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The Best Cookbooks for Amazing Meals

A mother reading a cookbook while her daughter whisks eggs in a kitchen.
LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com

A well-cooked meal brings the cook a sense of satisfaction and happily fills the bellies for those being served. With the right cookbook and carefully selected recipes, your meals can bring together family and friends for the perfect night.

Whether you are searching for a cookbook that will spark new inspiration or are looking for specialized recipes that fit your diet, a cookbook can provide you with all the knowledge you need to create a beautifully crafted meal. The step-by-step instructions and helpful photos allow you to feel comfortable branching into unfamiliar cooking territory. If you are ready to step up your culinary game, a cookbook can help you master the craft. Here are some fantastic cookbooks we recommend.

Purchasing a Cookbook

When shopping for a cookbook that fits your palate, consider these important factors:

  • Diet: While some modern cookbooks will contain recipes for a wide range of diets, they might become useless for those that are strictly vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or more. With more specialized diets entering the mainstream, many cooks have created specific cookbooks that tailor the ingredients towards your needs. Search for cookbooks that best fit the foods you are comfortable with.
  • Format: A classic hardcover cookbook looks great on a shelf but might be too bulky for those living in a small space. However, many cookbooks now come in an e-book format, so you can access the recipes on your phone or tablet. Hardcover books are helpful for those that don’t want to worry about damaging an electronic device with their messy cooking habits.
  • Skill: Most cookbooks cater to those that have surpassed the skills of making eggs but haven’t quite mastered the art of soufflé. But if you are just starting out, consider a beginner’s cookbook that utilizes simple ingredients and common techniques. Professionals can opt for more complex cookbooks that take a deep dive into the science of cooking and intricate recipes.

Best Classic: Good Housekeeping Cookbook: 1,200 Triple-Tested Recipes

A book cover with several bowls of ingredients and a wooden cutting board.
Susan Westmoreland, Good Housekeeping

If you don’t recognize this brand from the popular magazine and meals, let us introduce you to one of the most popular recipe resources since its founding in 1885. This book contains 1,200 recipes that have been triple-tested to ensure that the ingredients, instructions, and final outcomes are perfect. This cookbook is meant for people of all skill levels and contains recipes for a simple family meal or a complex holiday feast. From herbed skillet chicken to a berry Bellini, this cookbook has everything you need to make a satisfying meal for the people in your life.

Best Classic

Good Housekeeping Cookbook: 1,200 Triple-Tested Recipes

Get beautiful pictures and a range of wonderful recipes.

Best for Beginners: Tasty Every Day: All of the Flavor, None of the Fuss

A book cover with five horizontal lines of assorted vegetables and meat.

This colorful cookbook is designed for people just starting out, making it perfect for college students, families with young children, or late-in-life cooks. Each of the 75 recipes is curated to save you time and energy with their meal prep, one-pot, no-cook, slow cooker, and Instant Pot recipe creations. The cookbook includes vibrant pictures and easy-to-follow instructions so that you can make meals such as shredded chicken tacos and cauliflower mac and cheese. This particular book is especially helpful for those who don’t keep a wide variety of ingredients in their pantry.

Best for Beginners

Tasty Every Day: All of the Flavor, None of the Fuss

Easily find a new favorite meal in the recipes of this beginner-friendly book.

Best for Pros: The Professional Chef by The Culinary Institute of America

A black book cover that shows a red tomato falling through water.
The Culinary Institute of America

Do you already have all of the basics down? You can find your next culinary challenge within the pages of this professional cookbook. It comes straight from The Culinary Institute of America, making it ideal for those looking to understand the inner workings of cooking by including diagrams, charts, and visual guides. The ninth edition is catered towards modern learners, allowing you to go behind the traditional techniques of European cooking and explore global cuisine. It also includes instructions and recipes for sous vide cooking, seasonality, and sustainability.

Best for Pros

The Professional Chef by The Culinary Institute of America

This cookbook serves as an informative guide to recipes and techniques beyond everyday cooking.

Best Vegan Cookbook: Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipies by Bryant Terry

A book cover with a man in a blue apron holding a plate of food.
Bryant Terry

Pursuing a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your favorite flavors. With Byrant Terry’s cookbook, you will be able to reimagine old recipes and explore new ones with ease. This book bases its recipes on fresh ingredients and flavorful spices rather than relying on meat substitutes. The 150 recipes cross over cultural lines, so you can enjoy foods from around the world! This book will be a go-to for vegetarians and vegans alike with recipes such as millet roux mushroom gumbo and barbecued carrots with slow-cooked white beans.

Best Vegan Cookbook

Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes

Enjoy flavors from around the world in these plant-based recipes that won't leave you feeling hungry.

Best for Instant Pots: Good Housekeeping Instant Pot Cookbook: 60 Delicious Foolproof Recipes

A book cover with a top view of oval-shaped pot holding chicken and potatoes.
Good Housekeeping, Susan Westmoreland

If you have jumped in on the Instant Pot craze, you aren’t alone. Good Housekeeping recognized the convenience and cooking power of these nifty devices and developed a cookbook specifically for them. Not only does this book contain 60 tasty recipes, but it also has instructions on Instant Pot basics and test kitchen tips. Just like their other cookbook, the recipes in this book were triple-tested to ensure their delicious flavor and reliability.

Best for Instant Pots

Good Housekeeping Instant Pot Cookbook: 60 Delicious Foolproof Recipes

Put your pressure cooker to good use with 60 tripled-tested recipes.

Camryn Lang Camryn Lang
Camryn Lang is a freelance writer and copyeditor that has produced a wide variety of content, from breaking news and memorial tributes to web content and fiction novels. While working on her bachelor's degree in English at Texas A&M University, Camryn led writers and editors at the nationally recognized university newspaper, The Battalion. During her free time, she enjoys reading thrillers and fantasy novels and eating desserts. Read Full Bio »
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