French Onion Soup | culture: the word on cheese
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French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Molly Shuster
The beauty of this soup is its simplicity; it only requires a handful of ingredients. The slowly caramelized onions create the soup’s deep flavor—so don’t rush the process.
Servings 4


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds yellow onions thinly sliced (about 10 medium onions)
  • 2 ounces Calvados or another brandy or Cognac
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 slices baguette toasted
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère


  • Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 60 to 90 minutes until softened and caramelized with a golden-brown hue.
  • Add Calvados, and stir to combine, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan. Let alcohol burn off, 2 to 3 minutes. Add stocks, bay leaves, and thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, and cook 30 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves and thyme.
  • Place rack in the upper ⅓ of oven and heat broiler. Ladle soup into 4 oven-safe crocks and place on a baking sheet. Top each with 2 baguette slices and sprinkle with ¼ cup cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Serve immediately.

Photographed by Lauren Volo

Molly Shuster

Molly is a freelance food stylist, writer and recipe developer. She is one of the co-recipe editors of Gather Journal and has had her work published in various publications including Boston Magazine, Yankee Magazine, The New York Times, Food and Wine, Family Fun, The Boston Globe and Edible Vineyard, among others. Molly currently divides her time between New York and Boston.

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