Department Store Onion Soup Recipe -
Department Store Onion Soup Recipe
  • READY IN ABOUT 3 hrs

Department Store Onion Soup

Recipe by  

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

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 12 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    25 mins
  • COOK

    2 hrs 30 mins

    2 hrs 55 mins


  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 broth 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 sheet. 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 More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Sep 30, 2006

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.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Sep 21, 2011

I really tried to like this recipe but there is way too much paprika and the directions need to be clearer. I thought something was wrong noting to cook the onions 1.5 hours but it is right and needs to say this is needed so that the onions carmalize. I had a problem when the dry ingredients were added and needed to cook 10 minutes. If I cooked the dry ingredients for 10 minutes they would have burnt. I also only could let the soup simmer on very low for 1.5 hours, any more and I would not have had enough liquid left for it to be soup. The broth in this recipe was somewhat heavy and almost too rich from simmering so long. Sorry :(

Oct 26, 2005

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.

Jan 06, 2006

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.

Jan 31, 2007

Delicous and always hits the spot! If you have homemade beef stock use it, otherwise use 1/2 canned chicken broth and 1/2 canned beef broth. Canned beef broth can get too tinny tasty when reduced. I always add a pinch of salt to the onions, it makes them release their juices, hence their flavor, to the soup when browning them.

Oct 09, 2007

Rob, there's no doubt that this is an excellent FOS recipe. I used low sodium beef broth, red wine (didn't have white) and added a few more seasonings. The recipe called for paprika, but I didn't see in the instructions whether to add it to the soup, or if was meant to be a sprinkling over the cheese. Anyway, I did both and it was great. I always add some sugar to my onions as they're browning, which cuts down a little on the cooking time. Hubby's the FOS King and he and my family just loved it. Thanks so much!

Mar 19, 2006

This was so much better than most of the onion soups I've ever had out!! Wow!! I made a huge batch of this (6x? can't remember now) for a church "SoUUper Sunday", and it was a huge hit. Every last drop was eaten, and I couldn't keep my spoon out of the pot when I was making it. I was worried that the directions weren't right about cooking the onions so long, but the whole recipe really turned out perfect. My mouth is watering now remembering it. Too bad my husband's not a fan of this type of soup or this would be made much more often at home!

Nov 17, 2006

THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I grew up with Famous Barr and I'm 59 years old! Their French Onion soup was a "must" for lunchtime shoppers and this IS IT!!! I followed the recipe exactly and wasn't disappointed. VERY GOOD and rich in flavor.


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  • Calories
  • 369 kcal
  • 18%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 43.4 g
  • 14%
  • Cholesterol
  • 37 mg
  • 12%
  • Fat
  • 14.3 g
  • 22%
  • Fiber
  • 4.7 g
  • 19%
  • Protein
  • 14.7 g
  • 29%
  • Sodium
  • 1514 mg
  • 61%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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