10 of The Best French Cookbooks To Master The Classics of French Cuisine

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Moving from the realm of impossibility to the domain of mastery is made possible by this range of French cookbooks.

While French cuisine delights, the thought of cooking French food at home intimidates many. 

With that in mind, we’ve curated our personal favorite French cookbooks to help you eat France with confidence.

This diverse collection of the best French cookbooks is from professional chefs to award winning food writers.

Novice home chefs, professional cooks or those in the culinary arts will find cookbooks to match their skill levels.

Being French and loving French cuisine, we’re very excited to share these 10 best French cookbooks.

We hope you’ll be inspired to master the art of French cooking and create your own favorite recipes.

Bon appétit!

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10 Best French Cookbooks

1. Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking: A Cookbook

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Julia Child is one of the well renowned chefs of all time. 

In her cookbook, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, she answers home cooks most pressing questions about French cooking.

Sharing tips and techniques gained over a lifetime of cooking this French cookbook is accessible by home chefs of all skill levels.

The book is divided into sections covering everything from soup and sauces to meats, poultry, and fish. 

There are also dedicated chapters on baking, tart making and the often challenging French pastry crusts.

All the recipe include variations to help you customize the dish to your liking. And, if you’re not sure what a particular kitchen term means, there’s a handy glossary in the back.

Some of the mouth-watering French recipes you’ll find in the book are salade Niçoise, beef bourguignon, apricot tarts and much more.

What we like most about this cookbook is her straightforward writing and concise recipe guidelines. 

Following her helpful tips will ensure that you always have delicious meals on the table.

Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom is an excellent option for anyone looking for a cookbook with delightful recipes and helpful French techniques. 

+Who is it for? Home cooks who love French cuisine and are looking for an easy reference guide with helpful cooking techniques.

– Not for? Experienced home chefs who are already familiar with the intricacies of French cooking. Julia Child has other books like Mastering the Art of French cooking that experienced chefs may prefer.

2. Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set)

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This masterpiece from the legendary chef, Julia Child, has been described as the cookbook that helped America cook French food.

A classic that’s been in print since the 1960s, this 2-volume set is a comprehensive guide to the fundamentals of French cuisine.

This boxed Mastering the Art of French cooking set contains over 700 recipes. Volume one has over 524 recipes for French cooking, covering everything from soups and sauces to main courses and desserts. 

The more than 200 recipes in volume two, offer a great deal on baking and an in-depth guide to Child’s methods.

Expect to master delicious signature dishes like French onion soup, vichyssoise, cassoulet, clafouti, and other classic recipes.

In addition, you’ll find helpful tips written with Julia’s humor on how to dine with gusto and eat France like the French. 

The recipes are written and easy to follow, and the photos help visualize the finished dishes. 

This set is a must-have for any serious cook and for those looking to master French cooking. 

+Who is it for? This two-volume set is an excellent resource for intermediate or advanced cooks looking to add French dishes to their repertoire. 

– Not for? This is not the cookbook for those just starting out in the kitchen. Readers need a certain level of skills and culinary knowledge to get the most from this book.

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3. My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories [A Cookbook]

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If you’re looking for a modern take on French cuisine, then look no further than David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.

In My Paris Kitchen, Lebovitz shares 100 sweet and savory French recipes that you can make in your own kitchen.

The recipes are both for classic and contemporary French dishes like soupe à l’oignon, tartiflette, croque-monsieur, flan Parisien and more. 

But it’s not just the recipes that make this book so unique. We love how David Lebovitz also writes candidly about his experiences living in Paris.

This reminds us of when we lived in Paris, shopping at the markets, cooking and visiting some of the best new Paris bistros.

David Lebovitz writes with humor, sharing stories about the French and the local Paris food culture.

It’s this combination of recipes and an inside look into modern French eating habits that makes this a top cookbook for Franciophiles.

My Paris Kitchen has been praised by food critics and home cooks alike, making it a must-have for anyone interested in modern French cooking.

+Who is it for? Best for French lovers looking for stories about France and mouthwatering recipes that they can tackle with confidence.

– Not for? Not for those looking for a French cookbook with classic recipes written in a methodical and exactitude manner.

4. The French Laundry Cookbook

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From Thomas Keller, the well renowned chef of one of the most prestigious restaurants in the United States comes the French Laundry Cookbook.

The recipes in this book are from his famed French Laundry, one of America’s Michelin starred restaurants. 

It is one of the most highly regarded restaurants globally, and chef Keller has won multiple awards for his refined cuisine. 

The French Laundry Cookbook consists of 150 recipes divided into six cover sections – fish, meat, salad, dessert, etc. 

It covers everything from foie gras au torchon to warm fruitwood-smoked salmon and perfectly fluffy soufflés to lemon sabayon.

The step by step recipes are clear and can be easily be followed by the home cook that is willing to take risks and try something new.

In addition to being a tremendous gastronomic bible, The French Laundry Cookbook gorgeous photography is filled with obsessive visual pleasures.

Intermediate and advanced home cooks can take their cooking skills to new heights under the tutelage of Thomas Keller.

Amazing michelin quality dishes can now become part of your weekly repertoire with The French Laundry cookbook.

+Who is it for? The aspiring chef and home cooks looking to make their food at home as delectable as Michelin Starred food.

– Not for? Cooking from the French Laundry Cookbook requires patience and a willingness to explore. It is not suited for those looking for quick and simple dishes.

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5. Bouchon Bakery

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Another food book from Thomas Keller and executive pastry chef Sebastien Rouxel, is Bouchon Bakery, written for home bakers.

The #1 New York Times Book Review gave it a thumbs up, and readers called it “a return to a simpler baking style.” 

The bakery, which has its own Michelin star, is known for its French pastry flair and focuses on technique. 

The 400-page cookbook includes recipes for tartes aux fruits, macarons, mille-feuilles, pâte à choux, and other delightful French flavors.

Bread, pastries including methods for tempering chocolate are also covered.

While Bouchon Bakery is for anyone who loves to bake, it can get intimidating. 

However, these professional chefs offer an easy step recipe list to follow along with inspiring photography.

If you’re already a baker and want to improve your skills or try new pastry recipes, you’ll love the tips and tricks provided.

Plan to read the recipes and precise instructions all the way through before baking, for flaky results.

Be aware that is a big book that can take up room if you have limited space in your kitchen.

+Who is it for? Best for home bakers looking to learn French pastry techniques from well renowned American chefs.

– Not for? Not for novice or beginner bakers who lack patience. Many of the Bouchon Bakery recipes require time and attention to detail. Those willing to put in the effort will get the most out of this book.

6. Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique: The definitive step-by-step guide to culinary excellence

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This authoritative French cookbook from a most legendary chef in France, Paul Bocuse is best for those seeking to cook at a professional level.

While Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique features only 70 recipes, this weightly tome painstakingly details the secrets of French cooking.

This cookbook written by chefs from the culinary institute teaches readers the French techniques and fundamental skills for excellence in the kitchen.

You’ll find recipes for a variety of sauces, like bechamel, buerre blanc, bearnaise sauce and more. Clear instructions on how to bone meat and fillet fish are also provided. 

With the chef recipes provided, you’ll be able to practice your skills from the techniques offered and create your own masterpiece dishes.

The book also includes guidance on matching wine with food, setting an elegant table, and dinner party recipes for the aspiring chefs.

The Institut Paul Bocuse is one of the world’s most respected culinary schools. And, its flagship textbook is the definitive guide to French cooking.  

Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned professional, this book will become your gastronomic bible.

You’ll be equipped with indispensable skills from professional chefs allowing you to create your own French kitchen at home.

+Who is it for? Professional chefs and aspiring home cooks who are serious about taking their culinary skills to new levels.

– Not for? Not for new or beginner cooks. Despite the detailed step-by-step guidance, a fair amount of cooking experience is needed.

7. Escoffier

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First published in 1903, Auguste Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire is a classic culinary text that has inspired generations of famous chefs.

Heston Blumenthal and Tim Ryan have revised and updated this vital work for 21st-century cooks. And, a memoir of the legendary chef by his grandson Pierre is also included.

Escoffier is a classic reference for serious French food lovers and who want to cook like the great French chef.

There are over 5,000 recipes covering meats, poultry, desserts, sauces and more. 

Chicken basquaise, tarte flambée, cherry gateau basque, pain au chocolat, and crepes are just a few delicious recipes in Escoffier.

Written in narrative style, this cookbook offers step-by-step instructions allowing you to cook like a confident chef. 

From classic French flavors to modern twists, this handbook or “Le Guide Culinaire” makes mastering the art of French cooking achievable.

This book is a must-have for those serious about French food, modern cuisine, or culinary history. 

With guidance from the French chef considered the father of haute cuisine, transport your kitchen to France.

+Who is it for? For professional chefs or highly motivated French food lovers looking to improve their cooking techniques.

– Not for? The Escoffier Book includes thousands of recipes with no picture of the dishes. Visual learners may not enjoy this book.

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8. Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple

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In Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple, French born, American chef Pépin, provides delicious recipes for everyday meals.

No special skills are needed and you don’t need expensive ingredients, either. This book is intended as Jacques say’s “to make your life easier.”

A professional French chef and food writer with more than 30 cookbooks, Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple is dedicated to making cooking easier.

The recipes in this cookbook are genuinely delicious and range from simple canapés to gourmet soups and salads. 

Understanding the need for simplicity and ease in the kitchen, he doesn’t shy away from frozen or canned foods.

Through simple and creative combinations his recipes allow you to whip up an impressive meal without spending hours in the kitchen.

The book offers French recipes made in a shorter amount of time. 

From learning to make basic chicken stock a variety of salads, meats, seafood and desserts, its perfect for those getting started with French cooking.

With an American audience in mind, all Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple recipes include conversion tables for ease and simplicity.

+Who is it for? For those looking for a basic guide to French cooking with not much effort.

– Not for? Experienced chefs looking for more challenging haute cuisine recipes using made from scratch ingredients.

9. Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours

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French home cooking is all about charming, simple dishes that highlight the natural flavor of the ingredients. 

This approach to cooking is evident in Around My French Table, a cookbook by Dorie Greenspan that features more than 300 classic French recipes.

In addition to the recipes, Greenspan also shares stories and insights about French food customs from her time living partly in France.

The complete recipes from this award winning food writer are approachable and carefully developed with instructions and photos.

Most of the recipes call for easily available ingredients with substitutions offered for the hard to find items.

Whether you’re looking for classics like boeuf bourguignon or modern twists like filet mignon with blueberry-port sauce, you’ll find it in this cookbook.

Hachis Parmentier, quiche, Armagnac chicken, crepes, mousse, and duck confit are some of the other delightful recipes you’ll find.

Around My French Table is an enjoyable and informative read with anecdotes and recipes that are simple, versatile and delicious.

+Who is it for? Best for French food lovers looking for simple recipes for every occasion – from everyday meals to elegant parties. 

– Not for? Experienced chefs or advanced cooks who is already intimately familiar with French techniques and cuisine.

10. Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France: A Cookbook

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For those that can’t really speak French, they can cook French, with Dinner in French by Melissa Clark.

This cookbook breaks down traditional classics and offers recipes of modern French cuisine for today’s contemporary lifestyle.

An excellent food writer, this New York Times best seller is praised for modernizing French cooking techniques and dishes. 

With the recipes in Dinner in French, Melissa adapts recipes for the busy schedules of today’s family cook. As a result, her recipes are quick and easy without sacrificing flavor. 

Additionally, Clark’s lighter style of cooking means that there are no daunting sauces or complicated techniques to master. 

Instead, she focuses on overall cooking methods, which can easily apply to various French classics.

There are also plenty of recipes to choose from, ranging from simple dishes like roasted chicken to apricot tarte tartin for dessert.

Reflecting modern French cuisine, Melisssa also includes recipes with international influences from Morocco and North Africa.

Dinner in French is a wealth of culinary knowledge with dedicated sections about the ingredients and easy techniques to replicate the dishes.

This cookbook by Melissa Clark makes Frech cooking accessible, thus allowing any food lover to easily cook French.

+Who is it for? Best for beginners interested in learning more about French cuisine with easy and accessible recipes.

– Not for? Intermediate or advanced cooks may find the recipes too easy, too familiar and not challenging enough.

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Do you love French food? Which one of these French cookbooks do you think is best? Please let us know in the comments below!

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