When it comes to investing in cookbooks, many would agree that the best cookbooks are ones that are, above all, usable. Those that actually have the power to change the way you cook for yourself and others forever. This was the guiding thought when we set out to pick our favorite cookbooks of 2019. The 13 books that made our list are instructive, friendly companions for home cooks of all stripes.
Maybe you’d like to feel more comfortable improvising in the kitchen, or just freshen up your weekly dinner recipe rotation. Or you’d like to summon up the courage to host more dinner parties. No matter what your goal is, you’ll find something that can help you become a better cook with this list of top cookbooks.
Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman
Best for Unfussy Entertaining
If Martha Stewart is the queen of entertaining, then Alison Roman is its punk rock princess. We can’t talk about 2019 cookbooks without mentioning her much-anticipated second cookbook, Nothing Fancy. In this sequel, she gives us more of what we loved about her first book—easy menu-building recipes for dinner parties, and the permission to turn up our noses at kitchen perfection. Nothing Fancy is packed with staples like lasagna, brisket, and baked potatoes—but Alison’s modern twists turn the recipes and ingredients you know into impressive dishes you’ll want to serve to others. Whether you’re the kind of home cook that loves throwing parties with elaborate dinner or brunch menus, or the kind that feels cooking for a group is an intimidating high-stakes task, you’ll find something that speaks to you in this book.
Mastering Spice by Lior Lev Sercarz
Best Lessons In Flavoring Food
Spices aren’t only an incredible source of health benefits, but they’re also the secret ingredient that takes a recipe from good to amazing. This rich recipe and technique manual by the master of spice Liev Sercarz teaches readers some simple ways to incorporate spices in everything from chicken soup to brownies. Perfect for those who want to become more intuitive cooks and elevate the flavors in their favorite recipes.
From the Oven to the Table by Diana Henry
Best One-Pot Recipes
All the recipes in this cookbook can be made in one pot or on one sheet pan in the oven, which makes it your new best friend for breezy weeknight dinners. Diana Henry masterfully breathes new life into tired old routine recipes and ingredients. So get ready to rummage through the back of your pantry and finally use up that interesting vinegar or spice you once bought but didn’t know how to use.
Fast & Easy Vegan Cookbook by JL Fields
Best Vegan Home Cooking
Vegan and plant-based home cooks rejoice—this book will provide new inspiration for tasty dishes you can quickly whip up every single day. It features 100 recipes complete with nutritional information, that use different cooking techniques and cater to different sub-categories of vegan eaters (nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, etc.).
Weeknight Baking by Michelle Lopez
Best Baking Hacks
A book that solves baking for busy people had to make our list because it will truly change your (baking) life. Learn how to bake on a schedule and serve up everything from simple fudge brownies and shortbread to serious bakes like a red velvet cake, and all the cookies, pies, and cakes in between.
Milk Street: The New Rules by Christopher Kimball
Best Game-Changing Tips
Wouldn’t it be great to have an award-winning chef teach you some ingenious cooking rules that you can easily follow at home? Rules that will make cooking easier but the end-result much more delicious? If you’re nodding your head, this is the book for you. Forget everything else you know, here are the 75 new rules to cook by. This book comes complete with more than 200 recipes demonstrating why.
Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple by Tieghan Gerard
Best Quick Dinners
A sequel to the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, this gem will show you how to make from-scratch comfort food your family craves in less time and with less effort. Using your slow cooker or a single pot, along with some time-cutting prep techniques, you’ll be cooking up tacos, mac and cheese, and summer lasagna without blinking an eye. The book’s emphasis is on serving home cooks that are pressed for time, and it delivers 125 recipes that do just that.
RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.
Food52: Dynamite Chicken by Tyler Kord
Best Chicken Recipes
We all have some chicken dinner ideas up our sleeves, but this collection of 60 chicken recipes, ranging from simple weeknight dinners to elaborate holiday-worthy creations, will make you look at chicken in a whole new way. Perfect for home cooks looking for inspiring new ways to make their favorite protein.
Cook Once Eat All Week by Cassy Joy Garcia
Best Meal Prep
Need your meal prep solved for you? This book is the answer to your prayers. Learn how to feed a family on a budget by prepping meals that won’t have you reaching for takeout menus by mid-week. It features recipes for 26 weeks of delicious dinners, and it includes gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, low carb, egg-free, and kid-friendly ideas, too.
Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? by Dr. Mark Hyman
Best for Healthy Weight Loss
Dr. Mark Hyman needs no introduction in the world of functional medicine. He’s the guru of eating for health and longevity, and the author of several bestselling wellness books. His latest cookbook applies one of the guiding principles of his food philosophy—eating for weight loss and health is one and the same—to 100 recipes that favor good fats, fresh vegetables, nuts, legumes, and responsibly harvested ingredients. Those following keto, paleo, pegan, gluten-free, grain-free, or dairy-free diets will find dinner inspiration that’ll get them closer to their wellness goals.
The Ultimate Instant Pot Healthy Cookbook by Coco Morante
Best Healthy Instant Pot Recipes
If you love your Instant Pot, you’ll love having 150 new ideas for healthy meals you can make in it. It’s all here—breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, staples, and even desserts. This book is especially recommended for home cooks who favor whole foods and are looking for ways to use natural ingredients in the meal prep appliance.
The Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook by Gina Homolka
Best Air Fryer Recipes
Author Gina Homolka is a pro when it comes to making lighter and healthier versions of beloved comfort foods, which is why she’s the perfect author to teach us how to make healthier “fried” foods using an air fryer. For those not familiar with the appliance, air fryers crisp up food without using a ton of oil, and with the recipes in this book, you’ll learn just how versatile this approach can be—from dinner staples to favorite baked goods.
Sous Vide by Hugh Acheson
Best Sous Vide Recipes
In this super handy sous vide manual, award-winning chef Hugh Acheson demystifies the technique that sounds scary but is actually an incredibly practical way to do meal prep or cook for a crowd. Learn how to cook a perfect burger, lamb rack, steak, and even vegetable delicacies like braised shiitake mushrooms.