Best French Cookbooks

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Ah, French cuisine – the holy grail of culinary arts. With its rich history and influences from classic and modern techniques, French cooking is one of the world’s most respected and sought-after cuisines. From the delicate balance of flavors in a classic bouillabaisse to the artful pastry work of a croquembouche, there’s no denying the impact of French cooking on the culinary world. We have compiled a selection of the best French cookbooks across digital and print-only formats, with French Patisserie and vegetarian cookbooks separately covered too. 

With the wealth of information at the disposal of modern cooks, we’ve sorted through all the options and present the ten best French cookbooks that’ll help you master the fine art of French cuisine. 

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I: 50th Anniversary Edition: A Cookbook by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck & Sidonie Coryn (Illustrator)

  • Total Recipes: 524
  • Total Pages: 754
  • Recipes Preview: Boeuf Bourguignon, Coq au Vin, Quiche Lorraine
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Soupe à l’Oignon
  • Affordability: Moderate

Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a book that’s been teaching Americans and others worldwide how to cook classic dishes using time-honored French techniques for over a decade. It and it second volume are largely considered to be the definitive guidebook to French cuisine for the Western world, truly indispensable to any serious cook. To this day, there are few recipes that compare to the sheer accessibility offered by Child’s inspiring French creations. No matter who you are and what your skill level in the kitchen may be, this is a cookbook that always has something for everyone to learn and grow from. 

It’s a book that teaches you how to stock your pantry, which equipment is best for its job, bold ingredient and flavor combinations, and how experimentation combined with fundamental techniques is the key to good food. The most complex of recipes are broken down into approachable steps with crystal-clear instructions that leave no room for ambiguity, even when considering the lack of pictures. The techniques that Mastering the Art of French Cooking teaches you are core components of countless dishes, both listed as recipes in the book and of the reader’s own creation. From slicing an onion to making pastry dough and all staple sauces, a bountiful selection of easy-to-customize recipes make this a legendary cookbook. 

About The Author: Julia Child was an American chef, author, and television personality who popularized French cuisine in the United States. She attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu and later collaborated with French chefs Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. Bertholle, a cooking teacher and writer, co-founded the influential L’École des Trois Gourmandes with Child and Beck. Beck, an accomplished cook and culinary writer contributed to the gastronomic revival in post-war France. Together, they revolutionized the culinary world by demystifying complex French techniques for home cooks.

French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David

  • Total Recipes: 200+
  • Total Pages: 528
  • Recipes Preview: Bouillabaisse, Ratatouille, Salade Niçoise
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Daube de Boeuf
  • Affordability: High

French Provincial Cooking is a classic, quintessential guidebook to France and French cuisine. With storytelling that instills an essence of each technique and dish’s origins, and recipes both simple and elaborately complex, it’s a book that almost any chef considers a must-have. The ideas and practical step-by-step know-how granted by this book are pure gold. The author takes one through each recipe and method as if one were being spoken to by a loved one, imparting indispensable insight along the way. 

Regional cuisine from throughout France is covered in glorious detail, with every word celebrating the authenticity of the country’s traditions. Keep in mind, as a book that’s been with us since 1962, there will be certain obstacles that the reader must overcome. Fortunately, modern alternatives to antiquated equipment are but a Google away. Don’t expect outright instructions but rather personal guidance through treasured recipes that teach one French cooking the right way. If it’s regional recipes done the right way you’re looking for, French Provincial Cooking is your cookbook.

About The Author: Elizabeth David was a British food writer and journalist recognized for bringing Mediterranean cuisine to post-war Britain. After traveling extensively across Europe and the Middle East, David became a prominent culinary figure. Her works, characterized by their focus on seasonal, fresh ingredients, helped transform British home cooking. 

Paul Bocuse: The Complete Recipes by Paul Bocuse

  • Total Recipes: 500
  • Total Pages: 784
  • Recipes Preview: Elysee Truffle Soup, Veal Paupiettes, Gougere
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Quenelles with Lobster Sauce
  • Affordability: Low

Newcomers to French cuisine will fall in love with Paul Bocuse: The Complete Recipes. It’s France’s most iconic but simplistic fare, described and developed by one of the greatest chefs to have ever lived, and all the best recipes he has ever written. Unlike other Westernized cookbooks, this is classic French cooking at its finest but in such a way that every recipe will surprise you just as much by its efficiency as its superlative flavor. Fourteen chapters are savory, eight are sweet, and an astounding wealth of information is featured. Cooking times, tables, conversions, and a glossary of French terms are all there. 

Yet, it’s the quality of each dish and the way that otherwise complex procedures are explained that makes Paul Bocuse: The Complete Recipes so good. With everything to teach a beginner, experienced chefs will be happy to know that that’s lots to learn from this cookbook too. Everything is packed with so much insight that it’s a reference book that you can’t help but come back to repeatedly, many times, regardless of the type of regional cuisine you’re cooking. 

About The Author: An influential figure in French gastronomy, Paul Bocuse was a pioneer of the nouvelle cuisine movement, transforming traditional French cuisine with lighter, more delicate dishes. With his three-star Michelin restaurant, L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, Bocuse earned the title “Chef of the Century” by Gault & Millau in 1989. His eponymous culinary institute has trained numerous chefs who continue to advance the culinary arts. Although Bocuse passed away in 2018, his profound impact on the world of gastronomy lives on.

Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

  • Total Recipes: 300+
  • Total Pages: 544
  • Recipes Preview: Lyonnaise Garlic And Herb Cheese, Tuna Rillettes, Eggplant Caviar
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Provençal Olive Fougasse
  • Affordability: Low

Around My French Table is a brilliant French cookbook with a wonderful array of recipes, both simple and complex. This extensive tome features a selection of meticulously curated recipes for novices. Each is adapted to suit both beginners and culinary experts alike. Every last single one is a prime example of fine French dining at its best. There are recipes from France’s best restaurants and bistros featured, and every last creation can be considered to be the definitive composition of ingredients for a meal of its type. From the soups to mousse, everything is a step above the rest. 

If you’re looking for a balance between modern French food and classic fare, Around My French Table is the book for you. It’s hard to find better recipe writing regardless of the cuisine covered. The author’s masterful guidance feels as if she is talking to you directly. All the cooking techniques are described in extreme detail, which is exactly what one needs when looking to master both the methodology and meals. 

About The Author: Acclaimed for her exceptional culinary prowess, Dorie Greenspan boasts an illustrious career spanning over three decades as a cookbook author and food writer. She has collaborated with world-renowned chefs and received numerous awards, including multiple James Beard Foundation accolades. Greenspan’s writing has graced publications such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and The New York Times. 

The French Chef Handbook: La cuisine de reference by Michel Maincent-Morel

  • Total Recipes: 1000
  • Total Pages: 1208
  • Recipes Preview: Parisian Leek And Potato Soup, Parisienne Gnocchi, Pot-Au-Feu
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Roasted Rack Of Pork With Boulangere Potatoes
  • Affordability: Very Low

The French Chef Handbook: La cuisine de reference is not just a cookbook but a culinary bible that delves deep into the essence of French gastronomy, making it an essential addition to the library of anyone passionate about the art of cooking. There are no less than 5000 French cooking techniques explained, complete with 1000 recipe worksheets and over 3000 photographs depicting every last part of the processes being learned. Snap the QR codes listed to be linked directly to video lessons, or alternatively, visit the URL listed. Although this book is primarily targeted toward professional chefs and culinary students, it is also a valuable resource for ambitious home cooks looking to elevate their skills in French cooking. 

Even though a range of good recipes is included, The French Chef Handbook is best for those focused on technique. It’ll become indispensable to culinary students and foodies driven for perfection. There are lots to learn regardless of your skill in the kitchen. This definitive encyclopedia of French cuisine covers everything from essential kitchen tools, foundational culinary techniques, and the art of plating and presentation, ensuring that all aspects of French cooking are thoroughly explored and explained.

About The Author: Michel Maincent-Morel is a renowned French pastry chef, chocolatier, and instructor who is highly regarded throughout the world as one of the best trainers. Maincent-Morel has worked for some of the most prominent luxury hotels and restaurants, including Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton. He is also a member of the Academie Culinaire de France and regularly participates in prestigious culinary competitions. 

Essential Pépin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pépin

  • Total Recipes: 700+
  • Total Pages: 704
  • Recipes Preview: Poule-Au-Pot Stew, Grilled Chicken With Anchoïade, Pommes Soufflés
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Corn And Scallion Spoon Bread
  • Affordability: Moderate

Essential Pépin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food by Jacques Pépin is a remarkable culinary treasure that encapsulates the life, experiences and unparalleled expertise of one of the most revered chefs of our time. This expansive cookbook, written by the legendary French chef, serves as a testament to his six-decade-long culinary journey, offering readers a rare opportunity to learn from a true master. The book features over seven hundred diverse and delectable recipes, spanning from traditional French classics to innovative fusion dishes, showcasing the evolution of Pépin’s cooking style and the breadth of his culinary influences.

The brilliance of Essential Pépin lies not only in the sheer volume of recipes but also in Pépin’s distinctive ability to convey his wealth of knowledge and experience in a manner that is both accessible and inspiring. The cookbook is meticulously organized, with chapters dedicated to different categories such as appetizers, soups, salads, seafood, poultry, meats, and desserts. Each recipe is thoughtfully presented, with clear, concise instructions and invaluable tips, allowing readers of all skill levels to recreate the exquisite dishes in their own kitchens. 

About The Author: Renowned for his culinary finesse, Jacques Pépin boasts a career spanning over six decades as a master chef, author, and television personality. His immense knowledge and talent led him to serve as the personal chef to multiple French heads of state. Later, Pépin made a name for himself in the United States, teaching at esteemed institutions and hosting popular TV shows. The recipient of numerous prestigious accolades, including a Daytime Emmy Award, Pépin has left an everlasting mark on the culinary world. For a book that focuses on French cookery’s methodology, don’t miss Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques.

Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking by Anthony Bourdain

  • Total Recipes: 100+
  • Total Pages: 304
  • Recipes Preview: Tournedos D’Agneau With Fig Confit, Blanquette De Veau, Lapin Aux Olives 
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Gribiche (Cold Egg Sauce)
  • Affordability: Moderate

Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking is a captivating and invaluable culinary resource that brings the authentic and beloved flavors of classic French bistro cuisine right into your home. The late great Anthony Bourdain, known for his acerbic wit, masterful storytelling, and irreverent approach to cooking, invites readers to share his passion for French food as he guides them through the creation of some of the most iconic bistro dishes.

One of the highlights of the Les Halles Cookbook is the invaluable introductory section, in which Bourdain offers a comprehensive guide to essential kitchen tools, ingredients, and techniques. It is divided into several sections, including starters, main courses, side dishes, and desserts, each brimming with an array of mouthwatering dishes. Bourdain’s instructions are precise, clear, and easy to follow, but what truly sets this cookbook apart is his ability to simultaneously educate and entertain readers with his trademark humor, anecdotes, and no-nonsense advice. 

About The Author: Bold and influential, Anthony Bourdain was a celebrated chef, author, and television personality known for his authentic, no-holds-barred approach to food and travel. After gaining prominence with his bestselling book, Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain delved into television, hosting successful series such as No Reservations and Parts Unknown. He inspired millions to explore new cultures and cuisines throughout his career, earning numerous awards, including multiple Emmys and a Peabody. 

The French Laundry Cookbook (The Thomas Keller Library) by Thomas Keller & Deborah Jones

  • Total Recipes: 150
  • Total Pages: 336
  • Recipes Preview: Butter-Poached Maine Lobster With Pommes Maxim (Red Beet Essence), Vanilla-Bean Roasted Figs With Wildflower Honey, Roasted Rib Steak With Chanterelles And Pommes Anna
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Citrus-Marinated Salmon With A Confit Of Navel Oranges, Pea Shoot Couli, And Cauliflower Panna Cotta
  • Affordability: Low

There is perhaps no better book for professional chefs and foodies who want to challenge themselves than The French Laundry Cookbook. All of the recipes are created and served at the iconic The French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley, California. Not all are French, but the cookbook and cooking style is French inspired. Readers can expect to find some of the most original and inspiring meals seen, but every daring dish comes out perfect in every way when following the crystal-clear step-by-step guidance. 

Aspiring chefs looking to pull off the dishes in The French Laundry Cookbook without substitutions and/or simplifications should expect to have a full range of herb oils, various demi-glaces, and a comprehensive selection of spices at their disposal. However, if you do assemble any of the recipes, the results are so good that eating this food has been described as a humbling experience. They are simply that good. It’ll take time, effort, and supplies, but the recipes and their tips are invaluable, and the eating itself is out of this world. 

About The Author: Renowned chef Thomas Keller has left an indelible mark on the culinary world with his dedication to precision and innovation in cooking. As the force behind esteemed restaurants such as The French Laundry and Per Se, Keller has garnered multiple Michelin stars and other accolades. His culinary talent is matched by the artistic prowess of Deborah Jones, an accomplished photographer specializing in food and fine dining. 

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories [A Cookbook] by David Lebovitz

  • Total Recipes: 100
  • Total Pages: 352
  • Recipes Preview: Croque-madame, Galettes Au Sarrasin, Panade De Butternut
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Naan Au Fromage
  • Affordability: Moderate

While not completely classical, the French-inspired recipes in My Paris Kitchen are most definitely true to the traditions and tastes of the country. It offers a wonderfully refreshing spin on classic French cuisine, with each recipe being tried and tested to be top-class. Expect to find lesser-known dishes adapted for the modern kitchen with a personal, relatable narrative guiding the reader throughout the culinary journey. Every last part of this cookbook is beautifully presented. Some will buy it for the food photography alone, but it’s the substance supplied by the wealth of Parisian cooking information that makes it a book that no foodie should miss. 

There’s a good range of French cooking covered. From street food to reimagined base recipes and traditional fare like casseroles, it’s all there. Only Provencal cuisine is, to a degree, lacking. If you’re looking for an American approach to Parisian flavors, methodology, and foods, My Paris Kitchen is a great guide to have on hand. Even though all the recipes are beyond reproach, the baked goods will blow you away, so keep this in mind if you’re fond of indulging in mouthwatering pastries, artisan breads, and scrumptious desserts.

About The Author: A revered pastry chef and culinary writer, David Lebovitz has captivated readers with his enchanting storytelling and mouthwatering recipes. Formerly of the iconic Chez Panisse restaurant, Lebovitz left an indelible impression on its dessert menu. After settling in Paris, he delved into the city’s culinary culture and penned several bestselling cookbooks.

The Little Paris Kitchen: 120 Simple But Classic French Recipes by Rachel Khoo

    • Total Recipes: 120
    • Total Pages: 288
    • Recipes Preview: Salades De Figues Et Foies De Volailles (Fig And Chicken Liver Salad), Vacherin “Hot Dog” With Rosemary Rhubarb, Alsatian Pork, Cracking, And Sausages With A “Speedy” Sauerkraut
    • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Pissaladiere (Pizza-Like Flatbread Onion Tart)
    • Affordability: Low

If you are someone with basic culinary skills but are intimidated by French cuisine, The Little Paris Kitchen is the perfect cookbook to demystify the Parisian art. The author’s writing is engaging and intimate, with vivid descriptions of Parisian life and food culture woven into each recipe, making the reader feel like they are partaking in a French culinary adventure. The book’s unique approach showcases a modern twist on classic French cuisine, with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients and accessible techniques. Everything is supremely easy to follow. 

The visually appealing presentation alone, showcasing beautiful photographs for each recipe, is enough to draw most readers in. The recipes cover a broad spectrum of French fare, from starters and salads to sumptuous main courses and irresistible desserts, which stay true to traditional methods and flavor combinations while incorporating modern insight and adjustments. Each meal lists its name in French and English, as well as preparation and cooking time. One couldn’t hope for simpler instructions without sacrificing flavor or cutting corners. The Little Paris Kitchen is perfect for anyone who wants to cook amazing food without any doubt. 

About The Author: Best known for her innovative approach to classic French cuisine, Rachel Khoo has built a successful career as a chef, food writer, and television personality. Khoo made her mark in the culinary world after completing her studies at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School with a series of popular cookbooks and television shows featuring a refreshing take on traditional dishes. 

Best French Baking Books

French baking is known for its finesse, precision, and attention to detail. Here we explore the best French baking books, from classic patisserie to artisanal bread making. Be sure to try out our easy batard bread recipe to tasty the piping hot goodness of one of France’s most classic loavesa. 

French Patisserie: Master Recipes and Techniques from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts by FERRANDI Paris & Rina Nurra (Photographer)

  • Total Recipes: 117
  • Total Pages: 656
  • Recipes Preview: Madeleines, Caramel Apple Jam, Strawberry Layer Cake
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Baba Isaphan
  • Affordability: Low

French Patisserie: Master Recipes and Techniques from the Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts is a beautifully presented and comprehensive guide to the exquisite art of French patisserie. With its origins in the prestigious Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts, a leading professional culinary school in France, this exceptional cookbook invites readers into the world of refined pastries and desserts through the expertise of the institution’s accomplished chefs and instructors. A complete foundation in essential patisserie techniques and terminology is supplied with over 1,500 clearly explained and depicted methods.

Readers are also given a thorough explanation of the subtleties of ingredients, equipment, and presentation. This veritable encyclopedia of patisserie knowledge is meticulously organized into several chapters, covering a wide range of subjects such as basic doughs and batters, creams and mousses, biscuits and cakes, as well as more intricate creations like entremets, petit gateaux, and viennoiseries. Each chapter provides clear, step-by-step instructions accompanied by detailed photographs, allowing readers to master the techniques necessary to create show-stopping patisserie masterpieces.

About The Author: FERRANDI Paris, a prestigious culinary institution established in 1920, has trained generations of renowned chefs and culinary professionals. Known for its world-class programs, the school is acclaimed for its focus on gastronomy, hospitality, and management. Rina Nurra, an accomplished food photographer, has masterfully captured the essence of French cuisine. Together, FERRANDI Paris and Nurra have combined their expertise to create a visually stunning and informative collection of French recipes.

The Art of French Pastry: A Cookbook by Jacquy Pfeiffer & Martha Rose Shulman

  • Total Recipes: 235
  • Total Pages: 656
  • Recipes Preview: Classic Croissants, Chiboust Cream, Genoise Sponge Cake
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Classic Croissants, Chiboust Cream, Genoise Sponge Cake
  • Affordability: Low

The Art of French Pastry takes the reader on a culinary journey, starting with the essential building blocks of pastry-making, such as pâte à choux, puff pastry, brioche, and more. Each basic recipe is clearly explained and accompanied by step-by-step instructions and photographs, ensuring that even novice bakers can follow along with ease. Essential tools and fundamental French pastry techniques are well-covered, followed by a variety of mouthwatering recipes. Readers can expect a comprehensive range to pick from, spanning everything from classic staples to lesser-known regional specialties. 

Throughout the book, the authors share their expert tips and insights, thereby ensuring that readers can achieve the perfect texture, flavor, and presentation for each dessert. The Art of French Pastry demystifies complex techniques and makes them accessible to home bakers. It’s filled with nice touches, like delving into the science behind the ingredients and techniques while guiding the reader personally through stories and anecdotes shared. Regardless of whether you’re new to the world of French pastry or an experienced baker, this exceptional cookbook is sure to become cherished. 

About The Author: Jacquy Pfeiffer, an award-winning pastry chef, is the co-founder of The French Pastry School in Chicago. With a distinguished career spanning over three decades, Pfeiffer has honed his craft in some of Europe’s most esteemed pastry kitchens. Martha Rose Shulman, an acclaimed food writer and cookbook author, has published numerous books on healthy and accessible cooking. Combining their expertise, Pfeiffer and Shulman have crafted a masterful guide to the art of French pastry.

Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library) by Thomas Keller & Sebastien Rouxel

  • Total Recipes: 123
  • Total Pages: 400
  • Recipes Preview: Speculoos, Sourdough Boule, Craquelins
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Spiced Caramel Chiboust With Hazelnut Streusel And Peaches
  • Affordability: Low

Just paging through Bouchon Bakery makes one fall in love with the food, but just wait until you taste any of the iconic French baked goods featured. The author takes no shortcuts when showing off the inspiring recipes for everything from breads, viennoiseries, pastries, cakes, and tarts to éclairs, meringues, macarons, galettes, and biscuits. This means readers can expect intricate preparation and an extended time in the kitchen, but the final results are well worth the effort. There’s know-how you’ll be hard-pressed to learn anywhere else – practical experience that will carry over to all other baking forms.

Bouchon Bakery should be a no-brainer for bakers looking to hone their skills and explore French baking. However, novices will learn how to bake the French way, which includes managing their workspace, working clean, incorporating novel twists, and must-know recipes for all classics. In addition to providing valuable tips on kitchen management while baking, this refreshingly innovative cookbook features unique twists on classic French recipes that are sure to impress. With recipes for everything from croissants to macarons, it’s easily one of the most comprehensive guides to the art of French baking in publication. 

About The Author: Thomas Keller, an esteemed American chef, and restaurateur, boasts an illustrious career that includes multiple Michelin stars and the establishment of renowned restaurants such as The French Laundry and Per Se. Sebastien Rouxel, a skilled French pastry chef, has earned his reputation through his exceptional work in elite restaurants and pastry shops, including a tenure as executive pastry chef at Keller’s restaurants. 

Best Vegetarian French Cookbooks

French vegetarian cooking is based upon the same everlasting principles as the cuisine coveted by omnivores, and the flavors and fusions of techniques are just as amazing. Here are the very best vegetarian French cookbooks in circulation.

The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier

  • Total Recipes: 82
  • Total Pages: 224
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Mushroom Broth With Parisian Gnocchi
  • Recipes Preview: Radish-Top Pasta (Pâtes Aux Fanes De Radis), Avocado And Radish Mini-Tartines (Mini-Tartines Radis Et Avocat), Blanch-Roasted New Potatoes (Pommes De Terre Nouvelles Rôties)
  • Affordability: High

Readers should expect a vibrant culinary journey that brings together the best of traditional French cuisine and modern vegetarian culture as they read The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen. Every last word and image beautifully captures the essence of French cooking with a distinct focus on fresh produce, wholesome ingredients, and a dedication to crafting visually stunning and flavorful dishes. The author takes the reader through her culinary process, covering everything from sourcing ingredients from fragrant Parisian markets to piecing together inspiring, creative dishes that remain true to traditions and tastes. 

The French Market Cookbook is a celebration of French gastronomy with a twist, as it showcases innovative vegetarian dishes that do not compromise on taste or presentation. Vegan and gluten-free options are covered, ensuring that readers with dietary restrictions can enjoy many of the author’s amazing creations as well. It is a cookbook for the bold, encouraging experimentation and combining techniques. Vivid descriptions fill the pages, and glowing photographs showcase finished dishes and the Parisian scene beautifully. If you want a taste of France, this book delivers. 

About The Author: As a celebrated French food writer, Clotilde Dusoulier has charmed readers worldwide with her inventive culinary creations and vibrant storytelling. Holding a master’s degree in computer science and mathematics, Dusoulier transitioned from her initial profession to pursue her passion for cooking. She launched her acclaimed food blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, in 2003, which has since garnered multiple awards.

French Vegetarian Cooking by Paola Gavin

  • Total Recipes: 200+
  • Total Pages: 336
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Pannequets Glas-Gwer
  • Recipes Preview: Haricots A La Tourangelle, Gallete Au Fromage Blanc, Omelette Tourangelle
  • Affordability: Moderate

French Vegetarian Cooking is a comprehensive and enchanting cookbook that expertly marries the sumptuous flavors of French cuisine with the principles of vegetarianism. It begins with an insightful introduction to French cuisine’s history and culinary traditions, followed by a helpful guide to pantry staples and essential cooking techniques. Readers are granted a deep understanding of French vegetarian cooking while at the same time being inspired to try the dishes offered. 

Fresh seasonal ingredients are incorporated seamlessly, showing readers exactly how to best leverage the bounty of vegetables, grains, and legumes available in French markets. Dishes range from simple, everyday fare common to France to more elaborate and sophisticated creations with options suited to every palate and occasion. Regardless of whether you’re an omnivore or vegetarian, French Vegetarian Cooking is filled with recipes that are sure to impress. 

About The Author: Paola Gavin is a renowned food writer, cookbook author, and vegetarian cuisine expert. She has published several books, including Hazana: Jewish Vegetarian Cooking, which won the Andre Simon Award. Gavin has also contributed to many publications, such as The Guardian, The Observer, and BBC Good Food Magazine. 

Best Print-Only French Cookbooks

Each of the following print-only French cookbooks showcases beautiful publishing, practical layouts, and a selection of information and recipes that could easily become indispensable to any cook. 

Mastering The Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 & 2. by Julia Child

  • Total Recipes: 781
  • Total Pages: 1,400
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Poulet Sauté à la Bourguignonne (Braised Chicken in Red Wine)
  • Recipes Preview: Potage Parmentier (Leek and Potato Soup), Coquilles St-Jacques (Scallops in White Wine Sauce), Sole Meunière (Pan-Fried Sole in Butter Sauce)
  • Affordability: Low

Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 & 2 stand as iconic culinary texts that have revolutionized the way French cuisine is perceived and prepared in the American home kitchen. With her inimitable wit, engaging writing style, and extensive knowledge, Julia Child has created a masterpiece that transcends time, making the often-intimidating world of French gastronomy accessible to the everyday cook. The first volume, first published in 1961, grants detailed explanations and meticulous instructions, ensuring that even those new to French cuisine can successfully recreate the dishes. 

The second volume, released in 1970, builds upon the solid foundation laid in the first volume, delving deeper into specialized techniques such as charcuterie, bread-making, and intricate pastry work. This volume showcases a wide array of both classic and lesser-known French dishes, providing readers with an even more comprehensive exploration of the country’s rich culinary landscape. Both volumes are meticulously organized and feature helpful sections on kitchen equipment, ingredients, and menu planning. The thorough instructions, engaging prose, and wide variety of recipes make these books indispensable resources for cooks of all skill levels.

About The Author: A pioneer in the culinary world, Julia Child revolutionized American home cooking with her enthusiasm and passion for French cuisine. Before her television career, Child served as an intelligence officer in World War II. Her culinary journey began at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where she met fellow chefs and collaborators. With groundbreaking cookbooks and an award-winning television series, Child became a beloved household name.

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

  • Total Recipes: 70
  • Total Pages: 720
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Half-Moon Ravioli With Ricotta And Spinach
  • Recipes Preview: Filet Of Beef Lambed In Cognac With A pepper Sauce, Salt-Cured Pork Knuckle, Ribs And Ears With Puy Lentils, Tuna Tataki With Herbs And Poppy Seeds, Strawberries, And Balsamic Vinegar
  • Affordability: Very Low

Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique: The definitive step-by-step guide to culinary excellence is a comprehensive culinary encyclopedia crafted by the world-renowned Institut Paul Bocuse. This opus is an authoritative resource for amateur and professional chefs alike. It provides an all-encompassing insight into the culinary arts, covering the foundations of cooking techniques, ingredient knowledge, and equipment usage, all while celebrating the richness of French gastronomy.

The meticulous attention to detail in Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique is evident in the book’s more than 250 basic techniques, accompanied by more than 1,800 photographs, making each step clear and easy to follow. The recipes are second to none, each exquisitely presented with precise instructions, ensuring the success of even the most ambitious culinary creations. It is an indispensable reference for anyone seeking to master French cuisine and a hefty, beautiful book to behold in print. 

About The Author: Institut Paul Bocuse, founded by the legendary chef Paul Bocuse, has become a renowned culinary institution. Training future generations of culinary professionals, the institute is committed to excellence in both the culinary arts and hospitality management. With its world-class faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, Institut Paul Bocuse maintains a global network of alumni who are transforming the world of gastronomy.

The Escoffier Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery by Auguste Escoffier

  • Total Recipes: 2973
  • Total Pages: 923
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Puff-Paste Souffle Fritters
  • Affordability: High

The Escoffier Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery is an extensive and celebrated work that offers an in-depth exploration of the techniques, concepts, and dishes that underpin traditional French cuisine. Escoffier’s teachings have left an indelible mark on the culinary world for generations, making this book a treasured source of knowledge for both aspiring and experienced chefs. With over 2,953 recipes, it’s a cookbook that will keep you coming back for years.

Despite the overwhelming selection of recipes to pick from, it is the intricacy of the techniques and the way in which French cooking is explained that is largely the reason it is considered to be one of the best tributes to the finesse of French cookery in publication.

About The Author: Auguste Escoffier, often referred to as the “king of chefs and the chef of kings,” revolutionized French cuisine and modernized professional kitchens. Escoffier’s profound influence on culinary arts can be seen in his development of the “brigade system,” which organized kitchens into specialized sections. The French chef’s esteemed career includes prestigious positions at The Savoy and The Carlton in London. Escoffier’s legacy endures through his influential works, which continue to inspire chefs worldwide.

Larousse Gastronomique: The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia, Completely Revised and Updated by Librairie Larousse

  • Total Recipes: 3800
  • Total Pages: 1216
  • Recipes Preview: Choucroute Garnie (Sauerkraut with Sausages and Salted Meats), Vichyssoise (Chilled Leek and Potato Soup), Steak Tartare (Raw Minced Beef with Raw Egg Yolk)
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Cassoulet (White Bean Stew with Meat)
  • Affordability: Low

The page and recipe count alone should give you an idea of what a monumental work Larousse Gastronomique actually is. As the name suggests, it truly is one of the greatest culinary encyclopedias in the world. It has been revered as the definitive authority on gastronomy since its initial publication in 1938, and its updated edition only serves to solidify its standing as an essential reference for culinary professionals, food enthusiasts, and students alike. The encyclopedia’s detailed entries on specific dishes, techniques, and ingredients not only impart practical know-how but also instill a sense of reverence for the culinary arts.

The revised edition has been meticulously curated to include modern techniques, innovative ingredients, and contemporary culinary trends while remaining true to the book’s classic roots. It covers an expansive range of topics, such as essential kitchen techniques, international dishes, food science, and the historical context of many beloved recipes. Larousse Gastronomique is adorned with over 400 exquisite photographs and illustrations, making it a visually stunning addition to any kitchen or library.

About The Author: Librairie Larousse is not an individual author but rather a reputable French publishing company founded in 1852 by Pierre Larousse. Known for its excellence in educational content, Larousse is renowned for producing encyclopedias, dictionaries, and a wide range of culinary works.

I Know How to Cook Hardcover by Ginette Mathiot

  • Total Recipes: 1400+
  • Total Pages: 976
  • Recipes Preview: Sole Meunière, Quiche Lorraine, Ratatouille
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Beef Wellington
  • Affordability: Low

Ever since its initial publication in 1932, I Know How To Cook has remained one of the most influential and highly regarded French cookbooks in circulation. Dubbed the French equivalent to the renowned Joy of Cooking, this massive cookbook has served as the definitive guidebook to the art of traditional French cuisine for countless home cooks around the world. It’s filled with history and dishes that’ll blow you away. Even regional specialties are well-covered in a much more comprehensive manner than other books.  

I Know How To Cook also looks at French charcuterie, offering insights on making pâtés, terrines, and other traditional delicacies. Backing the vast collection of recipes is invaluable advice on various culinary techniques and practical cooking tips. The author takes the time to explain the basics extremely well, thereby ensuring that even novice chefs can confidently tackle more advanced dishes.Not only is the coverage of French cuisine superb, but the way that the information is spread out in digestable chunks applicable to each recipe and/or technique is amazing too. 

About The Author: Ginette Mathiot was an acclaimed French cookbook author and home economist who authored over 30 cookbooks throughout her remarkable career. Born in 1907, Mathiot dedicated her life to teaching generations of French families how to cook simple yet delectable dishes. As a home economics professor, she prioritized accessible recipes that could be easily prepared by novice cooks. 

Best French Cookbooks – Frequently Asked Questions

If you find yourself with any lingering questions regarding French cuisine, we may have the answers you need here. 

Who Is The Best French Cook?

Some of the most famous French chefs of all time include Auguste Escoffier, the “father of French cuisine,” who created the modern kitchen brigade system and wrote several influential cookbooks. Equally esteemed is Paul Bocuse, a legendary chef who was one of the pioneers of nouvelle cuisine and trained many other famous chefs. Another icon of French cuisine is Alain Ducasse, who has earned numerous Michelin stars throughout his career thanks to his innovative approach to French cuisine. Other notable French chefs include Julia Child, who helped introduce French cuisine to the United States through her cookbooks and television shows. Jacques Pépin is another pivotal influence, a celebrated chef and author who has also hosted several cooking shows, and Daniel Boulud, a Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur who has been influential in both French and American cuisine.

What Is The Famous French Cooking Encyclopedia?

The most famous and well-regarded French cooking encyclopedia is Larousse Gastronomique, first published in 1938. This comprehensive reference book covers a wide range of topics related to French cuisine, including ingredients, techniques, history, and famous chefs. It is widely considered to be the definitive guide to French gastronomy and is an essential resource for both professional chefs and home cooks. Other notable French cuisine encyclopedias include The French Chef Handbook: La cuisine de reference by Michel Maincent-Morel and The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller.

Why Is Escoffier So Important?

Auguste Escoffier is widely considered one of the most important and influential chefs in culinary history. He is often referred to as the father of modern French cuisine due to his revolutionary ideas and practices. Escoffier simplified and modernized traditional French cuisine by developing new techniques, creating new dishes, and organizing kitchen operations in a more efficient manner. His culinary innovations, including the introduction of the brigade system, standardized recipes, and kitchen organization, have had a lasting impact on professional kitchens around the world.

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