French Food Vocabulary

On this page you’ll find an extensive list of over 300 French food vocabulary. Learning the basic food words is an extremely important part of French culture. The French word for food is la nourriture. The following list of food words is broken down into categories including meats, vegetables, breads, dairy and more.

Here you can learn about the top-10 French dishes. Once you get these words down check out more related vocabulary lists: Restaurant phrases, coffee, wine, drinks and fast food.

Meats

The French are the masters of cooking meat dishes. One area of confusion for students learning French is which word to use for chicken. Le poulet is the word used to refer to any dish made with chicken. ‘Je mange du poulet ce soir’ means I’m having chicken tonight.

However, la poule refers to the living female chicken. With regards to turkey, la dinde refers to the meat while le dindon refers to the live male animal.

  • l’agneau lamb
  • l’oie goose
  • la côte de boeuf beef rib
  • la côtelette chop
  • la couenne rind
  • la dinde turkey
  • la viande meat
  • la viande cuite cooked meat
  • la viande hachée ground meat
  • la viande maigre lean meat
  • la viande rouge red meat
  • la volaille poultry
  • le bacon bacon
  • le bifsteck d’alouyau sirloin steak
  • le blanc chicken breast, white meat
  • le boeuf beef
  • le coeur heart
  • le filet fillet
  • le foie liver
  • le giber game
  • le jambon ham
  • le lapin rabbit
  • le mouton mutton
  • le porc pork
  • le poulet chicken
  • le steak de boeuf beef steak
  • le veau veal
  • le venaison venison
  • les cuisses de grenouilles frogs legs
  • les saucissons sausages

Fish, seafood

The French word for fish is le poisson. A related word, la pêche refers to the activity of fishing. Hence, ‘Je vais a la pêche’ translates to I’m going fishing.

The word le fruit de mer refers to seafood. Thus, ‘Je commande une pizza aux fruits de mer’ means I’m ordering a seafood pizza. Be careful of the word homard, which means lobster.

The -h is an aspirated -h. Thus, when preceded by the direct article (le) lobster is le homard and not l’homard.

  • l’aiglefin haddock
  • l’écrevisse crayfish
  • l’espadon swordfish
  • le homard lobster
  • l’huître oyster
  • la coquille Saint-Jacques scallop
  • la crevette prawn/shrimp
  • la daurade sea bream
  • la limande-sole lemon sole
  • la lotte monkfish
  • la maquereau mackerel
  • la morue cod
  • la moule mussel
  • la pieuvre octopus
  • la raie skate
  • la sardine sardine
  • la seiche cuttlefish
  • la sole sole
  • la truite trout
  • le bar sea bass
  • le calmar squid
  • le clam clam
  • le crabe crab
  • le flétin halibut
  • le merlan whiting
  • le poisson fish
  • le saumon salmon
  • le thon tuna

Bread & Pasta

While the quintessential French bread is the baguette, there are various kinds of baguettes. A baguette classique, also known as a baguette parisienne or baguette blanche (white baguette) is the most common type of baguette.

The second most common baguette is the la baguette de camapgne (countryside baguette). This baguette is also referred to as la baguette rustique, or rustic baguette.

  • le bagel bagel
  • la baguette baguette
  • le pain bread
  • la farine complète brown flour
  • le pain au chocolat chocolate bread
  • le pain de maïs corn bread
  • le biscuit scandinave crispbread
  • la croûte crust la croûte
  • le pain plat flat bread
  • le pain aux raisins secs fruit bread
  • le pain complet granary bread
  • le petit pain le petit pain
  • les pâtes pasta
  • le pita pita bread
  • le riz rice
  • le pain de seigle rye bread
  • le pain aux graines seeded bread
  • la farine avec la levure self-raising flour
  • la tranche de pain slice of bread
  • le pain tranché sliced bread
  • le pain au bicarbonate de soude soda bread
  • le pain au levain sourdough bread
  • la faine traitée strong flour
  • le pain grillé toast
  • le pain blanc white bread
  • la farine blanche white flour
  • le pain de son wholemeal bread
  • la farine brute wholemeal flour
  • la levure yeast

Milk, dairy, cheese

The French have a limitless list of different kinds of dairy products. For those with allergies to cow’s milk, it’s important to be able to express this concern in a restaurant.

Je suis allergique au lait de vâche means I’m allergic to cow’s milk. J’ai l’intolérance au lactose means I have lactose intolerance.

Alternatives to cows milk are le lait de chèvre (goat milk), le lait d’amande (almond milk) and le lait de soja (soy milk).

  • la crème allégée single cream
  • la crème cream
  • la crème épaisse double cream
  • la crème fouettée whipped cream
  • la glace ice-cream
  • la margarine margarine
  • le babeurre buttermilk
  • le beurre butter
  • le bleu blue cheese
  • le camembert camembert
  • le cottage cottage cheese
  • le fromage à crème cream cheese
  • le fromage à pâté dure hard cheese
  • le fromage à pâté semi-molle semi-soft cheese
  • le fromage à pâté molle soft cheese
  • le fromage de chèvre goat cheese
  • le fromage râpé grated cheese
  • le lactose lactose
  • le lait condensé condensed milk
  • le lait de brebis sheep’s milk
  • le lait de chèvre goat’s milk
  • le lait de vache cow’s milk
  • le lait demi-écrémé semi-skimmed milk
  • le lait écrémé skimmed milk
  • le lait en poudre powdered milk
  • le lait entier whole milk
  • le lait homogénéisé homogenized milk
  • le lait milk
  • le lait non-pasteurisé unpasteurized milk
  • le lait pasturisé pasteurized milk
  • le milk-shake milkshake
  • le pudding pudding
  • le yaourt surgelé frozen yogurt
  • le yaourt yogurt
  • les oeufs eggs

Desserts, sweets

The French are experts at desserts and the following is therefore a very short list. The word for cake is le gâteau and the word for pie is la tarte.

When expressing a specific kind of cake or pie, it must be followed by à + the flavor. Thus, a chocolate cake is la gateau au chocolat and an apple pie is la tarte aux pommes.

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  • la brioche sweet bun
  • la bûche de Noël Christmas cake
  • la confiture jam
  • la crème anglaise custard
  • la crême glacée ice cream
  • la gelatine jello
  • la mousse au chocolat chocolate mousse
  • la salade aux fruits fruit salad
  • la tarte pie
  • la tarte au sucre sugar pie
  • la tarte aux pommes apple pie
  • le beignet doughnut
  • le chocolat chocolate
  • le flan flan
  • le gâteau cake
  • le gâteau au chocolat chocolate cake
  • le gâteau au citron lemon cake
  • le gâteau au fromage cheesecake
  • le gâteau aux carottes carrot cake
  • le gâteau aux pommes apple cake
  • le miel honey
  • le sucre sugar
  • les biscuits cookies
  • les bonbons candy
  • les choux à la crème cream puffs
  • les crêpes crepes
  • les croissants au beurre butter croissants
  • les gaufres waffles
  • les muffins muffins
  • les pâtisseries cakes/pastries

Vegetables

The following is a very comprehensive list of vegetables. Note that there are two commonly used words for potato: la pomme de terre and les patates.

Les patates is the less formal of the two terms. Similar to the term for lobster (homard), the -h in les haricots (beans) is also an aspirated -h. Thus, you must say le haricot and not l’haricot.

  • l’ail garlic
  • l’artichaut artichoke
  • l’asperge (f) asparagus
  • l’aurbergine aubergine (egg plant)
  • l’échalote shallot
  • l’endive chicory
  • l’igname yam
  • l’okra okra
  • l’onion onion
  • l’oseille sorrel
  • la bette swiss chard
  • la bettrave beetroot
  • la carotte carrot
  • la chicorée endive
  • la ciboule spring onion
  • la citrouille pumpkin
  • la courge marrow
  • la courge gland acorn squash
  • la courge musquée butternut squash
  • la courgette courgette
  • la courgette zucchini
  • la fève broad bean
  • la germe de soja bean sprout
  • la laitue lettuce
  • la lentille lentil
  • la patate douce sweet potato
  • la pomme de terre potato
  • la roquette arugula
  • la salade salad
  • la tomate cerise cherry tomato
  • le bambou bamboo
  • le brocoli broccoli
  • le céleri celery
  • le champignon mushroom
  • le chou cabbage
  • le chou chinois pak-choi
  • le chou de Bruxelles brussel sprout
  • le chou frisé kale
  • le chou précoce spring greens
  • le chou-fleur cauliflower
  • le concombre cucumber
  • le fenouil fennel
  • le fruit de l’arbre à pain bread fruit
  • le gingembre ginger
  • le haricot vert green bean
  • le maïs corn
  • le manioc cassava
  • le navet turnip
  • le panais parsnip
  • le petit pois garden pea
  • le piment chilli
  • le pissenlit dandelion
  • le poireau leek
  • le pois chiche chick pea
  • le poivron bell pepper
  • le poivron pepper
  • le radicchio raddicchio
  • le radis radish
  • le raifort horseradish
  • le soja soy bean
  • le taro taro root
  • le topinambour Jerusalem artichoke
  • le truffle truffle
  • les coeurs de palmier palm hearts
  • les épinards spinach
  • les haricots beans
  • les pommes de terre potatoes

Fruit

The following is an extensive list of words for different kinds of fruit. The word for grapes can cause a bit of confusion. The word for grapes is les raisins. The reason that this is confusing is that raisins in English refers to dried grapes.

What the English call raisins are les raisins secs (dried grapes) in French. It is also very easy to confuse the French word for plum, which is la prune. The translation for the English prune is le pruneau.

  • l’ananas (m) pineapple
  • l’avocat (m) avocado
  • l’olive (f) olive
  • l’orange (f) orange
  • la banane banana
  • la canneberge cranberry
  • la cerise cherry
  • la châtaigne chestnut
  • la clémentine clementine
  • la datte date
  • la figue fig
  • la fraise strawberry
  • la framboise raspberry
  • la groseille currant
  • la groseille à maquereau gooseberry
  • la mandarine Mandarin orange
  • la mûre blackberry
  • la myrtille blueberry
  • la nectarine nectarine
  • la noisette hazelnut
  • la pastèque watermelon
  • la pêche peach
  • la poire pear
  • la pomme apple
  • la prune plum
  • le citron lemon
  • le citron vert lime
  • le kaki, la plaquemine persimmon
  • le kiwi kiwi
  • le melon melon
  • le melon miel honeydew melon
  • le pamplemousse grapefruit
  • le raisin grape
  • le sureau elderberry

Tropical fruit

Tropical fruits typically do not grow in France. Thus, almost all names for tropical fruits come from other languages and resemble the English equivalents. For coconut (la noix de coco), the word noix translates to nut.

  • la carambole star fruit
  • la goyave guava
  • la grenadille passion fruit
  • la longane longan
  • la mangue mango
  • la noix de coco coconut
  • la papaye papaya
  • la pomme cannelle sugar-apple
  • le cantaloup muskmelon
  • le durian durian
  • le fruit du dragon dragon fruit
  • le jaque jackfruit
  • le litchi lychee
  • le mangoustan mangosteen
  • le pomelo pomelo
  • le ramboutan rambutan
  • le tamarin tamarind

Canned, luxury, other

The list of canned and luxury foods contains many anglicisms, which are words that are borrowed from English. Examples are le ketchup, les chips and le caviar.

  • l’huile d’olive olive oil
  • l’huile végétale vegetable oil
  • la compote de pomme apple sauce
  • la mayonnaise mayonnaise
  • la moutarde mustard
  • la nourriture pour bébés baby food
  • la pizza pizza
  • la sauce bolognaise bolognese sauce
  • la sauce tomate tomato sauce
  • la vinaigrette salad dressing
  • le beurre de cacahuète/d’arachide peanut butter
  • le caviar caviar
  • le ketchup ketchup
  • le pâté de campagne pâté
  • le poivre pepper
  • le potage, la soupe soup
  • le sandwich sandwich
  • le saumon fumé smoked salmon
  • le sel salt
  • le tassergal bluefish tuna
  • le thon tuna
  • le truffle truffle
  • les chips potato chips
  • les épices spices
  • les frites French fries
  • les sardines sardines

Let’s review French food words:

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