French cooking has a reputation for being fancy, over-the-top, and almost impossible to master unless you’re a highly-qualified professional chef. However, that stereotype isn't necessarily justified. There are of course certain dishes which require incredibly complex technical skills, and hours and hours of practice, but there are many French, and French-inspired recipes, that any keen home cook can master.
While we’re not going to recommend that you attempt to make your own baguettes, ballotine, or mille-feuille for your next dinner party — unless you really want to set yourself an exhausting, time-consuming challenge — we definitely do encourage you to host a French-inspired fête, centered around some simpler recipes. Try starting your meal with homemade cheese gougères, followed by a classic coq au vin, and ending with a summer-perfect cherry clafoutis; your guests will be incredibly impressed with your culinary skills.
If you do want to try making some of the fancier French dinner party dishes, we have some cheat’s tricks and tips so that you can really show off to your guests, despite not actually having a degree from culinary school. A quiche Lorraine becomes a simple dish when you swap the homemade pastry for store-bought, and cassoulet doesn’t need to take 24 hours to prepare — in fact, with our sneaky recipe, you can have it cooked to perfection in less than 30 minutes. Read on to discover our favorite easy French recipes that will definitely impress all of your guests.