17 Easy French Recipes for Bastille Day (and Beyond)

updated Jul 8, 2019
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Bastille Day is July 14, which is the perfect excuse to insert some Gallic flavor into your summer cooking. While we won’t be storming the Bastille anytime soon, that doesn’t mean we aren’t game for celebrating liberté, égalité, and fraternité in the best way.

From drinks to main dishes to desserts, we have 17 easy French-inspired recipes for everyone who wants to Vive la Françe at the table.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

No discussion of French food would be complete without crêpes. The thin, French pancakes are infinitely versatile — you can fill them with jam and a mixture of ricotta and mascarpone, or you can go the savory route and fill them with eggs and sautéed veggies.

Credit: Leela Cyd

The French have perfected the omelette, so we’ll defer to their style to make the best breakfast imaginable. Of course, we would be happy to eat one for any meal of the day. The two key pieces of advice? Use a nonstick skillet and only cook the omelette until it looks just under done.

3. Vichyssoise

Since Bastille Day comes during the heat of summer, it might be in your best interest to make a cooling summer soup instead of heavier traditional meal. This leek and potato soup is cooked and then chilled for a hearty but refreshing meal.

Credit: Tessa Huff

Give Ladurée a run for their money with these perfectly pink macarons. The recipe might seem intimidating, but if you take your time and read the directions carefully, you’ll be surprised just how easy they are.

(Image credit: Diana Yen)

If you want to make this classic French dish in the summer, your best bet is to break out your slow cooker. Not only will you save yourself time, but you also won’t have to heat up your kitchen by having the stove on for hours on end.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

The word jardinère means gardener in French, which is a sure sign that this chicken braise is meant to change with the seasons. Take advantage of whatever vegetables you have available to you, either from your backyard or the farmers market, to make the best possible version of this dish.

Credit: Kelli Foster

The perfect choice for hot days, nicoise salad is a quintessentially french dish. It has so many of our favorite ingredients and is served in an easy-to-assemble, deconstructed style. It’s one of our favorite go-to lunches.

(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

This a modern update of a classically French dish. We even have a couple of tricks to save time and effort. First, skip peeling the apples — the red rims make the slices stand out beautifully. And second, if you don’t want to make your own crust, feel free to use frozen puff pastry dough instead.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

9. Lillet on Ice

There’s no simpler cocktail for Bastille Day than a glass of Lillet on ice. If you’ve never had it, Lillet is a wine-based aperitif that comes in red, white, and rosé versions. It also has citrus liqueurs and an ingredient that contains quinine, which you know from tonic water. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and bitter, and it’s incredibly refreshing.

Credit: Faith Durand

This humble-looking dish was inspired by Faith’s trip to Toulouse, and while it might appear simple, the flavors are anything but. The lentils retain their shape and texture when cooked, and the herbs and bacon give it a richness that we crave year-round.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

The crispy-sugary crunch of classic palmiers is one of our favorite things, and we’ll let you in on a little secret — they’re actually easy to make. You can start with homemade or store-bought puff pastry dough, and then it’s simply a matter of folding and rolling and sprinkling with sugar.

(Image credit: Jenny Huang)

We’ll never turn down a croque monsieur, the perfectly crispy hot ham and cheese sandwich. If you’re trying to feed a crowd, this baked casserole version is the way to go. That way everyone can sit down to the table and enjoy their meal at the same time.

When you’re ready to experiment with Lillet, try making this French freedom cocktail that is a variation on a martini. The Lillet Blanc stands in for the vermouth, and orange bitters enhance the citrusy splash.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

We won’t lie, making croissants can be a time-consuming process, what with all the butter you have to laminate into the dough, but if you are ready to tackle a kitchen project, this one is totally worth your time and energy. After all, nothing beats a fresh croissant still warm from the oven.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This drink is inspired by the house cocktail of a small restaurant in the French countryside. It’s a Champagne or sparkling wine cocktail with Campari and an orange-flavored liqueur, like Mandarine Napoléon or Cointreau. Get ready for it to be your go-to summer drink.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

If you can say no to a homemade eclair, then you have way more willpower than we do. These airy pastries filled with cream and covered in chocolate are how you win brunch. And the good news is that they don’t take much longer to make than cinnamon rolls.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

17. The Jacobin

This blood orange-flavored cocktail is brilliantly red-hued in honor of the Jacobins from the French Revolution, and it’s a strong one too! It has gin and both sweet and dry vermouth. Finish it all off with an orange twist to garnish.