Kalyn's Kitchen

Cooking with Fresh Tarragon

Here are all my tips for Cooking with Fresh Tarragon just in case you’re lucky enough to have some growing in your vegetable garden! Tarragon grows like a weed, and it’s a wonderful flavor when used in small amounts. 

PIN the Fresh Tarragon Recipes to try some later!

Cooking with Fresh Tarragon top photo collage

This post about Cooking with Fresh Tarragon is next in the series about cooking with fresh herbs that started a few weeks ago with Cooking with Fresh Mint. And I do hope that anyone who’s growing herbs or buying them at the Farmers Market will get some new recipe ideas from these posts.

Of course if you’ve looked around this blog at all you can tell I’m a gardening and fresh herb enthusiast! For many years I wrote frequent posts about my garden on the blog, and talked about how I use garden produce in recipes. And even now that I have a much smaller garden I still like to spotlight vegetables and herbs that I’m using from the garden.

And recently I noticed my French Tarragon was completely out of control, so I thought that fresh tarragon must be be the perfect herb to spotlight next! I don’t think tarragon is as well-known or frequently used as many other fresh herbs, but I think people end up loving it once they try it. I hope you learn something about fresh tarragon and get inspired to try cooking with it if this herb is new to you!


cooking with French tarragon

Tips for Growing Tarragon:

If you want to grow tarragon or try cooking with it, the first important thing is to make sure you’re getting French Tarragon (and it can’t be grown from seed, so you will need to buy a plant if you want to grow it.)  There are several types of Tarragon, and Russian Tarragon and Mexican Tarragon are lacking the lovely anise-like flavor that makes French Tarragon so beloved. When when you see recipes that just list “tarragon” as an ingredient, it’s almost certain that it means French Tarragon. And just like many other herbs, you can freeze tarragon and use it in dishes all winter long.

What Does French Tarragon taste like?

French Tarragon has a flavor that’s somewhat similar to basil with but with more licorice flavor notes, and it’s stronger than basil so you only need a small amount of chopped fresh tarragon to add a lot of flavor to a recipe. It’s one of the main flavors in Béarnaise sauce, if you’ve ever had that wonderful French Sauce. And you might have also had Tarragon Vinegar or Green Goddess Salad Dressing, which also have that distinctive French Tarragon flavor.

French tarragon snipped from plants

What foods does French Tarragon go well with?

I think French Tarragon has a flavor that’s a little similar to basil with but with more licorice flavor notes, and it’s stronger than basil so you only need a small amount of chopped fresh tarragon to add a lot of flavor to a recipe. Tarragon traditionally is paired with chicken, eggs, fish, and a few vegetables, but in the last few years I’ve noticed creative cooks are combining it with many more things. 

I hope you enjoy trying some of these recipes with Fresh Tarragon from Kalyn’s Kitchen and my blogging friends.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing

When someone wonders if they like the flavor of French Tarragon, I ask them if they like Green Goddess Salad Dressing. I think that’s one of the first things I tasted that had this flavor (although at the time I didn’t know it was the French Tarragon flavor that made me love this dressing so much!)

Grilled Chicken with Tarragon-Mustard Marinade shot of grilled chicken on serving plate

Grilled Chicken with Tarragon Mustard Marinade might be a good one to try if you’ve never cooked with French Tarragon before, because the tarragon flavor is more subtle here.

Tarragon Shrimp Salad in salad bowl

I love French Tarragon with shrimp, and I really enjoy the flavors in this Tarragon Shrimp Salad.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon-Mustard Pan Sauce on plate

This very old but delicious recipe for Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon-Mustard Pan Sauce is so good I would happily make it for dinner guests!

Tarragon-Mustard Deviled Eggs on plate

French Tarragon, Mustard, and Egg was a perfect flavor combination in these Tarragon-Mustard Deviled Eggs!

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Feta and Tarragon Vinaigrette finished salad served in bowl

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Feta and Tarragon Vinaigrette is a simple idea but the dressing is so flavorful!

Tarragon Chicken Salad finished salad in serving bowl

And finally, this Tarragon Chicken Salad was the very first recipe I made when first tried French Tarragon, and right away I planted tarragon in my garden. I make this salad every summer and never get tired of it!

More French Tarragon with Chicken:

Tarragon Chicken Salad ~ Simply Recipes
Tarragon Chicken Fricassee ~ The Kitchn
Grilled Chicken Tarragon with Tomato Sauce ~ Simply Recipes
Chicken with Fresh Tarragon Pesto ~ Sidewalk Shoes
Creamy Tarragon Dijon Skillet Chicken ~ The Stay at Home Chef

More French Tarragon with Eggs:

Tarragon and Roasted Red Pepper Deviled Eggs ~ The Perfect Pantry
Tarragon Egg Salad from Simply Recipes
Chicken and Egg Salad with Tarragon Mustard Vinaigrette ~ The Perfect Pantry
Tarragon Egg Salad ~ Simply Recipes
French Tarragon over Creamed Eggs ~ Gluten Free Yummy

More French Tarragon with Fish:

Barbecued Salmon in Foil with Tarragon, Chives, and Vermouth ~ Cookin’ Canuck
Mussels in Tarragon Cream Sauce ~ Blue Kitchen
Lemon Tarragon Cod Fillets ~ $5 Dinners
Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette ~ The View from Great Island
Salmon with Dijon Tarragon Sauce ~ Life’s Ambrosia

More French Tarragon with Vegetables

Tomato-Tarragon Soup ~ Never Enough Thyme
Asparagus with Tarragon Vinaigrette ~ Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Tarragon Butter ~ White on Rice Couple
Roasted Artichokes with Lemon Tarragon Butter ~ I Breathe I’m Hungry

Pinterest image of Cooking with Fresh Tarragon

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    15 Comments on “Cooking with Fresh Tarragon”

  1. I really enjoyed this post!  I’ve not used Terragon very often, but recently tried it in eggs, and I was sold!  These recipes sound super yummy, so I can’t wait to try several of them.  Thank you. 🙂

  2. I make a tarragon white wine sauce for chicken that we love. I had to transplant mine when I moved the herb garden this year – seems to be working (fingers crossed)

  3. It sounds like Tarragon Chicken Salad is kind of a universal favorite!

    Sarah, glad the herb recipes are useful for you!

  4. I have just started an herb garden in earnest this summer and put in some tarragon (I think it ended up being French Tarragon, though). I am really enjoying cooking and trying the fresh herbs in so many things. Thanks so much for the great information and links to so many great looking recipes to try with this herb. I will be following more of your herb posts (and the lovely recipes you post). Thanks

  5. Oh my gosh, my tarragon is crazy! Every year, I expect it to finally overcome the oregano. . . love the recipe ideas!

    I like a little tarragon in chicken salad. Also, I like to pair it with orange – either stuff the cavity of a chicken, or a quick marinade or sauce for grilled breasts.

  6. Not sure why French Tarragon would be hard to find, but you can't grow it from seed, you need a plant.

  7. I actually don't really like the licorice flavor but adore tarragon…go figure. Thanks for all these ideas for using it!

  8. French tarragon used to be available in San Francisco East Bay garden stores but during the last few years have had trouble finding transplants. Seed packets are also difficult to find. Any suggestions?

  9. HI Kalyn –
    I love Tarragon! Here are two recipes in one post – one a corn chowder, the other pan seared scallops with tarragon vinaigrette.

    Tarragon vinegar is a great way to use your crop of tarragon.

  10. Thanks for the tarragon ideas everyone. Janet, it's definitely a perennial, mine has been going strong for about 6 years now!

  11. Love it! I need to find more weed-like herbs to grow. Is it a perennial? 🙂

    I discovered tarragon last year and really liked it, despite note liking licorice. This is one of my favourite recipes with it: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/white-bean-and-barley-salad-with-a-tomato-pomegranate-tarragon-sauce/

  12. Oh also tarragon vinegar! Infuse white vinegar with tarragon for a few months, put it in cute glass bottles and gift if to everyone you know. I find infused vinegars to be brilliant additions to dressings, sautes, etc all year long.

  13. I'm not a big fan of anise, so I can't count tarragon as a top herb. But making a simple syrup infused with the herb intrigues me, especially when seeing that in a cocktail. A Thought For Food has a lovely looking recipe: http://www.athoughtforfood.net/2012/05/the-tarragon-cocktail/

  14. Love this idea for a series! The French tarragon in my garden is going wild this year, too. I just made a shrimp dish with tarragon yesterday — love that combination. Thanks for linking to my recipes, and thanks for sharing your garden with all of us.