Best Cook Books

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
October 31, 2019
Cookbook fruits furniture

Some of us love to cook but, no matter how tightly we hold our favorite recipes to our hearts, sometimes we want to try something new. That’s where cookbooks come in and why we love them. In each one sits lists of dinners, appetizers, and desserts that we will secure in our rotation.

Comparison Table

How We Rate Them

Cookbook
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  • Customer Reviews: If a lot of people love the recipes, odds are they have universal appeal. Each cookbook we’ve selected for this list has earned a 4.5 or 5-star rating, which means it is sitting in someone’s kitchen with stains on the pages looking like a good cookbook should.
  • Who Wrote It: In this world of self-publishing and more books than one could read in a lifetime, we made sure our selections were written by individuals who are experts in their specific field of cooking. You may even recognize a name or two.
  • What It Offers: It might go without saying that we prefer cookbooks with more recipes because we want our money’s worth. More doesn’t always mean better, so we set out to match quality with quantity.
  • Who Will Find It Appealing: Since our individual cooking needs are not the same, we selected cookbooks that appeal to more than one type. Whether you are feeding a family of five or a cozy dinner for two, there is a cookbook on this list for you.

Buyers Guide

Diet Cookbook
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The only way to pick out a good cookbook for your kitchen is to know what you want.

Top 10 Best Cookbooks

“Once Upon a Chef, the Cookbook: 100 Tested, Perfected, and Family-Approved Recipes”

Author Jennifer Segal started her career with a food blog, which has the same name as this cookbook, Once Upon a Chef. Her goal was to help people improve their kitchen skills through family-friendly meals. In the 100 recipes Segal has chosen to share with us readers, there are meals that will satisfy all taste buds.

You will be able to serve Savory Ham & Cheese Waffles for breakfast and have a Fiery Roasted Tomato Soup with a Smoked Gouda & Pesto Grilled Cheese for lunch. There is a recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders, which is a family favorite as well as directions for a Classic Chocolate Lover’s Birthday Cake.

People who have purchased this cookbook found the recipes to be user-friendly and found that they loved every single meal they’ve created.

"Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body"

As a well-known vegetarian food blogger, Kathryne Taylor put together this list of 100 meatless recipes. This cookbook is a huge hit with consumers and offers a nice alternative to the meat-centered diet. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike will find that the meals in here are as delicious as they are healthy.

In this collection, you will find directions for Heirloom Tomato Pesto Pizza, Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili, Moroccan Roasted Carrot, Arugula, and Wild Rice Salad, and a unique twist on classic guacamole.

Reviewers love this cookbook, both the vegetarians and the carnivores that gave it a try. In most cases, the user went back to this book for a new recipe time and time again.

“The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs”

Here we have another family-themed cookbook, but this one stands out from the others on our list because it teaches you to cook with your kids. Teaching children how to create healthy meals that use raw food ingredients is essential for their future. Otherwise, they will be doomed to a life of take-out.

Written by the experts at America’s Test Kitchen, this selection is a #1 New York Times Best Seller. With it, you and your children can create everything from dinner to cupcakes. Along the way, they will come out feeling confident in the kitchen.

People who purchased it for their kids found that they learned new things while using the recipes in this book. They also found the directions were simplified when they needed to be and kids could make quite a few recipes on their own. One reviewer woke up to avocado toast made by her daughter.

“The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science”

The Food Lab is a section of the popular food website Serious Eats. In it, chef and author J. Kenji López-Alt takes one of our favorite pastimes and pairs it with something at the core of cooking, science.

In it, he teaches us how to char crust the perfect medium-rare steak, keep a turkey moist, and create a mac-n-cheese that will please even the pickiest of eaters. The unique thing about this selection is that he approaches his recipes with science in mind. You will learn how heat interacts with energy and molecules to create delicious meals.

Winner of the James Beard Award for General Cooking and the IACP Cookbook of the Year it isn’t a surprise that consumers LOVE this cookbook. Reviewers say they keep coming back for more and learn something new each time.

“The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook: 200 Deliciously Simple Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker”

Instant pots are all the rage right now, and I have had several people tell me that they love theirs and don’t know how they ever lived without it. In this cookbook, author Coco Morante gives us 200 recipes to create in this one versatile kitchen appliance.

This collection is her second instant pot cookbook and, in this one, she sticks with standards like creamy tomato soup and peach cobbler but also dives into ethnic favorites like chicken tikka masala. She teaches you how to get the most out of your instant pot every day and during the holidays, like mashed potatoes for turkey.

People who purchased this book love it. Recipes that stood out were the Mac & Cheese with Gouda & Caramelized Onions. One reviewer commented on how new users this book is great at helping you get used to their instant pot. Many consumers who purchased this had been through several instant pot cookbooks to find this is the best.

“The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition: 650 Recipes for Everything You’ll Ever Want to Make

This next selection was also written by America’s Test Kitchen, which makes sense because they know how to put together a good cookbook. In this book, we are looking at a different type of family, the kind that doesn’t include children and focuses on the couple.

Childless partners, empty nesters, newlyweds, and college students would all be great recipients of this cookbook, and, just as it implies in the title, it would make a wonderful gift. In this collection of recipes, you will learn how to scale down even the most complicated dishes and create soups, cakes, and lasagnas for two.

Reviewers said that not only did they love these recipes they found that they saved money and lost weight. One reviewer said the instructions are easy to follow and people who are new to the kitchen, as well as seasoned chefs, should enjoy the recipes in here.

“Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust”

As a full-fledged fan of the Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa, I can honestly tell you that Ina Garten knows how to create fabulous recipes that you are proud to serve your guests. In this book, she sticks to her expertise in taking items you can find in any grocery store and turning them into delectable meals.

Within the pages, you will find easy to follow recipes that include Jalapeño Cheddar Crackers, Elegant Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise, and Hot Smoked Salmon, Lobster, and Potato Salad. She doesn’t forget the crowd favorites either with her version of Easy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons.

Consumers love Garten and her cookbooks. This one is no exception. Users who have other volumes say that she doesn’t repeat recipes and even people who aren’t as versed in the kitchen as others will find the directions easy to follow. One reviewer put it best when saying, “How can you not love The Barefoot Contessa!”

“The Best Simple Recipes: More Than 200 Flavorful, Foolproof Recipes That Cook in 30 Minutes or Less”

While we would love to make a home-cooked meal every night sometimes, we don’t have the time. This cookbook will solve that. Even though it’s the third book on our list created by America’s Test Kitchen, the numbers don’t lie, and neither do users, who rave about the recipes in this book.

The idea behind this book is this, time may be scarce, but you shouldn’t have to settle for the drive-thru. In this book, you will learn tips on how to shorten the time you spend in the kitchen as well as how to do more in half the time while lessening the dishes along the way.

Many of the people who bought this book find the meals easy to make and fall under the 30-minute promise, for the most part.  They found the recipes to be high in quality without being too complicated. It has been dubbed by consumers to be a go-to for working families who want to cook more.

“Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope, and Other Antlered Things"

In this selection, we decided to go in a different direction. We gave a shout out to vegetarians out there but, in this book, the meatless need not apply. Here we have a cookbook that is focused not only on meat lovers but fans of a specific meat variety known as venison, which is typically hunted by the chef.

Author Hank has two other books that focus on the same theme, which is the personal relationship the hunter has with their game and the meals traditionally made from it. In this one, it focuses on venison specifically and covers international recipes, curing, and sausage making. It also touches on the history of venison and its importance.

Everyone who bought this book loves it. It has been said to be easy to follow and practical. Seasoned hunters and those just starting call it a must-have. Even if you don’t hunt but love venison, it would be worth keeping on your kitchen shelf.

“The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart”

Alex Guarnaschelli wrote this last cookbook on our list. He is a celebrated chef on the Food Network and Iron Chef. She was born into a life of cookbooks with a mother who edited the pivotal “The Joy of Cooking” With 300 recipes inside this book has a lot to offer.

Guarnaschell attempts to take our natural love of cooking and complements it with tips and trick relevant in today’s home kitchen. Some of the offerings include Glazed Five-Spice Ribs, Fennel and Orange Salad with Walnut Pesto, and Dark Chocolate Rum Pie.

Consumers found this book refreshing and filled with new ideas. They were happy that the recipes were not complicated and the directions were easy to follow.

Final Thoughts

Green leaf on cookbook
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Then, when you make a dish again, you’ll be one step ahead of the game! It’ll save you a lot of time and effort in the end.

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