10 Essential Julia Child Recipes Everyone Should Master

Learn from the queen of French cuisine.

"When I was living in France in the early 1950s, cut-up chicken was unheard of. You bought your chicken whole," Julia Child writes for a 1987 New York Times Magazine edition. "Returning to this country some years later, I snobbishly resisted any suggestion of ready-cut chicken until I started my television series, 'The French Chef,' and was suddenly cooking for a large audience. I was rather rapidly won over to the idea of buying chicken in pieces."

Julia Child may be known for her mastery of classic French dishes, but just like generations of Southern chefs, she gained fame for her ingenuity, resourcefulness, and lively spirit. (Like Southern cooks, Child certainly did not shy away from cream or butter.)

As the original queen of French cooking, Julia Child's beloved French recipes—from boeuf bourguignon to spatchcocked, wine-basted chicken—stand the test of time as show-stopping dinner party mains, and her desserts are in a league of their own. Once you've rewatched all the episodes of The French Chef, it's time to get into the kitchen and recreate some of Child's classic recipes. You can find more of Child's classic French recipes in her cookbook—Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I. It is a great place to start.

julia child

Coq a Vin

Translated as "chicken in wine," this classic French dish is deceptively simple. A Burgundy wine like Pinot Noir gives the dish complexity and body—you can use any red wine you'd like, but in honor of Child, we suggest selecting a French bottle.


Well-known as one of Julia Child's favorite dishes, this chilled leek and potato soup is startling in its simplicity. Aside from the leek, potato, and water, Child's version of the soup calls for barely any additional ingredients. Julia Child allows adding a bit of cream to the completed soup as a "nourishing touch, but by no means necessary." Find the recipe in Julia Child's cookbook.

Quiche Lorraine

A thin, light crust is the trademark of this French quiche, filled with bacon, eggs, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Julia Child's recipe for Quiche Lorraine is guaranteed to impress. The Southern Living Test Kitchen's Quiche Lorraine is also a welcome dish at any brunch.

Boeuf Bourguignon

As one of the first recipes Julia Child featured on The French Chef, this stew of slow-cooked beef and red wine is a Child staple. It may take six hours to come together, but that leaves plenty of time for developing a big flavor. Find the recipe here, or try our pared-down take on beef stew.

Crêpes Suzette

A quintessential French dish of crepes flambeed in a buttery orange sauce and brandy, Child describes this as an "elegant dessert," and we can't help but agree. Watch Julia Child make Crêpes Suzette here or a similarly elegant Crepe Cake.

Chicken Waterzooi

What Julia Child called "the most interesting recipe I've clipped," Chicken Waterzooi—chicken nestled in a silky sauce of cream and egg yolks—is Child's take on a classic Flemish dish. She swaps fish for chicken, layers it with vegetables, and simmers it all in chicken stock and vermouth. Chicken Waterzooi is undoubtedly one of Child's most underrated recipes (if not for the fun name alone).


Just as Southerners hold casserole near and dear to our hearts, Julia Child celebrated the cassoulet as a perfectly humble dish of beans and meat. This quote must be one of our all-time favorites from Child: "Cassoulet, that best of bean feasts, is everyday fare for a peasant but ambrosia for a gastronome, though its ideal consumer is a 300-pound blocking back who has been splitting firewood nonstop for the last twelve hours on a subzero day in Manitoba." Here's Child's quite involved take on cassoulet (but you might be better off making a classic Southern casserole).


Homemade vinaigrette is one of the easiest things to whip up in a home kitchen, and it's so much better than bottled stuff (Ina Garten agrees). Julia Child's recipe for vinaigrette—made with "dry martini proportions" of vinegar to oil—certainly stands the test of time.

French Baguette

If you're new to bread-baking, we suggest testing your hand with a classic French baguette. It may not be simple, but the result is spectacular. Get the recipe here.

Tarte Tatin

A showstopper of a dessert, this upside-down apple tarte is the French answer to an apple pie. When served hot and topped with a dollop of cream, this warm, caramel-coated tarte is simply irresistible. Julia Child developed multiple versions of this recipe—find them here.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is Julia Child known for French cooking?

    Although she was born in Pasadena, California, Julia Child popularized French cooking after publishing Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961 with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. Child helped make French cooking and techniques available to the American public.

  • What television programs did Julia Child host?

    Julia Child hosted several cooking programs, helping to encourage "home chefs." A few programs include The French Chef, Cooking With Master Chefs, Baking With Julia, In Julia's Kitchen With Master Chefs, and Cooking in Concert.

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