The Very Best Cookbooks to Give This Year

updated Nov 18, 2021
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Cover of To Asia with Love shown on a bookstand.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

When properly selected, a cookbook can be a truly personal gift for the baker, cook, or food lover in your life. Dog-eared corners, notes in the margins, and food-splattered pages are all signs that a cookbook is well loved. And these gift-able options are destined to be that way in no time.

We’ve cooked our way through some truly exceptional options this year. These are the ones that we’re looking forward to hanging onto in our own kitchens — as well as a few modern classics that we find ourselves returning to again and again. Of course, that’s what makes us think they’d be great gifts, too. With options for vegetarians, modern takes on old cooking styles and, of course, a little something sweet, there’s something in here for everyone, even the junior chefs in your life.

1 / 18
Amazon
$24.49

If someone in your life is vegetarian — or even just embracing Meatless Mondays — this book can add some new flavors to their repertoire. All of the recipes are super approachable, with the goal of being able to make great Asian-inspired dishes like congee or cacio e pepe udon noodles any day of the week with everyday ingredients.

2 / 18
Amazon
$24.49
was $40.00

If someone can’t make it to chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales’ acclaimed Portland restaurant Kachka, this book of the same name will allow your loved one to be transported there via her bold, flavorful recipes. Short Rib Borsch, Chicken Kiev, and Golubtsi (those yummy cabbage rolls) are just a few of the recipes we have bookmarked in our copy.

3 / 18
Amazon
$14.99
was $24.99

Preparing to cook Vietnamese food typically involves a trip to a specialty grocery store. That’s not necessary with award-winning author Andrea Nguyen’s fast, flavorful, and convenient techniques. With this book, your beloved can easily whip up Chile Garlic Chicken Wings, Honey-Glazed Pork Riblets, and more.

4 / 18
Amazon
$31.64
was $39.95

So much more than a collection of recipes, this book takes home cooks on a journey through the history of Arab cuisine, diving into its rich history along the way. Tell whoever you give this to that we suggest the Makmoora (a layered pot pie-like dish with chicken, onion, and pine nuts) and the Caramelized Butternut Squash Fatteh with Za'atar. And, actually, everything else in here ...

5 / 18
Amazon
$17.29
was $35.00

This pick is packed with 190 recipes from James Beard Award–winning chef Dan Kluger. In addition to some stellar recipes, the book includes tips for stocking the ultimate pantry. But the main goal of the book is to teach its user how to master techniques and prepare food in ways to maximize flavor. If you know a good cook, this is the book that can turn them into a great cook.

6 / 18
Amazon
$24.99

If you know someone who Loves vegetable, this is the book for them. Chef Joshua McFadden cut his teeth in some of the country’s best restaurants including Lupa, Momofuku, and Blue Hill before opening his own, Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon. He channels both farm and chef in his recipes, providing options that take into consideration where a particular ingredient is in its growing cycle at any given time, and how that can impact a dish.

7 / 18
Amazon
$24.49
was $27.50

We don't want to brag or anything, but Kitchn's very own Jesse Szewczyk came out with one of the best cookie cookbooks of all time. With recipes like Key Lime Pie Meringues, Smoked Butter & Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Malted Brownie Biscotti, Chewy Blueberry Muffin Sugar Cookies, and Pretzels & Stout Cookie Bar there really is something for every type of sweettooth in this book.

8 / 18
Amazon
$12.99
was $24.99

Each of the vegan recipes in this book have been designed for transport in a tiffin, a traditional Indian-style lunchbox, so they’re all super portable. Vegetables get the spotlight in recipes like Bucatini à la Pumpkin with Pink Peppercorn & Pistachio, Green Chutney Quesadillas, and Indian Home Fries with Peanuts

9 / 18
Amazon
$22.99
was $35.00

Sometimes it seems like Italian food is universally adored. If you need a gift for someone who could eat Italian food every day, consider this book. Lauded by many to be essential reading when it comes to mastering classic dishes and techniques, this 700-page book (yes, it’s that comprehensive) truly does cover it all.

10 / 18
Amazon
$21.30
was $35.00

Already considered by many to be a modern classic, this book helps readers get down to the basics through science. Written by a molecular scientist turned James Beard Award-winning author, this book is packed with fundamentals to help readers understand how flavors work with one another to create balanced, satisfying dishes.

11 / 18
Amazon
$23.27
was $35.00

Whether you’re shopping for a vegan, someone who likes to partake in meatless Monday, or just someone who enjoys great food (um, all of us), this book will fit the bill. Packed with 120 recipes from the East (think: kimchi pancakes and salted miso brownies), readers will find this book to be very accessible. There’s nothing too fussy and most of the ingredients are easy to find in mainstream grocery stores.

12 / 18
Amazon
$34.23

Part recipe book, part history lesson, this book is packed with heart and passion. Most of the recipes featured have been in the author’s family for years and include a variety of satisfying plates like curries, dumplings, Afghan pastas, sweets, chutneys, soups, and breads.

13 / 18
Amazon
$24.48
was $35.00

Vegan and Korean? It seems like a tricky combo. Korean cooking is, after all, synonymous with fish sauce and barbecue. And although grilled meat is indeed prevalent in some Korean food, the ingredients that filled out the plates of the author’s upbringing — doenjang (fermented soybean paste), gochujang (chili sauce), dashima (seaweed), and more — are fully plant-based, unbelievably flavorful, and totally Korean.

14 / 18
Amazon
$23.99

A fan-favorite on The Great British Baking Show, Nadiya Hussain has been quite busy since her big win a few years ago. She has a hit Netflix series and somehow managed to find time to write a cookbook. This one is packed with more than 100 approachable recipes for sweet treats like Rhubarb and Custard Butter Kisses, Zesty Fruitcake, Cardamom Lemon Iced Buns, and more. It’s a must for any baker’s shelf.

15 / 18
Amazon
$26.96
was $29.95

In this pick, the blogger behind Eat Cho Food shares her fresh, uncomplicated interpretations of classic Chinese baked goods. Recipes include Pineapple Buns, Honey Pistachio Mooncakes, an assortment of Chinese breads, unique cookies, and more. Whether you know someone who is nostalgic for Chinese bakeshop food, or just someone who enjoys delicious new recipes, this book is a great option.

16 / 18
Amazon
$24.28
was $37.50

Drawing from his Hatian upbringing and his French culinary education, Gregory Gourdet has crafted recipes full of good-for-you superfoods that cooks will find themselves returning to again and again. With dishes that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, and grains, he focuses on dishes that let veggies shine, a few meaty stews, flavorful sauces, and ways to make seasonal ingredients pop on the plate.

17 / 18
Amazon
$21.30
was $32.50

With a handful of New York Times bestselling cookbooks under her belt (seriously, if you don’t recognize the name Google her to see what she’s worked on), Julia Turshen has now turned her sights to creating healthier takes on the comfort food dishes we all crave. Surely someone on your gift list would like delicious, approachable recipes for Stewed Chicken with Sour Cream + Chive Dumplings, Hasselback Carrots with Smoked Paprika, and Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes. Right?

18 / 18
Amazon
$12.49
was $28.00

This cookbook is illed with 120 vegetarian dishes that have short ingredient lists and unique flavor combinations. The book is also peppered with handy time-saving tips and has recipes for make-ahead breakfasts and one-bowl bakes.