French food has long been celebrated for its exquisite flavors and rich culinary traditions. From the buttery croissants of Paris to the aromatic bouillabaisse of Provence, or from the legendary beef bourguignon in the East Central to the famous crêpes Suzette in the West, there’s a huge selection of amazing food to discover and eat.
Whether you’re a seasoned home cook looking to expand your repertoire or a complete novice eager to learn about French-inspired food, there are many French recipes for beginners that will bring the essence of France directly to your kitchen.
Learn how to create a comforting weeknight dinner for yourself or an authentic dish that will impress your family and friends with the following easy French recipes.
Delicious French Dishes For Beginners
1: Tomates farcies
Tomates farcies, or stuffed tomatoes, is a popular dish enjoyed in many regions of France and is an easy recipe to make. And, just like many other traditional French foods, there are several variations.
This colorful family favorite is typically baked in the oven, allowing the different flavors to blend together, resulting in a rich, savory meal. A key ingredient in this recipe is bread crumbs which soak up the tomato juices and stop the stuffing from becoming overly soggy.
While ground pork is the most commonly used filling, you could try other types of ground meat or even a vegetarian version with rice and vegetables.
For an authentic French experience, soak up the remaining juices of this easy French dish with a crusty toasted baguette and a light green salad.
A great alternative to meat-based meals, the classic French recipe ratatouille is a vegetarian delight and super easy to make. Made famous by the 2007 Pixar film of the same name, the roots of this easy French recipe trace back to the Provence region in France.
Originally, it was a humble dish used by farmers and peasants to make the most of excess summer vegetables. Extremely versatile, it can be enjoyed hot or cold, as a main course or a side dish. And, while there are several different versions, the classic French ratatouille includes tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs.
Apart from its delicious taste, this is an extremely healthy dish rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s a low-calorie, high-fiber option making it an excellent choice for conscious eaters looking to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
This dish is a wonderful addition to any table offering both taste and wellness on a single plate.
Originating from the Languedoc region in the south of France, there is a rich history surrounding this classic dish. Dating back to the time of the Hundred Years War, cassoulet is said to have been created to feed the soldiers who were defending the town of Castelnaudary from the English.
This iconic French creation even has its own special day, celebrated as ‘national cassoulet day’ in France. Enthusiasts gather together on the last Thursday of August to enjoy this rich and comforting meal.
Although recipes vary depending on which town they come from, the core ingredients are usually creamy white beans, savory Toulouse sausage, succulent duck, and large cubes of bacon which are simmered together, very slowly, for several hours. This slow method of cooking makes the meat tender whilst developing the distinctive crust on top.
Cassoulet is a delicious and satisfying dish and with its rich cultural and culinary heritage, it’s a must-try French recipe for beginners and a great one-pot meal for the whole family.
4: Chicken Dijon
Unsurprisingly, this creamy chicken dish with a white wine sauce comes from the Dijon region of France, known for its high-quality Dijon mustard. Many French recipes contain butter and cream and this is one of them. Perhaps lesser known than coq-au-vin, this is an equally delicious meal and a perfect French classic for serving at a dinner party.
Often found on the menus of French restaurants everywhere, this popular dish can easily be made at home bringing some classic French cooking into your kitchen.
You can use any part of the chicken for this recipe. The sauce, essential for Chicken Dijon typically consists of white wine, heavy cream, and chicken stock and often includes shallots and garlic along with the Dijon mustard. This combination results in a sauce that's wonderfully rich and bursting with flavor.
If you want to impress your dinner guests with your French cooking skills, serve this classic ‘poulet à la moutarde’ with traditional French side dishes like mashed potatoes, green beans, or asparagus.
For special occasions, consider pairing it with a chilled white wine from the same region. A crisp Chardonnay or a light Pinot Blanc complements the dish beautifully.
5: Tarte Tatin
Finish your meal off in style with this classic French dessert. Tarte tatin is essentially an upside-down apple tart and it’s a simple yet impressive addition to your French cooking techniques.
This delicious dessert with its caramel flavor and rustic appearance will amaze your guests and delight their taste buds. Named after the Tatin sisters, legend has it that the recipe was created accidentally when the apples landed upside down in the pan. Today, it’s a favorite food among pastry enthusiasts worldwide.
A variety of apples could be used in this recipe. They are cooked in a blend of sugar and salted butter to create a delectable caramel sauce. The fruit is then combined with either a buttery puff pastry or a crisp shortcrust pastry, creating the perfect contrast to the sweet, caramelized apples. Serve with some whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.
Tarte Tatin is an easy-to-make French dish that can be baked at home and which captures the essence of France with each mouthful.
Classic French Food For Any Occasion
Renowned for its exquisite flavors and culinary traditions, French cuisine offers a world of culinary delights whatever your level of cooking skills. These easy French recipes for beginners introduce you to a variety of French cooking techniques and allow you to create delicious meals in your own kitchen. Just don’t forget to serve up a cheese course.
And, if you only have 10 minutes, foie gras on toasted brioche provides a quick burst of authentic French flavor to elevate any Happy Hour or 1st course. Alternatively, a store-bought quiche Lorraine is an equally delicious option for a light lunch. And let’s not forget about the renowned croque monsieur or a croque madame. You only need slices of bread, cheese, ham, and eggs and it gives a fresh twist on a classic melty cheese toastie.
We could go on and on as the list is endless but we will stop here for now and let you enjoy your culinary journey through the heart of France. Bon appétit!