Onion Soup

Header image for Onion Soup
4 servings Prep Cooking Time

My version of French onion soup, mainly substituting good beer in place of the wine or vermouth.


  • 9 small/medium onions
  • Olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • Good pinch of dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 400ml good ale
  • 1200ml of beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons French mustard
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Worcester sauce
  • Toasted bread
  • Grated cheddar


  1. Prep the onions and other ingredients
    Halve and finely slice all the onions, get the stock on the boil.
  2. Picture showing step 2Start sautéing
    Sauté the onions for 15 minutes in the olive oil and butter.
  3. Add some extra flavour
    While you're waiting for the onions, chop and crush the garlic, and add it to the onions along with the thyme. Move the stock to a low heat when it's ready.
  4. Picture showing step 4Keep sautéing
    Sauté for another 15 minutes.
  5. Picture showing step 5Sauté some more
    Add the sugar and continue sauteing for a final 15 minutes.
  6. Picture showing step 6Deglaze
    Deglaze with the ale, then add the stock, mustard and bay leaves. As always, the better quality stock you use == a better dish at the end, and the same applies to the beer - use a decent beer, not lager.
  7. Simmer
    Reduce the soup by simmering it uncovered for about 90 minutes, or until you're ready to eat - it's fairly forgiving on a low temperature. At some point during the reduction, splash a bit of Worcester sauce in to taste.
  8. Picture showing step 8
    Pour your servings into oven proof bowls
  9. Picture showing step 9
    Top with pre-toasted bread
  10. Picture showing step 10Add the cheese
    If you don't have the "proper" onion soup cheese of Gruyère in your fridge - and let's face it, if you're making French Onion Soup with beer, then you probably don't - I've found that pretty much any melty cheese will work quite happily; in my case, strong Cheddar.
  11. Picture showing step 11
    Bake for 10 minutes
  12. Picture showing step 12
    And serve