62 Ways to Master the Art of French Cooking

Travel to the land of a thousand cheeses, where the culinary history is rich and the dishes are all delicious—whether they come from a temple of haute cuisine or from the bistrot on the corner. From café classics like croissants and croque madames to the best of the brasseries, like French onion soup, boeuf bourguignon and ratatouille, these are some of the classic recipes you'll find in French homes and restaurants.

Curated by Ethan Johns
With contributions from Mathilde Ugarte

Soupe à l'Oignon (French Onion Soup)

Properly cooking your onions (and using a ton of butter) is key to making this rich soup. The onions slowly caramelize, getting sweeter and sweeter, before you add the wine-and-brandy spiked broth. Toasted bread and gruyère are key if you want some epic cheese pulls.

Coq au Vin

Like boeuf bourguignon, this dish mixes a well-browned protein (in this case chicken—or rooster, technically) with bacon, mushrooms, carrots and more in a wine-heavy sauce. Want to try an interesting spin? Use white wine instead of red to take a tour of France (coq au riesling, coq au champagne, etc.).

Cherry Clafoutis

Think of this as the O.G. dump dessert. Clafoutis is a custardy skillet pie of sorts, dotted (traditionally) with cherries, but it's versatile enough to accommodate any of your favorite fruits.

Entrecôte Bordelaise

French butchers cut their beef a bit differently than American butchers, but the entrecôte is pretty darn close to a rib eye steak (similarly, a côte de boeuf is equivalent to a bone-in rib steak). Entrecôte is commonly enjoyed at local bistrots and brasseries as "un steak frites," meaning steak with fries. This version features a red wine sauce made with concentrated beef stock, shallots and plenty of butter.

Moules Marinières

Mussels in a buttery white wine and herb sauce are a common sight throughout France, but especially so along the Atlantic coast where these shellfish are extra fresh. Make it a moules-frites night by pairing them with French fries for dipping.

Traditional Croissants

While it's undoubtedly one of the most iconic foods in France, the croissant is something even the most accomplished home bakers would prefer to buy at the boulangerie. But if you can't find a decent one at a bakery near you and you're feeling ambitious, check out these instructions for making the dough and laminating it to get that perfectly flaky texture. It's worth it!

Galettes Bretonnes (Buckwheat Crêpes)

These savory pancakes (similar to crêpes) are a specialty of Brittany, a region in the northwest of France. More savory than crêpes, they are commonly assembled with cheese, and sometimes with ham and an egg.

Blanquette de Veau

Normally when making a stew, you'd brown the meat first before adding liquid to get that deep, dark flavor. Blanquette, however, focuses on keeping the more delicate taste and texture of veal at the forefront by simmering it with veggies. The finished product is rich, creamy and pairs perfectly with rice or egg noodles.

Boeuf Bourguignon

This classic dish, popularized in the U.S. by Julia Child, is a must-try for cooler evenings. While Burgundy is known for its world-class wines made from pinot noir grapes, you can use any light red wine to make the sauce for this beef stew. Because let's face it, the Romanée-Conti is not going in the pot.

Suprêmes de Vollaille aux Champignons

"When my son-in-law ate this for the first time, he said, 'Wow! I feel like I should dress up to eat this.' I really love this recipe. My family requests it every time I ask what they want to eat. It is easy to make and tastes better than anything I have ever eaten."


Croque Monsieur or Madame

The amped-up grilled cheese with ham is a common weeknight meal or snack in French households. You can use béchamel sauce for a luxurious finished product, but at the minimum a good layer of spicy mustard is essential. Make it a croque madame by adding a fried egg on top.


A reminder of France's colonial history and a symbol of its multicultural population, "le couscous" is not French, yet it is frequently ranked as one of France's favorite dishes. "Couscous" in French refers to the full dish, with vegetables and sauce, while "semoule" refers to the grains of semolina that anglophones call couscous.

Basic Sweet Crêpes

"Fantastic! This is my go-to dessert when we have guests over! I make the crêpes a day or two in advance and just heat them up in the oven prior to serving! We fill them with mixed berries and chocolate sauce! Yum!"

-Julie McCartney


A baked dish of preserved duck legs, sausages and white beans from the south of France, cassoulet is a stick-to-your-ribs sort of comfort. While it's traditionally cooked in a stoneware dish, you can bake it in a casserole dish or enameled cast iron pot. This recipe uses chicken instead of duck, and includes directions for a slow-cooker version.

Gigot à la Cuillère (Slow-Cooked Lamb)

"This was terrific! As promised, it was spoon tender and delicious. I added some parsnips (a personal favorite) but otherwise followed the recipe exactly."


Cheese Fondue

While this base recipe is Swiss, the French have their own distinct regional varieties of fondue that combine local cheeses. For example, fondue savoyarde (from Savoie) is the most common, a combo of Comté, Beaufort and Abondance. Fondue jurassienne (from the Jura) is made exclusively with either young or aged Comté. At the end, a crust of cheese (called la religieuse) will form at the bottom. Add a couple egg yolks, stir and enjoy!

Piperade Basquaise aux Oeufs

Piperade is a sort of quick pepper stew from the Basque region of France and Spain. The local pepper, piment d'Espelette, is key to its unique flavor (you can use smoked paprika as a substitute). This recipe mixes eggs into the piperade, giving them a texture almost like egg drop soup. You can also crack eggs whole over the piperade and bake them, or serve it with a side of scrambled eggs.


The use of spaetzle spans a wide geographic area, but in France it's a common carbohydrate for Alsatians. The proximity to the German border informs a lot of the cuisine in Alsace, where these fresh egg noodles are often eaten in a cream sauce with bacon, onions, mushrooms and more.

Vegetable Tian

Remember that famous dish of sliced veggies from Pixar's Ratatouille? It's not actually ratatouille. The dish in the film is closer to what's called a tian from the south of France. Thin slices of tomato, summer squash and potatoes are arranged in a baking dish (called—surprise!—a tian) and cooked until tender.

Farmer's Market Ratatouille

"This is my mother's recipe for ratatouille, given to me almost 30 years ago. It makes wonderful use of the summer harvest of eggplant, tomatoes, green peppers and zucchini. It is delicious, colorful, and very versatile. It goes great as a side dish, with some cold roasted chicken, in an omelette, over pasta, or even in a sandwich! I don't know why, but I find this tastes even better a day later."


Pot au Feu

"We enjoyed the flavorful combination of vegetables and the tender, moist and perfectly cooked roast. This is one of the few Crock Pot roasts that I've made that did not dry out during nine hours of cooking. Best of all, my husband and children enjoyed a wonderful meal together while I was working late—and left me some for later."


The Classic French Omelette

To test your skills in the kitchen, a classically trained French chef will ask you to prepare an omelette. The secret is to agitate the eggs constantly and quickly after they hit the pan, so the curds stay small. When done correctly, it's creamy, luxurious and not browned at all.

Country-Style Omelette

While the classic French omelette may be the height of technique and sophistication, most folks make them like this. Lightly scramble a few eggs, then fold in some cheese, ham and whatever else you fancy... Easy peasy.

Shortcut Duck Confit

If you've been to southwestern France or to a Parisian bistrot, odds are you've seen confit de canard on menus and on shelves. To make it, duck leg is cooked and preserved in its own fat, leaving it crispy and incredibly delicious. While making it correctly takes quite a bit of time (and duck fat!), this recipe uses an Instant Pot or pressure cooker to give the real thing a run for its money.

Crème Brûlée

"Really good recipe for my first time trying this. Very well balanced, not too sweet. Would definitely prepare this for company."

-zi p.


"This bread is just heavenly! It had a lovely texture and a wonderful crumb. I was making brioche for the first time, and the detail in this recipe made me feel like I had a friend in the kitchen."


Tarte à la Tomate

"This tart was amazing. It was not only beautiful and simple to make, it tasted out of this world. I was able to get homegrown beefsteak tomatoes to make it."



This fisherman's dish from Marseille gets its name from the way that it is traditionally cooked: bouillir (boil) and baisser (lower). Each fish is added separately, then the stew is brought to a boil before being lowered again with the addition of a new ingredient. For simplicity's sake, this recipe has you add everything at once, but feel free to try the ancient method!


"Being French I have to advise you the following corrections: the proper cheese to use to make a tartiflette is "reblochon" (which is very smelly) and you should also add one glass of white wine (more or less according to your own preference) after you have sautéed the onions and the bacon. "



"This was SO tasty. I love olives and anchovies, so this was perfect for me. I used whole wheat pizza dough from the store to save time."



These Burgundian cheese puffs are perfect with a glass of pinot noir. They're also ridiculously easy to make. Bake extra, because you'll probably want to eat the entire batch.

Flammekueche (Tarte Flambée)

"I first tried this in Basel, Switzerland. I have made it several times using this recipe with great success. The crust was perfectly crisp. Last month, I tried it again in Alsace, France. Outstanding."

-Nicholas B.

Poulet Rôti (Roast Chicken)

Roast chicken is the ultimate Sunday dinner. It's an essential skill that every omnivorous home cook should master. It's also a chance to prove to your French in-laws that, yes, you actually do know how to cook.

Mousse au Chocolat

"I had never had chocolate mousse before, probably because I thought it would taste like pudding. Well, I was incredibly wrong. This is a light, airy cream with a deep, rich dark chocolate flavor. I love, love, love this!"


Chicken Cordon Bleu

Fun fact: cordon bleu, while found in the freezer section of every French supermarket, is not actually a French creation. Cordon bleu's origins can be traced back to Switzerland, where it was created as a cheese-stuffed wrap of veal. Chicken came into the picture as an American mash-up that combined veal cordon bleu with chicken Kiev.

Quiche Lorraine

"We enjoyed it so much we decided to play with it to see what we would come up with. We substituted chopped ham for the bacon and again, it was excellent."


Salade Niçoise

"This is the only salad I've ever eaten and wanted more of!! I'm not a huge salad person, but with the potatoes, tuna and eggs this is a proper, hearty meal. That dressing is absolutely fantastic as well; I wanted to drink it!"



This iconic Parisian cookie has a long history that links an Arab occupation of Sicily over a thousand years ago to the royal kitchen of the Italian-born queen of France, Catherine de Medici. Getting the smooth top with a ruffled bottom can be tricky, so don't be afraid to try again if they don't look perfect the first time!

Lemon Madeleines

Famously mentioned in Marcel Proust's epic, seven-part novel "In Search of Lost Time," the madeleine is a soft, delicate cake made in a special mold. These ones are flavored with lemon juice and zest, and can be covered in a lemon glaze.

Roast Chicken Rillettes

Rillettes (a form of preserved, shredded meat) can be made from any animal protein, but are most typically found made from pork, duck and salmon. These chicken rillettes are roasted and slow-simmered before being shredded and covered in duck fat to seal them. Enjoy on toast!

Tarte aux Pommes

The tarte aux pommes is the French equivalent of an apple pie. It has a fluffy pastry dough on the bottom, with a mashed apple filling (or a jam) and caramelized apples arranged (artistically, of course!) on top. Make it a tarte fine aux pommes by rolling out the dough into a circle, then bake it on a sheet tray instead of in a pie dish.

Duck Breast with Fig & Port Sauce

"Great recipe. It was a hit. I think this recipe could be simplified, but I wonder if it would still have the complexity of flavors this version has. I served it with brown and wild rice and asparagus, which were perfect side dishes."


Jambon Persillé

"A French classic that I make now and then when I have time! This recipe certainly delivered on technique as well as flavor. I made it exactly as posted. I make mine with Madeira wine, but I rather liked this as an alternative—it was lighter and fresh in flavor. I increased the gelatin a wee bit—experience has taught me that even with the the addition of the pig's trotter, you need a FIRM setting agent to hold all the ham and parsley layers together. Excellent!"

-French Tart

Lapin à la Moutarde (Rabbit in Mustard Sauce)

"Loved the recipe so much that it's become a 'company' dish for us. We live in France and rabbit is a popular dish here—which means there is stiff competition in terms of recipes! But I've had rave reviews each time I've served this!"


Galette des Rois (King's Cake)

Similar to the cake served for Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the galette des rois is a flaky cake made with frangipane filling. The French gather together during the month of January to "faire la galette." The cake is cut into enough pieces for all participants, and the youngest person in the crowd gets under the table to direct the distribution of the slices. Whichever person gets "la fève" (the bean) is pronounced "le roi" (king) or "la reine" (queen) and gets to wear a paper crown.


Most French families have a "machine à raclette" hidden in a closet, waiting for winter so that they can "faire une raclette" (simply put, melt some raclette cheese and scrape it onto potatoes and charcuterie). The key to melting raclette, sans machine, is to find an easy, repeatable technique. A dish in the oven is one option, but you can also put it on a plate and microwave it. Don't forget the cold white wine and vinegary cornichons to cut through all the cheese!

Carbonade de Boeuf à la Flamande

"Slow-cooked beef with garlic, onions and bacon in Belgian beer—served with Dijon mustard croutons... absolute bliss!"

-French Tart

Cramique aux Raisins

"Absolutely great tasting bread, especially when served either warm or slightly toasted, with a small amount of raisin sauce as a spread!"

-Sydney Mike

Gratin Dauphinois

This dish of thinly sliced potatoes is an oven-baked essential that feels right at home next to a steak or another piece of meat. Gratin dauphinois contains no cheese, just heavy cream or milk and a bit of garlic.

Salade de Lentilles

"This recipe can't be faulted in any way—it is simply sensational. It is well-written and easy to make. We got a very flavorful salad that was enjoyed by the entire family."


Escargots à la Bourguignonne (Snails in Parsley Butter)

Snails might not sound very appetizing, but if you like butter and parsley, odds are you'll like this preparation, too. Use a toothpick to wrestle the cooked snails from their shells, and enjoy after dipping in the sauce.

Chocolate Éclairs

"This recipe made me a superstar at a recent progressive dinner where I was in charge of dessert! I got so many compliments. I had extras and found that I can easily freeze both the pastry and the cream."


Tarte Tatin

This upside-down apple pie features apple wedges coated in a juicy caramel sauce that forms right on the stove and in the oven. Puff pastry locks all the flavor in, and when the cooking time is done you flip the whole thing onto a plate and lift away the pan to reveal the sweet surprise.

Poulet Basquaise

This seared and baked chicken rests on a bed of Basque piperade (a quick pepper stew) and creamy polenta made with sheep's cheese.

Baba au Rhum

"One of my favorite desserts! I didn't soak all of the cake in the rum syrup as indicated; with only two people here, I decided to freeze part of the cake without syrup for later. I now have frozen cake, which I can defrost and soak in more syrup when I like."


Tournedos au Poivre

"A big hit with all our company tonight. The only thing I could add to this would be to take the juices that come from the sitting cooked steaks and pour that into the cream mixture after sautéing the mushrooms and let that simmer just enough to thicken up slightly."


Truites aux Amandes (Trout Amandine)

"Excellent! We had fresh-caught lake trout fillets and were looking for a recipe that would keep the fresh flavor. Tried this recipe and I must say that it was the best trout I ever ate! Easy to prepare. I only wish I had cooked more!"


Pan Bagnat

A specialty from Nice, the pan bagnat is basically a sandwich stuffed with salade niçoise. The name comes from the Occitan language of Catalonia, and means "soaked bread." Specifically, soaked in olive oil.

Soupe au Pistou (Pesto Soup)

"Superb. I make this soup often, and this was an excellent recipe! I used flageolet beans instead of white beans or chickpeas—I find they work very well with the green beans and pesto! My favorite French soup, eaten today with homemade crusty bread!"

-French Tart

Petit Salé aux Lentilles

Petit salé aux lentilles is a preparation of salt-cured pork featuring lentils and aromatics—from onion and herbs to celery and carrots. Perfect for winter, this dish is easy, rustic and relatively inexpensive.

Paupiettes de Porc

Similar to cordon bleu, a paupiette is a piece of meat (often veal or beef, but in this case pork) that's wrapped around a stuffing of your choice. These ones are stuffed with pork sausage and tied with string, then browned and braised in wine. Serve up a slice with the mushroom sauce and a side of mashed potatoes.

Choucroute Garnie

An Alsatian dish of epic proportion. Choucroute (which means sauerkraut) is a dish composed of sauerkraut seasoned with juniper, topped with different kinds of pork (in this case knuckle, belly and neck) plus sausage. As if that wasn't enough, boiled potatoes add even more substance. Make sure to stay hydrated with large quantities of dry riesling or pinot gris.