10 French Cookbooks You Need in Your Kitchen

A group of people posing for a photo

With the help of Kitchen Arts & Letters, a New York City based bookstore specializing in food and drink books, Frenchly has compiled a list of authentic French cookbooks. Whether you’re looking for gift ideas or a stunning recipe for any holiday, these cookbooks will have everything, from innovative recipes by famous chefs Daniel Boulud and François Payard, to simpler compilation books of classic French main courses and desserts. Happy cooking!

1. My French Cuisine by Daniel Boulud (2013)

A beautiful book prefaced by Paul Bocuse, this is the much-wanted creation from Daniel Boulud. The French chef, who lives and works in New York, expands his content beyond recipes, delivering personal anecdotes and detailed explanations of both his recipes and their ingredients. We’re already drooling over dishes like le loup de mer (sea bass), tendres poireaux (tender leeks), and champignons ovoli à la crème (creamy ovoli mushrooms).


2. Pâtisserie by Christophe Felder (2013)

If you had to choose only one book from this list, Felder’s Pâtisserie would be our recommendation. A former head pastry chef at the Crillon Hotel for fifteen years, Felder offers a masterful lesson in pastry making. His array recipes are illustrated with step-by-step photos aiding you to learn the tricks of the trade. From his basic recipes to his most elaborate pastries, Felder’s talent for cooking is apparent. This an excellent book for beginners and established confectioners alike. The pastries you’ll be dying to try are le Saint-Honoré, les éclairs, and le succès praline.

3. The French Market by Clotilde Dusoulier (2013)

A star of the French blogosphere, Dusoulier offers us a collection of vegetarian recipes for healthier cooking. It’s the perfect way to kick off a new healthy lifestyle! Unlike most vegetarian cooking, she doesn’t rely heavily on pastas and creams, and instead lets the vegetables speak for themselves. Some recipes that caught our eye are le couscous aux légumes (vegetable couscous), le tian ratatouille, and le Fontainebleau au framboises (Fontainebleau with raspberries).


4. Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah (2013)

An American culinary journalist, novelist and wife of diplomat (providing her with plenty of opportunities to travel), Mah traveled around France and met with the savviest local chefs to learn to prepare some of the most essential regional specialties. More than a cookbook, this is the story of a personal culinary adventure embellished with a selection of recipes. Some of the most culturally significant dishes include le boeuf bourguignon, le cassoulet de Castelnaudary, and la soupe au pistou provençale (provincial pesto soup).

5. The French Kitchen Book by Patricia Wells (2013)

The most American of the French cooks has struck again. Although she splits her time between Paris and Provence, Wells never tires of sharing her love for gastronomy. Many of her recipes are akin to fusion cuisine, and her flavors, though they may be mixed and matched, are always spot on. We can’t wait to try dishes like tomato tartins, beef stew with fresh pasta, and chicken fricassee with fennel, capers, artichokes, and tomatoes.

payard desserts

6. Payard Desserts by François Payard (2013)

The famous pastry chef offers all sorts of sweet recipes that emphasize simple presentation in order to focus upon the dish’s flavors. Each dessert comes with a suggested wine pairing. We only wish that all of the recipes in this book came with photos! The desserts that look the best are le gâteau au citron et aux graines de pavot (lemon cake with poppy seeds), cerises pochées au vin et crème caillée (poached cherries with wine and curd cream), and les abricots rôtis et pain perdu au miel (roasted apricots and french toast).

7. Le Livre Blanc by Anne-Sophie Pic (2013)

One in a long line of Pic family members to be awarded numerous culinary distinctions, Chef Anne-Sophia Pic is the fourth female chef to ever win three Michelin stars, and is a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. Her book is a visual masterpiece, as the first half is dedicated entirely to breathtaking photographs. The recipes are both refined and light. Take caution, though — this book is not for beginners! Repices to make include le hommard bleu rôti au beurre de crustacé (blue lobster roasted with crustacean butter) and la crème mousseuse de céleri au poivre vert (celery soup with green pepper).

8. Fine French Desserts: Essential Recipes and Techniques by Didier Stephan, Vincent Boué, and Hubert Delorme (2013)


This cookbook is a veritable encyclopedia of French desserts. With a preface written by the
famous pastry chef Christophe Michalack, it details many techniques and contains a wide variety of more classic recipes. There are 260 step-by-step recipes with lots of details; perfect for any beginner cook who hasn’t yet learned all the techniques of cooking. As a bonus, an iPhone and Andriod app in which users can access video content is available to accompany the book. Their gourmet recipes include opera cake and macarons (the essential French desserts!).

9. Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France by Kermit Lynch (1988)

This book is a departure from the rest of the cookbooks, but we can’t help but share the adventures of this wine lover. Lynch enchants and delights readers as he guides us through vineyards and wine cellars throughout France. This book won the Veuve Cliquot Wine Book of the Year award, and it has been acclaimed by both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. To celebrate the book’s 25th anniversary, a new edition was printed in 2013 which includes a new epilogue, an up to date narrative, and a list of Lynch’s twenty-five most memorable wines.


10. The Little Paris Kitchen: 120 Simple But Classic French Recipes by Rachel Khoo (2012)

Khoo, an English culinary trainer and stylist based in Paris, offers everyday French cuisine, traditional dishes, and modern recipes embellished with an inventive twist. Her recipes can turn any amateur cook into a three-star Michelin chef, and any dish into a feast. The recipes that stand out are la soupe au Pistou and the crème brûlée (made with onions!).

Images courtesy of the authors.

A close up of a sign


Get your weekly dose of Frenchly’s news.

Read more

Frenchly newsletter.

A close up of a sign

Get your weekly dose of Frenchly’s news.

Frenchly Newsletter.

A close up of a sign

Get your weekly dose of Frenchly stuff.