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Clever and Practical Cookbooks to Give Everyone on Your Gift List

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cookbooks
Cheapism

Recipes for Success

In addition to the revered cooking tomes that serve as kitchen stalwarts, dozens of new cookbooks flood the market each year. All are beautifully photographed and impeccably designed, but which ones are really worth anyone's while? We've rounded up both time-tested classics and brand new cookbooks that will make great gifts this holiday season — or live on your own kitchen shelves for decades to come.


Additional reporting by Sofia Gnabasik.


Prices and availability are subject to change.


Related: Gifts for Fans of 'The Great British Bake Off'

Cook This Book: Techniques That Teach and Recipes to Repeat: A Cookbook
Amazon

Cook This Book

$20 from Amazon

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This inaugural cookbook from former Bon Appétit star Molly Baz offers a collection of sophisticated yet feasible recipes, providing readers with the tools to become "better, faster, (and) more creative cooks." Organized into chapters including "Chicken Licken," "Salading," and "Snack Attack," Baz imparts her culinary wisdom through clear and concise explanations designed to serve as guides, all in an effort to help you make food taste great. 


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To Asia, With Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories From the Heart
Amazon

To Asia, With Love

$18 from Amazon

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In her beautiful cookbook featuring a variety of vegetarian pan-Asian dishes, veteran food writer and bestselling cookbook author Hetty Liu McKinnon writes a personal tale about the recipes and flavors that shaped her cross-cultural upbringing. Relying on easy-to-find supermarket ingredients, this book is the perfect companion for home cooks wanting to explore Asian cooking through "traditional recipes prepared in non-traditional ways."


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Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files: A Cookbook
Amazon

Smitten Kitchen Keepers

$25 from Amazon

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This highly anticipated cookbook from Deb Perelman — creator of the renowned food blog, smittenkitchen.com — blends comfort and pizazz into 100 timeless recipes perfect for every season. Offering a glimpse into her "forever files,"  Perelman presents a no-fuss take on classic recipes that will have home cooks coming back for more. 


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A Good Day to Bake: Simple Baking Recipes for Every Mood
Amazon

A Good Day to Bake

$30 on Amazon

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For a down-to-earth approach to baking, look no further than "The Great British Bake Off" contestant Benjamina Ebuehi's collection of 70 delicious sweet and savory baking recipes appropriate for every occasion. Simple yet creative, Ebuehi's recipes, including camomile lemon buns and pink peppercorn and ginger shortbread, explore the therapeutic comforts of baking. 

Dynamite Kids Cooking School: Delicious Recipes That Teach All the Skills You Need: A Cookbook
Amazon

Dynamite Kids Cooking School

$25 from Amazon

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This cookbook from leading children's cooking school, The Dynamite Shop, features recipes guaranteed to have kids begging to be put on dinner duty. With dishes ranging from Dutch Baby pancakes to hearty lasagna, young chefs will learn both the recipe at hand as well as valuable cooking skills applicable to future culinary endeavors. 

Go-To Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Amazon

Go-To Dinners

$24 from Amazon

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The perfect gift for the friend or family member who is always stressed about what to make for dinner, this new cookbook by beloved home cook Ina Garten offers easy and comforting recipes that can either be whipped up last minute or made ahead and saved for later. An antidote to the meal planning headache, "Go-To Dinners" simplifies the cooking process and helps readers find joy in the kitchen.  

Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals: A Cookbook
Amazon

Dinner in One

$25 from Amazon

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In her latest New York Times bestselling cookbook, celebrated food writer Melissa Clark understands that less is more when it comes to cleaning up the after-meal mess. A collection of 100 simple "one-pot, one-pan, one-sheet-one-everything" recipes, this book is the solution for quick, delicious meals without the kitchen disaster. 

The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World
Amazon

The Arabesque Table

$27 from Amazon

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In this highly-researched and thought provoking account on the evolution of Arab cuisine, author Reem Kassis pushes the boundaries of what a cookbook can do. Incorporating extensive historical and cultural insight throughout her recipes, "The Arabesque Table" is the ultimate source for contemporary takes on traditional A. 

For the Table: Easy, Adaptable, Crowd-Pleasing Recipes
Amazon

For the Table

$25 from Amazon

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With the days of social distancing (mostly) behind us and the holidays around the corner, dinner party season is fast approaching. In her new book organized around seasonal menus and hosting tips and tricks, Anna Stockwell has all the details covered to pull off the perfect dinner party. 

Black Food
Amazon

Black Food

$24 from Amazon

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The 2021 release of Bryant Terry's "Black Food" invited home cooks to immerse themselves in the history, celebration, and endurance of Black culinary excellence. The book features stories, artwork, and recipes stemming from the African Diaspora, including innovative takes on dishes like jerk chicken ramen and crispy cassava skillet cakes.

Bar Tartine
Amazon

Bar Tartine

$22 from Amazon
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More into romance than science in the kitchen? Cortney Burns' lessons in techniques and preservation help make the most out of those ingredients that most of us just can't find a way to use up but don't want to throw away. Burns shies away from technical talk to offer a warm-hearted and varied presentation of processes that she uses to give dishes that umami-rich kick.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
Amazon

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

$17 from Amazon
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This highly acclaimed, New York Times bestseller by Samin Nosrat provides less in the way of specific recipes and more in the way of how to manipulate ingredients to achieve the results you are looking for. Nosrat provides a roadmap that will help amateur chefs put delicious dishes together with whatever they have lying around. An added bonus, her lessons in how to think like a chef are accompanied by delightful illustrations from Wendy McNaughton.

The Food Lab
Amazon

The Food Lab

$28 from Amazon
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J. Kenji López-Alt's kitchen bible is an extensive lesson in flavor dynamics and kitchen science. His wide-ranging experience as a food writer and test-kitchen chef shines in a cookbook that will make anyone feel like they do, actually, know what they're doing in the kitchen.

Every Night Is Pizza Night
Amazon

Every Night Is Pizza Night

$11 from Amazon
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Here's one for the kiddos, because we all know how much they love or hate food, depending on the season, time of day, or direction of the wind. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt attempts to sway the pickiest of eaters in his most novel cookbook. While meant for children, this book may even open the minds and hearts of parents to new ideas in the kitchen.

On Vegetables
Amazon

On Vegetables

$38 from Amazon
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While the first step to cutting costs in the kitchen is cutting down on proteins, the prospect of freezer broccoli or steamed Brussels sprouts often ruins those ambitions. Jeremy Fox gives us a cookbook that is just at home as a coffee table art book as it is getting stained on the kitchen counter. But beyond looks, "On Vegetables" provides recipes and suggestions for how to take vegetable cookery to the next level. If you or a loved one are looking to elevate your vegetable dishes to fine-dining status, this is the cookbook for you.

The Jemima Code
Amazon

The Jemima Code

$42 from Amazon
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If you've ever wondered what the evolution of the Black American culinary tradition looks like, Toni Tipton-Martin will more than satisfy your cravings. A historian and researcher, Tipton-Martin provides a catalog of lives rather than of recipes. Her reader will learn of the ingenious cooks and pioneers as they built the foundation of much of the American culinary landscape.

Japan: The Cookbook
Amazon

Japan

$36 from Amazon
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This tome from Nancy Singleton Hichasu provides the context and thought behind many of the recipes included. Often, the scraps from one dish are used in another, to be served in separate courses of the same meal. As much a cookbook as it is a crash course in Japanese culture, it provides hours of enlightening content.

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love
Amazon

Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love

$19 from Amazon
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The latest cookbook from chef Yotam Ottolenghi, "Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love" features more than 85 recipes that helps each home cook tap into the hidden powers of their own pantry, freezer, and fridge. Fans of the chef will also want to get their hands on his other cookbooks, including "Simple," "Plenty," and "Plenty More."

TARTINE
Amazon

Tartine Bread

$20 from Amazon
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While many of us have gone through a sourdough phase, few have done so like Chad Robertson, who brings together his years of travel, research, and work into a cookbook that will lay the foundation for all of your future bread baking. With a basic country loaf recipe and successive adaptations of it to anything from pizza dough to brioche, Robertson is a reliable teacher to have at hand.

How to Eat a Peach
Amazon

How to Eat a Peach

$31 from Amazon
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Diana Henry is masterful at making the elegant simple. In her 2018 cookbook, with its peach-textured cover, she offers a selection of menus that will transport readers through seasons and continents. But the greatest lesson here is that it doesn't take much to throw together a fancy dinner.

The Noma Guide to Fermentation
Amazon

The Noma Guide to Fermentation

$25 from Amazon
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Where do pickles come from? How does wine become balsamic vinegar? How can I avoid my daily $5 splurge on kombucha? The answer to these and many other questions can be found in this guide from René Redzepi and David Zilber at Noma, considered by many to be the world's top restaurant. But beware: Anyone who owns this book will soon have a lot more than sourdough fermenting on their kitchen counter.


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The Flavor Bible
Amazon

The Flavor Bible

$19 from Amazon
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This James Beard Book Award winner by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg is a combination encyclopedia-thesaurus for building dishes. Color-coded and practically arranged, it will help any cook experiment in their kitchen or find replacements for ingredients that they don't have at hand.


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On Food and Cooking
Amazon

On Food and Cooking

$28 from Amazon
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By now a classic, Harold McGee's textbook of cookery science and lore describes why what happens in the kitchen happens the way it does. Can't figure out why you struggle to make a certain dish every time? Always wondered why a recipe calls for one thing instead of another? Maybe McGee can help you solve those mysteries.

Solo
Amazon

Solo

$15 from Amazon
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Michelin-star winner Anita Lo offers readers a look into the life of a chef cooking for one. From going grocery shopping to dealing with leftovers, cooking for one always poses a challenge. With humor and grace, Lo provides solutions and recipes for the solo diner that will make quality ingredients count.


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Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing
Amazon

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing

$23 from Amazon
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We'll admit it, meat preservation is not for everyone. But if you've ever wondered how to stretch your dollar when it comes to meat, this may be the answer. And with artisanal sausage-makers and specialty butcher shops experiencing a renaissance across the country, readers will be in good company with Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's revised cookbook.

The Art of Fermentation
Amazon

The Art of Fermentation

$34 from Amazon
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Sandor Ellix Katz is a legend in the world of fermentation, claiming that this classic preservation technique was critical in saving his own life. Having traveled far and wide to learn from various cultures, Katz presents a guide that will make pantries and fridges burst with probiotic umami.