What do you say to a flaky, warm palmier, or a delicately flavored pot de creme? It’s time to say “oui!” to this epic list of French desserts to help you choose your next sweet finisher!
French desserts often get a bad rap as overly nit-picky and complicated, so we’ve made it our mission to prove otherwise!
To achieve our goal, we’ve gathered up 27 incredible, easy French desserts that showcase everything the world of patisserie has to offer.
From golden brown Lemon Sugar Crepes with Honey to gently tart and creme-y Blackberry Cream Puffs, there are plenty of recipes to practice that harkens from the L’Hexagone.
So, strap on your apron and dig out your favorite rolling pin. It’s time to bake!
This darling French cake is tres chic, especially once it’s tied up with the silk ribbon like the ones in patisserie windows.
Dainty ladyfinger cookies embrace a bavarian cream and candied fruit filling, firm-set in a springform pan.
Once everything is sturdy, the top is bejeweled with additional fruit—typically strawberries or raspberries—then done up with a bow to keep the cookies in place.
The best part?
It’s no-bake, so you won’t have to heat up the oven to whisk your way to a Parisian stay-cation.
French baking involves a lot of meringues, or whipped and sweetened egg whites.
The best application is crunchy meringue cookies piped into little dollops, then left to dry.
They are airy, crisp, and bursting with the opportunity to jazz them up with interesting global flavors.
Combine these classic French sweets with warm chai spices for a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy.
Pots de creme literally means “pot of cream,” and it’s an apt description for the rich egg custard served in chilled ramekins.
While most pots de creme goes on to become creme brulees, they are perhaps even more delicious when chilled.
This version goes a step further, swapping out classic vanilla for indulgent cinnamon-spiced chocolate and espresso.
These just might help you kick your morning iced coffee habit, especially if you top it off with a swirl of whipped cream.
Love cream puffs, but don’t feel like dealing with creating a filling?
Chouquettes are the choux dough pastry that grows up to be cream puffs, but, like pot de creme, this is one of many easy French desserts that are just as scrumptious as an unfinished product.
Or skip the whipped filling, sprinkle with pearl sugar, and finish them off with a luscious sugar glaze.
Hard to pronounce but a delight to eat, dacquoise is a genuinely show-stopping layered cake that is like a super-sized, shareable version of a macaron.
Unlike those iconic French desserts, though, dacquoise contains a bit of all-purpose flour to help bolster the cake’s structure enough to stack.
Between the crispy meringue layers, mascarpone cream and plump berries are hard at work softening the texture enough to cut the pastry into slices.
Cream puffs are tasty, but this recipe upgrades the filling with the addition of summer-y citrus and blackberry.
The coating is made with sumptuous dark chocolate that balances the tartness just enough, so you can enjoy a few more before your sweet tooth is satiated.
When it comes to French baking, seasonal fruits are a must-have.
During la saison de cerises, or cherry season, there’s nothing quite like French sweets showcasing the tart late summer harvest.
Petits gateaux, or small cakes, are just the dessert for the job!
They can be as elaborate or as simple as the baker’s preferences dictate, and fortunately, that includes this unique mix of coconut, cherry, and pumpkin seeds.
Another French custard, Vanilla Canale, has a crunchy, caramelized outer crust that contains a closely-textured interior.
The French traditionally made them in individual fluted molds coated in beeswax for an extra glossy shine.
Not to be confused with pot de creme, mousse au chocolat is creamy, dreamy, and a top-ranking option for easy French desserts.
Just whip up some bittersweet chocolate with eggs then chill them until they set.
Chocolate shavings sprinkled over the top take things to the next level of richness and extravagance.
10. Cherry Clafoutis
Cherry clafoutis consists of crispy, puffed pastry on the outside, creamy egg custard on the inside, and a whole mound of cherries.
It’s on the top of the list of easy French desserts to make, and one taste is all it takes to make you start counting clafoutis instead of sheep so you can have the sweetest dreams.
11. Creme Patissiere
Creme patisserie is essential knowledge for anyone who aspires to be an expert in French pastry recipes.
After all, it serves as the filling for countless after-dinner delicacies.
If motivated home chefs can get this right, they’re on the right track for a very successful French baking hobby.
Fold in some whipped cream to lighten everything up, and you’ve made airy diplomat cream for anything a “creme pat” is too heavy for.
There’s just something about the “tap tap” of a spoon on the sugary crust of a creme brulee that makes them impossible to resist.
This version ups the ante by trading in the vanilla custard for a saccharine white chocolate pudding then adding in tart cranberries for a complex bite.
Mille-Feuille means “a million leaves,” and a cross-section of these sky-high French sweets will make it clear why.
First, the puff pastry is quadruple folded, creating layer after flaky layer of buttery deliciousness.
Once baked, you sandwich them with sinfully thick layers of creme patisserie then dust them with a layer of powdered sugar.
With just the right amount of sweetness, it’s perfect for any occasion that demands a visually impressive treat or a weekend veg session that still has a little sophistication.
Like the Napoleon Mille-Feuille, French Opera Cakes feature stunning, clean layers but are even better once you drape them in a thin layer of chocolate glaze.
Instead of pastry, French Opera Cake consists of a joconde sponge soaked in coffee, thick chocolate ganache, and a coffee French buttercream double-stacked for added effect.
Don’t forget the chocolate shard with “Opera” piped onto it as your cake topper to keep things traditional.
While palmiers are technically cookies, they could definitely pass as breakfast pastries.
Plus, they look like cute little mustaches.
Despite their whimsical appearance, these are easy French desserts for beginners, primarily if you work with frozen puff pastry.
All it requires is a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar, a couple of rolls, cut, and bake!
Lemon and honey and cream cheese, oh my!
This recipe brings together an obscenely yummy whipped cream cheese with thin pancakes sprinkled with homemade lemon sugar.
Skip the maple syrup and go high-class with a drizzle of honey for a leisurely breakfast or dessert that deserves to be the main course at a garden party brunch.
Part cookie, part cake, all delicious.
Of all the French pastry recipes you’ll want to tuck away for the holidays, Madeleines make the loveliest little gifts, thanks to the seashell-shaped crisp outer crust and pillowy soft inside.
Famous French author Marcel Proust was so in love with the cookie that it made an unforgettable appearance in his work, Swann’s Way.
He describes them well: “… one of those squat, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell.”
Versatile and sophisticated, the Tarte Tatin is an upside-down cake that starts with a layer of fruit caramelized in butter and sugar, followed by a thick shortbread crust to soak up all of those lovely juices.
We’re featuring an Apple Tarte Tatin because it’s the OG, but just about any fruit or vegetable does well as the star of the show.
There are no French pastry recipes quite like this boozy little Tarte Tatin because it is made even better with a hearty serving of buttery Baileys Apple Pie cream sauce.
If Oreo sandwich cookies had a wealthy Parisian cousin, it would be the macaron.
Macarons are almond flour-based meringue cookies typically filled with buttercream, but they hold up well to curds, jams, and ganaches.
They’re so fiddly that the way you stir them has its own name– “Macaronage.”
Paris-Brest is donut-shaped choux pastries with a hazelnut mousseline cream snuggled in between.
Unlike creme patisserie, mousseline is soft and airy because of the whipped butter added after the initial set.
It holds up beautifully to cutting, making it ideal for larger French desserts or just eating off of a spoon because you don’t feel like waiting until the choux is done baking.
Mont Blanc is a literal mountain of crunchy tart, whipped cream, and chestnut cream puree stacked high like a trifle.
If you’ve never had chestnuts, you’re in for a treat.
They’re warm and rich, with a mellow sweetness that still stands out despite the white chocolate custard it rests on top of.
Religieuse are charming French sweets made of stacked choux orbs filled with a chocolate creme patisserie.
Never one to limit themselves for the sake of tradition, though, French bakers have expanded their horizons, stuffing the tiny sisters with all sorts of sweet creams, jams, and curds.
In this spin-off, nutty pistachio cream is the filling of choice, with more crunchy bits of the green nut sprinkled on the outside.
While they’re usually frosted to resemble squat little nuns (hence the name), these are delightful with a white chocolate glaze drizzle.
The Buche de Noel might look a bit like a log, but it’s far more pleasant to sink your teeth into than a hunk of Douglas fir.
There’s nothing quite as festive as the Buche de Noel after you trim it in decorative Christmas details, but this charming Autumnal recipe gets pretty close.
The butter cake has a vanilla bean whipped frosting filling, a whipped chocolate ganache, and tiny meringue mushrooms decorations.
The quatre quarts cake is very similar to American pound cake, featuring the same classic loaf shape and drizzly glaze.
Instead of a pound of each ingredient, a la pound cake, quatre quarts (four quarters) comprise four key components, each in almost equal measure: butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.
Goat cheese and ricotta aren’t typical dessert ingredients, but the French region of Corsica disagrees with that sentiment.
Unlike the cheesecakes you’re probably used to, there’s no cookie base.
Instead, the custard is firm enough to stand on its own, baking up into a mouthwateringly light and fluffy cake with a hint of lemon.
Souffles are a notoriously finicky French custard, particularly for their tendency to collapse faster than you can say “Au revoir!”
The key to successfully whipping up this creamy cocoa-laden recipe is thoroughly whipped egg whites and an adequately calibrated oven.
Rest assured that even if your first few attempts go down like a lead balloon, it’s nothing a spoonful of decadent creme Anglaise can’t hide.
At first glance, the novice French desserts fan might mistake a vacherin for a dacquoise.
Both pastries have a meringue base; vacherin is made with cornflour and hazelnuts instead of AP flour and almonds.
This version adds apples, spices, and sultanas to the stack, resulting in a dessert you can be proud to serve at any fall festivity.
The bottom line
Despite their reputation, French desserts aren’t impossible to master just because you didn’t attend one of the Parisian culinary schools.
In fact, many of these recipes use the same basic foundations: choux dough, creme patisserie, egg custard, meringue, and puff, for countless variations!
If you can nail just a few fundamentals, you’ll be the talk of the town and have an open invitation to every dinner party, as long as you’re willing to bring dessert.
- Modern Day Charlotte Russe
- Chai Spice Meringue Cookies
- Sous Vide Cinnamon Mocha Pots De Crème
- Homemade Chouquettes
- Dacquoise With Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- Blackberry Cream Puffs
- Coconut Cherry Petits Gâteaux
- Vanilla Canale
- Mousse Au Chocolat
- Cherry Clafoutis
- Creme Patissiere
- Cranberry White Chocolate Creme Brulee
- Napoléon Mille-Feuille Cream Pastry
- French Opera Cake
- Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Palmiers
- Lemon Sugar Crepes With Whipped Cream Cheese
- French Chocolate Madeleines
- Apple Tarte Tatin
- Classic French Macaron With Vanilla Buttercream FIlling
- Praline Creme Paris-Brest
- Chestnut Mont Blanc
- Pistachio Religieuse
- Classic Buche De Noel
- Quatre Quarts Glazed Lemon Cake
- Fiadone Corsican Cheesecake
- Chocolate Soufflé With Creme Anglaise
- Apple And Hazelnut Vacherin
- Choose one or more options from our list of French desserts here!
- Create your new favorite delicate dessert!
- Pat yourself on the back for making food at home!
- Share and comment!
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