The Best Cookbooks of 2023, According to Our Editors

The 25 books we think deserve spots on your shelf.

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six cookbook covers against a colorful background

Serious Eats / Chloe Jeong

As dedicated home cooks and cookbook enthusiasts, we're very pleased to say 2022 was yet another banner year for cookbooks. And the number of beautifully photographed, well-written, and delicious looking volumes of recipes resulted in quite a number of recommendations from the team. Sadly, as with last year, there were more great books than we had the space to list. But please consider what follows to be, in our eyes, some of the best of the year.

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  • The Wok by J. Kenji López-Alt

    Back when I used to work with Kenji in old-days Serious Eats, he'd occasionally give updates on his first cookbook, The Food Lab, which he was somehow writing while also writing full-time for the site (I still don't understand how he did that). At one point I remember him saying that a chapter he'd written about wok cooking was deemed too extensive, and his publisher decided to cleave it off to become its own book. And this year, we finally saw what that chapter became. As always, it's an impressive work, filled with science, techniques, great recipes, and Kenji's wonderful way of teaching way more than you could have ever imagined you wanted to know in the most down-to-earth and humorous way possible. It was also a good excuse for me to team up with Kenji again (I even got to fly out and visit him in Seattle!) for our Wok Digital issue, which we released earlier this year. Daniel Gritzer, senior culinary director

    (Price at time of publish: $30.)

  • West Winds by Riaz Phillips

    West Winds: Recipes, History and Tales from Jamaica

    Riaz Phillips' West Winds is one of my favorite books of the year, both because of the sheer variety of delicious dishes it contains, and because of how much I've learned from it. As much a guidebook (and history book) as it is a cookbook, Phillips thoughtfully and beautifully describes many of the towns, shops, and restaurants across the island of Jamaica. And his recipes go far beyond the (delicious) canteen-style curries and stews that are what many people first remember when they think of Jamaican food. In this book you’ll also find juices and smoothies, cooked vegan dishes, Rastafarian-style raw foods, and a variety of breads, cakes, and preserved and fermented sauces, drinks, and condiments. It’s a lovely, detailed collection of stories and recipes that any person with an interest in Jamaican (or Caribbean) food would be lucky to own. Jacob Dean, updates editor

    (Price at time of publish: $30.)

  • The Woks of Life by Bill, Judy, Sarah, and Kaitlin Leung

    The Woks of Life: Recipes to Know and Love from a Chinese American Family: A Cookbook

    I was a latecomer to Woks of Life, only having discovered the blog sometime last year. Despite that, I was immediately hooked, going through their archive with a fine-toothed comb and bookmarking recipe after recipe. I felt the same excitement when I received their long-awaited cookbook; I tagged pages with recipes for oil-crackling shrimp, lazy veggie noodle, chili oil wontons, and many more. I recently cooked my first recipe from the book for quick curry beef, which has four steps and takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. My kids and my husband raved about the dish and asked if we could have it for dinner again soon. As long as it involves cooking from this wonderful cookbook, I am happy to oblige such requests. Kristina Razon, editor

    (Price at time of publish: $28.)

  • Good & Sweet by Brian Levy

    Good & Sweet: A New Way to Bake with Naturally Sweet Ingredients

    Full disclosure: I get to collaborate with and edit the wildly talented Brian Levy for our site. With that said, Brian's first cookbook is tremendous―full of new takes on classic recipes like brownies, banana bread, and carrot cake. But, what I enjoy most is his focus on and inclusion of natural sweeteners, be it fruit, grains, or other whole-food ingredients, in place of added sugars and artificial sweeteners. He sweetens his custard filling for flan pâtissier with Hunza golden raisins, blends Medjool dates into brownie batter, and swirls puréed Hachiya persimmons into a spiced bundt cake. The photography is simple yet stunning. You won't regret picking up this cookbook for the bakers on your Christmas list. — Kristina

    (Price at time of publish: $30.)

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  • Smitten Kitchen Keepers by Deb Perelman

    Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files

    I'll be honest: I've been in a bit of a cooking rut lately. However, since I got this book last month things have changed, as everything in here can be best described as incredibly doable, repeatable, and delicious. It's fare for both weeknights and weekends and like the majority of the recipes I've tried from Deb Perelman and Smitten Kitchen's website and cookbooks, they have not missed. Carrot tarte tatin, (actually great) turkey meatloaf, gingery, scallion-heavy chicken noodle soup, lentils with pockets of goat cheese to be scooped onto bread: everything that's in here I've made I've wanted to make again (and some I already have). The cookbook, as it implies, is a keeper. Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, commerce editor

    (Price at time of publish: $24.)

  • Dine in Palestine by Heifa Odeh

    Dine in Palestine: An Authentic Taste of Palestine in 60 Recipes from My Family to Your Table

    Flipping through Dine in Palestine is like looking at an encyclopedia of the most essential dishes that make up Palestinian cuisine. To a Palestinian like myself, most recipes are familiar, though there are a few—like sayadieh (cumin-spiced cod) and imshat (cauliflower fritters)—that were a delight to learn about; to someone unfamiliar with the cuisine, the toughest problem they may face is deciding what to make first. There’s a little bit of everything: easy breakfast recipes like ful (fava bean dip), simple sides like tabbouleh, show-stopping mains such as braised lamb shanks with turmeric rice, and some of my personal favorite desserts like knafeh (sweet cheese pastry) and ghraybeh (pistachio and cardamom shortbread cookies). What’s more is that while some of these dishes are notorious for being intimidating, Heifa manages to make them approachable with clear, concise directions. She shares how each recipe, whether authentic or inspired by a familiar dish, is tied to core memories of her spending time in Palestine and with her Palestinian family, which makes them all the more special. The cookbook is an ode to a beautiful country and its resilient people, and it’s a can’t-miss for anyone looking to try their hand at Palestinian food. Yasmine Maggio, associate editor

    (Price at time of publish: $22.)

  • Masa by Jorge Gaviria

    Masa: Techniques, Recipes, and Reflections on a Timeless Staple

    The first time I saw the heirloom beans and multi-colored, jewel-like heirloom corn (maíz criollo) being sold by Masienda, I was enraptured. We ordered some of the company’s pre-ground masa, we bought some dried corn husks, and pretty soon we’d made many dozens of tortillas and tamales. So when I learned that Masienda’s founder, Jorge Gaviria, was writing a cookbook dedicated exclusively to masa I knew it was a volume I needed to own. And how right I was: it’s great. Not only does it include a wide range of masa-centered recipes, ranging from basic table tortillas to a tempura batter made with masa, it provides detailed instructions on how to nixtamalize (prep and cook) and then grind your own whole, dried corn kernels into homemade masa. It’s a wonderful cookbook for anyone interested in cooking (or even just learning about) the many delicious permutations of one of Central America’s most essential ingredients. — Jacob

    (Price at time of publish: $29.)

  • The Vegan Chinese Kitchen by Hannah Che

    The Vegan Chinese Kitchen: Recipes and Modern Stories from a Thousand-Year-Old Tradition: A Cookbook

    It's abundantly clear that we all should be eating less meat, and of course there are a million resources for vegetarian recipes (including this site). I don't want to tear down any recipes, at this point there is a wealth of great food to cook, new and old, that is all animal-free. But I have a particular appreciation for cuisines that have been doing the whole vegetarian thing since before it was a modern concern—there's nothing like time to hone a craft. This is immediately apparent in The Vegan Chinese Kitchen, which draws on a centuries-old tradition of meatless cooking to deliver universes of flavor, texture, and satiation from plants alone. — Daniel

    (Price at time of publish: $32.)

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  • Salad Freak by Jess Damuck

    Salad Freak: Recipes to Feed a Healthy Obsession

    I have a friend who loves vegetables; like, she craves carrots and celery and raw broccoli (shudder). I, on the other hand, crave cheese, potatoes, pasta, and steak. So I was very surprised when I found myself bookmarking almost every recipe in a book that was centered around vegetables in the form of salads. And even more shocked to discover that every salad I made was as crave-worthy as a bag of opened potato chips stashed just out of reach. In Salad Freak, Jess Damuck attempts to make a salad freak out of you with crunchy, creamy, textured (and tasty) salads. And so far, it’s worked. Damuck, who worked for Martha Stewart for 10-plus years, had a tough palate to test her creations on. So every salad in this book is a banger: the endive salad with walnut crumbles tucked into each leaf’s curl, a lemony dressing cascading down the pile, and little frizzles of parmesan dusting the whole thing; the bright and crunchy cabbage salad with little pieces of mandarin and a crispy panko chicken; Snoop Dogg’s collab on a loaded Cobb Salad complete with crushed tortilla chips for even more crunch. But my favorite recipe, one that has had me making salads near daily for the past few weeks, is her dead simple recipe for ranch dressing—it will change your life. All this to say, while I might not crave carrot sticks at midnight, Damuck has me craving salads. Grace Kelly, associate commerce editor

    (Price at time of publish: $25.)

  • The Cookie Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

    Filled with baking science and delicious, foolproof recipes, Rose Levy Beranbaum's cookbooks have never let me down. I've baked from her books for years; The Pie and Pastry Bible taught me how to make the flakiest crust, and The Cake Bible armed me with knowledge to make delicious, tender cakes each and every time. The Cookie Bible is filled with dependable recipes for cookies galore: drop cookies, rolled and cut cookies, brownies, and more. Alongside the recipes, you'll find Rose's notes on why the recipe works and tips for success. Don't sleep on the double ginger molasses cookies or the ganache-filled chocolate truffle cookies! Genevieve Yam, culinary editor

    (Price at time of publish: $33.)

  • Art of the Chicken by Jacques Pépin

    Art Of The Chicken: A Master Chef's Paintings, Stories, and Recipes of the Humble Bird

    This lovely little book by Jacques Pépin is more a collection of memories accomanied by his fanciful paintings of chickens than a cookbook, though it does have recipes written in that bygone shorthand that omits quantities and assumes you know how to cook ("I cut a chicken into pieces and sautéed them in butter until they had browned on all sides. Into the same pan, I tossed sliced muchrooms..."). I happen to love that style of recipe writing, which allows a recipe to truly be your own, as long as you're adept enough to make some good basic decisions whenever details are lacking, and I love his chicken art too. So does my 18-month-old daughter, who hopped on my lap the day the book arrived and gleefully pointed at every chicken as we flipped through the pages together. — Daniel

    (Price at time of publish: $19.)

  • The Perfect Loaf by Maurizio Leo

    The Perfect Loaf: The Craft and Science of Sourdough Breads, Sweets, and More

    A complete guide to all things sourdough, The Perfect Loaf is an impressive tome. Maurizio Leo's website of the same name helped me learn most of my sourdough basics when I was just fermentation curious, so I was blown away by just how much of this book felt new and exciting. Gorgeous photos illustrate all of Leo's technical explanations, guiding readers through their basic sourdough questions right into building and maintaining a starter. With a deep collection of recipes for breads, pizzas, buns, and rolls, there's not a sourdough stone unturned. I particularly love the way he uses baker's percentage tables for laying out bread formulas accompanied by simple time tables, giving me a great quick reference guide when I want to refresh myself on how long a pizza dough should proof or how much oil I should add to my focaccia dough. It's a beautiful step-by-step guide for anyone who wants to take up baking, but it's also a handy reference for experienced bread bakers who want to branch out. While I've spent two years perfecting a country sourdough, this book gives me the confidence to try out some pan loaves and sweet breads, and I'm sure all the friends I pawn off my extra baking too are just as excited as I am. Jesse Raub, commerce writer

    (Price at time of publish: $33.)

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  • First Generation by Frankie Gaw

    First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese-American Home

    I was sold on Frankie Gaw's cookbook-memoir, First Generation, as soon as I finished reading his intimate, moving essay about the experience of eating snacks with his dementia-stricken paternal grandmother as she confuses him with his cousin and asks about the whereabouts of Gaw's deceased father. I realize that may seem like a morose, even morbid story for the early pages of a cookbook, and an odd thing for someone to get hooked by. But it was the honesty and the immediacy of First Generation that drew me in, and it was the recipes that made me want to stay and cook. Gaw's talents as a writer, recipe developer, and photographer are clearly on display, and I can't wait to dive into this book even deeper, and to follow his career as he moves forward.— Jacob

    (Price at time of publish: $27.)

  • Peach by Amanda Greene

    Amanda Greene's Peaches is a beautiful photographic ode to the iconic southern fruit. Published by The Bitter Southerner, this book is a subtle showstopper. Between its emerald green textured covers —the front of which is embossed with a gorgeous gold illustration by Courtney Garvin—you'll find over 80 pages of color photos taken by Greene throughout her time growing up and working in the South. The book also includes six recipes which showcase the state fruit of Georgia, including a Peach Punch recipe by Shyretha Sheats which is sure to become my summer cocktail go-to next year. While it is nearly impossible to pick just one, my favorite moment of the book is towards the middle, where there's a full spread photo of a roadside PEACHES stand with orange and yellow pennants creating a colorful crown above the boxes of peaches in shadow. This book is perfect for anyone who loves the South, the fruit, or is simply a fan of stunning photographs. Amanda Suarez, senior visual editor

    (Price at time of publish: $35.)

  • I Dream of Dinner (So You Don't Have To) by Ali Slagle

    I Dream of Dinner (So You Don't Have To): Low-Effort, High-Reward Recipes

    Working in food media for 10 years has taught me a lot. For starters, I'm oddly good at identifying gear/brands/specific models of cookware, appliances, gadgets, and tools by eyesight alone. Secondly, after looking at and thinking about food all day, I often struggle to be inspired come dinnertime. That's where a cookbook like I Dream of Dinner comes in. Ali Slagle (who I worked with at Food52) is a phenomenal recipe developer who always seems to come up with exactly what I want to be eating. Her first cookbook is organized by eggs, beans, pasta, grain, vegetables, meats, and seafood—with each section further broken down by technique, texture, or ingredient. As someone who (mostly) doesn't plan specific weeknight meals ahead, this helps narrow down what I have the ingredients and time for. Many recipes also include variations on the dishes, to further allow for flexibility or the sort of "if you like this, then try this" cooking I like to do. Thus far, Ali's salad with frizzled eggs, broccoli with cheddar and chopped dates, bacon smashburgers, and garlicky, lemony, spiced chicken thighs (that can be grilled, roasted, or cooked on the stovetop) have made it into my regular rotation. And as I cook my way through I Dream of Dinner, I'm sure there will be many more to add to this list. — Riddley

    (Price at time of publish: $20.)

  • Lanka Food by O Tama Carey

    Lanka Food: Serendipity & Spice

    Before you even reach the first recipe of her cookbook Lanka Food, O Tama Carey has walked you through an encyclopedic introduction of not only the ingredients you may encounter in Sri Lankan dishes but also what to eat when, how to eat it, and the history of Sri Lankan cuisine. Carey, as she writes in her intro, wants Lanka Food "to be a cookbook that you use so often it gets messy" and it's easy to see that become the fate of this beautifully shot and designed book with all the intriguing recipes, like Crab cutlets or Kola Kanda, inside it. — Amanda Suarez, senior visual editor

    (Price at time of publish: $28.)

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  • Korean American by Eric Kim

    Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home

    I’ve long been a fan of Eric Kim’s work, so it’s no surprise that I absolutely love his book Korean American. The book, Kim writes, “is about all the beautiful things that come with being different, and all the hard things that come with that, too.” Though some may not consider the recipes in the book to be Korean American, he notes that there is more than one way to be Korean—and the recipes included in the book reflect the food he grew up eating in Atlanta.

    “The more we can distance ourselves from this impulse to define entire cultures, cuisines, and experiences as monoliths,” Kim writes, “the more empathetic we’ll become as cooks, and the easier it will be to finally dispel the myth of ‘authenticity’ in food.” Filled with fun, delicious recipes like meatloaf-glazed kalbi, broccoli-cheese rice casserole, and soy sauce fried chicken, Korean American is the book I’ve been reaching for all year long. — Genevieve

    (Price at time of publish: $28.)

  • Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook by Illyanna Maisonet

    Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook

    Illyanna Maisonet describes her cookbook more beautifully than I ever could: “This is not a Puerto Rican cookbook. This book is for the Diasporicans—the 5.5 million people living Stateside who continue to cook the food of our homeland. This is for the tribe of Ni De Aquí, Ni De Allá (‘not from here, not from there’).” The vibrant recipes practically hop off of each page; the ones that were known to me brought familiar scents to my nose, while the ones I haven’t yet tried still made my mouth water. In particular, I want everything fried—from papas rellenas to guichis and arepas. Illyanna’s book nails the many sides of Puerto Rican food and is an essential guide for anyone who wants to learn more about the rich cuisine and culture. — Yasmine

    (Price at time of publish: $27.)

  • The Cook You Want to Be by Andy Baraghani

    The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress

    While this book is rather loftily called "The Cook You Want to Be," I was happy to discover that all the recipes I made from it were achievable—and delicious. It's not a cookbook that showcase feats of kitchen wizardy, but rather simple recipes that work (and taste good!) every time. One recipe I make on repeat is the egg sandwich, which features soft bread slathered with mayonnaise upped with a bit of mustard (I like to add a few drops of sesame oil as well), layered with jammy boiled eggs, and then drizzled with scallions that have been bashed up a bit in a dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and a pinch of sugar. It's the type of enlivening breakfast sandwich that I serve to friends and family who crash at my place after a rowdy night. It's also the type of breakfast sandwich that I make myself on a rainy morning when the spirit is damp and a little sad. Many of the recipes in this book are like this: simple, but each component finely tuned to sing in tandem. This cookbook is not about lofty achievements, but about the simple foods that help us keep on keepin' on. — Grace

    (Price at time of publish: $23.)

  • Turkey and the Wolf by Mason Hereford

    Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans

    The Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans cookbook is a family affair. Mason Hereford, owner of the titular Turkey and the Wolf as well as Molly's Rise and Shine, tapped his brother to photograph the tome—which features some of my favorite food photos of the year— and shares funny stories of all the people who help bring those restaurants to life. The cookbook is organized into 10 sections and features recipes for dishes the restaurants are famous for like the Collard Melt (pg. 106) (which I've had and it is wildly delicious) and fun one-offs like how to make Dorito Dust (pg. 68). The food hits the perfect balance of casual and striking and this cookbooks captures that energy NOLA restaurants have been come known for perfectly. — Amanda

    (Price at time of publish: $25.)

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  • The Bread Baker's Pocket Companion by Andrew Janjigian

    The Bread Baker's Pocket Companion

    Frequent Serious Eats contributor Andrew Janjigian developed this quick guide earlier this year to help stuck bakers have a quick reference guide. With tables for swapping dry yeast for sourdough, weight to volume conversions for various salt types, and even a protein percentage chart for commonly available flours, The Bread Baker's Pocket Companion is an essential tool for any baker who finds themselves in a pinch trying to build a recipe. I particularly love how much time he dedicates to breaking down baker's percentages, making it easy to scale bread formulas up or down as needed. There are only a limited number of copies available, however, so act fast. — Jesse

    (Price at time of publish: $20.)

  • Nose Dive by Harold McGee

    Nose Dive (paperback)

    Several weeks ago I was thinking about cumin and how much I love it, but also how much I think it smells like intense body odor. There's nothing too strange about that, lots of foods we love smell like things we don't love—ever think about what some stinky cheeses really smell like? But anyway, I was thinking about the cumin, and I was wondering if there was some aromatic molecule in it that might explain the whole BO thing I always notice. And then Harold McGee's new book arrived and lo and behold! He had the answer: cuminaldehyde, a terpenoid (a class of aromatic molecules) that is defined by its sweaty smell. This book is a great reference for food nerds, or, really anyone, after all, most of what we taste is actually its smell. — Daniel

    (Price at time of publish: $22.)

  • Flour Power by Tara Jensen

    flour-power-the-practice-and-pursuit-of-baking-sourdough-bread

    There's a lot of talk lately about local and fresh-milled flour in sourdough bread, and Tara Jensen's Flour Power is a lightning rod of a baking book that puts grain directly in the spotlight. Jensen's style is thoughtful and considerate, demystifying home-milled flour for amateur bakers and detailing all the pros and cons of each type of wheat. The recipes in Flour Power skew hearty with plenty of whole grains in focus, and I'm particularly fond of her whole animal approach to adding starter discard into deserts, working rye starter discard into brownies for a tangy pop, or desem discard into sorghum graham crackers. There's an inventive approach to every recipe in this book, and I love spending time oohing and aahing at the beautiful photos while contemplating which new starter style I'm going to try to build. — Jesse

    (Price at time of publish: $27.)

  • A Good Day to Bake by Benjamina Ebuehi

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

    Flip through Benjamina Ebuehi's A Good Day to Bake, and you'll find yourself running to preheat your oven so you can make the mouthwatering cakes, cookies, and pastries from the book. While there are impressive desserts (like a malted crème brûlée and flourless chocolate cake) fit for a dinner party, you'll also find easy bakes like the everyday cake, peanut butter cookies, and a raspberry yogurt honey cake. It's hard to pick a favorite recipe, but I'll have to go with the miso and white chocolate chip cookies. — Genevieve

    (Price at time of publish: $29.)

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  • Pierogi by Zuza Zak

    Pierogi: Over 50 Recipes to Create Perfect Polish Dumplings

    Growing up, an easy go-to-dinner in my house was frozen pierogi, boiled to defrost then fried in a pan with butter and bacon and served with a large dollop of sour cream. While I know those grocery store brand frozen pierogi were nothing close to a proper Polish dumpling, I still associate them with home and togetherness. I sought out Zuza Zak's Pierogi cookbook this year to discover more about the history and variations of this dish and learned more than I could have hoped for. The book has over 50 recipes, split into a Traditional section with dishes like smoked fish zeppelins and a Modern section which features dumplings like a fried avocado and egg pierogi. What I appreciate most about this book however, is the front section dedicated to showing you how to properly fold each pierogi shape. As someone who shoots and edits step-by-step photos all day for Serious Eats, it's exciting to come across a book that not only has beautiful, finished dish photos but considered process shots as well. — Amanda

    (Price at time of publish: $24.)

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