Articles & Recipes

Classic French Onion Soup

October 12, 2018

On a chilly day, there’s nothing more appetizing than a bowl of steaming hot onion soup bubbling away under a blanket of browned cheese. This is comfort food at it's best.

Ingredients Makes 6 servings

6 onions, thinly sliced 6
3 tbsp melted butter 45 mL
1 tbsp granulated sugar 15 mL
8 cups good-quality ready-to-use beef broth (see tip) 2 L
1 tsp salt 5 mL
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns 5 mL
2 tbsp brandy or cognac 30 mL
12 slices baguette (about 1⁄2 inch/1 cm thick) 12
2 cups shredded Swiss or Gruyère cheese 500 mL


  1. In a medium to large (4- to 5-quart) slow cooker, combine onions and butter. Stir well to coat onions thoroughly. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until onions are softened. Add sugar and stir well.
  2. Place two clean tea towels, each folded in half (so you will have four layers), over top of slow cooker stoneware to absorb moisture. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours, stirring two or three times to ensure that onions are browning evenly, replacing towels each time.
  3. Add broth, salt, pepper and brandy or cognac. Do not replace towels, cover and cook on High for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 6 ovenproof soup bowls. Place 2 slices baguette in each bowl. Sprinkle liberally with cheese and broil until top is bubbly and brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
Since it’s important that the broth for this soup be top quality, use homemade broth or enhance store-bought broth. To enhance 8 cups (2 L) beef broth, combine it in a large saucepan with 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped, 1 tsp (5 mL) celery seed, 1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns, 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme, 4 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf and 1 cup (250 mL) white wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain.


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