Julia Child’s French Onion Soup

Julia Child’s French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup has to be on the top of my list for favorite soups. This recipe by Julia Child takes a little longer than many simpler recipes, but it’s well worth the time spent. So get out your apron, and prepare to indulge in a classic French favorite.


  • 5-6 Cups Yellow Onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, raw
  • Olive Oil, 4 Tbsp
  • French Bread, about 8 slices
  • Cogniac, 2-3 Tbsp (optional)
  • Parmesan Cheese, 4 ounces
  • Swiss Cheese, Grated, about 12 ounces
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sage, Ground, 1/2 tsp
  • Bay Leaf, 1 leaf
  • White Wine, 1 cup
  • Beef Stock, 6 cups
  • Flour, 3 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1/2 tsp
  • Butter, 2 Tbsp
  • Cooking Oil, 1 Tbsp

Cooking Instructions:

Heat a heavy, oven-safe, stock pot over medium-low heat and add the cooking oil once the pot is hot. Melt the butter into the hot oil.  Stir the sliced onions into the oil/butter mix, ensuring they are evenly coated. Cover the stock pot and cook for around 20 minutes checking to make sure they aren’t burning. Onions should be clear and very tender once finished. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and add the sugar and 1tsp salt. Continue cooking while stirring until onions are thoroughly browned (caramelized).

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in 3 Tbsp flour. Cook 2-3 minutes until flour forms a thick paste (add more butter if needed).  Stir in 1 cup of beef stock, and stir heavily for a couple seconds.

Add the rest of the stock, wine, sage, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Drizzle both sides of french bread slices with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Cook the bread in the oven for 15 minutes on each side.

Taste soup, and add salt and pepper as needed, then remove the bay leaf.

Add cognac, and grate the 1/2 raw onion into the soup. Add a little bit of the swiss cheese to the soup, preserving most of it for the top. Cover the soup mixture with the bread, forming a single layer bread top. Sprinkle the rest of the Swiss cheese over the top of the bread, forming a thick layer. Drizzle melted butter or oil over the cheese, and place the pot into the oven uncovered. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Turn the broiler on and brown the cheese.

Remove pot from oven and let stand to cool. Serve up to some lucky guests and enjoy all the kudos you receive.


  1. Paula Gallemore says:

    I have made Julia Child’s French Onion many times and is a fool proof recipe along with rave reviews!

  2. Jitterbug813 says:

    This is the perfect recipe! It tastes just as good as the Onion soup I got in Paris last November. With the first bite I was strolling the street of Paris on a brisk November day, surrounded by wonder. Definitely a recipe to keep!

  3. Caroline says:

    Looks good, but Gruyere or Comte for the cheese is the real deal for French onion soup (if you’re a true Francophile you will go with the Comte…wink wink;)… rounds off the soup brilliantly….not parmesan nor swiss cheese-yikes.

  4. When I was in Paris last year with my daughter, I made a point of ordering French Onion Soup, my favorite, at every cafe we dined in (I gained 6 lbs.) They were all delicious, all a bit different, but Julia’s is one of the best I’ve tried. I like Swiss cheese but gruyere is my favorite for its nutty richness and that bit of pungency – and it’s a truly French cheese. Ah Paris! Wish I were there now enjoying a bowl of rich, thick French onion soup and warm, crusty French bread. Bon appetit!

  5. What do I do with the Parmesan cheese?

  6. I have read and re-read this recipe and although parmesan cheese is listed in the ingredients list, the instructions never mention it. WHY?

  7. I followed this recipe to a t. Wasted 14 hours from making homemade beef broth to finish. Broth tasted like sweet onion soup. Could have achieved the same flavor in 15 min with beef broth from the store…don’t waste your time making sweet onion soup. Ps I did buy normal onions.

  8. Josh carter says:

    Just made this soup, used chicken instead of beef broth..absolutely delicious!

  9. Carole hendershott says:

    What does one do with the Parma cheese?

  10. I have made this countless times. It is my go-to onion soup recipe. Always a winner!

  11. Carlos Latapie says:

    It woul be very useful to know haw many servings this recioe produce,,,

  12. Carlos Latapie says:

    How many servings this recioe produce ?

  13. Tora Sterregaard says:

    Parmesan Cheese, 4 ounces: where does this fit in the recipe?

  14. Why is parmesan cheese listed in the ingredients? It’s not mentioned in the cooking instructions and I’m not sure when/how to add.

  15. Doris Jean Heroff says:

    I’ve made this soup many times, usually doubling the prep and storing soup base in the freezer with the 2 cups of liquid so I can grab it out for a second supper or soup course for guests.

    I would like to jump to Ms. Child’s defense on the cheese. She was on national TV early, at a time when many of us in the flyover states were happy to grab Kraft Parmesan and domestic Swiss in our groceries. She wrote using the ingredients she found generally available in the entire U.S. I thank her for that. I purchased my first J. Child “Mastering the Art…” in 1971 at a used book store. My husband and his Navy buddy fixed us a specacular New Year’s Eve dinner in 1972. It included Child’s Lobster Thermidor, Gourmet’s Potatoes Au Gratin and their Strawberry Mousse for dessert. Of course, the neophytes spent a lot of time with dictionaries learning what lobster tamalley was and where, and how to make a roux. They scheduled dinner for 8pm. We ate at midnight. Just the beginning of a lifetime of good dining on those sources.


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  6. […] And that’s the swan song for French Onion Soup, too. Frankly, the dripping browned cheese and the crouton are my favorite part of onion soup. That and trying politely to wrest a mouthful of melted cheese-draped bread out of the soup bowl without bringing shame to my family. http://juliachildsrecipes.com/soup/julia-childs-french-onion-soup/ […]

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