23 cookbooks for every type of home cook

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  • One of the best gifts for any home cook is a new cookbook that will inspire creativity in the kitchen. 
  • Cookbooks also make an easy last-minute gift; nearly all our picks are available with two-day Prime shipping from Amazon. 
  • Here are some of our favorite cookbooks to give this year, including "The Pepper Thai Cookbook," "New World Sourdough," and "Xi'an Famous Foods."
  • Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all Insider Reviews gift guides here. 
  • Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.

Cookbooks are some of my favorite gifts to both give and receive. They hit all the marks of a great gift: they're easy to wrap, ship quickly, and can be easily customized to fit the receiver. There are thousands of cookbooks out there to suit every skill level, lifestyle, and interest, from ones based on favorite TV shows to celebrity cookbooks to volumes on cuisines from every corner of the world. Paired with a note, a cookbook makes an easy and thoughtful gift for almost any occasion. 

As someone who collects cookbooks and browses them regularly like some people browse coffee table books, I've come to appreciate what makes a great one — vivid photos, a fresh perspective, and rock-solid recipes. 

Here are 22 of the best cookbooks gifts for every type of cook:

For the person with quarantine cooking fatigue

"Indian-ish" by Priya Krishna, $23.49, available at Amazon

In her debut cookbook, Priya Krishna (contributor to Bon Appetit, New York Times, and others) offers up beloved favorite recipes from her Indian-American family, including Tomato Rice with Crispy Cheddar, Malaysian Ramen, and what her dad calls Indian Gatorade (Shikanji). The recipes are largely vegetarian, creative, fun, comforting, and guaranteed to inspire anyone who feels stuck in a rut with their cooking in 2020. 

For the person who spent 2020 mastering sourdough

"New World Sourdough" by Bryan Ford, $15.99, available at Amazon

This was the year of the sourdough starter, and few people are as well-versed in fermented breads as Bryan Ford, blogger and baker. We're not just talking about your classic sourdough boule; Ford is well-known for demonstrating the breadth of what you can do with a sourdough starter: from Sourdough Pan de Coco to Sourdough Discard Battered Fried Chicken.

For the friend who likes to Instagram all their food

"Ottolenghi Flavor" by Yotam Ottolenghi, $14.99, available at Amazon

Yotam Ottolenghi is owner and chef of some of London's most beloved cafes and restaurants. His recipes are some of the most colorful and beautiful out there, and his latest cookbook is no exception. "Flavor" is filled with mostly vegetarian recipes that not only pack a punch visually, but flavor-wise, too. Ottolenghi and his co-authors expound the building blocks of flavor in three sections: process, pairing, and produce. The result is more than 100 'gram-worthy recipes from Spicy Mushroom Lasagna to Iceberg Wedges with Smoky Eggplant Cream.

For the hummus lover

"Falastin" by Sami Tamimi, $31.50, available at Amazon

Longtime Ottolenghi collaborator (and co-author of "Jerusalem," another of our cookbook picks), Sam Tamimi, crafted his latest cookbook as an homage to Palestinian food. The book is rich in recipes, from multiple variations of shakshuka and hummus, to verdant salads, and colorful dips. Along the way, Tamimi tells the culinary history of Palestinian food — from the home cooks feeding their neighbors in refugee camps to the restaurateurs cooking for tourists in Bethlehem. 

For the cousin who's just learning to cook

"Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" by Samin Nosrat, $20.96, available at Amazon

In this beautifully illustrated cookbook, chef and New York Times columnist Samin Nosrat outlines the foundations of cooking, from when to salt your chicken to how to make the perfect focaccia. All the information is presented in a fun, engaging way alongside original illustrations you'll want to frame and hang in your kitchen.

For the history buff

"Jubilee" by Toni Tipton-Martin, $23.87, available at Amazon

Toni Tipton-Martin's personal collection of African-American cookbooks spans more than 400 titles and her knowledge of American food history is on full display in "Jubilee." Through recipes and stories, she relates the history of Black folks who shaped American cuisine into what it is today, from those who cooked under the confines of brutal enslavement to the chefs who ran White House kitchens. "Jubilee" is a masterful work of American history, as told through food.

For the person always posting pictures of their cheese board

"Platters and Boards: Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion" by Shelley Westerhausen, available at Amazon, $22.46

In her best-selling cookbook, author and food blogger Shelley Westerhausen shares 40 casual yet chic spreads (complete with meat and drink pairings) that anyone can make and enjoy. It's also a visual cornucopia that's just as satisfying to flip through as to use when hosting get-togethers. 

For your friend who knows all the best restaurants

"Xi'an Famous Foods" by Jason Wang, $31.50, available at Amazon

Xi'an Famous Foods started as a small family-owned market stall in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. Its hand-pulled cumin lamb noodles have become so loved that there are now 14 locations all around New York City. In this cookbook, the son of the family and CEO of the business Jason Wang divulges some of the recipes that made his family business famous, as well as other classic dishes from Xi'an in western China.

For your family member who binged "Emily in Paris"

"La Buvette" by Camille Fourmont and Kate Leahy, $17.60, available at Amazon

"La Buvette" is part cookbook, part guide to French living. Interspersed with recipes from the cookbook's namesake cafe are beautiful pictures of Paris, tips about shopping in France's vintage markets, and instructions on how to dry flowers. The cookbook is a lovely escape into Parisian living, perfect for any Francophile dreaming of a visit to the City of Lights. 

For the person homesick for their grandma's cooking

"In Bibi's Kitchen" by Hawa Hassan, $31.50, available at Amazon

This cookbook centers around grandmothers (or bibis) from eight south and east African countries. Throughout the book, we get to know the women whose recipes are featured and learn about their personal history and the history of their country. Along the way, you'll find recipes for Eritrean Doro Wat, Tanzanian Date Bread, Kenyan Kachumbari, and more. It's the kind of cookbook that makes you want to call your grandmother.

For the friend who wants to master the essentials

"My Korea" by Hooni Kim, $27.99, at Amazon

Michelin-starred chef Hooni Kim's debut cookbook is a crash course in the essentials of Korean cuisine. The book's tagline is "traditional flavors, modern recipes," and that is an accurate summation of what you can expect to find in this cookbook — from Dolsot Bibimbap to Budae Jjigae to Hanjan's Spicy Rice Cakes. When I first laid my hands on this cookbook, I wanted to make (and eat) every single recipe. If you're looking for some solid foundation recipes, "My Korea" delivers.

For the pint-sized cook in your life

"The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs" by America's Test Kitchen, $12.17, available at Amazon

I worked for America's Test Kitchen (ATK) for seven years and was privy to the care its team puts into each and every one of its cookbooks. ATK's series of cookbooks for kids is the epitome of that detail and care; every one of the recipes in this volume was tested by pro chefs and kid cooks. The recipes are specifically designed with kids in mind, outlining when to get an adult for help with handling hot ingredients or sharp tools. This is the book I wish was available to me when I was a child, and I've gifted it and the kid's baking book to every kid I know. I love getting reports from their parents about a new recipe they cooked or discovered.

For the sometimes-vegetarian

"Jerusalem: A Cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, available at Amazon, $23.41

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi were both born in Jerusalem in the same year — Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This cookbook is a unique, cross-cultural homage to the vibrant flavors of the city in totality with over 100 recipes. 

For the self-described dessert person

"Dessert Person" by Claire Saffitz, $15.64, available at Amazon

Claire Saffitz may be known for her wildly popular Gourmet Makes series on YouTube, but she's a pastry chef at heart and her affinity for baked goods is out in full force with her new cookbook "Dessert Person." In this cookbook, you can find creative recipes for Babkallah (a babka-Challah mashup), Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, and Malted Forever Brownies. It's sure to please the dessert lover in your life.

For the person who lives by a cookie-a-day philosophy

100 Cookies by Sarah Keiffer, $24.75, available at Amazon

A good ol' chocolate chip cookie never goes out of style, but if you have a cookie lover in your life, consider gifting them this homage to baked goods. You'll find recipes for the classics (including four different variations of chocolate chip cookies) as well cookies you've probably never had before, like Banana-Espresso-Cacao Nib cookies.

For the friend who lives for the next Li Ziqi video

"The Breath of a Wok" by Grace Young, $26.49, available at Amazon

Grace Young, a self-described wok therapist and advocate for the future of America's Chinatowns, has been teaching the next generation the ins and outs of wok cooking. I bought my first wok on her recommendation and it's easily my favorite pan to cook in. Her book "The Breath of a Wok" outlines key techniques for cooking in this versatile pan, like making use of the hot and cool zones and using the large bowl of the wok for deep frying.

For the person who recently fled the city

"Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm" by Molly Yeh, available at Amazon, $22.99

Molly Yeh is the star of Food Network's "Girl Meets Farm" and winner of the Judges' Choice IACP Cookbook Award. "Molly on the Range" explores home, family, her Jewish and Chinese heritage, and Yeh's Midwestern farm life. You'll find recipes for Sufganiyot, Chicken Potstickers, Challah Waffles, and more.

For the person who gets all their news from Twitter

"Cravings" by Chrissy Teigen, $26.99, available at Amazon

Supermodel, mom, and prolific tweeter Chrissy Teigen is also the author of two cookbooks. Her first, "Cravings," is a celebration of all things comfort food and includes selections from her Thai-American upbringing (Jok Moo), recipes from her husband John Legend (John's Fried Chicken Wings with Spicy Honey Butter), and favorites inspired by her travels to Italy and beyond (Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio E Pepe). The book is filled with anecdotes and Teigen's signature humor, and the recipes are delicious and approachable.

For the person who can't get enough of "Cravings"

"The Pepper Thai Cookbook" by Pepper Teigen, $26.99, available at Amazon

If your giftee already has and loves "Cravings" and "Cravings: Hungry for More," they'll be thrilled to know that Chrissy Teigen's mom Pepper is getting a cookbook of her own. Pepper is a beloved fixture in both of Chrissy's books, on her website, and on her YouTube channel, where she has her own mini-series: Pepper's Corner. You can expect "The Pepper Thai Cookbook" to include dishes like Pad Korat (the version of Pad Thai served in her hometown of Korat), Pad Thai Brussels Sprouts, and Nam Prik Sloppy Joes. While this cookbook isn't shipping until April, it's already gearing up to be one of the most anticipated cookbooks of 2021 and makes a fun gift your recipient can look forward to in the new year.

For the fan of the 'Great British Baking Show'

"Baking with Kim-Joy" by Kim-Joy, $22.49, available at Amazon

Fans of GBBO will likely remember series nine runner-up Kim-Joy's adorable and creative bakes, like her giant chocolate planet filled with "space turtles," or her "Silke the vegetarian mermaid" pie. Kim-Joy brings the same color and fun to her bakes in her debut cookbook, which includes Pigfiteroles in Mud, Tazhong Cat Buns, and a version of her Space Turtle Cake. This book also pairs well with her new Christmas cookbook.

For the person who had to cancel their vacation this year

"Pasta Grannies" by Vicky Bennison, $26.99, available at Amazon

Each episode of the "Pasta Grannies" YouTube series is an escape to a different region of Italy, where local grannies (or nonne) teach the audience to prepare and cook a regional dish — from classics like Spaghetti alla Carbonara to a pasta shape from Sardinia only three women know how to make. This cookbook takes some of the most popular videos from the series and turns them into tangible recipes you can cook at home. Between watching the video and cooking from the book, you can transport yourself to a little corner of Italy without leaving your home.

For the parent who can't wait to host again

"Magnolia Table, Volume 2" by Joanna Gaines, $20.79, available at Amazon

Joanna Gaines of "Fixer Upper" fame builds on the success of her wildly popular first cookbook with this second volume of recipes. The book is built around recipes and ideas for gathering, like Sunday Pot Roast, Black Forest Cake, and Friendsgiving Casserole. While parties are few and far between in 2020, this book will satisfy the person in your life who is itching to connect with loved ones over the kitchen table again and give them some creative ideas for when that finally becomes a reality.

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