Onion Soup Guide

Onion soup is the hallmark of French cuisine. Onion soup has been the most popular dish in France since ancient times. It is often mentioned in many French works of literature.

A flavourful hot dish with a cheese flavour is suitable for people who want to lose weight. The recipe contains only one caloric product – cheese – and the onions are low in calories regardless of how they are prepared. Health-conscious and diet-conscious eaters will appreciate this light soup.


French people have a legend about the origins of onion soup.

Onion soup was first mentioned at the beginning of the 17th century. Legend has it that it was first prepared by Louis XV himself. One late night, the king was very hungry but found nothing to eat in his guesthouse. There was only an onion, a bottle of champagne and butter. Ludovic mixed all these ingredients and boiled them. That’s how the first onion soup came about. All this is just a legend invented by the people of France, as there is no documentary evidence to support it.

There is another interesting story. It was told by Alexandre Dumas in The Great Dictionary of Cookery. Former King Stanislaus of Poland went to Versailles to visit his daughter the Queen. He stayed at a tavern in Chalons. He was served such delicious onion soup that he refused to continue his journey until he had learned how to make the same. The cook showed him everything. The king wrote it all down and brought the recipe back to the French king.

Dumas gives this recipe in great detail in his Dictionary.

Source: Unsplash


The history of French onion soup dates back to ancient times. It became a popular dish during the Roman era. In those days onions were known and available even to poor families. It was therefore a staple food for them.

Onion soup was often consumed by weary labourers and traders in local markets. They refreshed themselves with it during the night. And once recharged, they went on working. It was particularly common in the Le Alle district of Paris.

Over time, the recipe for the famous dish changed. The classic onion soup was now consumed by the nobility. Their personal chefs would prepare them a flavourful hot dish based on onions, beef broth, white wine and flour with spices added. Then the basic concept of serving was formed – a pot or plate of soup with crispy croutons.

Today’s recipes are varied. Not only meat broths are used, but also vegetable broths. A wide variety of onions can be used: onions, leeks, shallots or Crimean onions. The recipe has been supplemented with cheese. Any kind of hard cheese can be used, but Parmesan or gouda works best with onion soup. Every celebrity chef has their own French soup recipe in their arsenal.

Source: Pixabay

In the early 20th century, the recipe for onion soup was given a modernist sophistication. It was Louis Diat, the chef of New York’s famous Ritz restaurant, who did it. He decided to improve the version of his favourite soup by making it more refined. Onion soup has evolved into Vichyssoise, a delicate, creamy soup puree made from different types of onions, including leeks. The soup was named after Vichy, the chef’s hometown. It was decided to serve the soup cold and accompanied by a salad of fried prawns and fennel.

Composition of Onion Soup

Onion soup has vitamins B, A, C and E, PP. Minerals: magnesium, chlorine, iron, cobalt, copper, iodine, phosphorus, sulphur; dietary fibres, useful for the intestines; natural antioxidants.

Many types of onion in this soup contain iron.

Useful Properties

The flavour of onion soup is tangy and slightly pungent.

If this soup is used regularly, it strengthens the immune system, speeds up metabolism, improves skin condition, improves mood and performance, lowers cholesterol, clears the body of toxins and impurities, helps insulin production in diabetics and shortens the recovery period after surgery.

Harmful Properties

The main side effect of onion soup is bad breath and onion intolerance.

This dish is not recommended for people with gastrointestinal diseases.


Per 100 g of product

Onion soupProtein, gFats, gCarbohydrates, gkcal
With meat broth7,14,65,590,7
Mashed potato soup3,06,010,0101,6

Organoleptic quality indicators

Appearance: The soup is served in a pot, topped with a slice of bread and cheese, the onion sliced.

Consistency: The onions are soft, slightly crispy.

Colour: The broth is colourless, with a ruddy crust on top.

Taste: moderately salty.

Smells of: sauteed onions, cheese and spices.


Source: Pixabay

There are many variations on the recipe for onion soup. But what remains the same is: long passages of onions; the use of butter; the addition of croutons when serving the dish; and portioned cooking.

Yellow onions add sweetness to the soup. You can make it with a single variety or mix several varieties together. In a departure from the classic recipe, you can add basil, turmeric and several types of pepper (red and black) to the liquid to enhance the flavour. Add thyme (fresh or dried) to the dish so that the aroma spreads throughout the house. In modern parlance, French onion soup is a rather thick purée soup. It is in beef broth, with croutons or croutons, baked in a pot under a cheese crust, sometimes with white wine, cognac or sherry. A lighter version of onion soup is in chicken broth, and a vegetarian version in vegetable broth or water.

Add croutons to the dish, add olive oil to the butter, add sugar while frying the onions, add bouillon cubes before placing the dish in the oven.

There is a simplified recipe for onion soup. No breadcrumbs are added, the amount of wine is lower and more flour is added. No cheese is used, but cream is added at the end.

For diet menus, onion soup is prepared according to a recipe that does not contain breadcrumbs or bouillon cubes. Only vegetable broth is taken, the amount of butter is reduced and the cheese is replaced by melted cheese.

Product interchangeability

Beef brothPork/chicken/lamb/vegetable/water
Gruyere cheeseEdam/Hollandaise/Russian/ hard/melted/cream/manuka
ButterVegetable oil
French baguetteRye bread/white loaf/ breadcrumbs/ noodles
Sweet onion varietiesSharp varieties/green feathers

Classic Recipe for Onion Soup

The soup is pleasantly thick, very rich, sweet onion flavours and tart from the herbs. A viscous stretch of cheese with chunks of crispy baguette.

The rich flavour of the soup is not based on the broth, but on the sautéed onions. Passing is the procedure whereby the onions are slowly cooked to a ruddy golden brown colour. The flavour becomes deep and delicate. This results from the caramelization of the sugar contained in the onions. The onions are sautéed for half an hour. Professional chefs can do this for many hours – achieving a specific variety of aromas and flavours in the onion soup they prepare.

To spice up the soup, add dry white wine, brandy or sherry to the soup before it is finished, enhancing the flavour. Leave the soup in a closed pot before serving.

There are many variations of this soup. The spices and additional ingredients vary, but the basic ingredients have remained the same since medieval France.


To make a classic French onion soup, you need the following ingredients:

● Onions;

Source: Pixabay

● Cheese (Cheddar is best);

● Bread or baguette;

● Cognac or brandy or white dry wine;

● Olive oil (alternatively vegetable oil);

● Broth, preferably meat broth (vegetable broth for vegetarians);

● Sugar or icing sugar;

● Ground pepper, black pepper.

The process

  1. Pour the olive oil into a pan and heat over a medium heat.
  2. Add the ring-cut onion to it.
Source: Unsplash

3. Salt and pepper and braise until the onions are translucent.

4. Over a low heat, add the brandy or whisky or wine and leave the pan on the cooker for about 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

5. The onion mixture will caramelise and turn a golden brown colour.

6. Add the stock to the pot, stir and wait for it to boil.

You can make bread at the same time:

  1. Cut the bread into thick slices.
  2. Sprinkle liberally with coarse grated cheese.
  3. Place in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

The soup is ready.

Two ways of serving onion soup:

  1. Place a toasted slice of baguette in the bottom of the soup plate, sprinkle it with cheese and pour over the soup.
Source: Pixabay
  1. Pour the soup into a bowl. Place a toasted baguette on top. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese melts and becomes golden.
Source: Unsplash

The second method is more popular. Serving onion soup this way makes it look more appetising and beautiful. This makes it possible to enjoy the aesthetic first the look of the dish and then its delicious flavour.

Tips and Tricks

When making onion soup, there are a few nuances to consider:

1. Sauté the onions so that they do not burn, adding more liquid all the time.

2. Fry the onions for a long time to caramelise them completely.

3. Red onions give a more delicate flavour than white onions.

4. For thicker puree soup – the flour needs to be fried well.

5. Add the alcohol in the last 10 seconds of frying the onions.

6. To give the broth a brown colour, use onion husks (remove them later).

7. The golden colour of the roast is given by the added sugar.

8. If you add stock to the onions more often, you can stew them for longer and the brighter they will taste.

9. When cooking, use a high-temperature cookware to cook the dish in the oven.

10.  Alcohol imparts a tartness to the dish – adding more alcohol will produce a soup with a distinctly alcoholic taste and change the flavour profile for the worse.


How long you can keep onion soup depends on the storage conditions.

At room temperature

● Bacteria multiply rapidly at temperatures between 5 °C (41 °F) and 60 °C (140 °F)

● Onion soup therefore has a maximum storage time of 2 hours at room temperature.

In the refrigerator

● Use sealed, airtight containers to store the soup safely and securely.

● Under the right conditions, the soup will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

In the freezer

● For long storage times, freeze the onion soup.

● Use sealed, airtight containers or freezer bags for freezing.

● If stored properly, the soup will keep for 4-6 months without changing its flavour and will be ready to eat after defrosting.

● If the freezing temperature is -18 °C (-0.4 °F) – the storage time in this case is unlimited.


● If you defrost the soup in the refrigerator, you can keep it there for another 3-4 days before consuming it.

● If the soup has been defrosted in the microwave or cold water, the soup should be consumed immediately.

The soup is spoiled if:

● Stored at room temperature for more than 2 hours;

● An unpleasant odour, a taste appeared;

● The appearance has changed – bubbles, foam and mould appear on the surface.

Source: Pixabay

Storing canned onion soup

● For the longest possible shelf life – store in a cool, dry place.

● A sealed jar can be stored at room temperature for 3-5 years.

● If the unopened can has expired and the correct storage conditions have been observed, the can is undamaged and the product can be used.

● After opening the can, check (smell, look) that the soup does not have an unpleasant smell, taste or change in appearance. If it has, throw it away.

● Do not use product from leaking, corroded, blistered or badly wrinkled jars or bags.

Recipes Ideas

1. Vegetarian leek and potato soup

The recipe is very different from French onion soup. It’s a different dish, but there are a couple of similarities between them – both involve onions and the taste of the onions changes as they cook – the harshness and bitterness is replaced by sweetness and a creamy flavour. The soup is light and quite hearty.

2. Classic French onion soup

#2 Classic French onion soup
Source: Andychef

The soup is pleasantly thick, very rich, with sweet flavours of onion and tart thyme. A viscous stretch of cheese with chunks of crispy baguette. The rich flavour is based on the broth and onions. To spice up the soup, add a dry white wine to the finished dish.

3. Onion soup by Alexandre Dumas

#3 Onion soup by Alexandre Dumas
Source: Frune4ka

A recipe written by a great writer. A delicious, flavourful, delicate and slightly sweet soup. It will become a frequent fixture on your daily or festive menu.

4. Simple onion soup

A simple and original recipe for onion soup. You will need a minimum of ingredients to make it. The broth can be made with chicken, pork, beef or just vegetables. It’s quick and tasty.

5. French onion soup

#5 French onion soup
Source: Skinnytaste

A hearty, tasty and warming dish. Perfect for lunch or dinner – as a main course with a salad or as a first course. An incredible combination of flavours in one plate.

6. Onion and cheese soup

#6 Onion and cheese soup
Source: Metro.zakaz

Onions are the main ingredient in this recipe. They have a caramelised golden colour. The soup gets an extraordinary aroma if you let it steep for a while. Be sure to serve it hot.

7. Onion happiness: French onion soup

#7 Onion happiness: French onion soup
Source: Galartemenko

A fragrant broth with the intense flavour of long-sugared and caramelised onions. Soaks the pre-browned croutons with a thick layer of melted cheese on top. The long stewing of the onions takes place in several stages. This soup is very easy to prepare in the multicooker.

8. French onion soup with cheese sticks

#8  French onion soup with cheese sticks
Source: Gastronom

Traditionally, this soup is served with cheese on toast, breadcrumbs or on top of the soup. This variation of the soup is complemented by crispy, crumbly cheese sticks. The unusual presentation of the soup will please your family.

9. Onion soup

Sweet on the palate and a pleasant spiciness from the herbs in the soup give it an originality. Caramelised onions, perfect Gruyere cheese – the perfect combination of exquisitely simple produce. Give the soup some time to simmer in the oven and it will develop an incredibly rich flavour.

10. Onion soup with cabbage in chicken broth

#10 Onion soup with cabbage in chicken broth
Source: Furnishhome

A delicious onion soup in chicken broth with the addition of white cabbage. The recipe does not use cabbage in the traditional recipe. This recipe is slightly modified or more precisely supplemented with ingredients. The soup is quite simple and inexpensive, but it comes out with a terrific flavour.

11. Vegetarian French onion soup

#11 Vegetarian French onion soup
Source: Lindseyeatsla

 Deep flavour, butter, a few hours of caramelised onions, melted cheese and bread – this is made with a thick vegetable broth. Also add sharp cheddar instead of gruyere for spice. Combine the flour with the onions – it will help to thicken the soup, making it very creamy, giving it consistency rather than wateriness.

12. Potato leek soup

#12 Potato leek soup
Source: Pinchandswirl

A deliciously tasty and so velvety soup can be made in a few minutes. Quick frying of the onions and leeks in butter creates a flavourful base for this soup, the potatoes give the consistency and a little milk or cream makes the soup smooth and silky.

13. Julia Child French onion soup

#13 Julia Child French onion soup
Source: Saboresdenati

JC – made French cooking techniques more practical and accessible to Americans. This soup is a symbol of French culinary tradition. The original JC recipe uses fresh sage and Swiss cheese. The soup turns out extraordinarily delicious.