Skip To Content

    19 French Holiday Recipes You'll Actually Want To Try This Christmas

    Spend Christmas the French way.

    Hi there! I'm Marie, I'm French, and I'm here to share some recipes with you.

    As you probably know, we French people take our food very seriously. And Christmas is the most important food holiday in France. December 24th and 25th make up a food marathon of raw oysters, roasted duck, foie gras, all the cheese, Yule logs, chocolate truffles, and lots and lots of wine and Champagne. It can be a bit hard to reproduce an authentic French feast in the U.S. because a lot of local French ingredients can be difficult to find or very pricey. But, here are a few realistic French recipes you can (and should) add to your holiday menu.

    1. Cheese Soufflé

    David Lebovitz / davidlebovitz.com, David Lebovitz / Via davidlebovitz.com

    This ethereal, savory cheese dish is a work of art. Use some good French cheese like Comté for the tastiest results.

    Recipe: Cheese Soufflé

    2. Bûche de Noël

    Buche de noël
    Alex Lau / Bon Appetit / Via bonappetit.com

    If there's one French dessert that epitomizes Christmas, it's this one. The name literally translates to "Yule log" and it's meant to look like a tree trunk. There are frozen versions you can buy, as well as others made with French buttercream or praline. This one features a chocolate sponge cake and chestnut cream. Baking it from scratch is a bit of an undertaking, but this recipe allows you to choose between three levels of difficulty, depending on how daring you're feeling.

    Recipe: Bûche de Noël

    3. Gratin Dauphinois

    Potatoes gratin
    Recipe Tin Eats / Via recipetineats.com

    This traditional dish is the French version of scalloped potatoes. The secret (as you will find with many French dishes) is lots of butter and cream. Some purists will tell you not to top this gratin with more cheese, but I say forget the rules. Cheese is never a bad idea.

    Recipe: Gratin Dauphinois

    4. Endive Boats With Pear, Blue Cheese, and Shallot Vinaigrette

    Endive boats with pear and blue cheese
    Alexandra Cooks / Via alexandracooks.com

    A French Christmas is usually a feast of rich dishes like foie gras, poultry, gratins, cheese, and chocolate. So in the midst of all this decadence, a fresh and lighter recipe is always welcome like this winter salad, which combines bitter endives, sweet pear, and tangy blue cheese.

    Recipe: Endive Boats With Pear, Blue Cheese, and Shallot Vinaigrette

    5. Parisian Hot Chocolate

    Hot chocolate
    David Lebovitz / Via davidlebovitz.com

    This drink is so rich and so, so luxurious, it's basically a gift from the gods to any chocolate lover. The recipe only calls for two ingredients – milk and chocolate –so opt for high quality ingredients here. You can also add brown sugar if you like your cocoa sweeter.

    Recipe: Parisian Hot Chocolate

    6. French Onion Soup

    French onion soup
    Gimme Some Oven / Via gimmesomeoven.com

    In France, this classic would almost be considered too rustic for an elegant holiday meal. But it's so comforting and delicious that IMO, it's the perfect addition to any winter meal.

    Recipe: French Onion Soup

    7. Pistachio and Hazelnut Nougat

    Nougat
    Molly Yeh / Via mynameisyeh.com

    In Provence, one traditionally serves 13 desserts on Christmas to represent Jesus and his 12 apostles. One of those desserts is nougat, a honey-based candy bar. It's definitely worth trying to make at home, especially if you can't find a decent store-bought version. This pistachio and hazelnut version is a treat for the ages and you'll want to recreate it every holiday season.

    Recipe: Pistachio and Hazelnut Nougat

    8. Kir Normand

    Kir normand
    David Lebovitz / Via davidlebovitz.com

    The better known Kir Royal cocktail is made with crème de cassis (a blackcurrant liqueur) and Champagne. This drink is similar, but with a special twist from Normandy. It also throws Calvados (apple brandy) into the mix. Serve these bubbly cocktails for Christmas or New Years...or any random Tuesday night when you're in the mood for something festive.

    Recipe: Kir Normand

    9. Chocolate Truffles

    Chocolate truffles
    Humming Bird High / Via hummingbirdhigh.com

    Christmas in France is a chocolate lover's dream. These rich and delicious chocolate truffles, which are made with just five ingredients, are one of our most traditional treats.

    Recipe: Chocolate Truffles

    10. Gougères (French Cheese Puffs)

    French cheese puffs
    Olivia's Cuisine / Via oliviascuisine.com

    Two words: Cheese puffs. Need I say any more?

    Recipe: Gougères (French Cheese Puffs)

    11. Duck Fat Potatoes

    Duck fat potatoes
    recipetineats.com

    The French know that the secret to the crispiest, most delicious roast potatoes is duck fat. In Southwest France, potatoes are tossed in duck fat and sprinkled with a bit of salt, but this recipe goes a step further and calls for semolina flour to make them even more decadent.

    Recipe: Duck Fat Potatoes

    12. Black Cherry Macarons

    Black cherry macarons
    Naomi Robinson / bakersroyale.com

    Macarons aren't the most traditional Christmas treat, but we all know Americans love 'em (and I have to agree that they're pretty darn good).

    Recipe: Black Cherry Macarons

    13. Escargots à la Bourguignonne

    Garlic and parsley snails
    Saveur / Via saveur.com

    Some people will probably be grossed out by the idea of eating snails, but trust me, these are amazing. Cooked in butter, garlic, and parsley, they taste completely delicious. If you're still not convinced, that's okay. It means more for the rest of us!

    Recipe: Escargots à la Bourguignonne

    14. Candied Chestnuts

    Not Quite Nigella / Via notquitenigella.com

    When I was in high school, I would spend most of my allowance money on candied chestnuts from the local chocolaterie after school. This treat can be hard to find in the U.S., but luckily you can make them at home. Enjoy them on their own or serve them on top of other desserts.

    Recipe: Candied Chestnuts

    15. Cassoulet

    Cassoulet
    J. Kenji Lopez-Alt / seriouseats.com

    Cassoulet, a hearty meat and beans stew, isn't usually served for Christmas in France, but IMHO it's the best winter dish ever invented. It takes days to make, so I'd say it's worthy of a special holiday meal.

    Recipe: Cassoulet

    16. Duck Pâté en Croûte

    Duck pâté en croûte
    Savueur / Via saveur.com

    Duck pâté wrapped in flaky pastry dough? Count me in. Keep in mind that this dish takes over 24 hours to make, but it's so worth the time and effort.

    Recipe: Duck Pâté en Croûte

    17. Vin Chaud (Hot Mulled Wine)

    David Lebovitz / davidlebovitz.com

    Hot wine is traditionally served in Christmas markets in France, but you can easily make it at home with red wine, honey, and some spices.

    Recipe: Vin Chaud (Hot Mulled Wine)

    18. Duck Confit

    Duck confit
    Vicky Wasik / Via seriouseats.com

    So straightforward and yet so brilliant, duck confit is the Chanel of the Christmas foods. Forget about ham or turkey, this indulgent duck is the main dish you need on your holiday table.

    Recipe: Duck Confit

    19. Kugelhopf Cake

    Kugelhopf Cake
    saveur.com

    This Alsatian dessert, also made in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, is popular during the holiday season. It isn't overly sweet, which means you can eat it for dessert or for breakfast.

    Recipe: Kugelhopf Cake