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Instant Pot Canyon Bistro French Onion Soup

Instant Pot Canyon Bistro French Onion Soup | Bijouxs Little Jewels

Classic French Onion Soup is a perfect candidate for the Instant Pot. The actual soup cooking time is only 5 minutes in the Instant Pot, but the real key is the caramelization of the onions, don’t skip and don’t rush this for a completely authentic French Onion Soup, which is a true little jewel.


For years I have used Julia Child’s classic recipe for French Onion Soup from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Many times over, with diversions to try other recipes over the years. One diversion was the Canyon Bistro’s French Onion Soup. I sampled the soup at the restaurant back in my LA-life days. The classic white lion’s head bowl was served bubbling and dripping with melted with cheese, really what is not to love?

Perched up at the top of Topanga Canyon, between Malibu and the Palisades, it was a destination restaurant for me.

Instant Pot Canyon Bistro French Onion Soup | Bijouxs Little Jewels


I discovered a reprint of the restaurant recipe online, and I could see what I tasted that had made the soup different. A touch of garlic and ground thyme are both part of the recipe. Ground thyme has NOT been one of my on hand spices, but I now see the value of the ground version of the spice. When added to the soup. it imparts a herbal note, without adding any leaves to the soup. I tried grinding my own, but it was not fine enough. Ground Thyme, what a cooking revelation.


One important step that cannot be rushed is the caramelization of the onions. The ’sauté’ mode of the Instant Pot works perfectly. It defaults to 30 minutes which is exactly the time it takes to render the onions a dark golden brown. Covering the pot with a tempered glass cover at the beginning of the process softens the onions. Uncover, then it’s on to browning, stirring every couple of minutes. Stay focused on this step and you will be rewarded with golden brown onions, ready for soup.


The first step after browning the onions is to deglaze the pan with the vermouth, scraping to loosen all the brown bits for the soup. 

Next steps are quick and simple, add the broth, Worcestershire, ground thyme, and white pepper.

Set the pressure lid to ‘seal’ and set pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. It takes a few minutes to come to pressure, then the 5 minute timer will start.  At the end of cooking allow the pressure to release naturally, about 15 minutes. Move the valve to ‘venting’ to check for any remaining steam. 


Preheat the broiler. To serve, ladle hot soup into oven proof bowls leaving about 1/2” from the top. Add 2 slices of toasted baguette and a 2-3 thick slices of Gruyere cheese to each bowl. Place bowls on a sheet pan, broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and running down the sides of the bowls.

Instant Pot Canyon Bistro French Onion Soup | Bijouxs Litle Jewels

Carefully remove from the broiler and allow soup to set for a few minutes before serving. It is nice to present the soup bowl on a plate to catch the running cheese.

French Onion Soup, another little jewel from the Bijouxs Kitchen.


As always, enjoy. B

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