How to Frenchify Your Favorite American Comfort Foods

Comfort food is different for everyone and in America, where (and when) you grew up can have a huge impact on your tastebuds and food preferences. And since the United States is a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds, it can be hard to define what “American” food really is.  Let's see how we can twist it up a bit!

How to Frenchify Your Favorite American Comfort Foods

In this article

But there are some perennially popular dishes you’d be able to find at any roadside diner across the country: foods like hot dogs, mac and cheese, and the beloved bacon, egg, and cheese work to satisfy salty cravings, but there are also sweet treats like pancakes or apple pie.  
Whether you’re craving a perfectly crispy grilled cheese or a savory BLT, we’ve come up with ways to incorporate French flavors into your favorite foods. 

Mac and Cheese 

Macaroni and cheese is popular throughout the United States and everybody has a different opinion on how it should taste–some prefer a saucy combination of noodles and cheese, while others prefer a version with a crispy top. Whichever consistency you prefer, you can incorporate French flavors into the dish by adding creamy chevre or tangy Roquefort to your cheese sauce. For an upscale version of this ultimate comfort food, try using black Perigord truffles to give the dish an irresistible umami flavor.

Grilled Cheese 

In diners across America, grilled cheese is sure to be on the menu (or at least on the kid’s menu). At its simplest, it’s just a fried cheese sandwich, but with a few additions and extra steps, it can become a glorious and indulgent French-inspired treat. First, you’ll want to use sliced French sourdough or pain de mie. Coat the bread with a thin layer of whole-grain Dijon mustard before adding slices of gruyere, Comté, or even Brie cheese. To take it up another level, add a few slices of France’s most popular dry-cured ham, Bayonne ham, and a few slices of fig for a sweet touch. Once the sandwich is assembled, coat the outer layer of each side with butter and sprinkle with thyme before frying it on the stove.  

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese 

New York City’s favorite breakfast sandwich layers eggs, cheese, and bacon on a sandwich roll for a salty and satisfying breakfast (that most delis and bodegas serve round-the-clock). To give your home-cooked breakfast sandwich a French twist, substitute the bacon for Bayonne ham, a cured ham that usually comes thinly sliced. For added bacon-like crispiness, fry the ham in a pan before adding it to the sandwich.

Hot Dogs 

Add an Alsatian twist to the classic American hot dog by using a Knack d’Alsace, a French version of the German frankfurter. Made with pork and beef, the sausages have a crispy outer layer and a slightly smoky flavor. Enjoy your hot dog on a baguette or brioche bun with French fixings like choucroute (sauerkraut) and riesling mustard.  


Some might argue that pizza is Italian, but it’s just as popular–if not more so–in the United States as it is in Italy. While making pizza dough at home can be time-consuming and a bit tricky for novice chefs, it’s easy to Frenchify this classic comfort food by using flaky puff pastry–usually found in any grocery store freezer aisle–to create a French tarte flambée instead. For toppings, try a combination of Brie, tomatoes, and herbs and garnish with fresh arugula once it’s cooked.  


Everyone knows what BLT stands for: bacon, lettuce, and tomato, served on a sandwich with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Making a French version of the BLT is simple (and you don’t even have to change the name): just swap out the bacon for Bayonne ham. And for an added French touch, you can make your own mayonnaise

Tuna Melt 

While a tuna melt might not be everyone’s idea of comfort food (especially if you’re under the age of 50) it’s a classic American staple that can be found in any diner across the country. It’s easy to elevate this open-face sandwich with French ingredients. Start with a can of French tuna and instead of (or in addition to) celery and onion, mix your tuna salad with homemade mayonnaise, dijon mustard, chopped cornichons, and even a few capers. Top it with a slice of Mimolette cheese and bake.  


Not all comfort foods are salty. And while pancakes might not be an American invention, they’ve been welcomed with open arms as a staple of American brunch (or late-night munchies). While most Americans eat pancakes with butter and maple syrup, you can easily Frenchify this sweet treat with honey and fruit compote or confitures instead. And as a bonus, you can use homemade whipped cream, too. 

Apple Pie 

“As American as apple pie,” the saying goes. It’s true that apple pie is one of the most popular American desserts, but there’s a French version of apple pie that might be even more delicious: Tarte Tatin. Combining caramelized apples with a flaky pastry crust, this decadent dessert is best served with a dollop of crème fraîche.  

The French touch you need in your inbox

Please complete this field
Your registration is confirmed