Chilly temps and nourishing, belly-filling meals go hand in hand – and when it comes to robust dishes, the French know a thing or two about what to make. Looking to bring a taste of cozy French gastronomy to your home but not sure where to begin? We’ve rounded up 12 of France’s most classic comfort foods to get you started. The only thing you’ll need from here is a bottle of tasty wine to pair with!
Gooey Croque Monsieurs
There’s a reason why croque monsieurs are a staple in French food culture – they’re decadent, they’re satisfying, and they’re super easy to make. All you need is some bread, butter, cheese, ham, and a touch of bechamel sauce – think of them like an elevated grilled cheese (and for bonus points, throw an egg on top and make it madame style).
When it comes to French comfort foods, Cassoulet is a no brainer. Originally from Southwest France, this hearty, meat-based stew is beloved by carnivores everywhere. This historic dish dates back to the 1300s, and although it requires a bit of patience (the beans are best when soaked overnight), we assure you that the time is worth the payoff. For those looking for a quicker solution, check out a variety of Instapot and Crock Pot recipes.
Soupe à l’Oignon
On frigid, snowy days, nothing warms the body like a bowl of piping hot soup – and in the case of French-inspired options, soupe à l’oignon is a go-to. Simply prep your beef stock and caramelized onions with copious amounts of gooey melted cheese and you're ready to go. We recommend having some crusty bread on the side for scraping. (Note: Vegetarians, worry not. Simply replace the traditional beef stock with veggie stock for an equally tasty alternative.)
As far as we’re concerned, no one in the history of mankind has ever said no to a helping of cheesy fondue. Inspired by the Alpine region of Savoie, this hearty comfort food is perfect for re-energizing after a long day of skiing (or frankly, simply any outdoor activity on an icy winter day). Whether Comté, Gruyere, or Beaufort is more your style, we guarantee you’ll be everyone’s favorite party host if this classic French meal is prepared.
Aligot doesn’t often get the love it deserves, but if you love cheese and mashed potatoes, this Auvergne dish promises to blow your mind. This regional recipe blends cheese, cream, butter, and garlic with fluffy mashed potatoes to create an even more robust and textured potato-based dish. If you cant’ find local cheese (think tomme d’Auvergne), worry not – mozzarella or any other lower-fat cheese will be perfectly suitable.
While on the topic of potatoes, we’d be remiss to not suggest Savoie’s traditional tartiflette recipe. Crafted from scalloped potatoes, stinky reblochon cheese, and copious amounts of bacon chunks (lardons), this flavor-packed meal promises to warm all of your friends’ and family members’ bellies on cold winter nights. Pair with a regional wine from Savoie for an even more out-of-this-world experience.
Love pizza? Then Alsatian flammekueche is for you. This northeastern French flatbread is beloved by French foodies all over the country, and if you love cheese, bacon, and crusty bread, we’re sure it’ll satisfy you, too. Some even consider this dish to be a “healthier” alternative to pizza, as the crust of flammekueche is generally paper thin – however, if you’re anything like us, we tend to compensate with extra bacon, cheese, and loads of creme fraiche. For those with kids, this is a super fun recipe to make at home to get the whole family involved.
When a craving for the classics strikes, look no further than boeuf bourguignon. This simple-yet-satisfying stew incorporates slow-cooking meats and veggies in a bath of their own juices and wine, and with the rise in today’s Instapot and Crock Pot cultures, the recipe can take even less time than expected. We recommend using (and sipping) local Pinot Noir to accompany this hearty, soul-warming dish.
Leave your diets at the door with this traditional French recipe. Similar to Savoyards tartiflette, this Dauphiné-inspired recipe combines potatoes, cream, and cheese (emphasis on the cream) and the gratin technique to create a soft, belly-filling dish that promises to keep you coming back for more. Fair warning, wear stretchy pants when consuming this one – although you’ll find yourself full rather quickly, we’re fairly certain you’ll be reaching for a second portion.
Coq au Vin
For those who prefer poultry over red meat, this warming, chicken-based alternative to boeuf bourguignon is for you. Composed of tenderized chicken and veggies in a wine-based broth, this easy-to-make recipe is perfect for robust dinners at home. Affordable, simple, and crowd pleasing? Count us in. (Similar to boeuf bourguignon, we recommend serving this dish with a regional Red or White Burgundy to really bring the flavors of the dish to life.)
Perhaps the most versatile French comfort food of them all is the classic quiche. Ideal for breakfast, lunch, or sliced into canapés for apéro hour, this accessible and affordable dish promises to carry you throughout all meals of the day. Although classic recipes include ham and cheese, salmon and creme fraiche, or simple spinach and brie, the best part about quiches is that you can tailor them to your personal preference. Use the meats, cheese, and fillings of your choice, mix ‘em all up, et voila.
Spicy Vin Chaud
What French comfort food list would be complete without a boozy bonus? Enter vin chaud, the traditional belly-warming beverage of French winters everywhere. Synonymous with Christmas markets and holiday gatherings, this spicy, traditional beverage is best served piping hot on snowy evenings with friends and family – and believe it or not, whipping up your own recipe at home is easier than you think. Simply grab an affordable bottle of red, grab some sugar, spices, and fresh oranges, and you’re all set (except for those who prefer an extra boozy pour… then you won’t want to forget a small bottle of brandy!)
From our Taste France family to yours, we wish you a joy-filled winter season!