Recipe: French Onion Soup Gratinée

French Onion Soup is one of those “you love it or you hate it” types of foods. If you’re a love it person, this recipe nails it! If you’re a hate it… well, I’m afraid you’re out of luck: onions are still onions. The gratinée part simply refers to the bread and cheese browned in the broiler over the top. Cheesy croutons could be used instead, but that wouldn’t be nearly so much fun!

Recipe serves six.


  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 large onions, split lengthwise through the root and sliced widthwise into thin strips
  • 6 cups high quality beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz Gruyere or Swiss cheese, coarsely grated
  • half loaf of French bread or baguette, sliced into rounds and toasted
  • Optional: 1-2 oz Sherry


Heat butter in a stockpot over moderate heat and add onions. Stirring occasionally, cook until the onions become dark golden brown throughout. This may take 20-30 minutes, but your patience will be rewarded: carbohydrates in the onions are caramelizing and developing a deep, sweet flavor. Avoid high heat that will brown the onions too quickly burning the edges.

Add stock to the onions and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until onions are tender and flavors are blended, about 20 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among six single soup crocks (or any small bowl that is broiler heat proof). If using Sherry, add a small splash to each crock.

Place 1-2 slices of toast on top of each soup and cover with cheese. Arrange soups on a pan and broil in the top rack of an oven until cheese is brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.


2 thoughts on “Recipe: French Onion Soup Gratinée

  1. Don’t know if this is traditional, but a bit of Sherry to deglaze & in the soup-cooked out is nice. Also rubbing a clove of garlic on the toast round before the Gruyere is yummy but probably not tradition. Do you think it’s weird French Onion Soup is topped with a Swiss cheese?

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