Top French Foods

What are the top French foods?

When people mention the words “French cuisine” the first thing that pops into my mind is dinner at an extremely expensive restaurant that I can’t afford. Or, I think of sitting in the dining room of my former host family in France and getting offered more food when I’m totally stuffed.

Indeed, the French have some of the most delicious food on planet Earth and they know as they’re very quick to remind you, “En France on mange bien!” or “In France we eat well!”. After having lived in France and spent my entire life among French people I’ve come up with my own top-10 French foods and most common dishes.

Most common French dishes in a nutshell:

  1. Moules frites
  2. Cassoulet
  3. Streak-frites
  4. Boeuf Bourguignon
  5. Raclette
  6. Coq au vin
  7. Pot au feu
  8. Salade Niçoise
  9. Ratatouille
  10. Confit de canard

Moules frites

This dish consists of mussels and French fries. Actually, this dish is typically Belgian. But, it’s widely enjoyed in France, especially in the North near the Belgian coast. There is a very wide variety of ways of preparing the mussels. Sometimes they are boiled and sometimes they are steamed. Often they’re cooked with either white wine or beer. Shallots, parsley, leeks and garlic can also be added to the sauce.

Moules Frites recipe from


Cassoulet is a dish that originates from Southwestern France. The dish consists of white beans cooked with various kinds of meat including pork sausage, goose, duck confit and mutton. The dish is slow cooked in a special dish called a “cassole” and was originally a dish of the peasants. The specific kind of meat used varies depending on the city.

Cassoulet recipe from


Steak-frites consists of a piece of steak served with French fries. This is often considered the most typical French dish. A piece of steak, often a rib eye (entrecôte) is pan fried in butter and served “saignant” or bloody with a mountain of chips. Hollandaise and béarnaise sauces are both served with steak-frites. Both France and Belgium claim steak-frites to be their national dish.

Steak-frites recipe from

Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon originates from the Burgundy (or Bourgogne), a region in east-central France. The dish is a stew of beef braised in red wine and cooked with garlic, onions and mushrooms. Typically the dish is larded and recipes today call for bacon. Considered a food of the peasants, chefs cook this dish slowly.

Beef Bourguignon recipe from


“Raclette” is name of a cheese that’s used in an entire meal that’s also referred to “raclette”. Raclette originated in Switzerland and consists of melting cheese onto a plate and accompanying it with potatoes, gherkin cucumbers (cornichons), pickled onions and ham or prosciutto.

Traditionally the cheese is scraped off the larger block of cheese on to the diner’s plate. But, today the cheese is heated and melted with a special table-top device. The raclette meal is a very social occasion and take place over many hours.

Raclette recipe from

Coq au Vin

Coq-au-vin is one of the most typical French dishes. It literally means “rooster in the wine” and consists of slowly cooking chicken (female hens are used nowadays!) in a sauce of wine, lardons, garlic, mushrooms and various seasonings.

Coq au vin recipe from New York Times Cooking

Pot au feu

Pot au feu, or “pot on the fire” is a French stew dish that consists of multiple vegetables such as carrots, leeks, celery, turnips and cabbage cooked with cuts of beef which require longer cooking times. The dish dates back to the 1600s when King Henry IV referred to the dish as “poule au pot” or chicken in the pot.

Pot au feu recipe from

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise is a salad that consists of vegetables including tomatoes, lettuce, green beans and potatoes combined with anchovies, olives and hard-boiled eggs and vinaigrette. The salad originates from Nice in Province in the south of France.

Salade niçoise recipe from


Ratatouille is a vegetable stew dish which originates from Nice in the south of France. The dish uses tomatoes as its base and includes several vegetables which are sautéed separately then added to the stew which is then baked. Vegetables included are onions, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and squash.

Ratatouille recipe from

Confit de canard

Confit de canard is a duck dish that’s prepared in a special way which allows for the meat to be extremely tender, flavorful and last for long periods of time. The duck is first salted and rubbed with herbs. After about one day of refrigeration the meat is baked in its own fat at a very low temperature for many hours. The meat is then removed from the bones and can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.

Confit de canard recipe from

Conclusion: top French foods

These are my favorite French dishes. What are yours? Please leave a comment below and a link to a delicious recipe if you’d like!

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About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.