French Bistro at Home – French Onion Soup

There are few things in life for which I have patience.

French Onion soup is one of them.

It’s not a particularly complicated recipe, but it’s one you can’t rush. I’ve tried to speed up the process of browning the onions, or have not browned them for a sufficiently long enough time, and the results are just not the same.

If you really give it the time it needs in the pot, you will be comparing yours to the best bistro’s in town.

It’s a recipe that’s made from very simple ingredients, but that have a huge impact when cooked properly.

You will need

  • 5 yellow onions, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium so you can control the salt
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs de provence
  • a teaspoon of sugar (trust me)

Break out your heavy-bottomed soup pot. You’ll notice that I use this pot a lot. It’s one of those things that’s worth investing in up front because it will more than pay for itself in the long run. I actually got mine at Home Goods for a super reasonable price. So there are deals to be had.

Drizzle the bottom with olive oil. Resist the temptation to dump all the onions into the pot. Add only about half.


Let them start to cook and turn translucent and sweat a bit. Once they’ve released some liquid, sprinkle with half a teaspoon of sugar. The sugar will help the onions brown and caramelize – the key to French onion soup.


When the onions have cooked down some, as in the above, toss in the remaining onion ribbons. Give the pot a big stir so the new onions are on the bottom of the pot.


Give another sprinkle of sugar and stir again.


You’re going to want to stir every once in a while so the browned onions are brought to the top, allowing the rest of the onions to brown on the bottom of the pot.


Not going to lie, this takes some time. You want the onions to take on the rich dark brown color you see below.


Once they are that lovely color, season with salt, pepper and herbs de provence and pour in the chicken stoc k. Stir and let the pot simmer for about thirty minutes.


Top off your bowl with crusty bread and a healthy sprinkling of gruyere.


And there you have it – French bistro food you can eat in your pjs.

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