French food for kids you can make at home for a French-inspired meal. Child-friendly French specialties the whole family will love.
French food is world-famous.
Picture yourself on a delightful vacation in France and chances are the picture contains some food. What is your waiter serving you: Oysters? Escargots? A board of cheese, to be washed down by a local label of red?
France is a treasure trove of culinary delights but how about french food for kids?
If your kids are not adventurous eaters, what kid-friendly food is available in France? What will they be chomping on, while you are savoring artisan bread with soft cheese form the farm?
We had our fair share or trips with fussy eaters and thankfully, in France we have always found food they did like, so much so that now we can have some of these foods at home and dream back of our time in France.
After all, it was Proust and his famous Madeleine who made famous the feeling biting into familiar foods as a way to recall strong family memories, so using French food to evoke France seems to make perfect sense!
This is our quick guide to real french food for kids, to savour in France and back home!
French food for kids: kid-friendly French specialties for the whole family
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Traditional French breakfast foods for kids
Croissants are maybe the most famous of all French pastries. Crescent shapes (that’s what croissant means) , croissants are solf in cafes and bakeries and are a delight of buttery decadence.
they are not easy to made at home and even in France you would buy them, not bake then yourself, and they are rich albeit heavy way to make our breakfast French.
You can have them plain or with butter and marmalade.
If you want to style your breakfast table the French way, put them in a cure basket with mini butters and mini jams – you will feel like you are in a little French hotel or Parisian cafe’!
A lovely alternative to a plain croissant is a croissant aux amandes, which is covered in a crunchy layer of chopped almonds and dusted with icing sugar – absolutely wonderful!
What to drink with your French breakfast? Coffee for the adults, orange juice for the kids, milk or chocolate will do the trick!
Pain au chocolate
If your kids don’t love the buttery taste of croissants (they are not super sweet, then they may like pain au chocolate.
This probably is already very familiar to them but this is not necessarily a bad thing: at home, it means you can find them easily and in France, they can be a good way to start the day with something they already know.
Pain aux raisins
Another breakfast pastry and a snack your kids may love is pain aux raisins.
Similar to a croissant in terms of basic pastry, pain aux raisins is usually shaped like a snail (round and spirally) and has raisins, that at least with my kids always prove to be a real hit!
Baguette is maybe the most famous of all French breads, the one we imagine when picturing a morning bike ride in the French countryside with a basket and lavender fields (I know, cliches but when we dream of vacations, it is allowed!)
Baguette is the long shaped bread with a crusty exterior and soft heart and it is perfect any time of the day.
For breakfast it is usually served with butter and marmalade, which is a less fatty alternative to a croissant breakfast, and during the day can be eaten plain or with butter or pates.
Child-friendly French food for lunch and dinner
Our go to French food when eating out with the kids in France is streak Frites, aka a small stake with potatoes.
The name ‘steak frites’ encompasses quite a few variations of meat + potatoes so you can get different types of meat at different price points however, usually for kids you get a thin type of steak cut, accompanies by fried potatoes (French Fries).
If you are making steak frites at home, you can opt for any type of beef cut your kids prefer and make your standard French fries and still have a delicious French meal – super easy!
A croque monsieur is another French classic our kids gobbles up while in France and back home and it is a cheese and ham toast.
The croque monsieur is usually served for lunch in cafes and is tasty and satisfying: two slices of bread are stuffed with ham (cooked, not Parma ham), cheese and then toasted for a generous-sized quick snack!
Depending on the exact recipe, you can find croque monsieur with bechamelle and mustard or plain so at home, you can make it to your kids taste knowing you are statying in-tradition no matter what!
For the more traditional taste, opt for jamon blanc (no fat, cooked on the bone ham) and Emmental type cheese and finish with melted cheese on top, cooked almost to a crisp!
In French menus, you often see the Croque monsieur beside another croque, the croque madame!
The croque madame is a croque monsieur with an egg on top which is a lovely addition as it makes the most moister.
Galettes are one of the most famous and most delicious foods from western France, and they are savoury pancakes make with sarraceine grain: buckweat flour.
Galettes look very much like what we would call a French pancake but they are darker in appearance and served with savory fillings: ham, cheese, salad and tomatoes, smoked salmon and eggs are all delicious, kid-friendly and traditional fillings!
Kids may be familiar with a ratatouille from the kids movie by the same name and indeed, this is a lovely dish to add some vegetables to your kids meal.
Ratatouille is a mixed vegetable dish made with summer vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and onions cooked together and served as a colorful vegetarian casserole with artisan bread
Cassoulet – French meat and white bean stew
If, like me, you are always trying to get more pulses and beans into your kids diet, then you may want to to introduce them to cassoulet, French casserole with different types of meat and white beans.
Cassoulet is lovely in winter and makes for an easy meal that kids usually gobble up. It comes originally from the southwest of France and Languedoc.
Bouillabaisse – French fish soup
With those amazing long coastlines, it is no surprise that traditional French food sports many fish specialties and one kids usually like is bouillabaisse, fish soup.
Bouillabaisse is usually made with stewed fish, seafood, onions and spices (saffron, bay leaf) and it is served with slices of artisan bread. The dish is said to be originally from the South of France and in particular from the region of Marseille.
Quches are very common in France and a great way to give your kids a pretty complete meal all in one serving.
Quiche is a general term to indicate a savory pastry case with an egg custard filling and additional ingredients such as ham, goats cheese, smoked salmon and vegetables.
Whatever you go for in terms of filling, a quiche tends to be pretty rich however, this is usually served as a one dish meal with a side of salad so it’s an easy one to serve for a no fuss French inspired family meal!
if your kids love eggs, than another French classic is an omelette.
Not entirely dissimilar from what you may call an omelet back home, a French omelet is made with beaten eggs, cooked in a pan and can be plain or filled with ingredients of your liking.
For the perfect French presentation, serve it rolled up instead of folded.
French desserts and French snacks for kids
No list of French food for kids would be complete without a mention of crepes, French pancakes!
They are one of the most famous French foods in the world and kids adore them as they are sweet and can be dressed with almost anything you can think of, including Nutella (which it Italian but adopted by the French as a perfectly acceptable crepes filling a long time ago!)
Traditional French pancakes are thin and easy to make: you can find our tried and tested recipe to make French pancakes at home here.
Tarte framboise, tarte citron etc
French bakeries are full of all types of cakes and sweets but nothing is more evocative than France than a ‘tarte’, a small pastry case filled with lemon cream or berries.
Tarte or tartelettes are wonderful with tea, a kids afternoon snack or after a meal and they are a hit with kids as they have a buttery case, sweet cream and juicy berries – our favorite is with raspberries (framboises) or the lemon one!
Macaroons need no presentation: in the last few years, these little bites have encountered planetary fame and maybe because of their appearance or maybe because of their taste, they are a firm kids favorite.
While you can make them at home, they are not easy so if you want to serve them as part of a French-themed tea party, I recommend you simply buy them – make sure they are fresh though as hard, dry, low-quality macaroons are truly awful and defeat the purpose of such a pretty treat.
Tarte Tatin is a super sweet, super sticky, delicious French dessrts kids will love.
This is a cake that takes its name from the Tatin sisters, who made it first and served it as a specialty at their hotel, and it is made with a thin layer of pastry, apples, and tons of caramelized sugar, in a sort of upside-down apple tart.
Tarte Tatin is easy to make and a sure hit with children but it is sticky, so make sure you have water or wipes handy!
I hope you enjoyed this overview of French food for kids and it inspired you to make a family friendly French meal at home or get ready to a fantastic French vacation with family!