Impressive, Rich & Varied
French cuisine has a reputation for being decadent and mysterious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook French food at home! After all, impressive doesn't have to mean intimidating. So put aside your notions of French food being too scary to attempt and join us on a culinary journey through this fascinating cuisine! Contrary to popular belief, French food is actually very varied and each region has its own specialties. Pastries, breads, wines, cheeses, meats, and seafood are all heavily associated with French cuisine, and these elements do play a major role, but there are plenty of vegetable-based dishes, too. The French take full advantage of local produce – both fruits and vegetables – and fresh, quality ingredients are paramount in French cooking. In fact, quality ingredients and careful preparation techniques form the backbone of French cuisine. But in France, how you eat is just as important as what you eat. The French savor their flavorful meals slowly, usually at a table filled with friends or family. You can enjoy a slow, leisurely French meal no matter where you live, you just need to learn a few key recipes to create your own French feast at home! Join us as we explore the five best French recipes to make in your home kitchen.
#1 Nicoise Salad
Nicoise salad, or salade niçoise, is a classic French salad that was developed in Nice. It includes tuna, green beans, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, onion, capers, and potatoes; it is topped with a light vinaigrette dressing. Choose fresh ingredients and prepare them carefully to get the full French experience. This salad pairs nicely with a glass of wine for lunch, but also makes a great first course in a larger French feast! Plus, if you’re nervous about making French food for the first time, this salad is a perfect introduction since it isn’t overly complicated but will still give you that taste of France that you’re craving! Ready to get started?
It’s not just an animated movie; ratatouille is, in fact, a well-respected dish in France. It’s healthy, it puts fresh produce front and center, and it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans. It’s also extremely impressive-looking, so if you’re in need of a recipe for date night, ratatouille is the perfect choice! It can be prepared two ways: like a stew, or sliced and layered. We recommend the sliced and layered preparation, as you just can’t beat the wow-factor in the presentation. If layers of roasted veggies interspersed with a flavorful tomato sauce sound appealing to you, we highly recommend that you try out this timeless French recipe!
#3 Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin, made famous outside of France by Julia Child, is a classic French dish that many people view as both impressive and intimidating. While it does take some time to prepare, the steps are easy to follow and the ingredients are generally pretty accessible. So don’t be intimidated – you absolutely can make a great Coq au Vin at home! If you're still nervous, think of it this way: the dish’s name literally translates to “rooster in wine.” While it may sound fancy, at its core, this dish is a simple French chicken stew that was designed to make the meat of an old bird taste good. Ready to conquer your fears and cook the Coq au Vin of your dreams?
#4 Pot au Feu
It wouldn’t be a list of the best French recipes to try at home without Pot au Feu, or “pot on the fire.” It’s widely considered to be the national dish of France. Yet far from fancy or decadent, this hearty beef stew is warm, comforting, and reliable. It began its life as an affordable dish for the poor, but today it is served everywhere from home kitchens in the countryside to trendy cafes in Paris. It’s made with a satisfying mixture of beef, potatoes, and carrots, but you can feel free to incorporate other vegetables as well. It pairs wonderfully with a glass of wine and a slice of crusty French bread. Ready to make your very own Pot au Feu?
#5 Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine combines flaky pie crust, spongey egg custard, smoky bacon, nutty Gruyère, and sharp shallots into one impressive dish. The taste is truly unique, as is the perfectly balanced texture. If you’re looking for a French dish that works well for breakfast or brunch, this is it. You can even prepare many of the elements beforehand to save time if you’re hosting an event. Ready to make the best Quiche Lorraine you’ve ever had?
#6 French Patisserie Fruit Tart
You can’t have a list of the best French recipes without a dessert! France – and Paris in particular – is well known for its patisserie. While it was hard to choose just one pastry for this list, we think the fresh fruit, flaky pastry, and decadent cream filling of this patisserie-style tart really embody what French food is all about! It’s the perfect introduction to French-style baking. Like many French recipes, the end result looks impressive and that can make the process seem intimidating, but this fruit tart recipe is actually quite easy to follow. You’ll be making patisserie-worthy desserts in no time! Ready to get started?