Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own

Soup à l’ognion gratinée – French Grilled Onion Soup



After overindulging ourselves a little bit with a tapas night, the morning after Mr. Soup Taster and I went for a bike ride in spite of a miserable weather… On the way back home we found ourselves craving for something light yet comforting and warming: Onion Soup! we said in unison. This was a regular soup in our menu long before I started this blog and we began having insane amounts of soup every week.

A classic soup recipe and I dare say a world’s favourite during winter months. As the tomato soup, I brought this idea home from my trip to Belgium. Onion soups have been historically a humble meal all around Europe, since onion are cheap, easy to cultivate and to preserve, but its origin (specially of the grilled version)  is attributed to France.

There are easy variations to this soup: It is easily adaptable to vegetarian and vegan options and to a lighter plain soup without the grilled bread and cheese on the top and it is delicious all the same! Although it takes some time to prepare it,  it is very easy. Today I’m sharing the full recipe, so you can adjust it to your taste and needs.

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes in the pressure cooker* or 30 minutes for regular cooking + 5 minutes in the grill


  • a dash of olive oil
  • 4 medium-big onions (ca. 1 kg), cut into halves and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of diced Spanish ham, prosciutto or lardons (I used Spanish ham; skip this for a vegetarian/vegan option)
  • 1/2 glass white cooking wine
  • 1 liter chicken stock (the traditional recipe uses beef stock; use vegetable stock for the vegetarian/vegan option)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • herbes de provence (I used thyme and rosemary)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 bread slices, toasted
  • Emmental cheese, grated
  • Fresh parsley to garnish


Heat the oil in a pot (cooking pressure* pot if using) and sauté onions and ham until translucent. I usually add a pinch of salt to the onions to soften them.

Stir in the wine, let evaporate some alcohol and pour the stock . Rectify salt if necessary (take into account the ham and the stock saltiness), add the herbes de provence, bay leaves and nutmeg.

Bring to a boil, cover and cook during 10 minutes after full pressure was reached if using the pressure cooker* or until onions are fully cooked for regular cooking (around 30 minutes).

*Always follow your pressure cooker instructions and manage it with due care.

Meanwhile, put your oven to preheat at 200ºC and toast the bread slices, French baguette would be the traditional way, I used rye bread instead.

To finish, once cooked, serve the soup in oven proof bowls, carefully put the bread slices and Emmental on top (or Gruyère) and grill to your taste, around 5 minutes should be enough. For a vegan option skip this step and serve the soup with a multi-cereal roll.


Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!


If you enjoyed this recipe, don’t miss the Artichauts (artichokes) à la Barigoule

5 thoughts on “Soup à l’ognion gratinée – French Grilled Onion Soup

  1. you can also use vegan bacon strips in this! 🙂
    greets from belgium!


  2. Pingback: Ten months, ten posts: Reader’s Top Ten Recipes | Around the Bowl

  3. Love this soup too – reminds me of when I was working in Paris. They often served it there with a splash of brandy – delish!


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