The Best Julia Child Recipes You Haven't Heard Of (2024)

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Sheela Prakash

Sheela PrakashSenior Contributing Food Editor

Sheela is the Senior Contributing Food Editor at Kitchn and the author of Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and is also a Registered Dietitian.


updated Aug 15, 2023





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The Best Julia Child Recipes You Haven't Heard Of (1)

We all know and love Julia Child for her cooking wisdom and sense of humor. She produced so many tried-and-true recipes over the years that it’s hard to keep track of all of them. In honor of her birthday (August 15), and to take a deeper look at the breadth of recipes she left us, we chatted with 15 smart pro home cooks who have cooked their way through a whole lot of her dishes.

Here are the Julia Child recipes they’ve come to love the most (and think you should try!). Some of the dishes are famous and very much worth the hype, like her Coq au Vin. But there are also some undersung heroes we think you’ll love too. In the words of the American queen of French cuisine, “Cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy.”

15 Julia Child Quotes to Live By

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1. French Dressing

I have learned so much from so many Julia Child recipes, but it’s one of her most basic recipes that I find most useful and have tried to teach others over the years. In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, it’s her very basic, but very wonderful, chapter on vinaigrettes that I love. So many Americans still buy salad dressing, which seems silly! Her basic Oil and Vinegar sauce (Sauce Vinaigrette/French Dressing) on page 94 is so versatile and useful. I love all the variations in the following pages contained within that chapter. — Kathy Gunst, food writer, @kathygunst

2. Quiche Lorraine

While many of Julia’s recipes seem more like “projects” than everyday fare, her Quiche Lorraine recipe is one for the ages that can work at any time of day, be made ahead and refrigerated and reheated (or not), and utilizes a few simple techniques and ingredients for a stunning dish. My well-loved copy of the recipe resides in my kitchen handbook, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes From a Lifetime of Cooking. (My edition has it on page 93.) What I love best about the recipe and book, though, is that it offers very straightforward and simple instructions with notes and elaborations on how to adapt and extend the recipe. That layout and user-friendliness proves why Julia was the mistress of home cooking — no one does it quite like she did. Her Quiche Lorraine recipe is one every home cook should visit often. — Deanna Fox, food writer, @deannanfox

3. Upside-Down Martini

My favorite Julia recipe isn’t a food recipe, but rather her favorite après-dinner drink. The Upside-Down Martini (sometimes called a Reverse Martini) flips the idea of a booze-forward co*cktail on its head by making dry vermouth the heavyweight of the drink. This switch in the vermouth-to-gin ratio (JC preferred it in a five-to-one formula) fashions a drink that’s low-ABV, delicious, and especially ideal as a pre-dinner apéritif. Julia said, “The best thing about a Reverse Martini is that you can have two of them,” and she’s right. Another best thing is that you can serve this martini on the rocks and in any glass that isn’t a standard, ergonomically flawed martini glass. — Rebekah Peppler, author of Apéritif: co*cktail Hour the French Way, @rebekahpeppler

4. Chicken Waterzooi

I love this stew recipe because of her story behind it and also the luxurious sauce made of hot cooking juices and cream, a little cornstarch, and egg yolks. — Julia Turshen, author of Feed the Resistance, Small Victories, and , @turshen

5. Crêpes

My favorite Julia recipe is for crêpes. I first tackled crepes in ninth grade when I promised to make them for my high school French club, and then turned to Julia’s recipe to teach myself how to make good on my promise. A few days later, I cranked out Crêpes Suzette for around 30 people (on a hotplate in a classroom, no less). I continue to use her recipe all these many years later. Crêpes always feel fancy, but are made from pantry basics — and the technique, once mastered, is foolproof. This video of Julia making crêpes didn’t exist back then, but I’m heartened each time I watch it now. — Sheri Castle, food writer and author, @sheri.castle

Her Coq au Vin never cuts corners, but that’s why it’s so good: searing the chicken, flaming the Cognac, thickening with a butter-flour paste at the end, and mushrooms cooked separately so they have deep, browned flavors and don’t turn to mush. Each step is beautifully French and makes a difference. — Christine Gallary, food editor-at-large, @cgallary

7. Lemon-Oil Dressing

My favorite Julia Child recipe is a really simple one: Julia’s Lemon-Oil Dressing in Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. I use it on salads and steamed vegetables. It’s basically a classic French vinaigrette with lemon juice instead of vinegar, so the flavor is fresh and bright. She instructs you to emulsify the dressing with a lot of whisking, but when I’m feeling lazy I’ll just shake everything up in a jar, or use an immersion blender instead! — Coco Morante, author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook, @cocomorante

8. Chicken Liver Mousse

This seems a bit strange, but it’s her Chicken Liver Mousse. I made it for the first time six years ago. It was the first time I had ever worked with chicken livers, but that’s what I admire most about Julia: She takes something that can be a bit intimidating and makes it not only approachable, but she also gives you permission to fail because she goofs and blunders herself all the time. With this recipe I didn’t fail. It was the most luxuriously smooth chicken liver paté I’ve ever had. It was lightly seasoned with thyme and Cognac and not stingy with the cream. Its success has so much to do with Julia’s dedication to the success of home cooks and her friendly voice that anticipates our fears and trepidations. She’s an absolute legend for a reason. She’s a friend in the kitchen pushing you to try new foods, techniques, and recipes, but if things don’t go according to plan she’d be the first one to pour the wine. — Ashley Rodriguez, food writer and author of Date Night In, @ashrod

9. Boeuf Bourguignon

My favorite Julia Child recipe is her Boeuf Bourguignon. It’s not at all unknown, sure, but hear me out: This recipe is the ultimate backdrop for New England fall. I usually make it with my SO on chilly weekend trips up to the Berkshires, and as it simmers for hours on end, we’ll make a fire, embark on a jigsaw puzzle, uncork another bottle (or two) of red wine, and let the house gradually fill up with the smell of caramelized onions. Truth be told, I was gifted a Le Creuset Dutch oven one Christmas just because I love making this particular recipe so often. — Oset Babur, food and culture writer, @baburoset

10. Reine de Saba

I’ve been making this cake for decades and it never fails to delight and impress. I love how the almond and chocolate flavors enhance each other, but what really makes it special is the rich, fudgy middle which is achieved by slightly under-baking it. — Dana Velden, food writer, @danalouisevelden

11. Cherry Clafoutis

This effortless Julia recipe is so creamy & delicious! After working my way through many of her famous savory dishes, I couldn’t believe the simplicity of the cherry clafoutis. Think: a cross between a custard and a cake loaded with the sweetest summer cherries. A recipe that can be served for breakfast OR dessert is always a win in my house. I love trying it with various fruits throughout the different seasons too! — Marcella DiLonardo, food writer & author of Bake The Seasons, @modestmarce

Julia writes that this is “as simple a dessert to make as you can imagine,” which is particularly wonderful because, as much as I love Julia, her desserts can go far beyond “simple.” Of course, there is a time and a place for more technical, complicated recipes, but when you’re not up for a big kitchen production, this cherry clafouti is the ticket. It’s made with basic ingredients and features a fun little trick to set a thin layer of batter in the bottom of the baking pan before you add your cherries, then topping with the full amount of batter and sending off to bake. — Rossi Anastopoulo, blog editor at King Arthur Baking, @abakinggirl

12. Pièce de Boeuf à la Cuillère

I’ve cooked many Julia Child recipes for me and my husband, and the one that is still most frequently talked about is her Pièce de Boeuf à la Cuillère. It takes some work to make, but it is so worth the effort. The red wine-braised beef is hollowed out to make an empty shell and is filled with a mixture of chopped beef, mushrooms, ham, and braising sauce. My favorite part is the Parmesan crust on the outside of the beef. This makes for an amazing dinner with an incredible presentation. It’s everything you’d expect from a Julia Child recipe, and I can’t get enough of it. Laura Bullock, food blogger and recipe developer, @laurathegastronaut

13. Pissaladière Niçoise

As a producer on the Julia companion podcast that Cherry Bombe created for HBO Max, I took a deep dive into Mastering the Art of French Cooking and especially love Julia’s Pissaladière Niçoise. It contains my version of the Holy Trinity — onions, anchovies, and olives — and the French Chef’s take on the classic tart is my perfect anytime meal. I don’t always have time to make the pâte brisée dough from scratch and found a frozen pastry shell works fine in a pinch. The savory dish pairs well with a bright green salad and Provençal rosé! Catherine Baker, Cherry Bombe managing editor, @kitkat.cooks

14. Scrambled Eggs

Julia Child’s scrambled eggs were a revelation for me. My aunt got me a copy ofMastering the Art of French Cookingwhen I went to college, and while my cooking skills didn’t match my enthusiasm, this book truly gave me some crucial building blocks in the kitchen. The recipe itself is simple enough, but lays out exactly how to make the perfect silky scrambled eggs (low and slow) in true Julia fashion. I still use her method when I’m craving scrambled eggs all these years later. Alexis DeBoschnek, recipe developer and host, author of To The Last Bite, @alexisdeboschnek

15. Tarte Tatin

Hertarte tatinis a relatively easy-yet-showstopping upside-down caramelized apple tart that brings lots of oohs and ahhhs when brought to the dinner table. You make the pastry in a stand mixer, which Julia recommends, compared to using your hands, which tend to get warm and affect the pastry texture. What I love about this crowd-pleasing dessert is how it’s very forgiving, so if the sliced apples get over (or even under) caramelized, the result is still delicious! Tara Holland, recipe developer and food writer, @mymidlifespices

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