French Onion Soup from Famous and Barr

Serves 8-10

Prep Time 30 min

Cook Time 2 hr, 30

Total Time 30 mins

A truly iconic soup from St. Louis and the old Famous and Barr retail store.


  • 5 lbs. med white onions
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 3 - 32oz containers (8cans) of beef broth (I've also used a combination of beef (64 oz) and chicken broth (32 oz) and it has actually been my favorite result.)
  • 1 C white wine
  • Salt to season
  • 16 oz. Gruyère cheese (can substitute Swiss which I typically do), shredded
  • 1 French Baquette, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Parmesan


To Prepare the Soup:

  1. Slice the onions 1/8" thick. Melt butter in a large pot and sauté the onions over low heat for 1.5 - 2 hours.
  2. Add seasonings; pepper, paprika and bay leaves. Mix well and saute on low for 2-3 minutes; stirring frequently.
  3. Add 2/3 of the broth to the pot and stir well. And the flour to the remaining broth and mix thoroughly and then add to the pot, stirring in. Add wine and simmer 2 hours.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.

To Serve:

  1. Turn on oven to broil.
  2. Brush bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Lightly brown bread using the broiler watching very carefully so not to burn.
  3. Heat soup on stove top.
  4. Layer soup, then Parmesan toasted bread, then cheese in ovenproof bowls.
  5. Broil until cheese melts; 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully!
  6. Let cool for a couple of minutes before eating.

Recipe Notes

Some readers have asked for smaller portions. These proportions will produce half as much soup; follow same directions for cooking.

2 1/2 lbs yellow onions
4 Tbsp butter
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp sweet Spanish paprika
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1/3 cup flour
6 cups prepared beef bouillon
1/2 cup white wine
8 oz Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1/2 French Baquette
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

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