11 French Dishes Everyone Should Know How to Cook, According to Chefs

From the perfect roast chicken to airy soufflé.

Classic French recipes are among the most comforting, impressive dishes you can add to your repertoire. Whether you're whipping up a perfect rolled omelet for yourself or boeuf bourguignon for company, these French dishes are chef-loved for a reason — and worth mastering.


"There are a lot of underlying techniques that are needed to complete this recipe, from curing and confiting duck to making a great glaze. Finding balance and using great technique is crucial to making this classic awesome." Colin King, Executive Chef, Maximon

F&W Recipe: Cassoulet with Duck Confit

Beef Bourguignon

"I can't think of a more perfect dish to make when it's cold out, and a great way to use up old red wine you might have open. It can be served with potatoes or any noodles you have on hand." — Gerald Addison, Co-Owner and Co-Executive Chef, Bammy's

"It's is a worldwide-loved classic for a reason. You want to take your time cooking it, at least two hours in the oven at 350°F, and don't forget to drink a glass of wine or two while making it. This dish tastes better one day after making it, trust me, try it out. Chili will give it a nice kick at the end!" — Edgar Escalante, Executive Chef, Dirty Habit DC

F&W Recipe: Beef Bourguignon


"A French dish that everyone should master is the soufflé — either sweet or savory or both. There are many reasons why a soufflé can fail to rise and the texture to be incorrect, so for a chef to eventually fully understand all the reasons why a soufflé can fail would make them a reckoning force in any kitchen. Someone who can turn out perfect soufflé after soufflé should really be able to master anything else in the kitchen." Rob Aikens, Executive Chef, Espita, Las Gemelas, and Ghostburger

F&W Recipe: Best-Ever Cheese Soufflé

Best-Ever Cheese Souffle
© Matthew Armendariz

Chicken Chasseur

"This is a true French 'peasant' dish that has proven itself time and time again in my home. If you're looking for a hearty one-pot meal that feels like grandma wrapping you up in a blanket, this is it! Pull out your Dutch oven, some French wine, and your best slippers for this one. I always serve my chicken chasseur with rich mashed potatoes and a good crusty loaf of sourdough. I also recommend a good pair of sweatpants." Matthew Kern, Executive Chef, Heirloom Restaurant

F&W Recipe: Chicken Chasseur

Onion Soup

"Nothing seems more French than onion soup. While it's more common in a restaurant setting, every home chef would be well-served by a solid onion soup recipe in their arsenal. Heaps of onions deeply caramelized to the point of almost burning, red wine, rich stock of roasted bones, a float of stale bread supporting a gratinée of pungent Alpine cheese. The smell alone is capable of waking unknown appetites. Like most wonderful cuisine, it's humble peasant food that transcends when it's made with the care it deserves." Jake Leiber and Aidan O'Neal, Chefs, Le Crocodile at the Wythe Hotel

F&W Recipe: Caramelized Onion and Bread Soup

Caramelized Onion and Bread Soup with Bruleed Blue Cheese
Greg DuPree

Roast Chicken

"Roast chicken is the perfect classic French dish for any occasion. You can dress it up or dress it down. It can be made for dinner any time of year. The secret to the roast chicken? It starts with a great quality bird." — Julian Marucci, Executive Chef and Partner, Tagliata

"The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken." Julia Child

F&W Recipe: Julia's Favorite Roast Chicken


"Eggs are the perfect, and cheapest, way to teach proper technique. There's cracking the eggs correctly, having a place to toss the shells, the best tool used to beat them, the type and quantity of seasoning added before, during, and after cooking, how to heat a pan, when to add the fat, all the visual, aural, aromatic clues of coagulating protein, the essentials of proper presentation, and on and on and on." Mary-Frances Heck, F&W Senior Food Editor

F&W Recipe: French Rolled Omelet

French Rolled Omelet
Jennifer Causey


"This isn't a dish per se, but the one sauce I believe every chef needs to know is how to make hollandaise. It is a sauce that works with a lot of dishes, is relatively simple to make (and with only a few ingredients), and it defines the perfection between fattiness, saltiness, and acidity." Roberto Santibañez, Chef and Culinary Director, Mi Vida and The Grill by Knead Hospitality + Design

F&W Recipe: Avocado Hollandaise

Tarte Tatin

"Tarte Tatin is a classic, and delicious, French dessert that's not actually that complicated to make. I'd argue it's even easier than a double-crust pie. Store-bought all-butter puff pastry gets you halfway there, and a simple stovetop caramel sauce paired with in-season apples (or pears) make this a rustic dessert worth keeping in your arsenal." Kelsey Youngman, F&W Associate Food Editor

F&W Recipe: Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel

Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel
© John Kernick

Roast Duck

"I think everyone should master how to cook a duck. Most home cooks are afraid to cook this bird, but I promise it is super easy. If you buy a whole duck, you can easily make two dinners from it. First, you can make roasted duck breast — when cooked properly you will acquire a wonderful golden and crispy skin and juicy rich meat on the inside. It is truly very flavorful meat. Second, you can make braised legs and thighs, which is a very simple yet luxurious dish. Pair it with some root vegetables and make the perfect weekday dinner." Ryan Ratino, Executive Chef, Bresca in Washington, D.C.

F&W Recipe: Duck à L'Orange

Steak Frites

"[The frites] are so quick. Seriously, it's going to take you like — I don't exaggerate — 20 minutes. That's it." — Ludo Lefebvre

F&W Recipe: Strip Steak Frites with Béarnaise Butter

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