France is a culinary hotbed for delicious food, so it’s no surprise that some of the most famous desserts in the world are French. From light and fluffy pastries to decadent cake, there’s a French dessert for any taste.
Read on to find recipes for 27 classic French desserts you need to make, including some classic, famous French desserts and some more unique French desserts.
- Famous French Desserts
- 1. Classic French Madeleines
- 2. Best Authentic French Crepe Recipe
- 3. French-Style Apple Tart (Tarte Tatin)
- 4. Classic French Palmiers Recipe
- 5. Quick Raspberry Charlotte
- 6. French Blueberry Galette
- 7. Couer a la Creme Recipe
- 8. Mousse au Chocolat (Easy French Chocolate Mousse)
- 9. Classic French Creme Brulee
- 10. Easy French Apple Turnovers
- 11. French Chocolate Truffles
- 12. Cream Puffs
- 13. Sweet French Canneles Recipe
- 14. French Meringue Cookies
- Unique French Desserts
- 15. Fresh Figs Roasted in Vanilla Cream
- 16. Champagne Poached Pears
- 17. French Chocolate Mendiants Recipe
- 18. Peanut Dacquoise with Peanut Butter Mousse Recipe
- 19. Kouign Amann (Easy and Fast Recipe)
- 20. Buche de Noel (Yule Log Cake)
- 21. Lemon Friands with Lemon Curd
- 22. Chocolate Raspberry Clafoutis
- 23. Cafe Liegeois (French Coffee Dessert)
- 24. French Yogurt Cake
- 25. Hazelnut Mocha Eclairs
- 26. Mascarpone Raspberry Mousse Recipe
- 27. Ile Flottante (Floating Island Dessert)
- Final Thoughts
- 📖 Recipe
Famous French Desserts
Below are some famous French desserts that are sure to impress.
Although many people refer to madeleines as cookies, they are small sponge cakes. The tiny sponge cakes cook in molded pans, giving them a distinctive shell shape. The outside is crispy and dusted with powdered sugar for a perfect bite.
Crepes are similar to pancakes, though the batter is spread extremely thin to create a big, flat dough round. Since the crepe is spread thin while cooking, it has a crisp texture that pairs well with cream and fruit fillings.
The French rival to a classic American apple pie, the Apple Tarte Tatin is a French pastry that uses puff pastry and lovely, glazed fruit. The original Tarte Tatin was created by accidentally cooking the apple for an apple pie too long, after all.
Palmiers, which are also called pig’s ears or elephant ears, are small pieces of puff pastry coated in sugar and rolled into small hearts or palm leaf shapes. Although these small French pastries look impressive, they’re shockingly easy to make.
A “Charlotte” is an icebox cake that combines sponge cake (or cookie crumbs) with custard cream or a fruit puree. This Quick Raspberry Charlotte recipe combines raspberry and lemon-based filling with a classic vanilla sponge cake. In addition, some ladyfinger cookies on the outside provide a traditional look.
A galette is a French open-faced pie with a thick, crispy crust. The best thing about a galette is the dessert is supposed to look a bit rustic and handmade. You can use a pre-made puff pastry or a rough puff pastry to make this recipe even more straightforward.
Couer a la Creme is a French no-bake, crustless cheesecake, typically covered in strawberries with a sweet strawberry sauce. These adorable cakes are traditionally put into a heart-shaped mold, resulting in a cute, heart-shaped cream cake.
A delicious mousse is one of the most straightforward and satisfying French desserts. Chocolate is the most popular and traditional flavor, and it elegantly shows off the airy, smooth texture of the mousse. This recipe's pinch of salt helps bring out the bittersweet cocoa flavor.
Along with a classic eclair, creme brulee is likely the most well-known French dessert worldwide. This famous dessert may seem intimidating, mainly because it involves an open flame, but creme brulee is as easy as making a quick custard.
French apple turnovers (called Chaussons aux Pommes in France) resemble American hand pies. Like most French pastries, these apple turnovers use puff pastry for a light, fluffy, and crispy texture. Using premade puff pastry, these French apple turnovers take less than an hour of active cooking.
Truffles are a classic dessert with variations all over the world. However, the French version is likely the most famous and elegant recipe. The truffles have a gorgeous dark chocolate fudge-like center covered in cocoa powder. With a simple base, you can add a ton of toppings or additional flavors to customize your truffles.
12. Cream Puffs
Cream puffs are another French pastry that seems intimidating at first glance. This light and airy pastry filled with a creamy custard filling seems like something only a professional can achieve. However, this simple recipe shows how easy it can be! The recipe even uses instant vanilla pudding mix as a smart shortcut.
Interestingly, traditional French canneles were invented by nuns back in the eighteenth century. These pastries resemble bite-sized cakes with a delicious custard filling in the middle of the cake. Bakers use special pans to get that distinct canneles shape.
Meringue is an interesting dessert consisting of only egg whites and sugar. The combination is whipped ferociously for a long time until the mixture is thick and creamy. After you bake the meringue, you get a soft, airy, melt-in-your-mouth delight.
Unique French Desserts
These French desserts use creative flavors and innovative methods unique to France.
French figs often have deep purple skin and an amazingly sweet inside, far better than other countries’ varieties. The French have taken advantage of their delicious figs with exciting recipes that slowly roast them in a smooth vanilla cream.
Although a plate of pears may not sound like a dessert, a plate of pears that have been sizzled in a champagne and sugar bath sounds pretty delicious. The alcohol cooks off, but the decadent champagne flavor is soaked into the pears.
This cookie-like dessert is traditionally served around Christmas Time, but don’t wait until the holidays roll around to try it out. Chocolate Mendiants consist of chocolate and assorted toppings. Popular ones include raisins, hazelnuts, figs, and almonds.
A French dacquoise is a small cake that, traditionally, uses layers of almond and hazelnut meringue as a base. This recipe from Bon Appetit adds a slight twist by replacing the almonds with peanuts and the hazelnut meringue with an airy peanut butter mousse.
A croissant can take an incredibly long time to make, with multiple rounds of freezing and laminating the dough. However, Kouign Amann is a faster and easier alternative that you can finish in just two hours. The pastry has that same flaky texture with a quarter of the effort.
Nothing marks the Christmas season in France better than a stunning Buche de Noel (or Yule Log Cake). Although this cocoa-based cake is traditional, the decoration and flavors you choose help make each Yule Log Cake unique.
For lovers of citrus flavors, there’s nothing better than lemon friands. Friands are similar to madeleines; both are small cakes often mistaken for cookies. Unlike madeleines, friands have an almond base rather than vanilla. A delicious lemon curd tops each of these tiny cakes.
Clafoutis is an old-school French recipe that dates back to the 1800s. This delicious dessert is traditionally made in a large skillet and consists of fruit layered with egg-based flan batter, baked until reduced and sweet. This unique recipe uses chocolate and raspberry as the base flavors.
France is famous for its many champagne-based dessert cocktails (like the classic French 75), but for a non-alcoholic option, you can go with a traditional Cafe Liegeois. The coffee dessert combines espresso, vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, caramel syrup, and whipped cream.
French yogurt cake is a popular tea-time snack, typically served with a steaming cup of tea. The base of the cake is yogurt, which lends a delicious taste and fluffy texture to the cake. This recipe adds some fresh raspberries for a tart punch.
Eclairs are one of the most well-known French desserts in the world. A traditional French eclair uses a simple chocolate filling and a bit of vanilla cream. This recipe uses hazelnut and mocha flavors to help spice up this classic dessert.
Chocolate mousse is the traditional choice for French mousse, but this raspberry version is the perfect summer refresher. The bright and tart flavor of the raspberry perfectly pairs with the bold mascarpone cheese.
The French Floating Island Dessert (Ile Flottante) consists of airy meringue sitting on a pool of vanilla custard. The meringue represents a small island, typically covered in crushed nuts for added texture and, in this recipe, a caramel sauce topping.
If you enjoy airy pastries like cream puffs, bright and fresh flavors like raspberry mousse, or decadent cocoa flavor like in chocolate truffles, then French desserts are ideal for you.
Although French cooking and baking can seem intimidating, these quick and easy recipes prove that you can enjoy fancy French desserts as a home cook.
- Classic French Madeleines
- Best Authentic French Crepe Recipe
- French-Style Apple Tart (Tarte Tatin)
- Classic French Palmiers Recipe
- Quick Raspberry Charlotte
- French Blueberry Galette
- Couer a la Creme Recipe
- Mousse au Chocolat (Easy French Chocolate Mousse)
- Classic French Creme Brulee
- Easy French Apple Turnovers
- French Chocolate Truffles
- Cream Puffs
- Sweet French Canneles Recipe
- French Meringue Cookies
- Fresh Figs Roasted in Vanilla Cream
- Champagne Poached Pears
- French Chocolate Mendiants Recipe
- Peanut Dacquoise with Peanut Butter Mousse Recipe
- Kouign Amann (Easy and Fast Recipe)
- Buche de Noel (Yule Log Cake)
- Lemon Friands with Lemon Curd
- Chocolate Raspberry Clafoutis
- Cafe Liegeois (French Coffee Dessert)
- French Yogurt Cake
- Hazelnut Mocha Eclairs
- Mascarpone Raspberry Mousse Recipe
- Ile Flottante (Floating Island Dessert)
- Review the listed recipes
- Pick your favorites
- Make your desired french dessert recipes