French Onion Gruyere Sandwich

Words: Mikka Wee/Photography: Mylene Chung/Styling and Recipe Development: Katherine Jao/July 15, 2012

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Want to learn how to cry? Simple. Grab a knife, chopping board, buckets of onions and start shredding! It’s a guaranteed way to shed some tears, making you look like the bullied protagonist of some tacky telenovela, complete with snot dripping down your nose.

In fact, onions contain some scientific thingy called S-Oxide, which is released whenever they’re chopped. And yes, this is responsible for irritating the lachrymal glands in your eyes; ergo, producing the saline drops that start to trickle. (Translate: Onions make you cry like a baby.)

And speaking of tears, here’s a dish that would give you tons of it in more ways than one.

Presenting *drumroll please*…the French Onion Sandwich!

Inspired by a favorite soup, this French Onion Sandwich is a more satisfying alternative for the hungry and ravenous! Ugh. You’d be crazy to resist this, I swear.

It’s pretty simple to prepare, too—even this blind fellow can do it.

If you want to have something to cry about, then indulge in this scrumptious French Onion Sandwich. It’s worth every single teardrop, we promise.

French Onion Sandwich

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients for the Caramelized Onions

  • 2 cups white onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for the Gruyere Cheese Sandwiches

  • 4 pcs wheat or white bread
  • 2-4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese

Procedure for the Caramelized Onions

  1. Heat pan on low flame. Melt butter and add onions, salt, sugar and pepper.
  2. Sweat onions until soft.
  3. Continue cooking for 20-30 minutes or until caramelized.
  4. If some parts are burnt, just add a tablespoon of water, mix and let it evaporate.
  5. Repeat until it is caramelized. set aside.


  1. Layer one bread, top with 1/4 cup caramelized onions and half the cheese.
  2. Top with another bread. spread butter on both outer sides of the sandwich.
  3. Heat a non stick pan and grill sandwich on both sides until cheese has melted and bread is browned.
  4. Repeat for the other sandwich.

Mikka Wee

Managing Editor

Mikka Wee’s goal is to travel the world with a backpack stuffed with her books and not much of an itinerary. With an appetite thrice the size of her 5-foot frame, waffles are the one thing that makes her weak in the knees. She also likes to torture herself with sci-fi movie marathons until her brain turns into goop. Her list of not-so-secret culinary crushes includes David Chang, Ivan Orkin, Rene Redzepi, and Anthony Bourdain. Alexander Supertramp is her hero. See More.

  • Sam

    What would you do if you’d want to convert this into a pasta dish? :)

    • Katherine Jao

      You can make a “caramelized onion cream sauce”. Mix to pasta and top with gruyere then bake! :)

  • Sab

    Just a question. Whats the difference if you use red onions than white onions in here? :)

    • Katherine Jao

      White onions tend to be sweeter than red when cooked, the reason why it is usually preferred in making caramelized onions. :)

  • Topher

    Is gruyere better than mozzarella cheese?

    • Katherine Jao

      Hi Topher! It depends on your usage. Both are good, and at times are mixed together (half& & half). But just so you can tell which is which, the difference is: Mozzarella – stringy bland cheese, very good texture but almost tasteless. Gruyere – has the stringy characteristic but is saltier compared to Mozzarella, which makes it more flavorful. So in this recipe, we opted to use Gruyere’s savory taste to counter the sweetness of the onions. :)

      • Sophie

        I’m definitely trying out half&half of both cheese. Now you’re talking :)

  • Vinz

    Looking forward to try it out!!! Thanks guys1

    • Katherine Jao

      Hi Vinz! let us know of the outcome. :)

  • Joey

    This is SO getting made!  Yum!!

    • Katherine Jao

      Glad to know Joey. :) give us feedback once you do!

  • FragrantFoodie

    Love this.  I have never been fond of soggy bread, which becomes a problem for me with the classic soup. This is a great workaround!

    • Katherine Jao

      Oh this is perfect for you! Make sure to toast the bread well so you can enjoy it more. :)

  • Mauria Ellenson

    Oh. My. God. I’m in Heaven…

    • Mikka Wee

      😀 😀 😀 

  • Flo

    Would Pamigiano Reggiano work with this?

  • sandrita

    Think I saw something similar to this months ago. I really like how you’re doing recipes that are Pinoy-centric, with ingredients that can be sourced locally. Looking forward to more.