5 Basic French Cooking Techniques

by karina on July 16, 2014

French cuisine is one of the most popular European food that a lot of people are particularly interested in. Basic French Cooking is what most amateur chefs look forward to learning first. Why, the techniques and methods of cooking are unique yet very easy.

Cooking styles that one must learn include sautéing, poaching, and flambéing. Once a chef learns the basic cooking techniques, cooking and following recipes become easier.

If you want to learn basic French cooking, here are the top five basic techniques you must learn:


braising basic french cooking

This method of cooking uses dry and moist heat. Food is seared at very high heat to seal in natural juices and then finished in a covered pot. Braising relies on the moisture levels, temperatures, and time to break down the meat’s collagen.

Most less expensive but tough cuts of meat require braising and is done through slow cookers.



flambe french style cooking

This French cooking technique is mostly used to add more flavors to a special dish. It is done towards the end of the cooking. Most chefs add alcohol to the food in the pan to produce flames that are immediately burnt away. The aroma and flavor still remain in the dish.

Some dishes that require flambéing are coq au vin, cherries jubilee, and bananas foster. Flambé means flamed in French.


Grilling is one of the most common cooking techniques done all over the world. To grill and to broil is the same thing. Most chefs or home cooks prefer grilling because it’s easy to do. It’s one of the most popular cooking activities in any backyard event.

Grilling requires dry heat from below. Meanwhile, to broil involves heat from above. These two methods are almost similar but they both give the food a unique flavour.

Aside from grilling or broiling, there’s also barbecuing and smoking as another two methods to cook. The two usually involve use of specific woods for cooking.


poached eggs


This French style of cooking involves simmering of foods in liquid slowly. Liquid used consists of milk, stock, wine, or water. Some of the most common foods poached include fruits, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Poaching is done because some foods are delicate they can easily dry out or fall apart. One of most common item in a French breakfast menu is a poached egg. Poaching eggs include using vinegar, water, and then eggs are simmered until there are no more runny whites.



To sauté is to quickly cook food over high heat. A skillet is usually used to hold the food. It uses butter, wine, or oil to quickly fry and is done by stirring or tossing the ingredients. Food is monitored regularly while cooking to prevent the dish from burning.

Sautéing results to the food turning brown but with the natural flavor, texture, and moisture retained. The word sauté literally means ‘to jump’ in the French language.


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