have fresh bread though, you can toast it gently in a warm oven because this will dry it out and make it a better option for the croutons. Authentic French bread contains no preservatives, so it is usually stale in a day (or less!) which is one reason croutons are widely used in France when soup is made.

The Best French Onion Soup with Thyme and White Wine

Best French Onion SoupSummary: This is a typical and totally authentic French onion soup recipe, and if you were to order a bowlful of French onion soup in France, you would get exactly this.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 ½ quarts beef broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 8 slices French baguette bread
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 5-quart pan, and then add the butter.
  2. Add the onions to the melted butter and oil and cook them, covered, for 10 minutes over a low heat. Add the salt and sugar.
  3. Keep cooking the onions until they are a deep brown color, stirring occasionally.
  4. This will take about 45 minutes, but check them often and do not let them burn.
  5. Add the wine and cook for another 5 minutes, keeping the heat low.
  6. Add the broth, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Toast the baguette slices until they are golden brown.
  9. Ladle the French onion soup into 4 ovenproof soup crocks and float a baguette slice on top of each one.
  10. Cover the bread with the gruyere and bake for 20 minutes.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Culinary tradition: French

Photo Description:

Which recipe comes to mind when you consider quintessential French cooking? If you are like most people, French onion soup will be at the forefront of your mind. This wonderful recipe is so simple yet it took the world by storm and you can now get it pretty much everywhere. Do not settle for anything less than an authentic recipe though, if you want to savor the true charm of French onion soup made the way it is supposed to be made. Your soup should look just like the wonderful soup in the picture, the cheese crouton floating in the rich brown soup. The parsley is optional but a nice touch.

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