French Onion Soup is always a great idea, but this one comes with something different, a delicious onion broth topped with mini croutons and lots of melted cheese.

A crock-style soup bowl filled with French onion soup, topped with croutons and melted cheese

There’s no denying, Julia Child is the guru when it comes to French Onion Soup, or any French cooking for that matter. But, there is a flaw in the eating of the soup and it’s called a giant crouton.

This recipe is a classic French Onion Soup made in the traditional way with Cognac and wine. Read on to find out the reason for my mini croutons.

A spoonful of French onion soup with crouton and melted cheese

A crouton in every bite

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten this soup and sloshed it out of the bowl trying wrangle the 1 large crouton. So I came up with adding mini croutons. This way you get a bite of soup, crouton and cheese in every bite and they don’t sink. That’s what this soup is all about, after all.

Cognac or Brandy in French Onion Soup?

Traditionally Cognac is used, it is French after all, but it can be expensive. A more budget-friendly option is brandy.

Melted cheese and a sage leave over crispy croutons on French onion soup


  • You want to use a high-sided, wide soup pan or Dutch oven. 
  • Use a combination of butter and oil. The butter helps brown and the oil prevents burning.
  • Perfectly browned onions without sugar. There are 2 stages of cooking the onions (pics below). You first want them softened, this will reduce the volume, then flavorings are added they get evenly browned and sweet. If they’re done right, you don’t need to add sugar, cook low and slow. If browned too quickly, the soup could be bitter.

A little flour added makes the soup slightly thick to make it more hearty. 

Even though there is Cognac and wine, you really don’t taste them at all. They just add a great depth of flavor and richness to the broth.

What can I use instead of Cognac and wine in French Onion Soup?

The simple answer is more broth or stock.

In keeping with the French soup theme. I have a soup recipe that hails from Northern France that uses beer, Soupe à la Bière (Beer Soup). Pic below.

A white soup bowl with handles filled with beer soup and croutons with crusty bread and a bottle of beer in the background

If you’ve made this French Onion Soup with Mini Croutons or any other recipe leave a comment below. I love to hear from my readers!

Yield: 4

French Onion Soup with Mini Croutons

French onion soup in a white bowl with a side of cheese toast

 A rich, sweet, flavorful onion laden soup with mini croutons and lots of melted cheese. You can't beat a good French onion soup and I have a good one for you.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large sweet yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread of your choice, baguette or ciabatta
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 cup (236 ml) dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups (3 pints) good beef stock (low sodium if possible) * see note
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups/8 ounces (200 grams) gruyere cheese, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F/176°C.
  2. To a large soup pan or dutch oven, melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to mix into the butter and oil. Cook the onions until softened and are browned, stirring every 10 minutes for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Cut the bread loaf into cubes. Spread onto a baking sheet and drizzle with vegetable oil, mix with your hands to coat well. Toast the croutons in the oven for 10 until golden brown, remove and allow to cool.
  4. Stir the salt, pepper and sage into the onions. Add the sherry and scrape the pan to deglaze and get all the brown bits off the bottom. Cook until the sherry is almost evaporated, for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour. Cook for a minute to remove the raw flour taste.
  5. Add the beef stock, bay leaf and and stir until there are no lumps. Bring to a simmer and cover for 25 minutes.
  6. Preheat broiler.
  7. Spoon the soup into oven proof bowls, top with croutons and grated gruyere. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


Taste your stock, if it is salty, you may need to adjust the amount of salt in the dish

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 646Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 46mgSodium 1535mgCarbohydrates 82gFiber 5gSugar 12gProtein 26g