23 Best Cookbook Gifts for Every Type of Chef

By Kaitlyn Johnston

Dinner inspiration is served!

Whether you’re an at-home chef, a die-hard foodie, or a kitchen-sink scientist, we’ve got the perfect cookbook for you. From comfort foods and vegan reimaginings to right-off-the-menu restaurant re-creations, our full-course menu of the best cookbooks around will satisfy your cravings.

Best Cookbooks for Special-Yet-Simple Meals

Big Heart Little Stove

By Erin French

Restaurateur and bestselling author Erin French (Finding Freedom) serves up another special book in Big Heart Little Stove. Well-stocked with one-of-a-kind recipes from French’s family recipe box and her acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant The Lost Kitchen, Big Heart Little Stove is a delectable read that’s so much more than your typical cookbook. In addition to the recipes, French shares her best hosting tips and decor ideas to make your next get-together memorable. From drinks and desserts to main courses and kitchen staples, Big Heart Little Stove will be your new go-to cookbook for heartwarming home-cooked meals. 

Barefood Contessa Back to Basics

By Ina Garten

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, a New York Times bestseller by the venerable Ina Garten, is an essential cookbook for any kitchen. A masterclass on her sophisticated-made-simple style and featuring nearly a hundred new recipes, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics breaks down flavors, techniques, and ingredients to equip you with all the tools you’ll need to re-create Garten’s subtly elegant meals.

The Art of Simple Food

By Alice Waters

Alice Waters puts the focus on flavor, freshness, and simplicity in The Art of Simple Food. The Chez Panisse restaurateur is a leading figure in the farm-to-table movement and a passionate advocate for local produce and seasonal eating. Here, she presents approachable recipes suffused with wholesome simplicity and shares tips on stocking your kitchen with seasonal foods so you can cook sustaining meals all year round.

Plenty

By Yotam Ottolenghi

Cordon Bleu–trained chef and London restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi puts his imaginative spin on vegetarian dishes in Plenty, the cookbook that made him an international food celebrity. His love of ingredients and unexpected flavors shines through in this collection of 120 restaurant-quality recipes made for the home cook. With an emphasis on seasonality, spices, and surprise, Plenty is an invaluable addition to every foodie’s cookbook collection. Plus, its stunning photographs will have your mouth watering before you’ve even started cooking.

Best Cookbooks for the At-Home Chef

My Mexico City Kitchen

By Gabriela Cámara

From celebrated chef and Mexican cuisine icon Gabriela Cámara, My Mexico City Kitchen offers 150 authentic recipes for everything from basics and breakfasts to mains and delightful sweets. In addition to Cámara’s signature fresh-first dishes, the author shares a dozen essays on her food principles and philosophies. Influenced by the vibrant culture of Mexico City and its flavors and ingredients, this cookbook invites you to bring a bit of CDMX into your kitchen.

How to Cook Everything

By Mark Bittman

The award-winning How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman is the ultimate kitchen companion, filled with everything a home chef needs to make delicious, simple meals. Bittman gives easy-to-follow, straightforward instructions, prioritizing fresh ingredients and basic tools. Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook, calls How to Cook Everything “an indispensable reference for both experienced and beginner cooks.”

The Woks of Life

By Bill, Judy, Sarah, and Kaitlin Leung

The Leungs serve up a lovely family cookbook in their bestselling The Woks of Life, which draws its title from the family’s popular blog. With mom Judy’s traditional Chinese dishes and cultural backstories, dad Bill’s expertise in quintessential Chinese restaurant cooking, and daughters Sarah and Kaitlin’s veggie-forward one-dish recipes, The Woks of Life is a delight. In addition, their cookbook offers a detailed breakdown of essential Chinese ingredients and flavors, as well as Chinese cooking technique tips and kitchen tool must-haves.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

By Julia Child

A New York Times bestseller and an absolute cooking classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle features more than 500 recipes for the kitchen novice to the culinary connoisseur. Written to familiarize readers with the principles of French cuisine, this expansive two-volume set lays the foundation for an endless repertoire of exquisite meals. 

Best Cookbooks for Restaurant Lovers

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine

By René Redzepi

Renowned restaurateur René Redzepi offers a tantalizing glimpse into his philosophy on food in his cookbook Noma, which of course draws its name from Redzepi’s acclaimed restaurant. With 90 recipes, excerpts from Redzepi’s diary, and a collection of stunning food photographs, Noma chronicles the chef’s journey to reinventing Nordic cuisine. Though his three-Michelin-star restaurant in Copenhagen — often hailed as the best restaurant in the world — may be closing its doors as a traditional dining destination in the winter of 2024, you can bring its taste home with the Noma cookbook.

The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food

By Marcus Samuelsson

TV star, author, and Red Rooster Harlem restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson shines a celebratory spotlight on Black culture and cuisine in The Rise. Boasting 150 recipes, this acclaimed cookbook goes well beyond contemporary Black American cooking, exploring flavors, recipes, and culinary traditions that trace back to the African continent, the Caribbean, and beyond. With contributions from top chefs, activists, and more, The Rise is “more than a cookbook; it is a conversation, a collaboration, and, above all, a declaration that Black Food Matters” (Vogue).

Momofuku

By David Chang

In his New York Times bestseller Momofuku, David Chang reveals how he shook up modern-day cooking in America with bold Asian flavors, perfectly cooked ramen noodles, and a profound love of pork. Accompanying Chang’s eminently entertaining success story are mouthwatering recipes from his award-winning Momofuku restaurants, from ginger scallion noodles to his legendary pork buns.

The Whole Fish Cookbook

By Josh Niland

A fish is far more than just a filet, as you’ll discover in Josh Niland’s The Whole Fish Cookbook. Stocked with more than 60 recipes, this award-winning cookbook encourages you to use and appreciate every part of a fish — from nose to fin to tail. Niland, the chef and owner of Sydney’s acclaimed seafood restaurant Saint Peter, dives into the depths of seafood cooking here, revealing how to source, butcher, and cure dozens of fish species and dish up luscious fish pates and cassoulets. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver calls it “a mind-blowing masterpiece from one of the most impressive chefs of a generation.”

Ad Hoc at Home

By Thomas Keller

In his James Beard Award–winning Ad Hoc at Home, restaurateur Thomas Keller presents an inviting spread of showstopping comfort food dishes. Keller revolutionized American haute cuisine with his restaurants The French Laundry and Per Se; here, he shares casual meals inspired by his Yountville, California, restaurant Ad Hoc. Boasting 200 family-style recipes for both the experienced home chef and the beginner cook, Ad Hoc at Home will have you whipping up warm, enriching meals in no time. 

Best Cookbooks for Veggie Gourmands

Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

By Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

In Veganomicon, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero deliver the ultimate guide to vegan home cooking with more than 250 recipes for every occasion. Stuffed full of sumptuous vegan dishes with options for soy-free, gluten-free, and low-fat diets, it’s a pleaser for all appetites. And with an array of recipes ranging from Autumn Latkes and Pear and Adzuki Soup to Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti and Pumpkin Crumb Cake, it’s sure to satisfy everyone at your table — vegans and omnivores alike.

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables

By Joshua McFadden

Named one of the best cookbooks of the year by the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and more, Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden is something of a guide to vegetable fluency. In it, McFadden teaches the art of utilizing vegetables not just seasonally but throughout the stages of each season as vegetables mature. Starting each chapter with recipes that feature raw vegetables at the beginning of their growth, McFadden progresses into grilling and steaming, then sautéing and roasting. With 225 recipes, Six Seasons will teach you how to get the absolute best from your veggies.

Afro-Vegan

By Bryant Terry

From renowned chef and activist Bryant Terry, Afro-Vegan draws on the foods and flavors of the African diaspora to serve up more than 100 vegan recipes. Featuring dishes inspired by Southern classics, Brazilian favorites, Caribbean desserts, and more, Afro-Vegan is a tour of both food and culture. Alongside his step-by-step instructions for cooking world-class plant-focused fare, Terry shares thoughtful commentary on creating community through food and offers his music and book recommendations to make your next meal truly great. Hailed by Bon Appétit as one of the best vegetarian cookbooks of all time, Afro-Vegan is not to be missed. And for a second helping of deliciousness, check out Black Food, the groundbreaking and award-winning cookbook curated by Terry that explores Black foodways in America and beyond.

The Moosewood Cookbook

By Mollie Katzen

Mollie Katzen’s seminal cookbook helped generations of food lovers craft healthy and delicious veggie fare. The Moosewood Cookbook traces back to 1974, when Katzen handwrote, illustrated, and released a collection of recipes inspired by the dishes she and her fellow cooks prepared at the Moosewood Restaurant co-op in Ithaca, New York. What began as a spiral-bound, self-published booklet became one of the top 10 bestselling cookbooks of all time — and a treasured resource for any plant-focused cook.

Best Cookbooks for the Science-Minded Chef

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

By Samin Nosrat

A #1 New York Times bestseller, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by award-winning chef Samin Nosrat takes a wondrously studious approach to preparing incredible food. Slicing up the art of cooking into four elemental components, Nosrat revolutionizes your kitchen space while teaching you to confidently prepare meals with any ingredient in your pantry. With 100 recipes that interlink and recombine into rich new dishes, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat unlocks the building blocks of cooking and elevates your kitchen skills.

The Food Lab

By J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Bestselling author and acclaimed chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt gets into the science behind some of America’s best-loved dishes in The Food Lab. Breaking down food into heat, energy, and molecules, Kenji encourages readers to rethink traditional at-home cooking methods and offers clear and inventive techniques along with hundreds of approachable recipes. The New York Times Book Review hails The Food Lab as “the one book you must have, no matter what you’re planning to cook or where your skill level falls.”

The Flavor Bible

By Karen Page and Andrew Dorenburg

The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg is a lasting classic and a comprehensive exploration of flavor in all its variations. A guide to ingredients, spices, herbs, and more, The Flavor Bible aims to inspire new creations rather than simply instructing readers on how to re-create existing recipes. Considered one of the most influential cookbooks of all time, this is a must-have tool for your cooking creativity.

Best Cookbooks for Comforting Culinary Pleasures

Joy of Cooking

By Irma S. Rombauer

Originally self-published in 1931 by Irma S. Rombauer and her daughter Marion, Joy of Cooking is one of the most popular cookbooks of all time, inspiring generations of families to gather around the table over a comforting meal. A thorough guide to home cooking that’s filled with recipes for convenient meals and comforting dishes, Joy of Cooking is as classic as they come. Today, you’re likely to find the revised edition, updated by Rombauer’s great-grandson John Becker and his wife, Megan Scott. This new edition includes more than 600 additional recipes, as well as updated versions of time-honored dishes.

Nothing Fancy

By Alison Roman

In her New York Times bestseller Nothing Fancy, star chef Alison Roman teaches you the skills to happily host any night of the week. Roman delivers a full course of recipes for every occasion, with lots of easy-to-make veggies, impressive yet approachable entrées, and humbly scrumptious desserts. Whether you’re cooking up an intimate meal for two, preparing for a full-house dinner party, or looking forward to a solo chef’s night in, Nothing Fancy will guide you there.

Dessert Person

By Claire Saffitz

Looking to sweeten your dessert game? Claire Saffitz’s bestselling Dessert Person offers more than 100 creative recipes and all the know-how a home baker would need. In it, you’ll find Saffitz’s take on favorites like Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, Malted Forever Brownies, and much, much more, along with breakdowns of what could go wrong with recipes and how to fix them. With general dos and don’ts, foundational baking basics, and plenty of yummy photographs to inspire your next confection, Dessert Person “should become a go-to reference for any home baker” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

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