The most recommended cooking books

Who picked these books? Meet our 86 experts.

86 authors created a book list connected to cooking, and here are their favorite cooking books.
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Book cover of How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Marta Zaraska Author Of Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100

From my list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science journalist published in The Washington Post, Scientific American, The Atlantic, etc., and the author of bestselling Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100. I’m also a slightly obsessive parent who really cares about her family’s health—that’s how “Growing Young” was born. To write the book, I’ve read over 600 scientific studies, talked to dozens of scientists and had some experiments conducted on myself (some a bit painful, some rather fun)—and ended up changing my own outlook on what it means to live healthily. 

Marta's book list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon)

Marta Zaraska Why did Marta love this book?

While friendship, ikigai and optimism are important for our health and longevity, diet and exercise still matter—a lot. For me, How Not to Die is a go-to book when I want to check the science on what works—and what doesn’t—in terms of nutrition, physical activity, supplements, etc.

By Michael Greger, Gene Stone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Not to Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This book may help those who are susceptible to illnesses that can be prevented with proper nutrition' - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The international bestseller, Dr Michael Greger's How Not To Die gives effective, scientifically-proven nutritional advice to prevent our biggest killers - including heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes - and reveals the astounding health benefits that simple dietary choices can provide.

Why rely on drugs and surgery to cure you of life-threatening disease when the right decisions can prevent you from falling ill to begin with?

Based on the latest scientific research,…

Book cover of The Diva Says Cheesecake

Meri Allen Author Of The Rocky Road to Ruin

From my list on culinary cozy mysteries with murder on the menu.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Drew was the gateway drug for my mystery reading and writing addiction. I love unusual sleuths, and sleuths with secrets such as Mrs. Pollifax, Miss Marple, and Stephanie Plum. Dubbed the “takeout queen” by my kids, I love cooking shows and had the good sense to marry a man who enjoys making ice cream.

Meri's book list on culinary cozy mysteries with murder on the menu

Meri Allen Why did Meri love this book?

Krista Davis’ long-running Domestic Diva series is always a treat. Sophie Winston, a creative caterer in charming Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, has been sleuthing for fourteen books, and the latest, The Diva Says Cheesecake is just as fresh and fun as the first. Davis’ witty and warm-hearted sleuth is surrounded by a cast of fun characters that bring the social setting to life. The Diva has done it all from high tea and Thanksgiving dinners, weddings, and celebrity cooking shows, and all of Davis’ recipes are to die for.

By Krista Davis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Diva Says Cheesecake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a delicious new Domestic Diva Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Krista Davis, entertaining guru Sophie Winston is faced with a midsummer nightmare when a celebration in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is the appetizer for murder . . .

Old Town's midsummer festivities are getting a tasty addition this year. To coincide with a public performance of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Bobbie Sue Bodoin, the Queen of Cheesecake, has hired Sophie to organize a dinner with a dessert buffet on the waterfront. Bobbie Sue's homegrown company is thriving, and since her baking dish overfloweth, she wants to…

Book cover of Feast: Food of the Islamic World

Mary Taylor Simeti Author Of Sicilian Summer: An Adventure in Cooking with my Grandsons

From my list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an American living and cooking in Sicily for almost sixty years, I have soaked up Sicilian cuisine and culture both through research and by osmosis, delighting in discovering how the food I was preparing reflected the island’s position in history and geography, a meeting point for almost all the civilizations of the Mediterranean. My first book, a memoir of my life here entitled On Persephone’s Island, was followed by Pomp and Sustenance. Twenty-five Centuries of Sicilian Food, the first book on Sicilian cuisine to be published in English. Six more books on different aspects of Sicilian food and culture, in English or in Italian, have followed.

Mary's book list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind

Mary Taylor Simeti Why did Mary love this book?

Feast is indeed a feast, served to the eye and the mind as well as to the palate. This Lebanese food writer has traveled from Senegal to Indonesia and to all the Islamic countries in between to gather recipes that are almost painfully tempting, lushly illustrated, and amply annotated. Reading it, one discovers how we in the West impoverish our idea of Islamic food when we equate it only with that of the Middle East.

By Anissa Helou,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Feast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Sunday Times Book of the Year (Bee Wilson)

A sweeping culinary journey across the Islamic world, and a celebration of its most iconic recipes.

A diverse and rich culinary tradition has evolved in every place touched by Islam, always characterised by deliciousness and fragrance, a love of herbs and the deft use of spices.

Anissa Helou's Feast represents an extraordinary journey through place and time, travelling from Senegal to Indonesia via the Arab, Persian, Mughal or North African heritage of so many dishes. This exploration of the foods of Islam begins with bread and its myriad variations, from pita…

Book cover of Cook Beautiful

Rachel Riederman Author Of Once Upon A Rind In Hollywood: 50 Movie-Themed Cheese Platters and Snack Boards for Film Fanatics

From my list on cookbooks to be the host with most.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a clothing designer in NYC in a previous life. I would cram friends into my small apartment and have dinner parties whenever I could. I love food, cooking, and entertaining. Food is a way to show love, but for me, cooking was also a way to flex my creative muscle outside a creatively and emotionally draining industry. For years I mused about how to pivot into the food industry without being a classically trained chef. Upon being laid off in 2020 the door was finally opened for me to move on a begin a career in food styling and photography. Once Upon a Rind in Hollywood is my first cookbook.

Rachel's book list on cookbooks to be the host with most

Rachel Riederman Why did Rachel love this book?

Athena Calderone welcomes you into her casual, cool, and elegant world in Cook Beautiful.

Recipes are listed by season, using simple and healthy ingredients at their peak of freshness. The recipes are simple and straightforward and include gorgeous and “swoon-worthy” photos and tips explaining how to style and plate your meal for maximum impact and little effort.

The recipes in Cook Beautiful are equally impressive for an intimate dinner party, yet simple enough to serve on a Tuesday night. Many of the seasonal dishes have made it into my own dinner rotation.

By Athena Calderone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cook Beautiful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The debut cookbook from Athena Calderone, creator of EyeSwoon, with 100 seasonal recipes for meals as gorgeous as they are delicious.

In Cook Beautiful, Athena reveals the secrets to preparing and presenting unforgettable meals. As the voice and curator behind EyeSwoon, an online lifestyle destination for food, entertaining, fashion, and interior design, Athena cooks with top chefs, hosts incredible dinners, and designs stunning tablescapes, while emphasizing the importance of balancing the visual elements of each dish with incredible flavors. In her debut cookbook, she's finally showing the rest of us how to achieve her impeccable yet approachable cooking style.


Book cover of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food

Jessica Harlan Author Of Homemade Condiments

From my list on learning something new about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the author of nine cookbooks, I strive to help readers master new skills and to become more comfortable in the kitchen. I’m constantly reading other cookbooks to keep my fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the food world, as well as to improve my own culinary prowess. It’s been nearly 20 years since I graduated from culinary school, and I love that I can open a book to refresh a forgotten skill, learn a new one, or delve into the “why” behind cooking’s biggest questions. These books have kept me entertained and intrigued, not to mention well-fed. I hope they do the same for you! 

Jessica's book list on learning something new about cooking

Jessica Harlan Why did Jessica love this book?

A must-have for anyone with a passion for science, this book is a fun read, and I learn something new every time I leaf through it, whether it’s about how our senses of smell and taste work, or why weighing ingredients is superior to using measuring cups. Throughout the book are fun, informative interviews with experts on a wide variety of topics: Jeff Varasano discusses pizza, Herve This on molecular gastronomy, and Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame) on scientific testing.

As a longtime cooking equipment writer, I particularly love how much detail he invests in kitchenware, explaining what’s necessary and what’s not. This isn’t the type of book you’ll turn to when you’re making a weeknight dinner, but certainly one where you can treat your kitchen like a science lab and spend an afternoon embarking on crazy (and delicious!) experiments. Case in point: a recipe for marshmallows that are firm…

By Jeff Potter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cooking for Geeks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do we cook the way we do? Are you the innovative type, used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? Do you want to learn to be a better cook or curious about the science behind what happens to food as it cooks? More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why do we bake some things at 350 F/175 C and others at 375 F/190 C? Why is medium-rare steak so popular? And just how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven…

Book cover of El Charro Cafe: The Tastes and Traditions of Tucson

Jackie Alpers Author Of Taste of Tucson: Sonoran-Style Recipes Inspired by the Rich Culture of Southern Arizona

From my list on southwestern regional home cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jackie Alpers is an award-winning professional food photographer and author. She is a longtime contributing recipe developer & photographer for The Food Network, Refinery29, TheKitchn, TodayFood, Real Simple, National Geographic, and Edible Baja Arizona Magazine among others. She has been featured in articles for Reader’s Digest, CNN, Good Morning America, The New York Times & NPR. She writes, cooks, and styles recipes from her sun-lit studio in Tucson, Arizona.

Jackie's book list on southwestern regional home cooking

Jackie Alpers Why did Jackie love this book?

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Flores family for hiring me on as a busier/bartender shortly after I moved to Tucson from Ohio in 1993. Carne Seca, albondigas and topopo were all new words to me that have since become embedded in my daily experience.

Carlotta Flores published a cookbook of recipes from the restaurant in 1998 and I reference it often in my own cookbook, Taste of Tucson. It’s a must-have book for anyone interested in learning more about Sonoran style Mexican food.

By Carlotta Flores,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked El Charro Cafe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recipes and lore from El Charro Café, a Tucson landmark famous for its vibrant, fresh Mexican food.

Book cover of The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages

Andrew Jotischky Author Of A Hermit's Cookbook: Monks, Food and Fasting in the Middle Ages

From my list on food and drink in the Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in medieval food and cookery combines two of my great passions in life, but I first started to become seriously interested in the combination when researching religious dietary ideas and practices. I am fascinated by the symbolic role played by food and drink in religious life, and by fasting and self-denial as part of a religious tradition, but also in the ways in which medieval communities feasted and how tastes in food and drink developed through trade and cultural exchange. I teach an undergraduate course on Feast, Fast, and Famine in the Middle Ages because questions about production, consumption, and sustainability are crucially important for us all.  

Andrew's book list on food and drink in the Middle Ages

Andrew Jotischky Why did Andrew love this book?

This is the best overall book on cooking, kitchens, and recipes in the Middle Ages. It is a compendium on everything to do with cookery as a practical art and the theory behind medieval ideas of health and nutrition. Scully argues convincingly that medieval cooks and cookery were more sophisticated and technical than we might think. The book is highly readable as well as being authoritative and comprehensive, and uses extensive passages from the writings of medieval cookery authors. 

By Terence Scully,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The master cook who worked in the noble kitchens of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries had to be both practical and knowledgeable. His apprenticeship acquainted him with a range of culinary skills and a wide repertoireof seasonal dishes, but he was also required to understand the inherent qualities of the foodstuffs he handled, as determined by contemporary medical theories, and to know the lean-day strictures of the Church. Research in original manuscript sources makes this a fascinating and authoritative study where little hard fact had previously existed.

Book cover of Soul Food Sunday

Alliah L. Agostini Author Of The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States

From my list on to celebrate Black summertime joy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write to spread joy and truth. As a proud Black mother living in a country with school districts that see Black stories as threats worth banning, amplifying these stories is crucial to the fight to help humanize us and retain the privilege of celebration and joy. When I wrote The Juneteenth Story, it was rooted in a conscious effort to balance my own joyous summertime memories of celebrating the holiday with the hard truths that established and evolved this holiday. This list includes a small sample of books about some of the many ways Black folks celebrate - enjoy.

Alliah's book list on to celebrate Black summertime joy

Alliah L. Agostini Why did Alliah love this book?

This is absolutely a new classic - an award-winning coming-of-age story about the Sunday a soul food cooking grandmother finally opens up her culinary secrets to the next generation. Winsome Bingham’s vivid language is perfectly matched with C.G. Esperanza’s electric illustrations. I also appreciate the tiny details like the uncle who watches the football game on an itty bitty TV. Brings me back (kids will never understand that pre-smartphone life!) And apparently, the mac n’ cheese recipe is on point, so don’t miss that.

By Winsome Bingham, C.G. Esperanza (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soul Food Sunday as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Granny teaches her grandson to cook the family meal in this loving celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table

On Sundays, everyone gathers at Granny's for Soul Food.
But today, I don't go to the backyard or the great room.
I follow Granny instead.
"You're a big boy now," Granny says. "Time for you to learn."

At Granny's, Sunday isn't Sunday without a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. Old enough now, our narrator is finally invited to help cook the dishes for the first time: He joins Granny in grating the cheese, cleaning the…

Book cover of All Four Stars

Leila Sales Author Of The Museum of Lost and Found

From my list on kids doing things only grown-ups could do.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of a number of books for kids and teens, many of which imagine young characters having more influence than you might expect. My book The Museum of Lost and Found is about an 11-year-old girl who secretly curates a museum. The Campaign is about a 12-year-old who runs her babysitter’s campaign to become mayor of their town. And This Song Will Save Your Life is about a 16-year-old who secretly becomes an underground DJ. These characters have realistic and relatable kid problems, emotions, and relationships—but they also get to have responsibilities and power well beyond their years. 

Leila's book list on kids doing things only grown-ups could do

Leila Sales Why did Leila love this book?

One of the things I like about this type of book is that the main characters often have a secret identity.

To their classmates or teachers or parents, they’re just an ordinary kid—but when they’re not being watched, they’re doing something important and impactful. I love the tension of worrying that their secret identity might get found out. In this series, the main character’s secret identity is that she’s an accomplished and influential restaurant critic and no one knows, not even her parents. 

By Tara Dairman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Four Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

“A scrumptious gem of a story!”—Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince
Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)
Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for…

Book cover of How Italian Food Conquered the World

Ian MacAllen Author Of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American

From my list on when you’re hungering for history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My wife and I were at a red sauce joint in the West Village of Manhattan drinking a bit of wine when we posed the question: who invented all this? We knew Italian American food didn’t look all that much like the food we ate in Italy. Later, at home, I started Googling for answers. None were satisfactory. I read a few books before finding myself at the New York Public library sleuthing through JSTOR. After examining my notes, I said to myself, “oh, I guess I’m writing a book.”

Ian's book list on when you’re hungering for history

Ian MacAllen Why did Ian love this book?

Food inspired by the traditions of Italy are well known around the world, and Mariani examines how the nation had an outsized impact on global food culture. Once considered an unsophisticated cuisine better known for macaroni or pizza, Mariani argues Italian food has since displaced French cuisine as the quintessential example of haute dining culture. His discussion of Italian food history largely centers how it disseminated globally. He discusses Italian American foods, but as part of the whole rather than as a distinct cuisine onto itself.    

By John F. Mariani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Italian Food Conquered the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Not so long ago, Italian food was regarded as a poor man's gruel - little more than pizza, macaroni with sauce, and red wines in a box. Here, John Mariani shows how the Italian immigrants to America created, through perseverance and sheer necessity, an Italian-American food culture, and how it became a global obsession. The book begins with the Greek, Roman, and Middle Eastern culinary traditions before the boot-shaped peninsula was even called 'Italy,' then takes readers on a journey through Europe and across the ocean to America alongside the poor but hopeful Italian immigrants who slowly but surely won…