The search for great French cookbooks is nearly as old as French cuisine itself (and French cooking has been around for a long time).
They are prized sources for outstanding recipes and techniques.
We think we’ve found a representative selection of French recipes and cookbooks that will help you discover French food from the classics right through to modern French cuisine.
Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking by Julia Child
Julia was an absolute authority on French cooking and this book is one of the most accessible ways to learn about French cuisine imaginable.
It’s well divided into different recipe types and then builds on different recipe variations to capture rather more French cuisine than you might imagine in such a reasonably sized volume.
You can find more of Julia’s work in our best cookbooks of all time list here.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set) by Louisette Bertholle and Julia Child
This is the cookbook that they say; “helped America to cook French food!”
It’s a boxed set containing not one French cookbook but two and contains nearly 1,000 recipes which are delivered with Julia’s good sense of humor and wit.
However, if this is your first French cooking rodeo – you might want to opt for something a little simpler until you have more French chef skills under your belt.
My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz
David Lebovitz knows his stuff and this book is full of French recipes that pay tribute to the history of French cuisine without getting bogged down in classic French styles.
Instead, you’ll find cooking techniques employed by modern French chefs and the kinds of recipes that you’d find in Michelin-starred restaurants across Paris.
The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller
The French Laundry is one of America’s best-known French restaurants and this book contains the sort of recipes you might serve around my French table if it were to have a Michelin star or two.
Having said that, the recipes are very, very easy to follow and the images are a joy to behold.
Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library) by Sebastien Rouxel And Thomas Keller
The French are renowned chefs of pastry and cakes and this book makes getting au fait with everything from classic French recipes to the French techniques used by professional chefs today, child’s play.
Home cooks will love this book as food lovers of all skill levels can easily make recipes that professional cooks would be proud of.
Larousse Gastronomique: The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, Completely Revised and Updated by Libraire Larousse
This also appears on our best books chosen by chefs list and for good reason. It is considered to be the cornerstone of the French kitchen and the world’s finest gastronomic bible.
If you buy one cookbook to remind you of Paris – this should be it.
Le Guide Cuisinaire by August Escoffier
The first version of “Le Guide” was published back in 1903! It has never gone out of print since and that’s because it’s the ideal cookbook that teaches readers how to master French classics as you might in a culinary institute.
The latest version contains more than 5,000 of your favorite French dishes to master and it’s an incredible addition to any home cook’s bookshelf. It’s also cheaper than studying at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.
Le Repertoire De La Cuisine: The World Renowned Classic Used by the Experts by Louis Saulnier
This was meant, originally, as a guide to the home cook to Le Guide Culinaire by Escoffier and Saulnier worked side-by-side with Escoffier in Paris for a time.
However, in reality, it’s actually better for a more skilled chef as Saulnier’s notes offer rather more in-depth ideas and techniques than the original does.
Paul Bocuse: The Complete Recipes by Paul Bocuse
Paul Bocuse, in 2011, was named “The Chef of the Century” by the Culinary Institute of America! He also managed three Michelin stars and picked up the Legion of Honor!
As you might expect this famous chef has created a collection of authentic French dishes that really focus on fresh ingredients and simple combinations of those ingredients.
It’s an indispensable guide to France and its dishes.
Let’s Eat France! by Francois-Regis Gaudry
This book earned the food writer Francois-Regis Gaudry the coveted title of The Best Food Book of the Year by an incredible number of top-ranked publications.
So it’s got street cred.
It’s a French culinary tour de force packed with modern and classic recipes that make cooking the food simple.