Julia Child French Onion Soup

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How good can Onion soup really be? Well, actually pretty amazing. Julia Child’s french onion soup is unreal and is one of our favorite winter warmers. Thick and savory onion soup, topped with a layer of crunchy garlic bread and cheese that turns soft and slightly sweet as it cooks? Sounds like heaven. Here’s how to make our homemade Julia Child French Onion soup recipe.

julia childs french onion soup recipe

How to Make Julia Child French Onion Soup

Ok, full disclosure. Considering that soup is an easy dish to make, there are quite a few steps to this recipe. However, let us assure you that the end result is well worth it! 

We start by sautéing heaps of onions until golden, soft, and sweet. Don’t worry if the volume of onions looks really large. They reduce down significantly once they begin to cook. You really want to bring out the sweetness in those onions, so for that reason, we add a little butter along with sugar. This helps them caramelize nicely.

Once this is done, we add some more butter and a little flour to make a sort of thick roux paste. This is vital as it will ensure that your soup thickens properly later on. We then combine this delicious mix with a lot of beef stock and a little wine before letting it turn thick and bubbly. 

While the soup is bubbling, we make the croutons, drizzle bread with olive oil, and bake until golden brown. We then arrange the bread in a single layer over our soup before topping with layers of cheese and then whacking it in the oven to cook, melt and mingle.

If you want to make it properly French, be sure to add just a splash of cognac, too, for a slightly deeper taste.

We use parmesan and Swiss cheese in our recipe, but you can try out other types of cheeses for different tastes (see our hints and tips below).  

Julia Child French Onion Soup

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: SoupsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 
Calories

480

kcal

Creating a copycat version of Julia Child French Onion Soup is far easier than you can imagine. Follow our ingredients and instructions to make your own homemade soup.

Ingredients

  • 6 large white onions, finely sliced

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • ½ cup butter

  • A large pinch of salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • ½ cup flour

  • 8 cups beef stock

  • ½ cup white wine

  • 1 tablespoon cognac

  • 6 slices ciabatta or french bread

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Large handful of swiss cheese

  • Large handful shredded parmesan

Directions

  • Take a large dutch oven or oven-proof pan and add your oil. Place over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add your onions along with a large pinch of salt and the butter. Stir until the butter is melted and the onions begin to sizzle.
  • Cook the onions until they turn a pale brown color. The longer you cook them, the more intense and sweet the onion flavor. Don’t worry if a few go a little dark.
  • Once the onions are soft, add your flour and stir to coat the entire onion mixture. It should form a fairly stiff paste, continue to stir until there are no lumps and then fry for around 5 minutes until the mixture smells a little biscuity.
  • Add your beef stock, white wine, and cognac. Set your stove to medium heat and place a lid on the pot before bubbling for around half an hour.
  • While the soup is bubbling, heat the oven to 340°F. On a baking tray, add your slices of french bread and paint the top of each with a little olive oil. Bake for around 10 minutes until pale golden.
  • Remove your French bread croutons from the oven. Take your dutch oven off the heat and top the soup with the croutons in a single layer. Take your shredded cheese and sprinkle it over the top of the croutons.
  • Place your pan into the oven and allow to bake for around 15-20 minutes until the cheese is all golden and bubbly.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy (watch you don’t burn your mouth)

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Tips & Tricks

  • The salt added at the beginning of the recipe is actually a crucial step. When added to onions, it makes them release moisture sooner, speeding up the cooking process
  • If you don’t have beef stock, both vegetable and chicken stock will work just as well.
  • If you don’t have cognac, don’t worry too much, this is an optional extra. We’ve used a dash of Worcestershire sauce before as an alternative, and it tasted just as great.
  • Ideally, you will need to cook this recipe in a Dutch oven. However, any heavy casserole dish can work well too. Start by cooking the liquid element of the dish in a saucepan and then transfer it to the casserole dish before baking. 
  • French bread is authentic, but you can use just about any bread you have to hand. It doesn’t matter if the bread is slightly stale either. It just makes for crispier croutons.
  • While I recommend white onions for this recipe, any onions will do the trick. Red onions add a slightly milder and sweeter taste. You might also want to throw in a few cloves of garlic if you want to make it taste really savory.
  • You can experiment with a few different kinds of cheese. It doesn’t have to be swiss cheese (although the authentic Julia Child French onion soup recipe recommends it). We’ve tried cheddar, Emmental, and even spicy Mexicana, all with good results. 
  • If your soup is too thick, don’t add more flour. Instead, continue to cook it down for a few more minutes until it reaches the desired consistency. And, remember, the croutons are going to soak up a lot of liquid, so don’t worry if your soup is a little ‘thin.’

See Also: Lipton Onion Soup Meatloaf

Conclusion

While there are a few ingredients and quite a few steps, our authentic Julia Child French Onion soup recipe is super (pun intended) easy if you are organized and plan your time. The croutons and the cheese make it really filling, and you can even freeze portions for a later date. Have you given this a go? Let us know in the comments.

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