French Onion Soup

Until now, the only other times I’ve eaten French onion soup has been while sitting in a restaurant with a spoon in one hand and a root beer at the ready in the other.

As many times as I’ve enjoyed this savory dish, this is the first time I’ve ever tried to make it myself.

While it did take me a few steps to get through it… in the end, it was worth it.

soup french onion

I think the best part of this soup is the delicious, melted Gruyere cheese is that is the traditional hallmark of this savory dish.

You know it when you see it, deliciously melted over croutons or in this case, french bread cut at an angle.

By the way, the full recipe for this French onion soup is just a few scrolls down below.

french onion soup herbs

You’ll need some assorted herbs for French onion soup including fresh parsley, thyme and a few bay leaves.

Have you ever heard of a bouquet-garni? I hadn’t.

It’s French for garnished bouquet and the herbs in a bouquet-garni are typically tied together and used to add flavor to stews and soups.

bouquet garni

I gotta tell you, the hardest part of preparing this recipe was slicing the onions which kept me in tears the entire time.

You just may need to walk away from the slicing a few times to give your eyes a break.

Once the onions are cooked down, the bouquet-garni is removed and tossed.

french onion soup bowls

As I was filling these soup bowls, I was focused on how much (or how little) my family members might eat. With that in mind, I didn’t fill the bowls.

Looking back, I really should have filled them to the brim because from a photo-styling standpoint, I think it would have looked better for the contents to be topped off.

It may seem like  a little thing but that’s exactly the kind of food styling detail to keep in mind while setting up a shot.

I’ll remember that next time I make any kind of soup or stew.

french bread

French Onion Soup
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 45 mins
Servings: 8
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 large onions sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of muscovado sugar
  • 3/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 2 ounces of cognac
  • 7 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere cheese grated
  • 2-3 Bay leaves fresh parsley and fresh thyme
  • Salt optional, to taste.
  1. Tie 2 bay leaves and a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a couple of stalks of parsley together with kitchen string and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan.
  3. Add onions along with the tied herbs.
  4. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes.
  5. Onions will cook down in volume.
  6. Add sugar and cook another 10 minutes.
  7. Add garlic and continue to cook until onions are well-browned.
  8. Once onions are browned remove and discard herb bouquet.
  9. Add white wine and cognac.
  10. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
  11. Sample and add salt or other seasonings to taste.
  12. Slice french baguette and bake for 10 minutes until bread is crisp.
  13. Remove bread and set aside.
  14. Set oven to grill (or broil).
  15. Ladle soup into heat-resistant soup bowls (as needed).
  16. Add bread slices to top of soup bowls.
  17. Sprinkle with grated Gruyere cheese.
  18. Bake until cheese is slightly browned.
  19. Serve right away.
  20. Freeze leftover soup without cheese or bread.


One of the things I love about trying new recipes is that it always gives me more opportunities to practice my photography.

Maybe you’ve already noticed but I am a little obsessed with food photography, props and styling.

I just started a 4-week Lightroom course last week at my local visual arts center and I’m excited about expanding my skills and learning new techniques to put to good use.

I’m also especially eager to learn how to better label, keyword and categorize my thousands of photos.

Right now, I can only find my pictures via the date and that’s so inefficient and time-consuming.

By the way, if you like this kind of dark and moody food photography featured in these French onion soup pictures, be sure to check out my previous post on the subject HERE.

onion soup

Every time my husband, Boris sees me making a new and unexpected dish, we always have a familiar conversation that goes something like this:

Boris: “That looks good, Lisa. Are you making it for us or are you making it for your blog?”

Me: “Of course, honey.  I’m making this for you and Cameron and Jordy… but before any of you can eat this, I’m taking pictures of it first.”

Boris: “Hmmm, hmmm… yeah, that’s what thought.” 

soup cheese

Click, click, click.

French onion soup photos all snapped.

OK, everybody… come and get it.

Bon Appetit.

french soup onion

Thanks for stopping by.

See  you back here next time. 

I’m linking this French Onion Soup post to the following:

Botanic Bleu

Stone Gable

  • Melinda Labombard

    where can I get the bowls you have featured in your French onion soup recipe??

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Hi Melinda. I found these at Home Goods and they came in several colors including green, yellow and white in addition to this rust colored that I purchased.
      I’m pretty sure it’s something they keep in stock. I will say, I found them slightly more shallow than I would have preferred… but they look good-lol.
      Happy new year.

  • Botanic Bleu

    While in Paris this September, we enjoyed French Onion Soup more than once. Of course, the menu only said onion soup in French without the prefix French. 🙂 I’ve saved your recipe to my Pinterest board Cuisine so I can try it this winter. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and the recipe at Monday Social.


    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Judith, sitting in a Paris restaurant sounds wonderful.
      You know it’s my pleasure to hang out at Monday Social. I don’t always remember it’s on Monday and I find myself stopping by mid-week-lol.
      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  • [email protected] Antiques

    Lisa, that looks so very delicious! Thank you for the recipe, and the gorgeous photos too….I’m putting that on my “Make it soon” list!! Pinned it to my weekly menu board. xo Lidy

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much for sharing, Lidy.
      Glad you stopped by for a visit.
      Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.
      Have a wonderful weekend getting ready for the holidays.
      Can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week.

  • [email protected] Designs

    As always this looks amazing Lisa!….I LOVE French Onion soup!….and I need to look into a photo editing course after the first of the year….Looking forward to hearing about the course!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks so much, Shirley. I’m glad you enjoy my photos.
      You know, I’m always practicing and trying new techniques.
      Still so much to learn including truly understanding all the dials on my camera (believe it or not-lol).

  • Sherry

    The soup looks beautifully delicious! You had my mouth watering from the first photograph! Thank you for the recipe, which my husband said, “You have definitely got to try this!” Can’t wait to see what you will have for us to see near Christmas!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Yes, Sherry, I am trying to put together a few sweet Christmas projects to share.
      Be sure to check the “holiday” category in my navigation bar for some easy ideas and recipes too.
      Happy day to you and thanks so much for the support.

  • Sandra Garth

    I’ve never tried this but I’m looking forward to it. As always, your pictures are amazing! Had to chuckle about the conversation with your husband. My family always asks if I have taken pictures before they eat anything!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Yes, Sandra… it’s a familiar refrain in homes with bloggers who take lots of pictures of food-lol.
      My family members are always waiting on me to finish “just one more shot”.
      Hope you have a wonderful week.

  • Jeanne

    Stunning Soup Photographs, Lisa…just Stunning. In fact, National Geographic Stunning…if they did soup. Love your work. 🙂

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      NatGeo? Oh, my Jeanne you’re are so generous-lol.
      I do appreciate that. You know I’m practicing all the time.
      Thanks so much for your sweet support.
      Have a great week.

  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Love!Love!Love! your bowls. And we love French Onion soup — it’s my oldest son’s favorite — but he no longer lives with us. He is all grown up. I wish I had all my kidlets around that’s when I was doing LOTS of cooking. Perhaps if you have the time you’ll be able to share what you learn in Lightroom. I retain bits and pieces and then have to do it all again. 🙁 BTW, how did the family like the onion soup? Have a great day! Sending Hugs!!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Marisa.
      You know what, I came home after last Wednesday’s class and had already forgotten some key info-lol.
      So much info at once and it’s tough to retain in all.
      I’ll let you know how it all turns out.
      Happy day to you.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Oooops, I forgot to mention the verdict.
      My husband loved it.
      My son stared at it and tasted one spoonful before moving on.
      My daughter didn’t try it.
      It’s a beautiful and delicious soup to me but maybe it leans “adult”, if you know what I mean-lol.

  • [email protected] Celebrating Everyday Life

    This is SO beautiful Lisa!! I am definitely pinning this so I can have it saved to make soon. Your photos are breathtaking, I want to reach right in!!! I have a similar conversation with my daughter on a regular basis “can we eat that after you photograph it for the blog!” 🙂 Good luck at your class. I’m sure you’ll do GREAT!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Oh, thanks so much, Jennifer.
      Yes, both our families are familiar with having to wait until AFTER the photo is snapped-lol.
      Hope you’re enjoying your new home too.

Leave a Comment