Department Store Onion Soup

    4 hours 5 mins

    This is an awesome French Onion Soup made at some of the old Famous Barr Department Store Cafeterias.

    64 people made this

    Serves: 12 

    • 1/2 cup (110g) butter
    • 2.2kg yellow onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/4 cup (30g) plain flour
    • 3 litres beef stock
    • 1 cup (250ml) white wine
    • 1 dash browning sauce
    • 1 loaf French bread, cut into 2.5cm slices
    • 2 cups (240g) shredded Swiss cheese

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:3hr45min  ›  Ready in:4hr5min 

    1. Melt the butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the onions; cook, stirring occasionally for 1 1/2 hours.
    2. When the onions are ready, add the pepper, salt, bay leaf and flour. Stir over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour in the beef stock and white wine. Simmer for 2 hours over low heat. Adjust the coloring to a rich brown with the browning sauce. Taste, and adjust salt if needed.
    3. Preheat your oven's broiler. Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls, and place them on a baking tray. Float a slice of French bread in each bowl, and top with some Swiss cheese. Broil until cheese is browned. Serve immediately.

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    Reviews in English (60)


    A St Louis favorite! This is well worth trying. If you don't have the browning sauce but have a hearty beef broth you'll be fine.  -  26 Oct 2005  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    Very, very good. This is a much heartier French onion soup than my previous recipe, which I seem to have misplaced. This and a salad actually filled my husband. I found the salt level to be pleasant, but my husband felt it was a little too salty. I used buillon cubes, so I'm sure that contributed to the saltiness. I added a few extra cubes to ensure the soup wasn't too weak, and in hindsight, I don't think that was necessary. I used Merlot instead of a white wine because that is what I had handy... also, I added a splash of balsamic vinegar towards the end of cooking. I toasted the french bread slices before broiling and mixed in a little romano and fresh mozarella with the swiss. All in all, very good. Our 11 year old asked for more soup instead of pizza. Don't be afraid to cook the onions for longer than stated. I made mine a nice golden brown - carmelized almost. I think that adds so much to the taste.  -  30 Sep 2006  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I have been making this soup for the past 20 years and there is no other like it! The addition of the paprika adds a richness both in color and in taste and I often find myself adding more than the recipe calls for. My kids and relatives all make it for their families now.  -  06 Jan 2006  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)