The Best Cookbooks to Gift This Year
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It!: Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives, $19
Not only does Ree Drummond maintain a blog and star in a hit cooking show — she also writes children’s books, and most recently, she launched her own magazine. On top of it all, Ree released her fourth cookbook this year, and it's filled with "simple, scrumptious recipes for crazy busy lives." Who else would we possibly trust when it comes to beating the clock?
The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart, $24
Unlike the home cooks of today, earlier generations took their time to make a meal — they practiced, contemplated and perfected a dish until they learned the recipe by heart. In her latest recipe collection, Alex Guarnaschelli marries her admiration for the sophisticated palates of today’s home cooks, who grew up with flavors like tahini and miso, with the more thoughtful culinary ethos of their parents and grandparents.
Bobby Flay Fit: 200 Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle, $23
Bobby Flay, whose career in food spans more than three decades, has remained fit despite the unrelenting presence of bread, bacon and butter in his diet. (Jealous much?) But there’s a secret to having a no-diet diet: Keeping an arsenal of flavorful, low-calorie solutions on hand at all times. Think rubs, relishes and marinades—basically, anything that can quicklytransform lean proteins, whole grains and fresh produce into something craveable. The recipes for Bobby’s greatest, healthiest hits are contained within this cookbook-meets-lifestyle manifesto.
The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook: Easy and Wholesome Meals to Cook, Prep, Grab, and Go, $13
For years, recipe developers have attempted to crack the code on making wholesome, nutritious meals a reality for home cooks every single night of the week. Inevitably, we all fall prey to the convenience of microwaveable meals now and again — and that’s okay. In her meal prep guidebook, registered dietitian Toby Amidor offers her philosophy on healthy eating that’s both inspiring and easy to stick to through a combination of foolproof recipes, meal plans and shopping tips that are designed to save busy families time and energy.
How to Cake It: A Cakebook Hardcover, $18
Thanks to the meticulously detailed instructions and step-by-step photographs in YouTube sensation Yolanda Gampp’s very first “cakebook,” your baking goals will become reality. Be careful what you wish for — once you debut the Rainbow Grilled Cheese Cake at your next special occasion, your friends and family will designate you Baker-in-Residence for all future gatherings.
Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains, $20
Tieghan Gerard took on the responsibility of preparing family dinners at the age of 15 — a humble beginning that would one day lead to the creation of her award-winning blog, Half Baked Harvest. Tieghan’s straightforward food and photography lends readers a window into life in the Colorado mountains, a rustic aesthetic maintained throughout her first cookbook. A cursory flip-through will inspire even the biggest city dwellers to pack their bags and take off for greener pastures.
Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites, $21
Although Deb Perelman is an award-winning blogger and New York Times bestselling cookbook author, you don’t need to possess any of those accolades in order to tackle the unfussy comfort food laid out in her latest culinary canon. With Smitten Kitchen Every Day, Deb proves that any meal — from an unceremonious desk lunch to the most intimate dinner for two — will feel like a triumph worth boasting about on Twitter.
Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook, $23
Make incredible food while dismantling the patriarchy with the first-ever cookbook from leading women’s indie magazine, Cherry Bombe. This personal recipe collection features game-changing dishes that are near and dear to some of the most interesting women in food, including Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams founder Jeni Britton Bauer, Dirt Candy chef and owner Amanda Cohen, and Milk Bar mastermind Christina Tosi.
101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: Discover a New World of Flavors in Authentic Recipes, $15
Many Americans live and die by the sweet, spicy and pungent flavors found in Asian cuisine, but few are willing to go out on a limb and try their hand at recreating their favorite dishes at home. Restaurant owner and Cutthroat Kitchen judge Jet Tila lays out the fundamentals in a way that’s fun and approachable, making your go-to takeout order — Vietnamese pho, panang curry, bánh mì and more — achievable at home.
The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent andReverse Disease, $18
The How Not to Die Cookbook offers a mint of sound nutritional advice, and most importantly, foolproof recipes designed to put that advice into daily practice. Gift it to any recent college grads or singles you may know, because one can only survive on the boxed mac and cheese diet for so long.
The Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook: 150 Simply Delicious Everyday Recipes for Your Whole30, $21
The Whole30 diet has plenty of lovers and haters. No matter which camp you belong to, The Whole30 Cookbook offers something for every palate in the form of easy skillet meals, stir-fries, slow-cooker stews, sheet-pan suppers and more. The biggest bonus? Each of the recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less.
Keto Slow Cooker & One-Pot Meals: Over 100 Simple & Delicious Low-Carb, Paleo and Primal Recipes for Weight Loss and Better Health, $17
Even if you haven’t jumped on the trendy “keto” diet bandwagon, you can still appreciate the satisfying soups, quick skillet meals and savory stews offered within this one-pot meal manifesto. Although many slow-cooker and one-pot recipes depend on processed, high-glycemic foods, which are strictly forbidden on the ketogenic diet, there are infinite other ways to build the foundation for a comforting meal, without noodles and potatoes. This low-carb cookbook is your proof.
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition, $24
Ten years ago, Mark Bittman’s breakthrough cookbook showed the world that there’s more to vegetarian cooking than the much maligned kale. Today, the issues surrounding health, sustainability and agricultural ethics continue to resonate with more and more Americans, whether or not they’re fully vegetarian. This new edition has been updated with relevant information for today’s cooks, including more vegan recipes and a brand-new chapter on smoothies, teas and more.
The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook, $32
In modern America, bread is a cornerstone of nearly every meal, no matter the season, the time of day or the occasion. That said, isn’t it high time we talk about how easy it is to make from scratch? And how preposterous it is that so few of us do it? That’s where Jim Lahey, owner of New York’s beloved Sullivan Street Bakery, comes in. Inspired by his travels through Rome, Lahey builds on his revolutionary no-knead recipe in this carb-centric cookbook that will inspire you to drop the plastic-bagged bread imposters once and for all.
Making Chocolate: From Bean to Bar to S'more, $28
Give the chocoholic in your life an eye-opening experience into the world of chocolate-making courtesy of the award-winning chocolatiers behind San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate. From the simplest techniques and technology — like hair dryers to rolling pins — to the science and mechanics of making chocolate from bean to bar, Making Chocolate holds everything the founders behind this beloved factory have learned since the day they first cracked open a cocoa bean.
The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition: 650 Recipes for Everything You'll Ever Want to Make, $31
Every once in awhile, it’s nice to enjoy last night’s dinner for lunch the next day — but nobody wants reheated leftovers to become a lifestyle. Newlyweds, empty-nesters and recent graduates are uniquely positioned to understand the horror of recipes designed to serve six to eight people, which, to be clear, was most recipes up until The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook came along to rescue two-person households from this cruel, cruel monotony.
Easy Cookie Recipes: 103 Best Recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cake Mix Creations, Bars, and Holiday Treats Everyone Will Love, $14
Preparing for birthdays, holiday soirees, backyard barbecues or any occasion at all is so much simpler with a few tried-and-true dessert ideas stashed away in your back pocket. In Easy Cookie Recipes, baker-extraordinaire Addie Gundry offers up her own arsenal of tips, shortcuts and time-honored recipes so that you don’t have to spend your time endlessly testing and perfecting the perfect batch.
Everyday Korean: Fresh, Modern Recipes for Home Cooks, $20
In her latest offering, bestselling food memoirist and cookbook author Kim Sunée makes Korean cooking accessible for any audience. Together with co-author and nutritionist Dr. Seung Hee Lee-Kwan, Sunée introduces readers to jang, the backbone of all Korean cuisine, and a flavor not found anywhere else in the world. Even those of us starting from ground zero will find approachable recipes: In the section “East Meets West,” you’ll find fusion-inspired dishes like Grilled Shrimp Po-Boys with Kimchi and Bulgogi Beef Sliders.
Fantasy Cakes: Magical Recipes for Fanciful Cakes, $15
In a culinary era dominated by over-the-top and otherworldly desserts resembling mermaids, unicorns, far-off galaxies and beyond, novice bakers have every reason to feel both inspired and deterred. Fantasy Cakes breaks down these seemingly impossible baking barriers with detailed, easy-to-follow recipes, ensuring that bakers of any skill level can create something truly ‘grammable at home.
Craft Coffee: A Manual: Brewing a Better Cup at Home, $16
Thanks to a growing number of dedicated farmers, importers, roasters and baristas, coffee quality is at an all-time high. But for nonprofessionals, achieving café-quality brews in your own kitchen seems like an unreachable goal. Craft Coffee: A Manual provides all the information budding javaphiles need to discover what they like in a cup of specialty coffee — and how to replicate the perfect cup at home.
Butter (Short Stack), $14
Short Stack, a series of small-format cookbooks authored by America’s top culinary talents, is filled with 20 or more recipes offering ingenious new ways to cook our favorite ingredients. In Butter, the latest edition, beloved cookbook author Dorie Greenspan gives us a spread of recipes with classic French roots, from delicious pastries to succulent béarnaise-coated steak au poivre, reminding us why butter is still the reigning champion in our kitchens.
The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great, $35
More than 42 million people living in the United States came here from other countries. Along with their hopes and dreams, they brought valuable gifts: recipes from their homelands that transformed the way America eats. Just try and imagine America without pizza or pad Thai, hummus or hot dogs, sushi or strudel — for most people, it wouldn’t taste much like America at all. The Immigrant Cookbook serves as a vital reminder of what it means to be an American.
Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, $22
Joshua McFadden is known as the celebrated chef behind Ava Gene’s in Portland, OR. In reality, he’s an architect who has chosen hyper-seasonal vegetables as his building blocks. Think of Six Seasons as your dietary blueprint: Each chapter begins by highlighting raw veggies at the start of their season. As the weeks progress, McFadden turns up the heat — grilling and steaming the season’s harvest, then moving on to sautés, pan roasts, braises and stews.
Pizza Camp, $21
After gifting Philly with destination pie shop Pizza Beddia, dough whisperer Joe Beddia has decided to bring pizza nirvana to a wider audience in the form of his new cookbook, Pizza Camp. For this old-school ‘za expert, the Holy Trinity consists of dough, sauce and cheese. Forget overpriced, artisanal toppings, ace these cornerstones instead, and you’re well on your way to an expert slice.
Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party , $23
Not all of us are lucky enough to have a patient and encouraging nonna guiding us through the highs and lows of culinary experimentation with decades of sage wisdom. At least now we have the next best thing: Lidia’s Cookbook — an encouraging, easy-to-follow collection of over 200 recipes for showstopping recipes with distinctly Italian flare, like Pear Bellinis, Campanelle with Fennel and Shrimp and Berry Tiramisu.
Valerie’s Home Cooking, $18
Yes, she’s got acting chops, but it’s Valerie Bertinelli’s intrinsic sense for making recipes memorable that makes her a star in our eyes — namely, in her Food Network series Valerie’s Home Cooking. Now, the best of the show is on wonderful display in her latest cookbook of the same name. The chapters here walk you through the day: breakfast ideas, noshing through the day, happy hour essentials, dinner mains and sides and, of course, dessert.
Guerilla Tacos, $21
In a city overrun with taco trucks, native Angeleno Wes Avila has managed to set his own apart from the competition. Grounded in authenticity but never tied down to tradition, Wes makes clever use of highbrow ingredients like sea urchin and kurobata sausage, but even the humble sweet potato gets play time. If you can drop everything at once and travel to L.A. for an eye-opening taco experience, we highly recommend it. For those of you who can’t, there’s the Guerrilla Tacos cookbook.
Dining In, $18
Alison Roman is known as much for her keeper recipes as her wry Instagram voice and effortless style. Her debut cookbook features 125 recipes for simple, of-the-moment dishes that are full of quickie techniques. (Think roast chicken slathered in anchovy butter and garlicky walnuts for snacking.) Her ingenuity has a way of seducing even the most seasoned cooks, while her warm, edgy writing makes these recipes practical enough for the novice.
Cooking with My Sisters: One Hundred Years of Family Recipes, from Italy to Big Stone Gap, $14
Our 21st-century ability to Google recipes for any dish imaginable, in mere seconds, is a huge departure from the culinary traditions of the Old Country, where family matriarchs guarded their recipes like treasure and rarely wrote anything down. In Cooking with My Sisters, author Adriana Trigiani and her sister Mary Yolanda Trigiani bring their own family’s time-honored culinary practices to an audience wider than their own kitchen table by revealing some of their grandmothers’ most closely-kept culinary secrets — some of them more than 150 years old.
Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking, $23
Russian cuisine isn’t all knishes and borscht, which you will learn after flipping through the pages of Kachka, the cookbook inspired by the celebrated Portland, OR, restaurant of the same name. From classic applications for smoked fish and cultured dairy to newfangled twists Schnitzel, you will find everything you need to set a welcoming, Soviet-inspired table.
Secret-Layer Cakes: Hidden Fillings and Flavors that Elevate Your Desserts, $14
Who doesn’t love surprises, right? Well, okay, some people hate them. But when the surprise is hidden inside of a tempting layer cake in the form of chocolate mousse, fudgy brownie batter or silky-smooth fruit curd, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any detractors. In her new, easy-to-follow cookbook, expert baker Dini Kodippili’s teaches you how to replicate her fantastically filled creations so that you can make any occasion extra special, without too much extra effort.
Cakes By Melissa, $19
You don’t have to be a former Woodstock attendee to understand tie-dye’s unique ability to bring joy to everyday occasions. In fact, no one knows this better than Melissa Ben-Ishay, the mastermind behind the beloved dessert chain, Baked by Melissa. In her breakthrough cookbook, you’ll find the recipe for her celebrated tie-dye cupcakes — the recipe that started it all — in addition to cakes, icings, fillings and toppings. Basically, everything you need to make your desserts stand out in the era of Instagram.
Chefs and Company, $23
Preparing an impressive meal for last-minute guests would be infinitely less stressful if only you could have the modern culinary world’s greatest talent at your side, coaching you through the whole ordeal. Since we can’t send, say, Ted Allen or Stephanie Izard to your home kitchen, we’ll recommend the next best thing: Chefs and Company. This holy grail of last-minute hosting offers tips, tricks and whole lot of easy but elegant recipes — straight from your favorite chefs’ playbooks.
New York Christmas, $20
New York takes on a certain charm during the month of December — from Mulberry’s Street’s stringed lights and tinsel-topped lampposts to Rockefeller Center’s iconic Christmas tree. New York Christmas captures that annual shift from aloof to affable with a collection of festive anecdotes and holiday recipes, like Blueberry Brownies, Maple Glazed Ham and, of course, New York cheesecake.
Moto: The Cookbook, $35
Up until his death in 2015, Homaro Cantu, the mastermind behind Chicago’s legendary Moto, pushed the limits of cuisine to deliver an unforgettable experience. Some of Cantu’s greatest hits included edible menus imbued with the flavors of the dishes to follow, carbonated fruit that fizzed when bitten and a transparent box cooked fish in front of your eyes. MOTO: The Cookbook is a living record of the restaurant and chef who defined modernist cuisine.