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I used to think that with having access to so many online recipes these days, why would I ever need a cookbook?

Then I got one.

A cookbook is more than just a list of recipes. A cookbook is truly a collection of a food artist’s creativity and vision around meal making, and can offer a perspective of both social and cultural history. Heck you don’t even need to actually make any of the dishes to enjoy a cookbook. Sometimes the story around a certain dish, or the method of cooking is just as important as the dish itself. And the high quality, mouthwatering pictures are a fun bonus.

Cookbooks are such important items that we listed them in our list of kitchen essentials that every home cook must have.

Cookbooks can teach tips on new techniques and help expand your knowledge of the food you are making. Ask any chef and they will enthusiastically agree that cookbooks offer some of the best food education available. Not everyone can go to culinary school, but everyone can learn timeless recipes reading essential cookbooks.

If you don’t currently own one, there are a few must have essential cookbooks to start a collection. The books we selected provide a balance of food education, cooking methods, and insight into ingredients and processes that help to pair flavors and create outstanding dishes.

Here are our recommendations for the most essential cookbooks you should know about.

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity

Essential Cookbooks Flavor Bible

The Flavor Bible Oozes with Creativity

To start the list off, The Flavor Bible is the most essential cookbook on the market. This book is basically a dictionary of cooking, and provides thousands of ingredient entries, organized alphabetically and cross-referenced. The book is a treasure trove of spectacular flavor combinations. Winner of the 2009 James Beard Book Award for best book, it’s easy to see why this cooking bible is considered one of the top essential cookbooks in a homes in kitchens across the world.

Available on Amazon

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

The Food Lab Cookbook

Science Never Tasted so Good!

The title says it all. If you really want to learn about food and flavors beyond the standard recipe, this book is for you. The Flavor Bible delves into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules to dig into the science of creating great food. Made by legendary J. Kenji López of Serious Eats, the food lab presents proven methods that use science to make food taste better.

Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a perfectly charred crust and an interior that’s cooked from edge to edge? Or how to make homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that is as amazingly gooey and smooth as velvet, but far tastier than the boxed brands? Maybe you’re curious about how to roast a moist turkey using a foolproof method that works every time?

Look no further than The Food Lab, a staple on the New York Times bestseller list.

Available on Amazon

Flour Water Salt Yeast

Essential Cookbook for Bread and Pizza

Learn How to Elevate Baking Bread and Pizza

There are few things more satisfying than biting into a warm and crispy-on-the-outside yet soft-and-supple-on-the-inside slice of freshly baked bread. For Portland-based baker Ken Forkish, well-made bread is more than just a pleasure—it is an obsession that has led to the creation of some of the best and most critically acclaimed breads and pizzas across the country.

There is no better place to start than with this must have baking guide that not only provides easy to follow recipes, but also explores the art of baking bread. Whether you’re a total beginner or a serious baker, Flour Water Salt Yeast  is one of our favorite essential cookbooks that is sure to have recipes that suits any skill level and time schedule.

Available on Amazon

Tasty Latest and Greatest Cookbook

Tasty Essential Cookbook

Master the Essentials

If you’re active on social media, theres a good chance you’ll know what Tasty is. Launched as a part of Buzzfeed, Tasty has quickly transformed the way we see simple, easy, and delicious recipes. Now available in cookbook form, be sure to checkout the latest and greatest from Tasty all in one place.

Available on Amazon

The Mezze Cookbook

Middle Eastern Food Essential Cookbook

Perfect Flavorful Middle Eastern Dishes

If you and your family love middle eastern food, then this is the book for you. A vibrant collection of exciting and exotic recipes from across the Middle East, this cookbook teaches you how to make shareable plates for family and friends. From Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Smoked Paprika, to Pistachio and Pomegranate Cakes, this book is organized by dish styles, and features both meat-based and vegetarian recipes. Along with suggested mezze-style menus and a glossary of ingredients, this book is a masterclass on Middle Eastern cooking.

Available on Amazon

Binging With Babish

Essential Cookbooks Binging with Babish

Recreate that Epic Movie Meal

Following the massively popular internet cooking show Binging with Babish on YouTube, Chef Andrew Rea, a self-proclaimed movie and TV buff, teaches recipes based around iconic meals from TV shows and films in this unique new cookbook. The perfect supplement to his video content, this book is perfect for anyone who ever wanted to enjoy a meal that they’ve seen on the screen.

Available on Amazon

Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California

Essential Cookbooks California Cooking

Cook With Cool California Vibes

Gjelina in Venice Beach is one of Los Angeles’s most talked-about restaurants. This cookbook highlights some of the staples from the restaurant including rustic and utterly delicious salads, toasts, pizzas, vegetable and grain dishes, pastas, fish and meat mains, and desserts. If you want to cook inspired by the Southern California Lifestyle, this book is for you.

Available on Amazon

Jerusalem

jerusalem cookbook

Cook With Israeli Flair

This book written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi explores the vibrant cuisine Jerusalem, their native city. With ethnically diverse communities of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian households, the city celebrates its unique food culture, and now you can too.

Available on Amazon

Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques

Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques

Techniques to Make you Stand out in the Kitchen

Universally hailed by professional and amateur cooks alike as the grand master of cooking skills and methods, Jaques Pepin teaches it all in this essential cookbook. It contains over 1,000 photographs that detail every step of the common cooking process, from trimming steak fat to stuffing artichokes. Want to become a better cook? Then this book is an absolute must.

Available on Amazon

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook

Thug Kitchen Recipes

Cook Like a Healthy Thug

Thug Kitchen started their wildly popular website to inspire people to start eat their goddamn vegetables, and to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The team wants to show everyone how to take charge of their plates and cook up real food.

Plenty of blogs and cookbooks preach about eating more greens, how ginger can fight inflammation, and how to cook with micro greens and nettles. This book gives you the real deal without the fluff and fake hype. Did we mention it’s fully vegan?!

Available on Amazon

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health

Whole 30 Recipes

Keep your Meals Whole 30 Fresh

Since 2009, Melissa Hartwig’s critically-acclaimed Whole30 program has led hundreds of thousands of people to effortless weight loss and better overall health—along with stunning improvements in sleep quality, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. The Whole30 is designed to help break unhealthy patterns of behavior, stop stress-related comfort eating, and reduce cravings, particularly for sugar and carbohydrates.

Available on Amazon