As a lover of all things French cuisine, I’m always on the hunt for new and classic French breakfast items to start my day. From crispy pastries to egg dishes and everything in between, the French truly know how to turn breakfast into a luxurious affair.
After many trips to France and much experimentation in my own kitchen, I’ve rounded up 14 of my favorite popular foods for a French-inspired breakfast.
1. French Scrambled Eggs
There’s nothing quite as simple yet satisfying as a plate of perfectly creamy scrambled eggs.
But the French take this basic breakfast up a notch by cooking the eggs slowly over low heat, resulting in rich and velvety curds.
Served alongside slices of crusty baguette and sprinkled with chives, these French-style scrambled eggs are the ideal way to start a relaxing morning.
The buttery toast is perfect for dipping into the soft eggs. It’s amazing how such a basic dish can be elevated into something elegant with just a few small tweaks.
When I think of French breakfast pastries, warm and sweet beignets coated in powdered sugar immediately come to mind.
Beignets are essentially just fried buns of dough, but that crispy golden exterior followed by a soft, pillowy interior is pure perfection.
And a heavy dusting of powdered sugar adds the final touch of sweetness. I love waking up early on weekend mornings to fry up a fresh batch of beignets for a sweet beginning to the day.
The crisp dough paired with coffee is my ideal breakfast.
3. French Radishes with Butter and Salt on Toast
The French have a beautiful way of incorporating vegetables into breakfast without compromising on flavor. One of my favorite simple morning meals is fresh radishes served on buttered toast with a pinch of salt.
The sharp crispness of the radishes contrasts beautifully with the creamy buttered toast. Not only is this open-faced radish toast easy to make, it also feels lighter than heavier breakfasts while still providing satisfaction.
And the pops of color from the red radishes make this dish as visually appealing as it is tasty.
4. Croque Madame
For a heartier French breakfast option, the croque madame is a sophisticated sandwich that hits all the right notes.
It starts with the classic combo of ham and melted cheese on bread, but what sets the croque madame apart is the fried egg on top. The runny yolk takes this sandwich to the next level.
I like to add a smear of mustard for some tanginess to balance the rich egg and salty ham. It may sound simple, but the interplay of textures and flavors is what makes this a satisfying breakfast.
5. French Cruller Donuts
Donuts for breakfast? The French say, “Oui!” French crullers are an elegant, deep-fried pastry similar to a croissant dough recipe but shaped into long twists.
These croux dough donuts are lightly hollow inside with a crispy, golden brown exterior. Once fried, they get dusted with powdered sugar for a final touch of sweetness.
While you can find some version of French crullers at most donut shops, I love the fun weekend project of frying them from scratch at home.
The homemade pastries mean I can serve my family warm, melt-in-your-mouth crullers for a treat.
6. French Toast Roll Ups
For a breakfast on-the-go, these French toast roll ups are genius! Simply spread cinnamon sugar inside a slice of bread, roll it up, then dip the roll in an egg bath and pan fry until crispy on the outside.
The result is a handheld breakfast treat that makes mornings easier. The gooey cinnamon sugar filling and satisfying crunch from the browned exterior checks all my boxes for an ideal quick breakfast.
I like to double or triple the batch and keep extras in the fridge for busy mornings. Just grab and go!
7. Pain Au Chocolat
The iconic pain au chocolat is a flaky croissant dough wrapped around chocolate batons, creating a breakfast pastry that looks as good as it tastes. The intricate, layered exterior encases melted chocolate in buttery dough.
While pain au chocolat may look fancy, the recipe itself is easy enough to make for a weekend baking project.
I love serving a basket of freshly baked chocolate croissants for weekend guests or as part of a Parisian-style breakfast spread.
The rich chocolate combined with crisp, buttery dough is the ultimate satisfying morning treat.
8. French Breakfast Puffs
Say hello to your new favorite breakfast! These French breakfast puffs have a texture similar to English muffins but are round, muffin-like pastries with a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping.
The cinnamon sugar gives them a delicious sweetness that pairs perfectly with coffee or tea.
Since the batter needs to rise overnight, I like to make it the night before so that all I have to do is pop them in the oven in the morning.
With just 15 minutes of active baking time, that’s an easy weekday or weekend breakfast everyone will love.
9. French Toast
No roundup of French breakfast foods would be complete without the classic French toast. Also known as “pain perdu”, which means lost bread, French toast originated as a scrumptious solution for what to make with stale bread.
Simply dip the bread in an egg bath, then fry in butter until golden brown for a comforting treat. While cinnamon-raisin bread is my personal favorite, brioche and challah also work wonderfully.
Top with fresh fruit, maple syrup, powdered sugar, nut butter – the possibilities are endless! French toast makes for a weekend breakfast the whole family will enjoy.
10. French Hot Chocolate
Few things are as decadent as a mug of real French hot chocolate. This thick, rich drink is so much more than just mixing cocoa powder with hot water or milk.
Authentic French hot chocolate is made from melted chocolate, milk or cream, and sugar for a luxurious treat. The result is a silky, deeply chocolatey cup that puts instant hot cocoa mix to shame.
I like to top mine with whipped cream or marshmallows. Drinking this feels like a hug in a mug and the perfect accompaniment to French breakfast pastries.
11. Chaussons aux Pommes
Chaussons aux pommes are a sweet French breakfast pastry that looks impressive but is easy to whip up.
They’re essentially apple turnovers wrapped up in croissant dough. Soft, sweet apples are the perfect filling complement to the flaky, buttery exterior.
Assemble them the night before, then bake in the morning for fresh pastries ready right when you wake up.
While store-bought cherry or apple turnovers are fine, nothing compares to the taste of homemade, especially when using seasonally fresh apples.
Your guests will be amazed that you made these beautiful pastries yourself.
12. Buckwheat Crepes
For a savory French breakfast, these buckwheat crepes are just the ticket. The nutty flavor and texture of buckwheat flour makes it ideal for thin, delicate crepes perfect for rolling up with fillings.
I like to fill my buckwheat crepes simply with spinach, cheese, and egg for a quick but satisfying breakfast. The possibilities for fillings are endless, though, so get creative with veggies, meats, and cheeses.
This easy, 4-ingredient crepe batter comes together in minutes in a blender.
For a fun twist, try a sweet crepe with chocolate spread and banana.
13. Cafe Au Lait
No French breakfast spread would be complete without cafe au lait. Translation – coffee with milk. But not just any coffee with milk – cafe au lait is specially prepared by brewing strong coffee and heating milk until foamy and frothy.
The perfectly frothed milk is gently poured over the coffee to create distinct layers of dark coffee below and light, creamy milk foam on top.
It’s much more elegant than just mixing coffee and milk together. Sipping the nutty coffee through the silky foam is pure bliss.
Cafe au lait is how the French start leisurely weekend mornings.
And last but certainly not least, what would a French breakfast be without croissants? These iconic pastries of layered, buttery dough are a quintessential part of the French breakfast experience.
A freshly baked croissant straight from the bakery with a smear of jam or honey is perfection. While you can find decent croissants at most cafes and bakeries, nothing quite compares to homemade.
My fast croissant recipe produces flaky pastries in just a couple hours. Even novice bakers can master the art of croissants. Serve them up to kickstart your day the French way.