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Onion Soup with Cider and Cheddar Croutons

Serves 4

This recipe adds British and American touches of cheddar cheese and apples to this French classic.


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 small Gala or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic drizzle (optional)
  • 2 cups cloudy apple cider
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 baguette, cut into 12 slices about 1 1/2-inches thick
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp white cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325˚F.
  2. Heat a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add the onions, bay leaf, ground thyme, salt and pepper. Cook the onions until very soft and light caramel in color, 20 minutes.
  3. Add the apples, stir to combine and cook for 10 minutes more. Stir in the balsamic drizzle, if using, then add the cider and stock. Bring to a boil and let reduce, about 10 minutes.
  4. To make the croutons, in a small saucepot, heat the EVOO with the hot sauce and the crushed garlic clove. Let the EVOO infuse for a couple of minutes, then brush the bread slices. Arrange the slices on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and bake until crisp, 5-6 minutes. Top the toast with mounds of cheese and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. Bake 2 minutes more to melt the cheese.
  5. Serve the soup in bowls topped with three croutons each.