There are few dishes as quintessentially French as French onion soup. That said, it’s no surprise it’s one of Julia Child’s signature recipes. At Deuxave, a modern French restaurant in Boston, the menu features a nine-hour version of the classic dish.

In this episode of "You & Julia," Chef Chris Coombs and Executive Chef Adrienne Wright walk us through their take on the recipe. There are subtle differences — Deuxave uses Comté while Julia used Swiss, but the heart and soul of Julia's recipe are still there.

Here’s Julia’s original recipe:

A touch of brandy adds another level of flavor to this already rich delicacy.
Elena Shashkina

Julia Child's recipe for French onion soup


  • 5-6 cups yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 yellow onion, raw
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 slices French bread
  • 2 - 3 tbsp Cognac
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz Swiss cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil


Heat a heavy, oven-safe, stock pot over medium-low heat and add the cooking oil once the pot is hot. Melt the butter into the hot oil. Stir the sliced onions into the oil/butter mix, ensuring they are evenly coated. Cover the stock pot and cook for around 20 minutes checking to make sure they aren’t burning. Onions should be clear and very tender once finished. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and add the sugar and 1tsp salt. Continue cooking while stirring until onions are thoroughly browned (caramelized).

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the flour. Cook 2-3 minutes until flour forms a thick paste (add more butter if needed). Stir in 1 cup of beef stock, and stir heavily for a couple seconds.

Add the rest of the stock, wine, sage, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Drizzle both sides of french bread slices with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Cook the bread in the oven for 15 minutes on each side.

Taste soup, and add salt and pepper as needed, then remove the bay leaf.

Add Cognac, and grate the raw onion into the soup. Add a little bit of the Swiss cheese to the soup, preserving most of it for the top. Cover the soup mixture with the bread, forming a single layer bread top. Sprinkle the rest of the Swiss cheese over the top of the bread, forming a thick layer. Drizzle melted butter or oil over the cheese, and place the pot into the oven uncovered. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Turn the broiler on and brown the cheese.

Remove pot from oven and let stand to cool.

“French Onion Soup” from THE FRENCH CHEF COOKBOOK by Julia Child, copyright © 1968 by Julia Child. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.