Student onion soup

A few years ago, I fell in love with French onion soup. This creamy, warming concoction brings fragrance and comfort with every mouthful. Its ingredient list alone compiles of some of the best items showcasing the best of French produce: wine, garlic, butter, and Gruyère, the traditional cheese of choice.

Safe to say in my years of being a student I haven’t managed to replicate such a dish. It hasn’t stopped me trying. (Warning to cooks: you may find the rest of this post rather distressing).


  • onions (45p/kg)
  • garlic (45p/pack)
  • butter (£1.08/pack)
  • beef stock (25p per stock pot)
  • bread (£1/pack)
  • grated cheddar (£3.25/pack)

Cost per portion: hard to say, but looking at the ingredients list = quite cheap.


  1. Chop 4 onions into thin slivers and a clove of garlic into tiny pieces.
  2. Warm up the butter in a big pan.
  3. Dump said onions and garlic into the pan and start caramelising the onions. Put the kettle on.IMG_2735
  4. Once the onions are browned, make up a pint of beef stock and add it to the soup. Simmer. IMG_2736
  5. Toast a slice of bread and pile grated cheddar onto it.
  6. Plate the soup (or would it be ‘bowl’ the soup? I don’t really know) and place the toasted bread with the cheese on top. (At this point you might grill the whole thing to melt the cheese and brown the bread but the grill in my student accommodation doesn’t work)IMG_2737

Final thoughts

Well, it’s no proper French onion soup, but I would say it’s something a student can throw together if there’s next to nothing in the cupboards. If you’re not expecting the original thing from over the channel, I’d say it’s a tasty soup that easily satisfies for lunch. Oh, and the original recipe calls for wine and brandy but I settled for plain old beef stock.

  • Cost: 5/5 (basically all of the ingredients are staples that I like having around anyway)
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Time: 4/5
  • Taste: 3/5 (definitely would benefit from doorstop bread, Gruyère, and a little red wine)

If you have any comments and suggestions, I’d love to hear in the comments! 


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