33 Traditional French Recipes

France is known for its rich and indulgent recipes, but you don’t have to take a vacation to Paris to enjoy some of the country’s most delicious food! 

Thanks to recipe blogs and other online culinary resources, you can make authentic French cuisine yourself from the comfort of your own kitchen.

We love traditional French recipes ourselves, so we’ve decided to choose 33 of our all-time favorites to share with you today.

33 Traditional French Recipes

There is a lot of variety in our selection, including savory dishes and desserts, more complex recipes and some easy comfort-food options. 

Read on to discover some of the best French recipes you’ll ever taste, plus the answers to your most frequently asked questions about authentic French cooking!

1. Authentic French Fries 

Finding French fries on the menu at a restaurant isn’t difficult, but actually finding authentic French fries is another matter. 

Once you’ve tried this recipe for real French fries, you’ll never settle for anything else again!

These fries are cooked in peanut oil for added flavor, but there’s no complicated seasoning – only salt, so the taste of the potato itself shines through, as it should. 

2. Coq Au Vin 

This is probably one of the most famous French recipes. While it sounds like a dish that would require a lot of skill and sophistication, it’s actually easier to make than you might think!

You’ll need just under 2 hours to prep and cook this braised red wine chicken, but the vast majority of that is cooking time.

The Burgundy wine paired with onions, bacon, and mushrooms ensures that each mouthful is packed with flavor. 

3. French Onion Soup

There’s nothing like a traditional French onion soup to warm you up when the weather gets colder, and this particular French onion soup recipe is incredible. 

This recipe is versatile and can be made with white, yellow, or red onions (although we recommend yellow for the best flavor).

The beef stock, white wine, and parmesan and swiss cheeses lend a rich and satisfying element to an otherwise light dish.

4. Pain Au Chocolat 

Pain au chocolat is one of the most popular baked goods associated with France, and while you’d usually purchase these from a bakery, they’re not too difficult to make at home. 

You can make this recipe even easier by purchasing chocolate batons and using pre-made pastry, but if you want to make pain au chocolat the traditional way, you’ll need to leave yourself several hours to refrigerate your homemade pastry. The results are definitely worth it!

5. Ratatouille 

Ratatouille is another classic French recipe that is so iconic it has a film named after it! The beauty of ratatouille is that it’s a dish bursting with flavor, but it’s easy to make regardless of your culinary experience. 

All you need for this recipe is some eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, red and green peppers, onion, garlic, and olive oil. Then, for added flavor, you’ll put in thyme, parsley, basil, oregano, and a bay leaf. 

6. Beef Bourguignon 

If you’re in the mood for a hearty, meat-based dish, traditional French beef bourguignon is an excellent option. 

For those who haven’t heard of beef bourguignon, it’s a red wine-based beef stew.

Making this stew to perfection takes some time since the traditional way to cook beef bourguignon is using a Dutch oven, but the result is tender and succulent beef infused with the flavors of Burgundy wine and a variety of vegetables. 

7. Eclairs 

When it comes to traditional French desserts, eclairs are among the most popular.

Again, while these cream-filled pastries might strike you as an obligatory bakery purchase, it’s possible to make them yourself using a simple recipe like this one. 

You’ll need roughly 2 hours to make 14 eclairs, but all you need in terms of ingredients is butter, milk, flour, salt, and eggs for the pastry as well as pastry cream, more sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and vanilla extract for the filling and icing.

8. Brioche 

Brioche is a delicious French sweet bread, and the wonderful thing about it is that it can be used to complement both sweet and savory dishes.

Just spread some butter and jam on a thick slice as a snack or use a brioche bun to elevate a basic burger! 

To make this brioche recipe, you’ll need all-purpose flour, dry yeast, milk, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, butter, and water. 

9. Chicken Paillard 

This marinated chicken dish uses wine, garlic and shallots to turn regular chicken breast into a delicious barbecue staple. 

Of course, you don’t have to cook chicken paillard on the barbecue, but we recommend doing so as it really helps to amplify the flavor and improve the texture of the meat.

When paired with a side salad, especially one made with arugula, it’s a fantastic dish in its own right. 

10. Crème Brûlée

Creme brulee is a sophisticated, timeless French dessert, and this recipe is our favorite version!

You don’t need many ingredients to make the perfect creme brulee, as this recipe proves. The only ingredients necessary are heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolk, and kosher salt. 

First, you’ll make the custard and bake it in the oven before topping with sugar and melting it with a blowtorch to make a caramelized layer.

11. Croque Monsieur 

It’s quite likely that you’ve had a croque monsieur before at some point – you just may not have called it by that name. 

A croque monsieur is basically a grilled cheese that includes ham. But as with any recipe, the art of French cuisine manages to make a grilled ham and cheese sandwich even better. 

What makes a croque monsieur extra special is the use of a creamy bechamel which brings this simple, comforting dish to life.

12. Cheese Soufflé

Another delicious cheese-based recipe that originated in France is the famous cheese souffle.

You may have heard that a souffle is a difficult dish to master, and that’s true, but this recipe is easy to follow even if you don’t have any experience. 

Taking just over an hour to make in total, this cheese souffle recipe involves highly flavorful ingredients such as cream of tartar, parmesan, and mustard. 

13. Classic Crêpes 

Crepes are a staple of French cuisine, and we highly recommend using this recipe to learn how to make them at home so you can enjoy the sweet or savory deliciousness whenever you like!

These crepes don’t require many ingredients and you can fill them with whatever you prefer. Just make sure to make your crepes as thin as possible and do your best not to overcook them.

This might take some practice but you’ll be glad you persevered when you get them just right!

14. Palmiers 

You may not have heard of palmiers before but they’re some of the best French pastries out there. You may also hear them referred to as elephant ears!

These easy-to-make pastries only use 3 ingredients: high-quality boxed puff pastry (for speed), demerara sugar, and all-purpose flour. In just 40 minutes, you can have 18 perfect palmiers ready to enjoy!

15. Coquilles St. Jacques 

Coquilles St. Jacques are one of the most popular French seafood dishes. In English, the term for this dish is gratineed scallops.

To make this recipe, you will need to poach fresh scallops in white wine while making a mushroom puree.

Then, you’ll serve the scallop on top of the puree inside its shell, making for an aesthetically pleasing as well as highly sophisticated dish. 

16. Potatoes Dauphinoise 

In our opinion, almost no food on Earth is as comforting as the combination of potato, butter, and cheese. 

Potatoes dauphinoise, also known as potatoes au gratin, is a French dish made with potatoes, cheese, butter, cream, garlic, and thyme, with salt and pepper to taste. 

Make sure to use a starchy potato variety, avoiding waxy potatoes if you want to achieve the perfect texture. 

17. Croissants 

What says French cuisine more than a flaky, buttery croissant? That’s right – nothing! So, if you’re interested in trying your hand at more traditional French dishes, you should absolutely try out this croissant recipe. 

This recipe requires you to make your own pastry, so make sure you have several hours to spare before you get baking because you’ll need to refrigerate the pastry.

For the best results in terms of taste and texture, use high-fat butter (ideally, 80 percent). 

18. Quiche 

Quiche is a satisfying and versatile dish that works with a variety of side dishes and can be served at either lunch or dinner, so if you want to learn just one French recipe that works for basically any occasion, this is the one we would recommend. 

This easy quiche only takes 50 minutes to make and requires few ingredients, including eggs, milk, cheese, ham, onions, and seasoning. For ease, use pre-made pie crust.

19. Croque Madame 

We’ve already sung the praises of the traditional French croque monsieur, but if you want to take your regular grilled cheese up yet another level, why not try a croque madame? 

A croque madame differs from a croque monsieur in the sense that it features a fried egg in addition to the ham, cheese, and bechamel sauce.

In this recipe, the bechamel has been enriched with gruyere cheese, making for an extra strong flavor. 

20. Velouté De Châtaignes 

If you ever find yourself craving a warm soup on a cold fall day, but wonder whether a soup will be satisfying enough, give this recipe for veloute de chataignes a try! 

A veloute de chataignes is a thick chestnut soup made by simmering chestnuts in stock before pureeing the mixture and adding cream for extra thickness.

The result is a creamy, fragrant dish that will have you coming back for seconds! 

21. Crêpes Suzette

If you know you like French crepes, you’ll absolutely love crepes suzette!

This dish was invented in 1894 by legendary French chef Henri Charpentier, who allegedly witnessed an assistant waiter accidentally set fire to a dessert sauce.

The result was delicious and is now served with sweet crepes regularly. 

To make the sauce for crepes suzette, you’ll need cointreau, unsalted butter, oranges, cognac, orange flower water, sugar, and kirsch. 

22. French Hot Chocolate 

You might not necessarily think of hot chocolate as a French recipe, but once you’ve tried hot chocolate French-style, you’ll never forget the difference! 

This French hot chocolate recipe is made with strong dark chocolate which gives the beverage a rich, bitter-sweet flavor.

The amount of chocolate used is more than you would get in your usual hot chocolate, which makes it thicker, and the strength of the flavor is balanced out by a cream topping. 

23. Confit De Canard 

Duck has a powerful and distinctive flavor which is not to everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy this type of poultry, confit de canard might be your new favorite French recipe! 

Confit de canard is basically duck that has been slow-cooked in fat to make it extra tender and flavorful. It’s salty, delicious, and works with various sauces and sides. 

24. Gougères 

One thing to note about French cuisine is that the use of cheese is always masterful and indulgent. These gougeres, also known as French cheese puffs, are no exception. 

These savory treats are made with a rich, buttery and cheesy dough which is then baked in the oven.

You can enjoy gougeres by themselves, as an appetizer with some sparkling wine, or alongside a delicious bowl of tomato soup. 

25. Chocolate Mousse 

Chocolate mousse is another recipe that you may not instinctively associate with French cuisine because it’s become so popular elsewhere in the world, but the original chocolate mousse was a French creation. 

This traditional French chocolate mousse recipe uses bittersweet chocolate, just like the hot chocolate recipe. The chocolate is paired with heavy cream, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract for the perfect balance of flavors. 

26. Beignets 

French beignets are the perfect sweet treat to enjoy as a dessert or as an afternoon snack. You may have tried other types of beignets, but you’ll never go back once you’ve sampled the French version. 

These beignets are light and fluffy on the inside thanks to the yeast, and they’re topped with a dusting of powdered sugar for extra sweetness. 

27. Mushroom Galette

If you’re not familiar with the concept of a galette, in France, a galette is largely the same thing as a rustic tart. 

Galettes can be made with sweet filling such as apple, but in this case, we’re talking about a savory mushroom galette. 

To make one of these galettes, you’ll need a sheet of pre-made pie dough, ricotta, gruyere, parmesan, mushrooms, white onion, and an egg. You will also need pepper, nutmeg, and thyme to season. 

28. Moules Vinaigrette 

Like coquilles St Jacques, moules vinaigrette are another iconic French seafood dish. Moules are, of course, delicious on their own, but they’re even better with the herbed vinaigrette detailed in this recipe. 

The incredible flavor of this recipe comes from a combination of rendered duck fat, shallots, cloves, white wine, olive oil, and a variety of herbs including thyme and tarragon. 

29. Apple Cake  

Earlier in this article, we described French cuisine as rich and indulgent – which it is!

But another thing to note about French food is that it doesn’t often rely on excess sugar (think thick layers of frosting) to add sweetness to desserts. 

This French apple cake is a prime example of this. Most of the sweetness in this cake comes directly from the sweet apple variety used in the recipe, while the rum mixed into the cake batter adds the perfect level of spice. 

30. Haricots Verts With Shallots 

If you’re cooking a meat-based French dish and don’t know what to serve alongside it, don’t worry – just follow this recipe for green beans (haricots verts) with shallots.

It’s simple, classic, and works with so many dishes! 

This recipe is so easy to follow and even quicker to make, requiring just one pan throughout.

All you need to do is gently cook the shallots in oil (you can also use butter if you prefer) and add the beans along with a small amount of water to finish.

31. Financiers 

Our final French baked goods recommendation for today is this recipe for financiers. Financiers are delicious almond cakes that have a rich and buttery flavor. 

This is not at all a complicated recipe. You just need some almond flour, melted butter, egg white, sugar, all-purpose flour and vanilla extract.

You’ll beat the egg white and sugar first before folding in the remaining ingredients. Then, simply bake for 12 minutes!

32. Chicken Basquaise 

Chicken basquaise is a unique poultry recipe that originated in France. It has a very distinctive flavor that you’ll be sure to remember once you’ve tried it. 

What makes chicken basquaise so memorable is the bold flavor combinations. This recipe includes apple, chorizo sausages, garlic, paprika, and white wine, to name just a few of the ingredients.

When cooked in a Dutch oven amongst all these strong flavors, the chicken becomes beautifully aromatic and deliciously tender. 

33. Salade Niçoise 

Perfect for serving as a side dish or as a delicious light meal in its own right, salade nicoise is probably the most famous French salad dish. 

This salad recipe consists of green beans, tuna, eggs, anchovies, capers, black olives, potatoes, and cucumber. Many of these are very powerful flavors, proving that salad doesn’t have to be a bland choice!

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is France’s Most Famous Dish? 

Many of the most famous French dishes are listed in our selection of recipes. For example, ratatouille, crepes, and beef bourguignon are all very famous examples of French cuisine.

However, some other examples of famous French food include Bouillabaisse, Cassoulet, and Ouefs en Meurette. 

Are There 7 Courses In A French Meal? 

It is not unusual for a French meal to consist of more courses than your average American meal. This is because French meals often include a cheese course as well as a salad course.

On special occasions, in addition to the appetizer, main course, dessert, cheese, and salad, there may also be a fish course and a soup course. 

However, this doesn’t mean that French meals routinely involve 7 courses as this would be very time-consuming and expensive. 

What Is The Main Ingredient In French Cooking?

French cuisine involves a lot of variety, so there is no single main ingredient in French cooking.

However, certain ingredients, such as various cheeses, dijon mustard, shallots, and French bread are considered traditional French ingredients because they feature in, or are served alongside, so many French recipes. 

Final Thoughts 

Thank you for taking the time to consider our selection of iconic French recipes. 

We hope that our choices have inspired you to delve into the exciting and sumptuous world of French cuisine and discover some classic flavor combinations from this country! 

Au revoir, et bonne chance!

33 Traditional French Recipes

33 Traditional French Recipes

Recipe by Jenna

If you love French cuisine as much as we do, you’ll adore these 33 traditional French recipes that showcase the richness and diversity of French cooking.

Course: Appetizers
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