A good cookbook is an amazing asset for every family. Family cookbooks are a great way to bring all your favorite recipes together in one place. From simple recipes to in-depth Food Network culinary delights from experts like Cat Cora, Alex Guarnaschelli, Tyler Florence, Michael Symon, and more, there is something for everyone and every type of cook. You don’t need to be a professional chef to make amazing food at home. All it really takes is a good blueprint of how to do it. And that’s what these recipe books can do for you. Below is a list of must have cookbooks.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found cookbooks that sounded great but once I got them, were a bit of a letdown. It’s not necessarily that there were bad recipes, but sometimes they just feel outdated, or not centered around the types of recipes I like to make for my own family.
With that said, let’s get to the ones I do love!
Recipe Books I Love
Although it’s great that the internet puts so many recipes here at the touch of a finger, sometimes it’s nice to have a real book to hold in your hands. I enjoy the process of opening a cookbook, looking at the photos, and then trying my hand at one of the meals or treats from the book. And when I think about the best family cookbooks, I think of ones that have the most recipes that cater to different tastes. For example, children may have pickier tastes or eat differently than some adults.
Here are some of my favorite cookbooks that I use at home. From vegan meals to tasty quick recipes you can do in a flash, there’s a lot to choose from here.
Related: Funny fruit puns
Vegan Planet Cookbook
One of my absolute favorite vegan cookbooks is Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet cookbook. Robin Robertson is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbook authors. I now have three of her fabulous vegetarian cookbooks.
Vegan Planet (The Harvard Common Press, 2014) is promoted as the Vegan Bible, and I can see why. It is filled with loads of tips that make being a vegetarian or vegan easy while also choosing nutritious combinations of ingredients to satisfy all your health needs. I used to think that being a vegan would be very difficult, but Robertson has shown me that it is possible to cook without animal products without having to spend long hours in the kitchen (not that I mind that, since I love to cook, but it's hard to do when you work full time!).
The revised and updated Vegan Planet includes 50 new recipes, more than 425 recipes total. The recipes are flavorful and easy to make without processed foods. I have tried two of the recipes so far (Walnut Crusted Artichoke Hearts and Tuscan White Bean and Fennel Stew with Orange and Rosemary) and both were delicious. I will continue making these recipes and try many more!
The only thing I don't like about Vegan Planet is that there are no photos of the recipes. Photos showing the amazing recipes with presentation ideas would make this cookbook indispensable. I'm working on making the recipes and taking my own photos. Watch for updates!
Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings
Wow! Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings by Michele Anna Jordan (Harvard Common Press, 2013) is spectacular. Every recipe I have tried has been packed with flavor and easy to make.
The suggestions for unique salads and interesting ways to use the dressings are wonderful, too. For instance, the author's suggestion for Sweet Potato, Onion, and Pecan Salad with Molasses and Honey Vinaigrette (shown on page 69) is beautiful, unique, and filling. Unfortunately, she doesn't give the recipe for the simple salad. I looked at the picture and created my own recipe, roasting the sweet potatoes to bring out the flavor. The author's recipe looks like the sweet potatoes are steamed. I'm sure it would work either way.
Here's my Sweet Potato Onion Pecan Salad. It was delicious!
Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook
Here’s another one of my favorite cookbooks, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. I love, love LOVE this cookbook, and I use it all the time.
Robertson has quickly become one of my favorite cookbooks. I tried many of the recipes in it, and they are always winners. One of the things I learned from this cookbook is that if you saute the onions and carrots (and sometimes other vegetables) before you add them to the crockpot, it changes the flavor of the dish entirely.
Try the Irish Stew, Mediterranean Vegetable Stew, or Green Tomato Chutney. They are all terrific. Both the Mediterranean Vegetable Stew and Green Tomato Chutney have become "old standbys" at my house. I make the chutney and give it away to family and friends for Christmas, to rave reviews. The Mediterranean Stew is a splendid addition to any potluck supper and a recipe that everyone seems to like.
If you need a potluck dish, or a simple supper waiting for you at home after work, get yourself a copy!
The Flying Brownie Cookbook
Here’s another awesome one for the list. The Flying Brownie by Shirley Fan is one of the good ones! I made her Dream Bars, and they were delicious. I will definitely try more recipes from this cookbook.
In addition to lots of great cookie recipes, like Pecan Sandy Bars, Chocolate-Cherry Brownies, and Classic Snickerdoodles, the author includes how to send a care package of cookies to your college student just in time for those all-nighter study sessions, along with various savory cookies, cookies that travel well, and granola bar recipes.
You'll find delicious recipes for muffins and breads, and many old-time favorite recipes, like Whoopie Pies, too.
It is a spiral-bound cookbook, so the pages lay flat when you are mixing up the recipe, and I like that it has lots of pictures. I suggest you add The Flying Brownie to your cookbook collection.
The Tastes of Ayurveda by Amrita Sondhi
This is a newer addition to my cookbook stash: The Tastes of Ayurveda by Amrita Sondhi. I just tried a couple of the recipes from this book, and both are scrumptious!
Besides having delicious recipes, the author gives the history of Ayurveda, helps you learn how to balance your life by eating foods that increase or decrease your Vata (air), Pitta (fire), or Kapha (earth) according to your needs, and provides good photos of various yoga poses.
I am looking forward to trying more recipes and reading the whole book, cover to cover!
Ciao Italia Family Classics Cookbook
This cookbook, Ciao Italia Family Classics written by Mary Ann Esposito, is terrific. Don and I made three dishes for supper one night and they were all really scrumptious. In addition, they were not difficult to make (which I think is even better). We made a completely vegetarian meal, but the cookbook includes many wonderful meat and poultry dishes as well.
It has beautiful pictures, and good instructions and most recipes have an introduction that includes information about the author's grandmother and why the recipes are favorites in Southern Italy. It would be a lovely Christmas or birthday gift for anyone who likes to cook.
We made three absolutely fabulous dishes from Ciao Italia Family Classics: Minty Eggplant Roll-Ups, Carrots in Vermouth, and Pan Cooked Bitter Greens. What a scrumptious meal!
Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers Cookbook
Hi. It's Lois in the kitchen, telling you about a fabulous cookbook, Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers by Debby Maugans. The recipes in this cookbook are innovative, delicious, and generally easy to make. Anyone who loves chocolate will like this cookbook.
I tried the Mint Brownie Pudding Cakes (with a few changes based on what ingredients I had available) and they were terrific. The recipe was very easy to make and was done in about 45 minutes. Everyone loved it!
The recipes are just SO good. You will love them. I highly recommend this cookbook!
There are few things more classic than a cookbook. Whether it's an heirloom passed down through the generations or a well-worn volume from your favorite charity shop, cookbooks are filled with both delicious recipes and cherished memories. Classic cookbooks often have a retro feel, with vintage illustrations and classic typography.
However, don't be fooled by their appearance - these books can still teach you a thing or two about cooking. Classic cookbooks often focus on classic techniques and tried-and-true recipes, making them a great resource for both beginner and experienced cooks. So, if you're looking for some culinary inspiration, be sure to check out a classic cookbook next time you're at the bookstore.
Here are some that I highly recommend:
Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook (Expanded Edition): 1,100+ Recipes + Expert Advice, Tips, & Tales
This is the expanded edition of this classic cookbook that's full of awesome recipes and tips and more to help you in the kitchen. If you don't have this one on your cookbook shelf yet, consider it.
The Fannie Farmer Cookbook
Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of America's Great Classic Cookbook
In honor of the 100th anniversary of America's Great Classic cookbook, this is a special edition and it's full of some really great classic recipes that you'll want to make for your family.
Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
Better Homes and Gardens is known for their cookbooks. This is the 17th edition of a book full of classics! You're sure to find recipes you and your family love in this one. The best family cookbooks are those that have recipes that are easy to make but also taste great. But what if you also want some that are healthy for you?
We now have more options than ever before when it comes to healthy recipes. With so many healthy cookbooks on the market, it can be hard to know where to start. But with a little guidance, you can find the perfect healthy cookbook for your needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for healthy cookbooks:
- Think about your cooking style. Do you like to follow recipes to the letter, or are you more of a freestyle cook? If you like to stick to recipes, look for healthy cookbooks with clear and easy-to-follow recipes. If you're more of a freestyle cook, look for healthy cookbooks with more flexible recipes that give you room to experiment.
- Think about the kinds of foods you like to eat. Are you looking for healthy versions of your favorite comfort foods, or are you interested in trying new healthy recipes? If you're looking for healthy comfort food recipes, look for healthy cookbooks with familiar ingredients and flavors. If you're interested in trying new recipes, look for healthy cookbooks with a wide variety of recipes from different cuisines.
- Think about your budget. Healthy cookbooks can range in price from less than $10 to over $30. If you're on a tight budget, you can look for them used, or get a digital download instead of the hard copy. You can also borrow from your local library to save some money, too.
Here are some of my favorite healthy cookbooks:
The Well Plated Cookbook: Fast, Healthy Recipes You'll Want to Eat
This book has delicious recipes that are also really good. Who says healthy food can't be tasty too? One thing I love about these recipes is that they can really be whipped up in a hurry. You don't need to be in the kitchen for hours for these yummy recipes.
The How Not To Die Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease
You are what you eat, as the saying goes. And here are some great healthy recipes that will help you have a healthier body and mind. This book is packed full of over 100 recipes that are meant to help you prevent disease and even reverse some symptoms you may already have from not eating a healthy diet.
The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook: Simple Recipes to Make Healthy Eating Delicious
What I really love about this one, besides the fact they are healthy recipes, is that they are so easy to make. This book has lots of five-ingredient meals so they are easy to make and also good for you. I call that a real win-win!
There's nothing like a good cookbook to get you excited about vegan cooking. Whether you're looking for delicious vegan breakfast recipes or want to learn how to make vegan desserts, there's a vegan cookbook out there for you. And with so many great vegan cookbooks on the market, it's easy to find one that fits your needs and culinary preferences.
One of the great things about vegan cookbooks is that they provide a wealth of information on vegan ingredients and cooking techniques. In addition to recipes, vegan cookbooks often include tips on everything from vegan meal planning to vegan baking.
Whether you're a vegan cooking novice or an experienced pro, you're sure to find something useful in a vegan cookbook. So, if you're ready to explore the world of vegan cooking, be sure to check out some of the great vegan cookbooks on the market today. Here are some of my favorites.
Unbelievably Vegan: 100+ Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes: A Cookbook
This is a really great cookbook for vegans or anyone looking to go vegan. You will never have to worry about what to eat because there are over 100 amazing recipes in this book and many of them are replacements for the meat versions of these foods that you might have liked before going vegan. You never have to feel like you're sacrificing foods you love by choosing to go vegan.
The Two Spoons Cookbook: More Than 100 French-Inspired Vegan Recipes
This cookbook also has over 100 vegan recipes but these are French-inspired. I find French food to be really light and refreshing and this cookbook is no exception. There are so many great options for you to learn to make.
The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook: 500 Inspired, Flexible Recipes for Eating Well Without Meat
This is an awesome, complete book full of 500 plant-based recipes! It's very thorough and has something for everyone and then some. This book also makes a great gift for a vegan friend or family member. It will become a staple in their kitchen.
If you're not fully vegan but you or someone in your family is vegetarian, then you may be looking for some great vegetarian recipes. Vegetarian cookbooks are a great way to learn about vegetarian cuisine. They typically include a wide variety of recipes, from simple dishes to more complex ones. They can also be helpful if you have some people in your family who are vegetarian or pescatarian but not everyone is. These cookbooks can help you plan meals that everyone can enjoy.
Many vegetarian cookbooks also include information on the history and philosophy of vegetarianism, as well as tips on how to cook vegetarian meals. Whether you're a vegetarian or simply interested in trying vegetarian dishes, vegetarian cookbooks can be a valuable resource.
Vegetarian Cookbook For Beginners: 600 Effortless Vegetarian Recipes For Everyday Meals
This book from Ashley Colman has over 600 vegetarian recipes that are also beginner-friendly. They are simple but taste great and this is definitely one you want on your shelf if anyone in your family is vegetarian.
The Weekday Vegetarians: 100 Recipes and a Real-Life Plan for Eating Less Meat: A Cookbook
Here's another great vegetarian cookbook but I also like that it has a realistic plan for eating less meat that you can follow. It's perfect for people who might still be transitioning and learning how to eat meatless.
The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to Eating Well With 700 Foolproof Recipes
And here we have another book crammed full of even more amazing vegetarian recipes. This one has over 700 foolproof recipes, including vegan and gluten-free options as well.
Vegetarian Soul Food Cookbook: 75 Classic Recipes to Satisfy Your Cravings
You don't have to give up soul food just because you become a vegetarian. This cookbook has the answer you've been looking for. You can find all of your favorite soul food recipes with a vegetarian twist.
Taste of Home Vegetarian Made Easy: Going meatless in a meat-loving family
Here's another great cookbook designed for those who are transitioning or who may have a mixed family (vegetarian and meat-eaters). There are some really great recipes in here that break the myth that vegetarians eat only "rabbit food".
Gluten Free Cookbooks
Gluten free cookbooks are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, and some people choose to reduce gluten for personal reasons. They can be a great investment for people who need to avoid gluten, whatever the reason. When you really start reading the labels, it seems like everything has gluten in it! When you make more things at home, you can have more control over your own diet.
Gluten free cookbooks often include recipes for gluten-free bread, cakes, and other desserts, as well as gluten free main dishes. Some gluten-free cookbooks even include tips on how to adapt favorite recipes to be gluten free. With a gluten free cookbook, anyone can enjoy a delicious gluten free meal. Here are some of my favorite choices.
The Everything Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cookbook: 300 Simple and Satisfying Recipes without Gluten or Dairy
One thing I love about this cookbook is that it is gluten-free and dairy-free. Many people with allergies or sensitivities to gluten also have allergies or sensitivities to dairy, so it's a good match. It has over 300 recipes for you to explore.
Gluten-Free Cookbook for Beginners: 100 Essential Recipes to Go Gluten-Free
This recipe book has many of your go-to meals and it's great for someone who is new to a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone on a gluten-free diet.
How to Make Anything Gluten-Free: Over 100 recipes for everything from home comforts to fakeaways, cakes to dessert, brunch to bread!
What I love about this fun cookbook is that it helps you take all your favorite foods and make them gluten-free. This one is a lot of fun.
The Easy Gluten-Free Cookbook: Fast and Fuss-Free Recipes for Busy People on a Gluten-Free Diet
And the final one on this list (but there are many more great ones to consider), is the Easy Gluten-Free Cookbook by Lindsay Garza. This one has fast and easy recipes you can make in a pinch and not take up your hold day prepping and cooking.
When I think of baking or making memories in the kitchen, I often think of Christmas. It's a time for celebrating with family and friends, and food plays a central role in many holiday traditions. Christmas cookbooks are filled with recipes for everything from festive Christmas cookies to hearty winter stews.
Whether you're looking for something sweet or savory, there's sure to be a Christmas cookbook that has the perfect recipe for you. And with so many different Christmas cookbooks on the market, you're sure to find one that fits your personal cooking style. So, whether you like to keep things simple or you prefer to go all out for the holidays, make sure to check out a Christmas cookbook or two. You might just find your new favorite Christmas tradition.
Here are some I recommend.
2021 Christmas with Southern Living: Inspired Ideas for Holiday Cooking & Decorating
Southern Living is known for its holiday themes and this Christmas cookbook falls right in line with that. This edition is up to date and keeping with trends and favorites of recent holiday seasons.
Taste of Home Christmas 2E: 350 Recipes, Crafts, & Ideas for Your Most Magical Holiday Yet!
This one is a lot of fun because it's not just recipes. It also has some fun holiday-themed crafts you can do with the family. This is a great way to celebrate the holiday season and time off from school or work.
Baking for the Holidays: 50+ Treats for a Festive Season
Who doesn't love dessert? This cookbook features 50 different festive treats that you can make for the holidays. Whether you are taking to the Christmas party or keeping them to enjoy yourself, you'll love the ideas in this book.
Vintage Holiday Cookbook - Timeless Memorable Old-Fashioned Recipes for Christmas and the Holiday Season
When you want something that takes you back to Christmas dinners your mom (or grandma) used to make, you might like this one. It's a homage to timeless classics from the holiday season.
Irish cookbooks are a great way to learn about the country's culinary traditions. From Irish soda bread to Irish Stew, there are a variety of recipes that can be found in these books. What's more, many of these recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, ensuring that they are authentic and reliable.
Whether you're looking to cook a traditional Irish meal or simply want to learn more about the country's cuisine, Irish cookbooks are a valuable resource. So, whether you're Irish or just looking to add some Irish flair to your cooking, be sure to check out an Irish cookbook like the ones below.
The Irish Cookbook (Includes 480 Home-cooking Recipes)
This book is simple in design and jam-packed with amazing recipes you will not believe. When you want to learn to make Irish food from actual Irish people, this is your go-to.
The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook: Traditional Easy and Simple Recipes for Beginners to Experts for Saint Patrick's Day, Christmas, Family Get-Togethers, and More
I love that this recipe book has pub food, traditional Irish recipes, and some contemporary ones. They are simple and easy for even beginners to master.
My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve
Here you will learn how to make Irish food from kitchen to table, just like traditional mothers have been doing for years. It's recipes from the homeland and if you're into Irish cooking, you're going to want to add this one to your list.
Irish Pub: Gather Around the Dinner Table for Classic Irish Comfort Foods-Plenty of Potatoes, Hearty Soups, and Much More
Here's another "pub food" cookbook but it also has traditional Irish meals like soups and potato dishes. There's a lot of good stuff in this one. It's definitely worth adding to your collection.
There's nothing like the smell of freshly baked goods wafting through the house. Baking is a culinary art that requires precision, patience, and practice. Whether you're baking a cake, cookies, or bread, the process can be therapeutic and satisfying. But if you're new to baking, the process can also be daunting. That's where baking cookbooks come in. When we talk about the best family cookbooks, we have to include some devoted to baking, since it's such a wonderful activity to do with and for family.
These books can provide step-by-step instructions and guidance on everything from choosing the right ingredients to baking perfect pies. They can also give you helpful tips on troubleshooting common baking problems. So, whether you're a baking novice or a seasoned pro, a good baking cookbook is an essential tool for anyone who loves to bake. Here are some nice ones to start your collection.
The Great British Baking Show: A Bake for All Seasons
If you are a fan of the Great British Baking Show, then you're going to want this book. With recipes from Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, and the bakers from the show, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. It's packed full of awesome tasty treats.
Baking with Mary Berry: Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Pastries from the British Queen of Baking
We can't talk about the Great British Baking Show and forget the Baking Queen herself, Mary Berry. Here's her recipe book full of cakes, cookies, pastries and more. If you've ever dreamed of baking like Mary Berry, this is the book for you. It also makes a great gift for any avid baker in your life.
Taste of Home Ultimate Baking Cookbook: 400+ Recipes, tips, secrets and hints for baking success
This one has over 400 recipes of yummy baked treats, breads, cookies, and more. It also has some great tips and advice that even more experienced bakers can likely benefit from. It's perfect for beginners but anyone who loves to bake can appreciate this cookbook.
100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen, with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More
100 cookies. Need I say more? Here's a great cookbook for baking cookies of all types, as well as brownies, bars, and more. This one is a real winner!
Cookbooks Inspired by Movies
You can't have a list of best family cookbooks without talking about recipes inspired by the movies! There are few things more enjoyable than curling up with a good book and a bowl of popcorn. But what if that book was also a cookbook? And what if you could make some of your favorite meals inspired by those movies or TV shows and then eat them while you watch? That's the concept behind cookbooks inspired by movies.
These books take classic recipes and give them a twist inspired by popular films. For example, the cookbook "The Hunger Games Cookbook" includes recipes for "District 12 Shepherd's Pie" and "Peeta's Honey Nut Buns." But it's not just the food that gets the cinematic treatment. The cookbook also includes photos, quotes, and other nods to the film franchise. Whether you're a die-hard fan or just looking for some fun new recipes, cookbooks inspired by movies are sure to please.
Here are some of my favorites.
The Christmas Movie Cookbook: Recipes from Your Favorite Holiday Films
Just as the name says, this is a cookbook of foods inspired by Christmas movies. It's so much fun! You can enjoy these meals any time but it's especially fun during the holiday season while you are enjoying these movies with the family.
Disney Enchanted Recipes Cookbook
Here's a cookbook of recipes inspired by Disney. This is a great one for kids, and Disney fans of all ages. It's full of yummy recipes you will enjoy.
Binging With Babish: 100 Recipes Recreated from Your Favorite Movies and TV Shows
As the name implies and the description explains, this cookbook has 100 recipes from your favorite movies and TV shows, including Seinfeld, Moon Knight, Bob's Burgers, Big Knight, and more.
Jurassic World: The Official Cookbook
Here are some great big recipes to go with your Jurassic World movie experience. You may get it for the kids but you'll soon discover how much everyone loves these recipes.
Horror Movie Night Cookbook: Volume 1
Take your dinner with a side of horror? Then this is the cookbook for you!
Cooking the Movies: 50 Recipes from Iconic Movies
This book features 50 recipes from iconic movies. Make it a dinner and a movie night! Enjoy.
Ghostbusters: The Official Cookbook
How can you make Ghostbusters even better? A cookbook that's based on the movie sounds like a great start.
The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook: From Lamb Stew to "Groosling" - More than 150 Recipes Inspired by The Hunger Games Trilogy
And here's the aforementioned Hunger Games cookbook. There are many delicious meals and treats for you to enjoy while you binge the movies.
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Wizards and Non-Wizards Alike
And here's one for the Harry Potter fans. You'll learn to make Treacle Tart, Molly's Meat Pies, Pumpkin Pasties, and much more.
Marvel's Black Panther The Official Wakanda Cookbook
Here's another delicious favorite inspired by a hugely popular movie - The Official Wakanda Cookbook. Eat like the Black Panther as you cook up 70+ African-inspired meals fit for a king.
The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook (Downton Abbey Cookery)
Last on the list but certainly, not least is this cookbook inspired by Downton Abbey. It features over 100 recipes that showcase the customs of the Crawley household.
Best Family Cookbooks - Final Thoughts
There are so many amazing cookbooks out there that it’s hard to make a complete list. In fact, I’m sure I probably forgot some good ones, even while compiling this list. But the good news is, that you can shop and collect your own favorite cookbooks over the years and build your personalized collection. What did you think of my must-have cookbooks list? If any of these made you excited to try them, I'd love to hear about it!
When you want some new, exciting meals for your family, or you’re looking for a specific type of recipe, like one-pot meals or modern comfort foods, you can guarantee there is a cookbook for that. So, make some room on your kitchen shelf because you’re going to want to try all these family dinner ideas.
Have you used any of the cookbooks from this list?