The 37 best cook books we all need in our kitchens

From undisputed classics to exciting new entries, these are the best cook books you need to add to your collection, whether you're a seasoned chef or new to the kitchen...

A composite image of eight of the best cook books, with text saying 'best cook books'.
(Image credit: Amazon/Future)

The best cook books will cover more than just the basics. As well as sharing recipes, they should inspire, delight and boost our creativity in the kitchen.

Whether you're a pro in the kitchen or are tentatively dipping your toes into the world of cooking, there's sure to be a cook book that will suit your needs, with lots of options not just offering recipes but also handy tips and tricks when it comes to buying, stocking and preparing food. Some of these options are dedicated to the classics - nostalgic, home-cooked comforts - while others shine a light on unique flavors and ingredients which are sure to impress your dinner-party guests.

Many of the cook books in our list below incorporate plant-based cooking, with deliciously tempting vegan and vegetarian dishes that encourage you to cook and eat sustainably, but you'll still find an array of options for both non-meat eaters and meat-eaters alike.

Our pick of the best cook books for 2023

These are the best cook books to add to your collection in 2023, according to the woman&home food team, and contributing writer and foodie Rachel Hagan


1. Dishoom: From Bombay With Love by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar, Naved Nasir

The much-loved Indian restaurant has long been a popular dining destination for London foodies, and its first-ever cookbook finally divulges the secret recipes that have made Dishoom such a hit over the years. Described by Yotam Ottolenghi as ‘A love letter to Bombay’, recipes include Jackfruit Biryani, Okra Fries, Bacon Naan Roll and their highly-adored House Black Daal. Once you’ve found all the recipes you want to recreate, you can shop Dishoom’s online store and source their unique ingredients, too, such as a vintage-style tin of their House Chai and a chutney gift set.

Buy it because… “This is my go-to book when I want to cook for a crowd, as it’s filled with evocative spices and flavor-packed dishes that beat any takeaway. The recipes require a few ingredients, but it’s worth the effort to seek them out, as you’ll use them time and time again." -  Jen Bedloe, Food Director at Future Plc

Our favorite recipe: “A toss-up between Berry Britannia Biryani and their very naughty Chicken Ruby (just look away when adding the butter and cream!)”. 


2. Taverna: Recipes From A Cypriot Kitchen by Georgina Hayden

Georgina Hayden (formerly part of Jamie Oliver’s Food Team) takes a trip back to her Greek-Cypriot roots, putting a spin on some of her family’s recipes with a modern twist on traditional Mediterranean food. Let this recipe book transport you to the best beaches in Greece and pore over the beautifully photographed recipes inside, from Classic Moussaka to Chicken, Cinnamon and Sweet Potato Orzo.

Buy it because… “Georgina’s (you’ll know her from foodie shows such as Saturday Kitchen and Cooking the Books with Jamie Oliver) enthusiasm and passion for Cypriot food shines through in every recipe, and the book is a joy to read with gorgeous photography and easy to follow instructions.” - Jen Bedloe

Our favorite recipe: "Pastitsio (Makaronia Tou Fournou), the Greek-Cypriot answer to lasagne with warming spices. You also must try Georgie’s houmous recipe - it’s silky smooth and so moreish!"


3. Simply by Sabrina Ghayour

Sabrina is a British-Iranian cook who has now written five cookbooks—but for us this is her best yet. A major draw of this is how easy and clear the recipes are to follow. Most of them also have a ‘simply delicious with’ section, giving you ideas of other recipes in the book that together would make a lovely meal. Although not a veggie book, there are a huge amount of options for non-meat eaters and meat-eaters alike. 

Buy it because... We've loved her previous books, including Persiana, so we know we're in good hands. It's packed with Persian and Middle-Eastern flavors, with over 100 everyday recipes to choose from.

Our favorite recipe: Yogurt and Spice-roasted Salmon

Salmon bites coated in a deliciously zingy marinade and roasted – absurdly easy and completely delicious. A gorgeous addition to any summer spread, and great eaten cold the next day too.


4. The Moro Cookbook by Samuel and Sam Clark

This book, by the husband-and-wife team behind London restaurants Moro and Morito was what paved the way for Ottolenghi-esque recipes. It may be 20 years old, but it’s one that many chefs couldn’t be without. The Spanish and North African recipes are accessible and clearly written, with beautiful accompanying stories too. The marinated chicken recipes are particularly delicious. 

Buy it because... The recipes will give you a true flavor of Andalucian cooking.

Our favorite recipe: Monkfish rice with saffron

This fabulous take on paella also works well with prawns or clams added to the mix. Serve with a salad to balance the rich flavors.


5. An A-Z of Pasta: Stories, Shapes, Recipes by Rachel Roddy

A cookbook that does what it says on the tin, from the columnist and food writer Rachel Roddy. There are 100 essential pasta and pasta sauce recipes in this must-have cookbook for lovers of the Italian carbohydrate. Alongside the recipes, there are short essays that explore the history and culture of pasta shapes, with advice on what pasta to mix with which sauce, and other top tips.

Buy it because... “Just opening this book guarantees a pasta craving. This alphabetized collection of simple but delicious pasta recipes is my go-to book for dinner inspiration.” - Rose Fooks, Deputy Food Editor at Future Plc.

Our favorite recipe: “Casarecce with broccoli has become a regular in our house.”


6. Baking School: The Bread Ahead Cookbook by Matthew Jones, Justin Gellatly and Louise Gellatly

The ideal gift for an aspiring baker or even a sourdough-making connoisseur, the owners of Borough Market’s Bread Ahead Bakery and Bakery School offer their tips for the perfect proves and pastries, from Swedish rye bread to pizza and croissants. Divided into different countries and including gluten-free options, the Bread Ahead cookbook also discloses the secret to the bakery’s famed doughnuts.

Buy it because… “It’s a great bread book for the accomplished or beginner baker, as it’s easy to follow and always trustworthy. The book contains recipes for an array of bakes, from rye bread to doughnuts. I owe this book big time as it helped my boyfriend to master sourdough making, which he now bakes weekly using the Bread Ahead recipe.” - Rose Fooks

Our favorite recipe: “It contains a killer brownie recipe, as well as the iconic Bread Ahead doughnut recipe and an easy-to-follow sourdough.”


7. Ballymaloe Desserts by JR Ryall

With 130 recipes from acclaimed pastry chef JR Ryall’s long career, this book is split into sections which include Fruit, Meringues, Puddings, Cakes, and Pastries, as Ryall teaches you to make mouth-watering delicacies such as Orange Mousse with Chocolate Wagers, Rhubarb and Custard Tart, and Irish Apple Cake.

Buy it because… “If like me, you have a desire to someday having a home dessert trolly then this is the book for you. The Ballymaloe restaurant, hotel and cookery school is located in picturesque East Cork. The restaurant is renowned for pastry chef JR Ryall's dessert trolley. Filled with recipes with a charming vintage feel, cooking from this book is pure joy.” - Rose Fooks

Our favorite recipe: "Gateau Pithiviers with homemade puff pastry."


8. Provençal: Simple Seasonal Southern French Cooking by Alex Jackson 

The re-issue of acclaimed chef Alex Jackson’s first book Sardine, Provençal is a love letter to the flavors of the South of France, focusing on seasonal eating, and offering simple, unpretentious recipes. These include savory dishes such as Tomato and Tapenade Tart, and decadent but easy-to-replicate desserts like Nougat Ice Cream with Fennel Biscuits.

Buy it because… “This is my go-to book when I have dinner guests. Every recipe is created with the rich generosity yet simplicity that Provençal cookery is famous for, and makes for a joyous eating experience. Divided into seasonal sections, it's perfect year-round.”  - Rose Fooks

Our favorite recipe: “The best ratatouille I have ever tasted.”


9. The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander

Australian restaurateur and chef Stephanie Alexander shares her best recipes in this ‘kitchen bible’ - you don’t need to be a culinary expert to make these recipes, and over the course of more than 1000 pages, Alexander offers her tips and tricks to simple but satisfying cooking. Including recipes such as zucchini soufflé and apple tart.

Buy it because… “Stephanie is to Australian cookery what Delia is to British. I learned to cook with this book and find myself returning to it time and time again as a solid reference for classic recipes - so often a starting point when writing something new. Whether you’re a complete novice or experienced cook, this cookery bible will keep you inspired and confident in the kitchen for a lifetime.” - Jess Meyer, Group Food Editor at Future Plc.

Our favorite recipe: “All the classic - sauces, pastry, bread, cakes, buttermilk scones, brown bread ice cream.”


10. On the side by Ed Smith

It could be argued that one of the most important part of a meal made for others is the side dish(es). If you’re often hosting dinner parties, this cookbook is essential for sourcing interesting side dishes from wide-ranging palettes, with recipes such as Garlic Oil Pea Shoots, Smoky Ratatouille, Chorizo Roast Potatoes and Carrots with Brown Butter and Hazelnuts.

Buy it because… “More than just a cookbook, this is like a choose-your-own-adventure for side dishes. I reach for it whenever I have guests coming around - it’s great for building a menu of complementary dishes and flavors - and includes a mix of classics and more adventurous flavor pairings. It’s great for seasonal inspiration too, with ideas for short-lived treats like green tomatoes and gooseberries.” - Jess Meyer

Our favorite recipe: “Green tomato, salted celery and chervil salad, flowering sprouts with lemon and anchovy butter, scorched sweet potatoes with sobrasada butter, creamed swiss chard.”


11. The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer

One-dish dinners are a very appealing concept, and here Rukmini Iyer draws on the traditions of south Indian cooking she learned from her mother. The recipes are all vegan and vegetarian, with a variety of timings from speedy suppers to more leisurely entertaining ideas.

Buy it because... It’s a great gift for couples setting up their first home, or young adults starting student life, because the recipes really are easy to assemble in a single layer, with stock on top, and the flavors (including lots of citrus) are punchy and delicious.

Our favorite recipe: Roasted Tomato, Red Pepper & Artichoke Panzanella with Tarragon and Lemon

A warm salad with rough chunks of sourdough that soak up all the flavors, including the fragrant artichoke oil.


12. Fresh India by Meera Sodha

Meera Sodha's modern take on traditional Indian cooking results in distinctive, flavorful vegetarian and plant-based recipes. After the success of her first cook book, Made in India, her second offers nutritious and easy-to-make dishes which make use of common ingredients in many a kitchen. Recipes include Mushroom and Walnut Samosas, Beetroot and Paneer Kebabs and Onion Bhajis.

Buy it because… “My go-to Indian cookbook, great for entertaining large groups of people, I even made an at-home ‘buffet’ for a birthday during lockdown. Packed full of quick and easy vegetarian Indian recipes, this book is great for those who are looking to eat less meat. The dishes are relatively simple to make and are packed with great flavors.” - Georgia Sparks, Junior Food Writer at Future Plc.

Our favorite recipe: Baked onion bhajis (perfectly crisp without the need to deep fry), Paneer butter masala, Elephant ear garlic naan.”


13. Let's Eat! by Elly Pear

Bestselling author Elly Pear shares her favorite pescatarian recipes in this cook book, favoring fresh produce, simple steps and easily sourced ingredients. As well as sharing over 90 recipes, Pear also explains how to batch cook, different ways to freeze food, and how to curate quick and easy menus for special occasions.

Buy it because… “We could all do with extra time during weeknight evenings, so why not save yourself the hassle of cooking every night and batch cook? Elly’s useful book shows you how to make one dish and serve it in multiple ways, and she also has a freeze-able meals section. What’s more, she’s even created a few menus for different occasions so you don’t have to. Centered around pulses, grains and veg, Elly’s savvy nature is reflected throughout.”

Our favorite recipe: “Mean feat no-meat meatballs with tomato butter sauce, black beans baked with green rice and eggs.”


14. How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

Renowned celebrity chef Nigella Lawson attempts to teach the art of home baking, and comforting and enjoyable it can be. Offering simple but indulgent recipes for baked goods such as cakes, pastries and biscuits, this classic cook book will spark joy in any reluctant baker.

Buy it because... "For those that don’t love baking but want to bake. Packed with easy and delicious recipes that will make you look like a star baker. A lot of the recipes are simply adding things into a blender and popping into the oven, what’s not to love!"

Our favorite recipe: "A true classic.. Victoria sponge".


15. Finch Bakery: Sweet homemade treats and showstopper celebration cakes by Lauren and Rachel Finch 

There are no healthy alternatives in this book - the fantastical show-stopping cakes and cookies are pure indulgence. From two sisters who started a bakery in their parents’ kitchen, who now have people queuing down the street outside their store, comes such confectionary wonders as Creme Egg Cake, Lemon and Blueberry Blondies and their famous layered Cupcake Jars. 

Buy it because... It’s the perfect gift for classic cake and cookie lovers. With a useful section on the basics of decorating and piping, the book is divided into five sections, from speedy ‘no bakes’ to spectacular celebration cakes.

Our favorite recipe: Peanut Butter Cookie Pie


16. For The Love Of The Land by Jenny Jefferies 

Be inspired by the wonderful farming families for whom working the land and raising livestock is a true labour of love. With wonderful stories from farmers who work with nature, produce sustainable and seasonal food, and want to supply locally - all are passionate about what they do. And with recipes including Blackbrook beef bolognese, winter vegetable gratin and lavender shortbread, it’s a celebratory book putting British farming back on the map, and on your table!

Buy it because... Jenny means it when she says, "This job is where I can really live out my passion, and animal welfare is at the top of the list. Organic farming, or what I call ‘farming how it used to be’ is the only way forward."

Our favorite recipe: Pheasant and Asparagus Bake

Like all the recipes in the book, this one has come from the farmers who supply the key ingredients - this time a family-run Cambridgeshire game shoot. The pheasant meat gives a rich and satisfying depth to the dish.


17. Taste by Stanley Tucci 

A divine celebration of food, Italy and life - this joyous memoir from the popular actor is a real treat. Through stories of Tucci’s life, conversations with loved ones, and his relationship with food, we learn more about this charming man. And as for the recipes - as anyone who has tried traditional Italian dishes will know, the simplicity and beauty of a Pasta con Aglio e Olio is a thing of beauty; the recipe of which is included alongside the more flamboyant Ragu Tucci! With his trademark wry humor and warmth, this will keep you entertained through those long winter nights. 

Buy it because... Tucci has enormous respect for his mother’s skill as a cook, and says she never, ever, made a bad meal in her life. Indeed, he comments, "When we were young, whenever my sisters or I complained about a certain meal my mother had lovingly made, she would suggest rather tersely that we go see what the neighbors were cooking. And that, as they say, put an end to that."

Our favorite recipe: Ragu Tucci

A delicious way to use up any leftover meats, or you can add meatballs to the rich, fragrant tomato-based sauce in the last half hour of cooking. You can make it up to two days before it’s needed, so it’s perfect party fare.


17. One Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones 

Any food lover will thank you for this but if you’re buying for someone who wants to eat thoughtfully and imaginatively, this is a must. Stylishly presented, it’s packed with delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes that are easy to make – sweet potato, ginger and coconut stew, broad bean & green herb shakshuka and pistachio and tahini fridge tiffin. 

Buy it because... Anna Jones addresses issues, such as how much protein we need and where to find it, waste and sustainable living, sensibly and without preaching. You’ll love it and your kids will too. 

Our favorite recipe: Lemon,Tomato and Cardamom Dhal

A delicious supper standby at any time of year. This one is richly scented with spices and topped with cashews and coriander.


18. That Sounds so Good by Carla Lalli Music

True to its title, this cookbook is full of hearty, delicious recipes which endeavor to include the easily-sourced ingredients that we usually have on hand in our kitchen. Recipes like Fat Noodles with Crushed Herb Sauce and an all-purpose Spicy, Creamy Sauce are simple to make but no less tasty.

Buy it because… “It’s all in the name…everything in this gorgeous book is ridiculously good and a joy to cook. Each recipe includes a nifty list of suggested twists and swaps to make it your own and Carla’s easy-going tone is inspiring. For relaxed entertaining or midweek dinners, there's something in here to inspire every day of the week.” - Jess Meyer

Our favorite recipe: “Spicy cucumber and watermelon with pan-fried peanuts, Gia’s Sunday ragu, asparagus with Jammy eggs and pickle dressing, brothy basil beans.”


19. Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook, by Ixta Belfrage and Yotam Ottolenghi

Ottolenghi has become a household name in recent years, with his Instagrammable dishes making their way onto many of our tables. Sure, his recipes often require quite a few ingredients—but after trying them out we reckon you'll agree it's worth it. With his co-writer and recipe developer, Ixta Belfrage, this vegetarian book has won over even the most committed carnivores, with vegetarian recipes such as oyster mushroom tacos, tofu meatball korma, and swede gnocchi with miso butter. 

Buy it because... Many meat eaters think they'll miss out on flavor by going veggie, but nothing could be further from the truth. The flavors here are rich, colorful and frankly irresistible.

Our favorite recipe: Spicy Mushroom Lasagne

This recipe should help to convince you that this is one of the best cook books of the last decade. With four types of mushrooms and two types of cheese, there's a long ingredient list, but it's so worth it.


20. The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

This recipe book from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (of the River Cottage Cookery School, of course) features not just recipes for 150 meat dishes, but also all the information you’ll need to buy, prepare, cook and serve all different kinds of meat. British classics like shepherd’s pie and toad in the hole are included, as well as dishes from around the world such as curried goat and coq au vin.

Buy it because… “If you want to learn or improve your cooking of more expensive meat joints, this is the ultimate guide. As well as recipe inspiration, there's lots of hand-holding about how to work out cooking times and what to look for when buying and preparing meat. It’s roughly half reference book/half recipe book, so it’s a must-have in my kitchen.” - Jen Bedloe

Our favorite recipe: “Slow roast pork shoulder which you cook overnight in the oven. I made this for my daughter’s Christening party and served it with bread buns and a refreshing watercress and orange salad and plenty of applesauce”. 


21. The Spanish Home Kitchen: Simple, Seasonal Recipes and Memories From My Home by José Pizarro

Included in the over 80 recipes from chef José Pizarro’s Spanish roots - he grew up in on a family farm in a small village there - are Seared Squid with Caramelized Fennel and Onions in a Lemon and Parsley Dressing, and Cherries in Aguardiente Syrup with Pistachio Ice Cream. Expect modern-day takes on traditional Spanish recipes remembered fondly by Pizarro.

Buy it because… “This isn’t a book filled with the more typical Spanish tapas dishes, it’s full of recipes inspired by chef and restaurateur Jose Pizarro’s home cooking. The recipes are easy to follow and they give a glimpse into the flavors that inspire José’s impressive collection of 6 restaurants, 5 in London and a pub in Surrey.” - Jen Bedloe

Our favorite recipe: "Cuchifrito with preserved lemon salsa – a pork belly with a fresh green sauce made with preserved lemons, chilli and capers".


22. A Table for Friends by Skye McAlpine

Known for her fancy table arrangements and feasts posted on social media, Skye’s book is your guide to becoming the best host possible. As she puts it, this is food “you can plonk down in the center of the table for everyone to tuck into, towering platefuls of it.” Examples of recipes include a Sicilian couscous salad and a creamy lemon spaghetti - we're drooling just thinking about it. 

Buy it because... Skye grew up in Venice and her recipes are brimming with Italian generosity and the joy of sharing food with people you love. And she gives realistic timings for every dish.

Our favorite recipe: Chilled Almond Soup

Who knew such a thing existed? A perfect dish for a summer get-together.


23. Root: Small vegetable plates, a little meat on the side by Rob Howell 

If you're keen to eat less meat but are struggling to cut it out altogether, then this option on our best cook books list offers a happy medium. Instead of having meat as the centerpiece, these recipes lead with seasonal plants, with a bit of well-chosen meat and fish for the odd special occasion. Vegetables are no longer just the accompaniment to a meal in Root—it's another one that will please both veggies and non-veggies in equal measure.

Buy it because... Chef Rob Howell shares some of the best recipes from his Bristol-based restaurant Root, housed in a shipping container! And Josh Eggleton is a major fan.

Our favorite recipe: Roasted carrots with spiced pumpkin seeds, peaches and creme fraiche 

The carrots are roasted and pickled, the pumpkin seeds blitzed to make a crumb, and the sweetness of the fruit creates a salad that's a real centerpiece. 


24. Red Sands: Reportage and Recipes Through Central Asia, from Hinterland to Heartland by Caroline Eden

This isn’t your usual cook book, but that's why we like it. Red Sands is a little more like a travel book—but it includes recipes author Caroline has picked up and adapted from people and places she visited while journeying through central Asia for six months. Reading this is true escapism and helps to connect delicious recipes to their origin, which is why it's one of our best cook books. The recipes range from hearty soups and bread to delicate pastries, meat dumplings, and Uyghur noodles—yum. 

Buy it because: Caroline Eden's descriptions of places, people and food are so engaging you'll feel you're there, and the pictures are beautiful too.

Our favorite recipe: Emil's Lamb Plov with chestnuts, apricots and watercress

The rice and meat are cooked separately in this delicately flavored dish, based on a light plov served in Emil Akperov's restaurant in Aktau, Kazakhstan.


25. The 7-Day Basket by Ian Haste

The idea of this book is so simple and yet so ingenious–Ian gives us a shopping list of goods that will come together to create meals for the next seven days, saving time, food, and money. This is what your week could look like: Pea, feta and mint frittata with a lemon-dressed salad; Griddled tuna steak, niçoise salad; Feta and chicken meatballs in lemon spaghetti; Thai coconut king prawn curry; Chorizo and mushroom toasts with sunny-side-up eggs; Tear-and-share chicken shashlik naan; and Peach and sage-stuffed pork fillet with garlic roasties. Yes, please!

Read it because: The lists of ingredients and store-cupboard essentials are so clear that you'll feel brilliantly well organized.

Our favorite recipe: Vegetarian Buccatini All'Amatriciana

A deliciously easy vegetarian version of the traditional pork dish, using mushrooms and paprika to give a smoky flavor to the sauce.


26. Grand Dishes by Iska Lupton and Anastasia Miari

Everyone's grandma makes the best food, don’t they? Well, authors Iska and Anastasia were inspired by the delicious food many of us know from our grandparents' kitchens, sending them on a journey to find the best grandma cooks from around the globe. Helen from Tennessee teaches us how to make the BBQ sides, including slaw and potato salad. Lally from Germany has the best schnitzel recipe, and Betsy provides the Mexican Chicken Tostadas. A wonderfully nostalgic and touching read about the lives of these remarkable women, alongside some truly tasty dishes.

Read it because... This book gives grandmothers around the world the limelight they so richly deserve and makes a lovely gift idea for Mother's Day. Stylish portraits take us into their homes and lives too.

Our favorite recipe: Abuela Mercedes's Spanish roasted red peppers stuffed with salt cod

Served with a fresh green side salad, this satisfying, comforting and delicious main course was created by Spanish grandmother Mercedes, who also happens to look like a model.


27. Parwana: Recipes and stories from an Afghan kitchen by Durkhanai Ayubi

The Ayubi family fled Afghanistan and opened a restaurant, Parwana, in Adelaide, Australia. This book has some of the restaurant's best recipes for kebabs, dahls, dumplings, flatbreads, and everything else in between. It is also peppered with stories from the country which has been occupied by Soviet troops and US-led international forces and is now ruled by the Taliban. A true deep-dive into the country.

Buy it because... The food is a magnificent blend of all the cultures and traditions that have influenced the country over centuries.

Our favorite recipe: Shirpera: Afghan Milk Fudge

Filled with almonds and pistachios, this delicately flavored sweet is made for special occasions.


28. How To Eat, Nigella Lawson

No best cook books list would be complete without a Nigella Lawson recommendation, would it? There may be newer Nigella books (after all, this is her first), but we really think this one stands the test of time. No photography, just brilliant, delicious, classic, and practical recipes with sound cookery advice — it is one for all ages. In honor of its 20th anniversary, it’s been updated in the paperback version, and we can promise you’ll turn to it time and time again if you’re in a rut with what to cook.

Buy it because... No one does comfort food like Nigella, and the recipes are reassuringly practical and delicious. And her writing is very entertaining too.

Our favorite recipe: Proper English Trifle

Flavored throughout with the tanginess of orange, this blackberry-laden creation of sponge, cream and custard is what pudding was invented for.


29. Baan: Recipes and stories from my Thai home by Kay Plunkett Hogge

There’s a lot more to Thai food than your local takeaway may suggest, and while those classics are in this book, Kay also has some lesser-known but very delicious things for you to try. Considerate towards novice chefs, the book provides ingredient substitutions and shortcuts and is a lot less daunting than some other Thai cook books. 

Buy it because: With over 120 recipes that have been gathered over 30 years, you’ll never need to order a takeaway again. 

Our favorite recipe: Classic Thai Gai Yang Chicken

You'll stun your barbecue guests with this take on a street-food favorite. But you'll need to plan ahead to get the genuine flavor - there's soaking in brine and a 6-hour marinating session involved!


30. Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavours by Diana Henry

This book is in its 10th edition, which is how you know it's a good pick for a best cook books list. As the title handily suggests, the recipes are easy and stress-free but somehow manage to feel like you've got something fancy on the table. The key is in the easy ingredient list—there's no need for obscure spices and pastes here. We love the Korean chicken burgers, fish tielle (that’s an Italian pie to you and me), and the sausage and fennel pasta. 

Buy it because... Many of the recipes were devised almost 'hands-free' when Diana was a new mum, so they really are simple to prepare and cook.

Our favorite recipe: Cucumber, radishes and cherries with rose petals

The prettiest and most appealing salad imaginable, this is rightly described by the author as like 'eating a garden'.


31. Honey & Co: At Home: Middle Eastern Recipes from Our Kitchen by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer

If you're a fan of Ottolenghi's food, then this book is the one to buy next. These tasty Middle Eastern dishes are broken down into handy categories: “For Us Two, For Friends, For the Weekend, For a Crowd and The Kitchen,”—helping you decide what to cook and when. You’ll find yourself turning to these chapters for each occasion when you want “hearty comfort food with a sophisticated edge,” as Nigella said about Itamar and Sarit’s cooking.

Buy it because... "Life is complex, but cooking is easy" say the authors, and their homely approach makes you believe it's true.

Our favorite recipe: Harira soup

Bursting with herbs and spices, this bean-rich soup is a hearty, filling standby, and the recipe can be adapted to suit whatever bits and bobs of vegetables you have in the fridge.


32. The Kitchen Without Borders by The Eat Offbeat Chefs

Eat Offbeat is a New York-based catering company founded by a brother and sister duo that hires immigrant chefs from Sri Lanka, Senegal, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Venezuela. They work with the International Rescue Committee charity to find talented home cooks resettled in New York City. The book has recipes from 14 regions, so it really is a cook book that spans the world and all of the culinary delights it has to offer. 

Buy it because...It summarises the passion and power of food to change lives, through sharing the dishes that mean so much to different cultures. 

Our favorite recipe: Chef Diaa's Beef Kibbeh

These delicious meatballs are usually served as mezze, and combine meat with bulgur. Hand-shaped, they're flavored with seven spices and fried as croquettes.


33. River Cafe 30 by Ruth Rogers, Rose Gray, Sian Wyn Owen, and Joseph Trivelli

This Thameside restaurant is a fantastic place for a celebration in the UK, and this book marks 30 years of good food at the southwest London establishment popular with celebs. Championing good quality Italian cooking, River Cafe 30 is a collection of ninety refined original recipes and 30 new ones. We love the iconic slow-cooked tomato sauce, pear and almond tart, crab and artichoke salad.

Buy it because... It's the essence of a brilliant brand, drawing together deliciously flavorsome recipes.

Our favorite recipe: Spinach and ricotta gnocchi

The perfect light lunch for vegetarians and anyone who enjoys these light, fluffy bites of deliciousness.


34. Jikoni by Ravinder Bhogal 

Jikoni is the name of Ravidner’s much-loved smart restaurant in Marylebone, London, and this book is a mixture of joyous and heartwarming recipes. There’s a take on a fish pie, curries, a lamb wellington with feta, pine nuts, sumac, and even cocktails. 

Buy it because... Ravinder, born in Kenya to Indian parents, came to the UK as a child and calls her cooking “proudly inauthentic”—we think it's wonderful, and it's no surprise her restaurant is such a hit.

Our favorite recipe: Pina Colada Pancakes

Who knew there was such a thing? This cocktail-inspired treat needs to be prepped a day ahead as it's served with homemade ice cream. A glorious breakfast indulgence.


35. Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte  

This book has a whopping 700 recipes, so there's an option for every diner, day, or time of the week. All of them are easy to make at home and are the closest you’re going to get on a Mexican home cooking encyclopedia. Margarita has dedicated 30 years to teaching and cooking her home cuisine—and it truly shows. 

Buy it because... For those who love browsing cook books, this one is a colorful journey, with over 200 gorgeous pictures. The salsa is also a dream.

Our favorite recipe: Pork Ribs in Guava and Smoked Chilli Sauce

A heavenly blend of flavors. Be prepared to take a bit more time on Margarita's recipes–it's well worth the effort to track down her more unusual ingredients too.


36. Table Manners: The Cookbook by Jessie Ware and Lennie Ware

The Table Manners podcast is one of our favorites, and now musician Jessie Ware and her social worker mother Lennie have switched their talents from discussing food to writing about it! The recipe book is filled with recipes that Jessie and Lennie have served up to the stars that feature on their podcast.

Buy it because... The book is divided into seven handy categories: Effortless, A Bit More Effort, Summertime, Desserts and Baking, Chrismukkah, and Jewish-ish Food.

Our favorite recipe: Jessie's Granola

A crunchy, munchy blend that'll see you through the week, with a recipe improved by a listener to Jessie and Lennie's podcast!


37. The Silver Spoon Classic by The Silver Spoon Kitchen

lI cucchiaio d’argento (the silver spoon) was first published in 1950, and when Emilia Terragni, publisher of Phaidon, was growing up in Como, Italy, it was the only cookbook in her family’s kitchen. This tome has continually been updated, and the most recent re-issue is the perfect guide for anyone who is fanatic about Italian cuisine and culture. It's based on the English saying, 'born with a silver spoon in the mouth', ie born with a rich heritage - in this case, food!

Buy it because... It makes menu planning easy with helpful recipe symbols to indicate gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, five ingredients or fewer, 30 minutes or less, and one-pot recipes.

Our favorite recipe: Margherita Pizza

It's an all-time classic and imagine the satisfaction of making your own pizza dough. You'll need to plan ahead though, as the dough needs three hours to rest. Spread with fresh toppings, delicately scented with fresh basil leaves. 

Rachel is a freelance contributor to woman&home, covering news as well as books, lifestyle and travel. Her byline has also appeared in The Independent, The Financial Times, ELLE Magazine, VICE, Glamour Magazine and others. She loves nothing more than talking with people to share their stories. When she is not writing you will definitely find her nose in a book or magazine, or perhaps training for the next half marathon, practicing yoga or eating in London's best restaurants.

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