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Kalyn's Kitchen

Cooking with French Tarragon

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

PIN the French Tarragon Recipes to try some later!

Cooking Tips for Gardeners: Cooking with French Tarragon top photo collage

I’ve enjoyed writing about my garden on the blog, and talking about how I use the garden produce in recipes. I decided it would be fun to do a whole series of Cooking Tips for Gardeners, each time spotlighting something I grow in the garden that might be an ingredient not everyone was familiar with. And when I noticed that my French Tarragon was completely out of control a few weeks ago, I thought that Cooking with French Tarragon would be a good place to start!

This post has my favorite recipes using French Tarragon, plus a few more recipes ideas from my blogging friends. If this herb is new to you, hope you enjoy experimenting with it.


cooking with French tarragon

How to Grow French Tarragon

Here’s how the French Tarragon looks when it’s growing, and it can quickly get out of control! If you want to grow French Tarragon or try cooking with it, the first important thing is to make sure you’re getting the right kind of plant (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.

What foods does French Tarragon go well with?

I do think French Tarragon has a flavor that’s a little similar to basil with but with more licorice flavor, 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. 

Here are some of my favorite recipes with French Tarragon, plus a few French Tarragon ideas from my blogging friends.

green salad on plate with 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 on plate with salad

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 enjoyed the flavors in this Tarragon Shrimp Salad.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon-Mustard Pan Sauce on plate

This lovely 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!

Individual serving of Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas served in bowl

And finally, the beloved recipe for Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas, which was one of the very first recipes I made when I planted French Tarragon in my garden.  I make this every summer and never get tired of it!

More French Tarragon Recipes to Try:

Chicken Salad with Tarragon from Simply Recipes
Tarragon Chicken Fricassee from The Kitchn
Tarragon Egg Salad from Simply Recipes
Barbecued Salmon in Foil with Tarragon, Chives, and Vermouth from Cookin’ Canuck
Mussels in Tarragon Cream Sauce from Blue Kitchen
Tomato-Tarragon Soup from Never Enough Thyme

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    13 Comments on “Cooking with French Tarragon”

  1. 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)

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

    Sarah, glad the herb recipes are useful for you!

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

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

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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/

  11. 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.

  12. 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/

  13. 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.