18 French Cooking Shows on YouTube to Help You Learn French
One of the secret ingredients to learning French is to make the process as enjoyable and motivating as possible. So, if you love cooking, why not combine the two passions? You’ll then find that you are more motivated to overcome the sometimes-challenging moments that learning a language can present.
Even if you think of cooking as more of a chore than a passion, there are still some great reasons to add spice to your French practice with some French cooking shows and YouTube videos.
- If you follow a recipe or set of instructions in French, you are applying the language in a practical way. This will help reinforce what you learn far more effectively than learning in a more passive or theoretical manner.
- Although cooking has its specialised vocabulary, it also uses a lot of high-frequency words and phrases, from foods to kitchen items, and from adjectives of quantity to common action verbs. Hearing them in context will also help you learn this vocabulary more quickly.
- Many French cooking YouTube videos are unscripted, so you get to hear native speakers talking French in a natural, conversational tone that will improve your listening comprehension skills.
- Finally, French cooking shows are an excellent form of cultural immersion. Food is central to French life, and learning about French cuisine will give you insights into French culture. It will also expose you to the rich regional varieties of France through the country’s cooking.
If you’d like to find out more ideas for learning French with YouTube videos, be sure to check out our Best YouTube Channels for Learning French article. And if all this talk of food is making you hungry, you can read this blog post on Paris’ most famous restaurants, or this one on classic French dishes.
French YouTube videos for Beginners
If you are just starting out learning French, you might find watching YouTube videos in French a bit daunting and overwhelming. However, that doesn't mean there is nothing for you on YouTube. FrenchPod101 is a good place to start. Their videos won’t teach you how to whip up a French feast just yet, but they do introduce some useful French for cooking vocabulary you will need if you want to learn to cook in French.
Try these two YouTube ‘appetisers’ to get you started:
Intermediate Level French Cooking Videos
The best French cooking YouTube videos at the Intermediate level are those that have been created by French teachers and are specifically targeted at people learning the language. Here is a selection to start with, a first course in your French language learning feast.
This is an excellent introductory to cooking in French. French teacher Pierre has posted a series of videos on his Français avec Pierre channel. He speaks very slowly and clearly and teaches some simple dishes like crepes and quiche Lorraine – excellent French recipes for beginners. Sadly, he has only made seven cooking videos. To find them, go to his channel and under Playlists look for ‘Learn French with French Recipes’.
Pierre hasn’t added any cooking videos for a while, and another promising YouTube channel that combines learning French with cooking, Learn French with Nina, also appears to be on hiatus for now, leaving us with just five cooking videos.
Bonjour de France has a cooking playlist, Cuisine – Recettes, which although spoken clearly and at a manageable pace are a bit on the short side. They would therefore suit learners who already have some cooking skills. Again, there is only a modest selection of seven recipes, and no new additions to the playlist have been added for several years.
Bonjour de France
Katy’s YouTube channel posts videos on topics like French culture for French intermediate learners. As well as being a language teacher, she also has real-life experience running cooking workshops for foreigners, refugees, and jobseekers. The fact that she has learned several languages herself equips her with the ability to explain things simply and clearly for language learners.
French teacher Elsa is one of the most popular YouTubers for French learners – she has hundreds of videos on her Piece of French YouTube channel covering a range of topics. Among her content, you’ll find a playlist dedicated to cooking videos that show how to make everyday dishes. Intermediate level learners will find her videos relatively easy to understand and the recipes are straightforward enough, ideal French recipes for beginners.
Piece of French
French Cooking Shows for Advanced Speakers
If you’re an advanced French learner, then you can enjoy the crème de la crème of cooking in France shows!
Marmiton is one of the most popular cooking shows in France. There are a lot of 30-second videos without dialogue, so next to useless if you want to improve your French. The longer instructional videos are no more than 5 minutes in length, which makes them easy to digest. However, the brevity can be frustrating for novice cooks tackling the complexity of French cooking and its need for precise technique. Marmiton’s lively Comments sections often provide valuable insights, with posters sometimes offering alternative steps for the recipes.
Julie Andrieu is a French food critic, cookbook author, and TV presenter. Julie Andrieu en France is produced by the French TV channel France 3 so production values are high. Julie motors around France in her cool red Peugeot 304 Cabriolet, introducing us to the regional cuisines of France and discovering traditional recipes. Mme Andrieu speaks very clearly, although not all her guests do. There’s a huge variety of videos to watch on this cooking in France show, and even if you are not interested in learning to cook, there are videos on gardening (or more precisely, growing vegetables and fruit for the kitchen), and videos that combine cooking with travelogues.
Julie Andrieu en France
The 750g YouTube French cooking show has a few different hosts, including Silvia aka Mamma Italia who speaks French with a strong Italian accent (actually quite easy to understand). It’s one of the best French cooking YouTube channels for step-by-step instructions, and one of the most useful features is the section called La meilleure façon de… which gives tips on how to successfully execute specific recipes.
Most of the 750 grammes videos are short, but they have some interesting longer content, such as behind-the-scenes glimpses of the best restaurant in the world, or an international cooking competition.
Despite the English name, Enjoy Cooking is very much a French affair. It has dozens of recipes, lots of baking and sweet things, but also vegetarian and gluten-free recipes. The host, Marie Lopez – who also goes by the name of EnjoyPhoenix – speaks very quickly so subtitles may come in handy. She’s one of France’s most popular young YouTubers, so if you enjoy her presentation style, you can explore her other YouTube channels on an eclectic mix of subjects: paranormal investigations, video challenges, makeup tutorials, and open house tours. You can even watch her play World of Warcraft for (literally) hours and hours if you feel so inclined.
This French cooking show is for the vegetarians and vegans. We think of French food as full of meat, fat, sugar, etc but of course you can enjoy healthy, organic French food too. Not only does she introduce recipes suitable for vegetarians and vegans, but she tries to keep it 100% organic, minimise waste, and shop responsibly (when possible).
If your interest is in baking and creating other sweet dishes, then Les Pépites de Cloé is a great resource. The host, Cloé, is a pastry cook by trade, and speaks at a reasonably moderate pace so shouldn’t be difficult to understand for upper intermediate and advanced learners. And even if you find the pace of her speech too quick, some of her videos are accompanied by French subtitles to help with comprehension. There are lots of recipes on the channel, plus some live streams where she interacts with her followers. There’s also a playlist of vlogs that cover not only recipes and cooking in France but travel and lifestyle.
Chocmiel has hundreds and hundreds of videos presented in a very engaging manner. The host, Audrey, has a playlist of recipes she recreates from pop culture references, for example, pancakes as seen in ‘Friends’, or Bree Van de Kamp’s Shepherd’s Pie in Desperate Housewives (though I would have thought Bree’s Lemon Meringue pie was the more famous dish). More recently she has been posting an increasing number of vlog-style videos, such as videos from her trips to South Korea and Canada, Ikea hauls, and, for Halloween, cooking up a meal in an abandoned building!
The YouTube channel is more of a teaser for L’atelier des Chefs’ online cooking course, with lots of shorts showing samples of the many dishes you can learn to make. There are also a handful of full-length videos (10-20 minutes), although the full-length recipes tend to be for international rather than French dishes (ceviche, tiramisu, samosas, etc). The main reason I’ve included this channel is that it may inspire the more confident French speakers to consider enrolling in their online cooking course. Courses are live, run every day, are targeted at all levels of cooking skill, and the 30-minute lessons cost around the same as an iTalki lesson!
L'atelier des Chefs
Finally, reality cooking shows have become a global sensation, and France is no exception. Reality cooking shows in French can make an entertaining alternative to your typical learning resources, with their blend of competition, human drama and, of course, the opportunity to discover new cooking techniques.
The MasterChef brand has been recreated in dozens of countries around the world. In France it didn’t quite catch the imagination of the public as it did in some other countries and only six seasons were made. All episodes are available on their YouTube channel and, conveniently for us, they’ve also created playlists featuring recipes and cooking techniques. It’s not always easy for non-native speakers to understand, so you may have to rely on the auto-generated subtitles.
Other reality cooking shows on YouTube channels
Dans la peau d’un chef, a France 2 cooking show from about 10 years ago that ran for four seasons. The YouTube channel has hundreds of video recipes.
Le Meilleur Pâtissier, one of France’s most popular reality cooking shows.
Qui sera le prochain grand pâtissier ? Who Will be the Next Great Pastry Chef? This series ran for four seasons, and the YouTube channel collects all the episodes.
Using YouTube cooking videos in French can be a fun and effective way to improve your French skills. French cuisine is world-renowned and an integral part of French culture, so as you learn to cook in French, you're not just gaining culinary know-how but also diving into the heart of the French way of life. It’s a win-win, combining two useful skills: French language learning and cooking. Bon appétit!
Nick is an English teacher who has taught English as a Foreign Language in China, Italy and France. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Modern Languages), majoring in French, from the University of New South Wales. He loves travel, reading and football and, of course, learning languages. Four years ago, Nick and his wife co-founded an online English language school targeted at the Chinese market (since sold to Chinese investors). He has also ghost-written the autobiography of a well-known Australian horse trainer.
Extensive reading in French will not only unlock the beauty of the French language but also gain insights into its culture and heritage. Happy reading, and enjoy exploring new worlds through the pages of French texts!