Famous-Barr’s French Onion Soup

Wonderful, heart-warming winter meal

It was such a special occasion to go to the downtown St. Louis Famous-Barr department store. The restaurant had the most amazing buffet. You could always count on caviar!

I’ve added a few spices and made them optional. I like to add Crystal hot sauce, some Salt Lick Spicy Bar BQ sauce (affiliate links*) and a little molasses to taste.

*If you make a purchase through one of my affiliate links, there will be no extra charge for you and I might get a spiff.

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Famous-Barr’s French Onion Soup

A wonderful soup for lunch or dinner, this recipe was made at the restaurant at Famous-Barr’s (May Company) department store in St. Louis, known for a fabulous buffet (you could expect caviar!).
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Course Soups
Cuisine French
Servings 8


  • Dutch oven


  • 3 lb onions, peeled (5 lb. bag of onions, peeled is 3 lb.)
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 T paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 qts Beef Bouillon
  • 1 cup white wine (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 T Crystal hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 T Salt Lick Spicy Bar BQ sauce (optional)
  • molasses to taste (optional)


  • Slice onions 1/8" thick.
  • Melt butter. Place onions in it. Saute slowly for 1 1/2 hours in a large soup pot.
  • Add all other ingredients except bouillon. Saute over low heat 10 minutes more.
  • Add bouillon and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Adjust color to a rich brown with caramel coloring or kitchen bouquet.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Put in refrigerator overnight.
  • Proper serving: Heat soup. Fill fireproof casserole or individual fireproof bowls with 8 oz. of soup, top with 3 1 1/2" slices of French bread. Then put 1 1/2 oz. imported Swiss cheese on bread. Place under broiler until brown, approx. 5 min. at 550 degrees.


This recipe makes 2 quarts.
Crystal hot sauce, Salt Lick Spicy Bar BQ
and molasses are optional.
Season to your taste.
Keyword appetizer, French onion soup, onion soup, winter soup

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