Xueci Cheng

Editor at Kitchen Stories

I bet travelling with us to the breathtaking southern France might have inspired you to bring more French influence into your kitchen than the film Ratatouille. This month, we are trying to demystify the algorithm of “great” French cuisine (it seems nobody cooks it at home). Look no further, because we have proof that French cooking can be approachable and easy to master. How? With our recipes!

Here are the most-cooked French recipes on Kitchen Stories of all time (except for desserts and pastry, which, with no surprise deserve a whole new article dedicated to that). These are classic, yet beginner-friendly and fail-free dishes that are liked and approved by thousands of our community members.

Classic French coq au vin

Classic French coq au vin

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An iconic French main with a fun-to-say-aloud name is truly easier to master than you think. This recipe uses chicken leg quarters and chicken stock instead of a whole chicken to minimize the effort, but the taste is nowhere reduced. Tomato paste is a way to intensify the tomato-ey flavors, even in off-seasons when you can’t get wonderfully ripe tomatoes. The classic recipe also calls for a Burgundy red wine, but any red wine that you’d like to drink alone will give your chicken a decent bath. For those who are more of white wine person, this brighter, but still creamy Coq au Riesling is awaiting too.

Classic Ratatouille

Classic Ratatouille

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Here’s a classic vegetable stew to help us slip into the autumn and winter. Ratatouille is the best example of how easy and down-to-earth French cooking can be. It is vibrant in colors and fragrant with herbs. You can of course substitute with your favorite seasonal vegetables, e.g. artichokes. Bonus point: This crowd-pleaser can be prepared ahead! Try this equally great one-dish oven version with feta cheese.

Basic potato gratin

Basic potato gratin

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Potato gratin, or in its original French name Gratin Dauphinois, needs only a handful of ingredients and the most basic techniques—chop and bake—to yield one of the most popular potato dishes. It can be a humble side or an easy main. In Mimi Thorrison’s words, “Imagine a character actor who bursts onto stage, steals the audience, and gets away with it.” Spice up your gratin with a colorful variation with three kinds of potatoes, or, of course, we can’t not mention this gratin with potato and minced meat. Whichever recipe you choose, they’ll be just as creamy and satisfying!

Shortcut tarte flambée

Shortcut tarte flambée

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According to my fellow editor Lisa in this article, everyone should be able to find a flambée for their taste buds. Whether it’s a classic eastern French Alsatian Tarte Flambée or one drizzled with red beet and goat cheese, I would recommend starting with this basic recipe with pantry ingredients and only takes 45 minutes to prep—voila!

Leek and apple quiche with bacon

Leek and apple quiche with bacon

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One thing I absolutely adore in French cuisine is its wide range of savory pastries. As one of many, Quiche Lorraine is a rich and hearty timeless classic. It has a charming medley of textures: crispy short-crust pastryand the warm, rich custard. Its simplicity should make it to your French baking recipe list.

French omelette with prosciutto and avocado

French omelette with prosciutto and avocado

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Any French recipe list won’t be complete without an omelette recipe. One of the greatest forms an egg could exist in, omelettes are every lazy home cook’s dream. It’s foolproof and versatile. Not to mention, it can be topped with anything, literally anything (I’ve even tried making omelettes with mangoes!)

Eggs Florentine

Eggs Florentine

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Continuing on my last argument, the French are just really good with eggs. Although the name is associated with Florence, this dish is actually French. “À la Florentine” is a French way of describing dishes that incorporate spinach and creamy sauce, which is believed to be brought from Catherine de' Medici from Florence to Paris. Historical facts aside, you will never go wrong with a French egg brunch, whether it’s an omelette, scrambled or poached eggs, and of course, all à la florentine.

Croque monsieur

Croque monsieur

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Literally translated as “crunchy sir”, this French bistro staple has made it to the world’s brunch table as well. It’s France’s tribute to the magnificent grilled cheese sandwich world—some say it’s even better.

French onion soup

French onion soup

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Our editor Devan has dedicated one whole article about how this soup changed her relationship with onions. This soup uncovers a whole new dimension of onions, revealing how they can be used as more than aromatics.

Simplified bouillabaisse

Simplified bouillabaisse

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This classic Provençal fish stew sounds like something we would order in a restaurant but why not recreate this dish at home? Our simplified version of this impressive starter will bring some Mediterranean breeze to the dining room table of holiday seasons. Don’t forget to include a garlicky baguette.

Steamed mussels with shrimp and garlic bread

Steamed mussels with shrimp and garlic bread

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If you are looking for something even more effortless than the bouillabaisse I just pitched, try this quick one-pot seafood treat, which only needs 20 mins to throw together and only 5 minutes to finish it (and think about how it’ll taste to dipping our fingers into the sauce). The only rule here is to get the freshest seafood you can get.

Slow-cooker beef Bourguignon

Slow-cooker beef Bourguignon

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Sometimes, French cooking does take time, but it’s always worth it. Especially on cold winter days, what could be more satisfying than indulging in (almost) a whole bottle of wine? If you don’t have a slow-cooker, use a heavy bottom cast-iron pot, which holds up the heat well.

To those who didn’t make it to the list, we trust the potential is there! Take a look in the “French”category in our app or website to get more ideas!

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