Onion Soup Gratinée Lyonnaise


The lure of French onion soup is hard to resist. What’s more irresistible? It’d be making the soup at home. Starting with caramelizing the onions, then simmering the onion soup base, topping it with cheese, to finishing in the oven, the rich aroma wafting through the kitchen tells the tale of some serious good eats on the home front. Watching the lava-like cheese melt and bubble with a rapid pulse while gradually being transformed into a golden brown crust under the intense heat in the oven was pure excitement. Tasting the food was almost an afterthought.

The irony of the French onion soup: the cheeses are stealing the show. First, you can’t keep your eyes off the bubbly browned cheese on top. Then you have to turn your head right and left to tackle the saliva-like string of cheese catching the soup spoon and the bowl of soup. It brings out the child in you eating it.

Recipes of the French onion soup are varied: some with white or red wine, some with fresh or dry herbs. It’s tough to decide which one to make, especially I haven’t made onion soup before. I’m not counting the one time I made a Medieval onion soup as a school project when my daughter was in third grade. More than anything else, I want to replicate the classic onion soup. Gratinee Lyonnaise style is the closest to what I’ve had in mind.

Julia Child in Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home had this to say about French onion soup: “In Paris, we used to go to the big open market in Les Halles in the old part of the city at four in the morning when the day began. Around six a.m., everyone in the market would stop in one of the café for onion soup and a glass of red wine. They still do at Rungis, the vast new market outside of Paris.” Julia Child’s advice on making a good soup: the proper and thorough cooking of the onions. She suggested to start cooking the onions covered slowly until tender, then brown them over medium high heat to deepen the color. Very sound advice, Julia!

This soup is easier to make than I’ve thought. Once you’ve made the onion soup base, which takes about half an hour, the rest is just assembling bread and grated cheese in a bowl. Then off it goes into the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. You can get this ultimate comfort soup on the table for less than an hour.

Topped with a mix of Emmentaler and Gruyere cheese

French onion soup is truly a classic. It is getting harder and harder to find a good bowl in restaurants around here — in the metro New York area. It seems to be disappearing from the menu. Someday, the old will become new and trendy once again. For the time being, I’m more than happy savoring onion soup gratinee Lyonnaise made with some freshly baked sourdough bread from my own kitchen. I was in such a hurry; I almost burned my tongue!

This is the week when IHCC home cooks are bringing out their cheese dishes. There will be plenty of delicious and exciting dishes to satisfy your taste buds. Bon Appetit!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    June 5, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    This certainly is a delicious dish. Onion soup is an all time favorite and with all that cheese, it looks yummy delicious.

  • Reply
    Joyce Rachel Lee-Bates
    June 6, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    This looks so delicious! Love your choice of recipe! 😀

  • Reply
    June 7, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Your photos are fantastic! This is one of those dishes I usually leave to restaurant cooks to make for me to enjoy, but you make it seem quite doable. Flagged and added to my bucket list.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 2:16 am

    Loved reading your post. Sometimes the joy is in making the dish (waking up all your senses) so I can understand your comment tasting being an afterthought. It looks as though you picked the perfect recipe. The cheesy layer looks irresistible! I have no doubt it was superb with your homemade sourdough bread. This classic recipe is on my must make list and I am hoping to make this during our time with Jacques.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 4:13 am

    Zosia, one of the most appealing qualities of the French onion soup is how doable it is. You can serve up this bubbly cheesy soup on demand once you've made a big pot of onion soup base. I know I'll be making this soup more often. Yon can easily serve up a crowd if you have enough oven-proof bowls.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Kim, thank you for your kind words.

  • Reply
    plasterers bristol
    June 8, 2015 at 8:41 am

    This sounds lovely and really tasty. Thank you for sharing this.


  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    June 13, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    This looks delicious! I love the look of the browned cheesy crust! Homemade sourdough bread sounds really wonderful with your delicious onion soup! What a fantastic meal!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    One of my all time fave soups. And, yes, the cheese is the star of the show!!! Looks just perfect!!

  • We're open to your comments and suggestions!