Pressure Cooker French Onion Soup Recipe

Photograph: J. Kenji L贸pez-Alt

Why It Works

  • The pressure cooker makes quick work of breaking down the onions for fast caramelization.
  • Store-bought chicken stock is better than store-bought beef stock, with a cleaner, more natural meaty flavor that allows the onions to shine through.
  • Asian fish sauce, cider vinegar, and sherry add depth and complexity to the broth.

Traditional techniques for caramelizing onions can take hours to deliver extra-sweet, complex flavor. The pressure cooker reduces that time down to about 30 minutes of hands-off cooking. Finishing off those onions with sherry, stock, and some aromatics transforms them into a soul-satisfying classic French onion soup.

Recipe Facts



Active: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for toasts (3 ounces; about 90g)

  • 3 poundsyellow or mixed onions, sliced 1/8 inch thick (1.4kg; about 4 to 5 large onions) (see note)

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g)聽baking soda

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) dry sherry, such as Amontillado

  • 2 quarts (about 2L)聽homemade聽or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 2 sprigs thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Asian fish sauce (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon (5ml)聽cider vinegar

  • 8 bowl-size slices rustic bread, toasted until crisp

  • 1 medium clove garlic

  • 1 pound (450g) Gruy猫re cheese, grated

  • Freshly minced chives, for garnish


  1. 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 3 minutes. Seal pressure cooker and heat to high pressure (12.5 to 15 psi). Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. Release pressure by allowing steam to vent, then remove lid.

  2. Continue cooking with lid off, stirring constantly, until liquid inside has completely reduced and the onions are deep brown and sticky, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add 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 10 minutes.

  4. Add fish sauce, if using, and cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper (if necessary). Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

  5. To Serve: Preheat broiler and move oven rack to top position. Butter toasts and rub with garlic clove until fragrant. Spoon a small amount of broth into the bottoms of 4 ovenproof serving bowls, then top with half the toasts. Sprinkle some grated Gruy猫re on top of toasts, then spoon more soup and onions on top, nearly filling the bowls. Set the remaining 4 toasts in each bowl, pushing to nearly submerge them. Top with remaining grated cheese and set bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until cheese is melted and browned in spots. Garnish with chives and serve.

Special equipment

Electric or stovetop pressure cooker, rimmed baking sheet


Yellow onions are your best all-purpose bet for this soup, but a mix of yellow, sweet (e.g., Vidalia), and red onions, as well as shallots, produces an even more complex flavor.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1106 Calories
63g Fat
82g Carbs
55g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1106
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g 81%
Saturated Fat 37g 185%
Cholesterol 188mg 63%
Sodium 3301mg 144%
Total Carbohydrate 82g 30%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 55g
Vitamin C 21mg 104%
Calcium 1309mg 101%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 1214mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)