19 Reasons to Give the Gift of Cooking: ZK’s 2020 Cookbook Gift Guide
Author Lauren Grant
Date December 4, 2020
A curated list of 2020’s BEST cookbooks! Featuring 19 cookbooks for every kind of cook in your life. Whether their a busy parent, baking lover, science nerd, or cocktail enthusiast, there’s something here for everyone!
This list features new books from cookbook veterans Ina Garten, Julia Turshen, and Ottolenghi. There’s also some incredible titles from first-time authors like Mely Martinex of Mexico in My Kitchen, and Mike Johnson of Mike Bakes NYC.
Trustworthy voices like Alison Roman and Dale DeGroff also grace the list with two fabulous must-have books.
Delicious Dishes from Your Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, adn Instant Pot by Sarah Copeland
A veteran in the food world (former Real Simple food director and four-time cookbook author), Sarah Copeland knows good food. Weather you’re an Instant Pot lover or skeptic, Sarah Copeland will convince you to pull out the pressure cooker almost every night this week with her newest book that’s full of vibrant, flavorful and wholesome recipes.
The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen
In this stunning new book from Somali chef Hawa Hassan and celebrated food writer Julia Turshen, In Bibi’s Kitchen teaches readers and cooks about “family, war, loss, migration, refuge, and sanctuary,” through 75 recipes from 8 different African nations known as the backbone of the spice trade. You may come for the incredible recipes, but you will leave with something much richer—the traditions and dishes from bibi’s (grandmothers) kitchens.
This second book from food columnist Alison Roman is packed with salty, crunchy, meaty goodness. This book is devoted to proving that having people over for dinner doesn’t have to be fussy or stressful. Featuring bold and vibrant vegetable dishes and salads, lots of cheese, snacky goodness, and crave-worthy meat recipes, this book, and all its sass, is a must-read.
This book celebrates cakes in the best way—approachable and unfussy. This book from Yossy Arefi features singla layer cakes all made in a single bowl, without an electric mixer, and with mostly pantry essentials. Simple yet spectacular in flavor, these cakes are perfect for both a sweet morning treat or a celebratory occasion.
by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ixta Belfrage, and Tara Wigley
In his newest book, Yotam Ottolenghi teams up with Ottolenghi Test Kitchen’s Ixta Belfrage to share innovative recipes that will no doubt change the way you cook with vegetables. In this veggie-focused book, Ottolenghi breaks down the cooking process to three fundamentals: pairing (how to best pair vegetables with sweet, fat, acid, and heat), process (how to unlock the flavors of vegetables with technique), and produce (how to know which vegetables will make a dish spectacular).
120 Vegetarian and Vegan recipes from Bangalore to Beijing By Sodha Meera
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or neither, you’re sure to find something delicious, satisfying, and surprisingly easy to make on any given night of the week. This book features 120 Asian-inspired recipes from India to Indonesia, Singapore to Japan, by way of China, Thailand, and Vietnam.
110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food By Julia Turshen
The BELOVED cookbook author, Julia Turshen, is back with a brand new collection of recipes for healthier takes on her classic comfort foods. Turshen is a force in the recipe world (you may remember I included two of her books in my 2018 Cookbook Gift Guide), and this book, like her others, is sure to become a staple in your cookbook collection.
The Science of Great Cooking Explained + More Than 100 Essential Recipes By Nik Sharma ; Illustrated BY Matteo Riva
This book is all about the foundation of good cooking and—of course—flavor. A great addition to his book Season, which we featured in out 2019 cookbook gift guide, scientist, food blogger, and photographer, Nik Sharma shares the in-depth science of flavor. This is a great book for those who love Salt, Fat, Heat, Acid by Samin Norsat and The Food Lab, by J. Kenji López-Alt.
It is nearly impossible to read this cookbook without your mouth watering. Learn the ins and outs of Indonesian cooking from more than 80 recipes in this new cookbook from Lara Lee. The beautiful part—you’ll discover new dishes using simple techniques and accessible ingredients.
Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food by Marcus Samuelsson, with Osayi Endolyn and Yewande Komolafe
More than a cookbook, The Rise is part of a larger message, movement, and moment of re-learning. This book is a complication of more than 150 recipes from Black culinary voices, chefs, and activists. This book recognizes the massive role black culture and food has had on the American cuisine as a whole. More than just “soul food”, this book teaches us about the flavors and traditions originating from the African continent, the Caribbean, and all over the United States.
Everything You Need to Know to Bake Perfect Pies by Erin Jeanne McDowell
An exquisite book featuring everything and anything you’ll ever need to know about pie. Before diving into the recipes—both classic and incredibly unique, McDowell shares all of her tried-and-true tips and tricks including how to mix pie dough to be extra flaky, storing and freezing, and of course decorating. McDowell answers your questions before you even know what to ask.
Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico by Mely Martinez
An incredible resource for authentic Mexican home cooking, Mely is widely known for her incredible blog, Mexico In My Kitchen. Everything you need to know, and every recipe you’ll need for making authentic, delicious and realistic Mexican recipes in your home.
Everything You Need to Know to Think Like a Master Mixologist, with 500 Recipes by Dale DeGroff and Daniel Krieger
The legendary bartender who first published this book in 2002 has revisited the book—adding and updating it to serve the newest generation of cocktail enthusiasts. This book is the cocktail bible for bartenders and wanna-be bartenders alike. Full of history, culture, and of course tips and tricks, DeGroff certainly doesn’t disappoint. Plus, he’s included his liquor recommendations which takes half of the work out of the process.
The queen of home cooking herself is out with a new book that’s sure to find its permanent home on many home cook’s shelves. Nothing groundbreaking in regards to recipes, but as her loyal following will know, they’re foolproof recipes that always turn out and certainly impress. In this book of more than 80 recipes you’ll find upgraded grilled cheese made with chutney, smash burgers with caramelized onions, Boston Cream Pie, and banana trifle.
Techniques and Recipes to Cook Fearlessly by Dan Kluger and Nick Fauchald
Dan Kluger knows how to build flavor. The chef and owner of Loring Place in New York City peels back the curtain and lets us into his genius. In his book, Kluger teaches us essential techniques for transforming ordinary pantry ingredients and shows us how to build flavor like a pro.
A New Approach to American Cooking by Nancy Silverton with Ryan DeNicola and Carolynn Carreño
If you’re looking to master the art of Italian cooking, look no further. In her TENTH book, Silverton, renowned and award-winning chef and author, teams up with Chi Spacca’s executive chef Ryan DeNicola to share more than 100 mouth-watering recipes crafted to showcase her experiences cooking in Umbria Italy, and developing the menu at her revered steakhouse. Including bold recipes for Beef Cheek, Bone Marrow Pie, and Whole Fried Branzino, you’ll also be surprised to find incredible vegetable-focused recipes like the Charred Sugar Snap Peas with Yogurt, Guanciale, and Lemon Zest.
The Art and Science of Making Perfect Pastries, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Breads at Home Melissa Weller with Carolynn Carreño
A book for the obsessed home baker. Melissa Weller, one of the most influential bakers of this generation, shares carefully honed and crafted recipes and tutorials even the most novice of home bakers can follow. Weller seamlessly breaks down complicated recipes and techniques so you can recreate beautiful results time and time again.
The Cuisine of Western China, from New York's Favorite Noodle Shop by Jason Wang
In this book of never-before published recipes, the recipes that built the iconic New York City restaurant are now available for home cooks around the globe. Featuring recipes for some of their most beloved dishes, including heavenly ribbons of liang pi doused in a bright vinegar sauce, ﬂatbread ﬁlled with caramelized por, and cumin lamb over hand-pulled Biang Biang noodles. A long awaited book for many Xi'an Famous Foods fans!
50 Standout Bar Recipes for Every Occasion by Mike Johnson
In his first book, Mike Johnson, creator of Mike Bakes NYC, shares 50 recipes for taking the classic bar dessert (think brownies, blondies, and lemon bars) and turning them into show-stopping dessert for any and every celebration. While the bars are spectacular, the techniques and recipes are simple and easy to follow. Plus, with every recipes getting at least one photo, it's also a treat to look at!
Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.