15 Best Baking Cookbooks of 2023

From snacking cakes to life-changing cookies, American pies to vegan layer cakes.

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November 20, 2023

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Just when we thought we couldn’t learn a new cookie technique or discover another why-didn’t-we-think-of-that cake flavor combination, 2023 delivered an exceptional array of baking books chockful of novel inspiration and contemporary classics. Besides giving us pro tips and foolproof recipes, this year’s line-up celebrated baking from a variety of new perspectives. Whether authors zeroed in on a life-changing baked good, celebrated baking as therapy or found new ways to make vegan baking shine, this year’s best baking books prove that when it comes to matters of bakes, breads and sweet treats, the potential is boundless.


If we had to pick one thing we love most about baking, it’s the potential for a dessert to double as a snack or breakfast the next morning. Author Yossy Arefi has doubled down on that premise with a book of 60 recipes for cookies, cakes, brownies and bars that are designed to be eaten anytime. Even better, the recipes are truly simple and accessible, whether you’re baking solo or bringing your kids into the kitchen: nearly every goodie comes together in less than an hour and in one bowl. We can’t wait to make sweet treats like Triple Chocolate Olive Oil Blondies and Fudgy Sesame Oat Cookies, plus savory numbers like Everything Bagel Biscuit Bread. Any cookbook that leaves us less time in the kitchen and more time for snacking is a winner in our book.


Lauded baker, pastry chef and activist Natasha Pickowicz has added another talent to her multi-faceted career: cookbook author. She drew on her professional baking experience and dual Chinese and Californian heritage to dream up crave worthy recipes like a tarte tatin made with nectarine and miso or a layer cake that pairs olive oil and mascarpone with fennel. Seasoned bakers and novices alike will pick up nuggets of wisdom that pay delicious dividends, like folding black cardamom into sticky buns or adding brown butter to buckwheat chocolate chunk cookies. More than Cake is a stunning debut that also emphasizes the power of food and baking to bring together. If you ever needed an excuse to eat dessert (you don’t, really!), Pickowicz’s words are manifesto: “Dessert is beyond simple calories and nutrition. . . . It spreads delight in a way that no other kind of dish can. This is something I think people really need—it’s not optional.”


There’s family legacy, and then there’s culinary family legacy. Author Erika Council is the granddaughter of Mildred (Mama Dip) Council, a renowned soul food chef, teacher and activist who used her cooking and baking talents to support the civil rights movement. But Erika is also a legend in the making in her own right as the founder and head baker of Atlanta’s Bomb Biscuit Company. With Still We Rise, Erika makes her family proud with a beautiful collection of 70 recipes that read like a love letter to baking, heritage and Black culinary culture, all filtered through the lens of the Southern biscuit. You’ll find recipes for biscuits, of course, like the O.G. Bomb Buttermilk Biscuit (with helpful step-by-step photos) and the instant classic Corn Milk Biscuits, plus irresistible spreads like Hominy Honey Butter and pitch-perfect sandwiches, like the Glori-Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich. In Erika’s hands, biscuits have never held so much delicious promise.


Growing up in Singapore and Hong Kong, author Stacey Mei Yan Fong learned that there’s nothing as American as pie. Watching American movies, she dreamed of taking a cross-country road trip and stopping at diners along the way. After attending college in Savannah and a career as a fashion designer, she parlayed that one-time dream and her home baking hobby into an ode to her adopted home. With 50 Pies, 50 States, Fong traverses the country with a collection of 50 recipes, each one honoring the culture and flavors that define the state and reflect her love for the U.S. There are the expected classics, like Derby Pie for Kentucky and Key Lime Pie for Florida, plus deeply researched pies, like the Wild Rice Pudding Pie she created with Indigenous ingredients with a Sioux nation chef to represent South Dakota. Others take a whimsical bent, like translating the Las Vegas all-you-can-eat-buffet into eight slices of sweet-and-savory decadence to rep Nevada. We’re bookmarking Idaho’s Mashed Potato Pie with Hash Brown Crust and Scallop Potato Topping, guaranteed to win the holiday and potluck sides game.


If you’ve ever felt intimidated by baking, this book is here to assuage your fears and dispel the myths. With her latest tome, acclaimed baker and cookbook author Samantha Seneviratne shares 100 of her favorite fuss-free recipes and divulges pro baking secrets, like how you don’t need to bother sifting flour and how to make a custard with a dump and stir method, no tempering required. We like how chapters are organized around baking ingredients (Butter; Sugar; Eggs; Flour, Nuts & Cocoa; and Yeast), with each one providing a quick intro to baking fundamentals and core recipes that are easy to master. It’s impossible to decide which recipe to make first, but we’ve got our eye on Apricot Cardamom Buns, Burnt Caramel Basque Cheesecake and Linzer Cookies, a sure-fire way to win your holiday cookie swap.


“It all started with a peanut butter cookie.” This simple line opens acclaimed chef Nancy Silverton’s latest cookbook and underscores the profound epiphany it elicited: everything should taste this good. It spurred her to create a collection of 100+plus recipes that read like the platonic ideal of classic American baked goods like Lemon Bars, Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and Lattice-Topped Apple Pie. We’re especially smitten by the inventive recipes showcasing Silverton’s creativity, like Iced Raisin Bars that eat like a better fig newton and Double-Decker Chocolate Cookies (because double chocolate equals double deliciousness). Whether you’re seeking out new baked goods to add to your repertoire or want to perfect the classics, this baking book just might change your life.


Some cookbooks double as armchair travel reads, but Baking Yesteryear offers readers a chance to time travel. Not only will readers go on a decade-by-decade trip through the ages, they’ll glean loads of recipe inspiration to break out of a baking rut. The book highlights 101 of the tastiest vintage treats and best baking recipes from the 20th century (and a few of the worst), all shot through with author B. Dylan Hollis’ signature wit. To land on the best of the best, Dylan baked hundreds of recipes from antique cookbooks, selecting personal favorites like Cornflake Macaroons from the 1900s and Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake from the 1940s (don’t knock it till you try it). This book proves that what’s old is new again, and we personally can’t wait for a revival of the 1970s’ Potato Chip Cookies.


Procrasti-baking has been a cherished ritual and stress-reliever for many home bakers, but it turns out there’s clinical proof in the pudding. Author, licensed psycho​therapist and master baker Jack Hazan wrote Mind Over Batter to highlight how baking can offer essential therapeutic techniques and yield delicious results, too. The book’s 75 recipes are organized by themed chapters, like connecting with others, practicing self-care and self-esteem, dealing with disappointment, exercising mindfulness and feeling your feelings, and draw inspiration from Hazan’s Syrian and Middle Eastern roots and his riffs on American desserts. We can’t wait to knead work stress away with Chocolate Babka Crunch, and we’re willing to bet that Pesto Pull-Apart Bread will deliver a dose of connection when gathered around the table with family. Each chapter is peppered with “quick sessions” that offer exercises that connect baking processes to the evidence-based therapy tools Hazan utilizes in his own practice. No matter what you bake, Mind Over Batter is guaranteed to deliver a sweet dose of self-care. But the single-serving Devil’s Food Mug Cake is as good a place to start as any.


Plant-based eating just reached new flavor and texture heights. New Vegan Baking showcases 60 stunning recipes—organized into categories like Chocolate & Caramel, Fruit, Citrus, Spice, Coffee, Nuts & Seeds and Booze—each with a beautiful photograph to match. The recipe names live up to their modern and irresistible promise, with delectable bakes that marry rich flavors with delicate fruits and aromatic herbs. To wit, the roster includes the likes of Chocolate, Chili & Sea Salt Cookies, Dulce de Leche Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze and a Gluten-Free Upside-Down Sour Cherry Cake with Crème Anglaise. Even though the flavors sound fancy, author Ana Rusu distilled each recipe into a series of approachable, easy-to-follow steps with a sprinkling of home chef tips to guarantee baking success.


Baker-turned-author Matt Adlard shares his hard-won baking tips with a collection of 70 recipes for cakes, pastries, breads, cookies and ice creams that are designed to help intermediate-level bakers ascend the ranks to master baker. The book smartly lets bakers go at their own pace by outfitting each recipe with a two-tier approach. If you’ve mastered making brioche from scratch, you can go the distance with a slightly more advanced technique to turn out brunch centerpiece-worthy Brioche Cinnamon Rolls. Think you couldn’t possibly improve upon Chocolate Chunk Brownies? Triple Chocolate Brownie Fingers will change your mind in one delicious bite. With Bake it Better avid home bakers will gain the confidence and know-how to take their bakes from good-enough to pastry perfection.


Cookie School is the kind of school that makes us strive for perfect attendance. Seasoned baker and author Amanda Powell offers a master class that yield perfectly baked cookies every time. To build your foundation, Powell writes recipes with easy-to-follow steps and encourages shortcuts so you can master techniques with flying colors. Start with Pillowy Soft Peanut Butter Cookies and Blueberry Muffin Cookies, then graduate to Chocolate Tuile Cigars Autumn-Spiced Palmiers and Sweetheart Red Velvet Sandwiches. Since mantras like “practice makes perfect” and “sharing is caring” apply as much in the classroom as they do in the kitchen, bake up giftable treats like Chocolate and Vanilla Amaretti or Gingerbread Biscotti.


There’s no denying the smile-inducing power of cake, but Lydnsay Sung’s Plantcakes sparks joy through the recipes and photography alone. But her recipes are more than just a pretty picture—they explode with vibrancy and flavor in equal measure in real life too. Imagine the elation friends and family will feel when they bite into fanciful creations like Abstract Buttercream Painted Blackberry Cake or Mocha Dacquoise Cake, or sumptuous show-stoppers like a two-layer Vanilla Almond Raspberry Cake or three-layer Passion Fruit Vanilla Bean Ombré Cake. Even everyday cakes get a plant-based glow-up, like the imminently snackable Blueberry Sour Cream Streusel Cake or “They Don’t Know They’re Healthy” Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes. Whether you’re a novice baker or an avid cake maker, plant-based or plant-curious, there’s no denying the timeless appeal of a beautiful homemade cake.


Whether you’re still riding the sourdough train or want to try your hand at making bread, Bread and How to Eat It offers everything you need to bake bread at home. But its ingenuity really lies in the “how to eat it” portion, with recipes for things to make with bread, things to eat with bread and a guide to sandwiches you didn’t know you needed (like pairing tuna with harissa, eggs and olives). We especially appreciate how the book teaches readers to make the most of every loaf, especially stale bread. Dishes like Bread Meatballs and Pasta with Bread Crumbs and Cauliflower underscore baker Rick Easton’s desire to revive cucina povera (poverty cooking), a resourceful and ultimately delicious approach to reducing kitchen waste. Lest you think the authors take bread too seriously, the book is peppered with hot takes and the kind of anecdotes that make for excellent dinner party fodder.


If the title doesn’t put your pie-making fears to rest, then Pie is Messy’s recipes for 100 “perfectly imperfect pies” should bolster the confidence of even the most beginner baker. Rebecca Grasley shares the techniques and attitudes she learned to create her locally famous pies at her Los Angeles bakery, The Pie Hole. Each chapter is dedicated to a different facet of pie and includes two sections, Old School Pies (like Lemon-Pear Pie) and New School Pies (say, Candied Lemon Chess Pie). This approach allows home bakers to learn the basics through classic recipes and discover how they can be transformed into contemporary bakes through modern flavors and techniques, much like The Pie Hole’s signature pies. We also appreciate that the book includes tricks for stepping up your pie’s presentation, substitutions for vegan and gluten-free options and tutorials on different crust variations.


We might be partial, but this debut baking recipe book from Food Network star Dan Langan delivers on its promise with a collection of foolproof recipes that will totally level up your home baking game. His natural creativity and obsession with technique has yielded a collection of 100 recipes for best-in-show versions of classic bakes, such as Red Velvet Layer Cake or Creamy Lemon Chess Squares, as well as his own playful creations, like Seriously Sesame Brownies and a Ricotta and Pistachio Cannoli Tart. Throughout the book, you’ll pick up tips and tricks that’ll instantly elevate the flavors and textures of your renditions, like toasting not only nuts but almond flours and oats too, or stabilizing whipped cream with a dollop of cream cheese to keep it fluffy. The photography is gorgeous too, but it’s not just a pretty picture: Dan’s tips will help bakers level up their presentation into their own photo-worthy creations, like perfectly domed muffins and bars with laser-sharp edges.

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