French Onion Soup

When made well, French Onion soup is a God Tier soup. When made poorly, it is a conveyance to an evening of farts. This is why it’s crucial to have a good recipe.

The biggest thing about traditional methods of making French Onion Soup is that every recipe reads like a massive pain in the ass, because of how long it takes to brown off the onions. People scrimp on time, as a result, and well, welcome to fart town.

The basis for this recipe is J Kenji Lopez-Alt’s Pressure Cooker French Onion Soup recipe. I chose this one as the starting point because it has timings for the Pressure Cooker. Except, like every recipe for caramelizing onions, I have found it consistently underestimates the time required.

Kenji’s recipe also includes Fish Sauce, which I’m not wild about, and Apple Cider Vinegar. I’ve made substitutions I prefer and have bumped up the umami with some different ingredients.



  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for toasts (3 ounces; about 90g)
  • 3 pounds onions , sliced 1/8 inch thick (I use white and red)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking soda
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) dry sherry
  • 1 quart (about 1L) low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 quart (about 1L) low-sodium beef stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon (5ml) Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Light Chinese Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) sherry vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon MSG (yes, really. You don’t have to, but it’s better)


Melt butter in an electric or stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat. Add onions and baking soda and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onions slightly soften and start to release liquid, about 5-8 minutes. Seal Instant Pot (vent closed.)  Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. Release pressure by allowing steam to vent, then remove lid.

Continue cooking with lid off, stirring constantly, until liquid inside has completely reduced and the onions are deep brown and sticky, about 15 minutes.

3Add sherry and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until alcohol smell is mostly gone, about 3 minutes. Add stock, thyme, and bay leaf, raise heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

4Add remaining ingredients and adjust to taste.

5If you want to be traditional, toast some good bread, place on top of soup in an oven proof bowl, top with cheese (a Combo of Gruyere and Parmesan (yes really) is my preferred, but if you’re out of Gruyere, use Monterey Jack or Havarti (YES REALLY.) Broil in oven until bubbly. Do not go by time unless you’re trying to meet your local fire brigade.
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