The 10 Best Cookbooks

Updated October 27, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Eat Happy
It's All Easy:
Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook
Don’t make the same old meatloaf — again. Amp up your culinary repertoire with an exciting new cookbook, instead. The world’s greatest chefs and foodies offer a range of volumes that includes every kind of dish you can imagine, from remixed basics to gourmet creations. Although the selection is eclectic, many works have a focus, whether it’s healthy recipes, quick meals, or international cuisine. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best cookbook on Amazon.

10. Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook carries the salty subtitle of "Eat Like You Give a F**k," which is sure to turn off as many chefs as it amuses. But for anyone who wants to learn more than a hundred approachable, delicious meals, the recipes included are a win.
  • amusing and engaging prose
  • focused on fresh and healthy foods
  • heavy on the profanity
Publisher imusti
Model n/a
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Gina Homolka's Skinnytaste Cookbook

Gina Homolka's Skinnytaste Cookbook is a great source of meal options containing low-calorie, completely natural, and easy-to-find ingredients. Since its release, the book has become a New York Times Best Seller and a new classic. Read it, or taste a recipe, to see why.
  • excellent food pairing suggestions
  • detailed nutritional information
  • many recipes have long prep times
Publisher Unknown
Model n/a
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Make it Ahead

In Make it Ahead, world-renowned cooking personality Ina Garten teaches you how to prepare meals well before you are ready to serve them, a clever approach to cooking that can save you time when the guests arrive and can even reduce your food budget.
  • restaurant-style cuisine
  • includes marinades and sauces
  • uses recipes from chef's other books
Publisher Random House
Model 9780307464880
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. It's All Easy:

Ignore the fact that she has something of a pretentious reputation, because Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook is actually a useful tool for the health-oriented, but busy, parent (or anyone else).
  • covers on-the-go meals
  • more than 125 recipes
  • too many photos of the author
Publisher Grand Central Life & St
Model n/a
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Appetites: A Cookbook

Fans of Anthony Bourdain can invite him into the kitchen with Appetites: A Cookbook. Here, he offers readers a collection of recipes that he believes everyone should be able to make. It’s opinionated, sure, but it’ll teach you how to impress anyone who sits at your table.
  • dishes from all over the world
  • focuses on kitchen efficiency
  • author is known to be foul-mouthed
Publisher Appetites: A Cookbook
Model n/a
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Eat Happy

A sufferer of celiac disease, Anna Vocino wrote Eat Happy: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Low Carb Recipes Made from Real Foods For A Joyful Life for everyone wanting satisfying meals that don't aggravate allergies, autoimmune disorders, and other health conditions.
  • no processed sugars in recipes
  • appropriate for paleo diet
  • makes broad health claims
Publisher Eat Happy
Model n/a
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Alton Brown: EveryDayCook

Science meets humor in Alton Brown: EveryDayCook, a bestselling work that offers 101 recipes conveniently presented by time of day. Whether you wake up with Nitrous Pancakes or stay up late with Chocapocalypse Cookies, you’ll enjoy Brown’s trademark voice and style.
  • fun pop culture references
  • insightful approach to methods
  • award-winning tastemaker
Publisher Alton Brown: EveryDayCo
Model n/a
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

Conventional meat prep can stand aside: Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling shatters myths and teaches you how to make the perfect ribs, steaks, brisket, and more. Along with recipes, you’ll find information about grilling techniques, tools, and methods.
  • coauthor is educated food scientist
  • features regional sauce recipes
  • addresses common barbecue problems
Publisher Meathead: The Science o
Model n/a
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Saveur: The New Classics

Saveur: The New Classics comes from the editors of one of the world's most famous culinary magazines and contains delicious recipes from around the world. Yes, it's a bit pricier than its counterparts, but it also contains a staggering 1,000+ recipes between its covers.
  • origins of dishes explained
  • multiple indexes for easy reference
  • suggested menus for holidays
Publisher Oseland, James (EDT)
Model n/a
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Chrissy Teigen's Cravings

Chrissy Teigen's Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat is filled with delicious, indulgent eats, like "John's Fried Chicken Wings with Spicy Honey Butter." This is the publication for people who want to taste the extremes, from sweet to salty to savory.
  • filled with sassy wit
  • mouthwatering photography
  • accessible ingredients
Publisher Chrissy Teigen's Cravin
Model n/a
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

The Earliest Known Cookbooks

Since the early days of man, people have written cookbooks to record and teach important recipes of their time. Nearly every literate society throughout the ages has produced at least one cookbook. One of the earliest known cookbooks is "Hdypatheia", which translates into pleasant living. It was written by Archestratus, a Greek poet and food lover, in 350 BCE. "Hdypatheia" was written in the style of a poem and throughout, Archestratus focuses on how cosmopolitan Greek food of the time was and how to pick the best foods, along with where to travel to taste them.

One of the most famous of the early cookbooks is "Deipnosophistai, a treatise on food and food preparation". It was written by Greek gourmet Athenaues some time in the second century BCE. Unlike the standard format of today's cookbooks, it was written in the form of a dialogue between two banquet guests. In it, they share recipes with each other and discuss a number of dishes.

The "Apicius", which is sometimes referred to as "De re coquinaria" is another famous cookbook from ancient times. It was written some time in the fourth or fifth century CE by Marcus Gavius Apicius, and contains a large collection of Roman cookery recipes. Unlike most documents of the time, the Apicius was written in a language that is closer to Vulgar Latin than classical Latin. Apicius was known for having such lavish banquets that it eventually caused him to go bankrupt.

The earliest known cookbook from the Arabic world is al-Warraq, which is a collection of recipes from the ninth and tenth century. From the far east, there is a Chinese cookbook entitled "Yinshan Zhengyao", which was written in the fourteenth century and still survives to this day.

How To Put A New Cookbook To Good Use

Most people find it hard to integrate new recipes into their repertoire. All too often people buy a new cookbook, put it on the shelf, and promptly forget about it. To prevent yourself from doing that very same thing, there are a few simple tips to can follow to ensure that this doesn't happen to you.

Start off by treating a cookbook just like a novel. Don't wait until you are ready to cook something before taking the time to read it. Instead, set it with the rest of the novels you read and take the time to look through all of the pages, including the pantry and tips sections. Not only will you learn about new ingredients and quicker ways to prep food, but it will give you a good overview of all the different recipes in the book. As you read through it, place sticky notes or bookmarks on the recipes you want to try, even if they look difficult or time consuming.

Once you have read through the book and it is filled your notes, pick out ten recipes to try within the next 30 days. Write the names and needed ingredients down on a piece of paper and stick it to your refrigerator. Next time you are making a shopping list, refer to it and add some of the needed ingredients to your list.

Identify ten additional recipes you'd like to try that include techniques or ingredients you are unfamiliar with. Write these down as well and post them in the same spot. These recipes will be reserved for days you have a lot of time to spend cooking, such as weekends or other days you don't work.

Putting a few notes in your calendar or planner to remind you to try the new recipes is also a good idea. Put one at the thirty, sixty, and ninety day marks.

Why Cooking At Home Is A Smart Idea

It's no secret that restaurant food is, for the most part, unhealthy. Many might be surprised to learn though that full-service restaurant food is just as unhealthy, if not worse, than fast food. A recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that eating at both types of restaurants is linked to increased calorie, fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol consumption. In fact, the study found that eating at full-service restaurants resulted in a larger increase of sodium and cholesterol.

In addition to higher levels of unhealthy properties, restaurant meals often contain little nutritional value. They rarely provide one with the required amount of fruits and vegetables, resulting in vitamin deficiencies in many Americans. On top of all of this, restaurants are notorious for their overly large portion sizes, and people have a habit of trying to finish what is on their plate. Preparing meals at home not only allows one to provide themselves with healthier meals, it also makes practicing portion control easier.

Sharing home-cooked meals around the table with the family is a great way to encourage family bonding. This is doubly true if the family periodically takes the time to prepare meals together. It's also a great way for parents to instill their children with the healthy eating habits. A study by the University of Michigan found that kids who share family meals at home are associated with fewer physiological issues and higher academic success.

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Last updated on October 27, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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