French Onion Soup

Chef Matt Conroy makes a hearty beef broth that becomes the foundation for his richly flavored classic French onion soup. If you make the broth a day in advance and refrigerate it, it’s supereasy to skim off the cold solidified fat, and you’ll have a soup with a clearer onion flavor. Plus:  More Soup Recipes 

French Onion Soup
Photo: © Dana Cowin
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs



  • 5 pounds beef neck and shinbones

  • 2 onions, halved

  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped

  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 1 head of garlic, halved

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 6 parsley sprigs

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 8 large onions (4 pounds), thinly sliced

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 3 1/2 quarts beef broth (above)

  • Bouquet garni made with 2 bay leaves, 4 thyme sprigs and 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon Cognac

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • Pepper


  • Toasted baguette slices

  • 4 ounces cave-aged Gruyère, shredded (1 1/2 cups)

  • 4 ounces Emmental cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)

  • Chopped chives

  • Black pepper


Make the beef broth

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Arrange the bones on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until browned. Transfer to a very large pot and add all of the remaining ingredients. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, skimming as necessary, until reduced by half (to 3 1/2 quarts), about 1 hour. Strain the broth into a large bowl and skim off the fat.

Meanwhile, start the soup

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until deep golden, about 1 hour. Season with salt.

  2. Stir the butter into the onions until melted. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the flour is incorporated and the onions are sizzling, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beef broth and bouquet garni and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced to 10 cups, about 35 minutes. Discard the bouquet garni. Stir in the Cognac and vinegar and season the soup with salt and pepper.

  3. Preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into 6 ovenproof bowls set on a baking sheet. Top with toasted baguette slices. Toss the cheeses together and sprinkle over the bread. Broil 6 inches from the heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden. Garnish with chives and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead

The broth and caramelized onions can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated separately. Remove all of the fat from the beef broth before making the soup.

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