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To Help You Learn Cooking

The 15 Best Cookbooks For Beginner Home Cooks

Learn a new skill with these easy-to-follow guides to cooking.

The kitchen can be an intimidating space if you’ve never spent much time in it. So when you finally decide to and a cookbook expects you to know how to do everything from tempering to julienning—LOL. We hear you, novice chefs, so we rounded up 15 of our favorite cookbooks that teach the basics so that you can feel comfortable and confident while cooking.

We know you’ll eventually ace that whole cooking thing. Stock up on cookbooks to conquer once you feel a bit more comfortable: our favorite cookbooks of the year, the best cookbooks for kids, and the best cookbooks by black authors.

1. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Samin Nostrat’s best-selling novel is not so much about following recipes line for line—it’s more about instinctual cooking. Nostrat explains the four elements of good cooking and how to trust your gut as you find your way around the kitchen.

2. 30-Minute Cookbook For Beginners

Samin Nostrat’s best-selling novel is not so much about following recipes line for line—it’s more about instinctual cooking. Nostrat explains the four elements of good cooking and how to trust your gut as you find your way around the kitchen.

3. Joy of Cooking

Samin Nostrat’s best-selling novel is not so much about following recipes line for line—it’s more about instinctual cooking. Nostrat explains the four elements of good cooking and how to trust your gut as you find your way around the kitchen.

4. The Homemade Vegan Pantry

If you’re serious about going vegan, or if you just want to start eating more plant-based meals, this cookbook will give you creative meal ideas beyond that of just meat and dairy substitutions.

5. Good And Cheap

Leanne Brown wrote this book specifically for people on SNAP/food stamp benefits with $4 a day to spend on food. No matter what your budget is, Brown teaches you how to make everything from Barley Risotto with Peas and White Bean Ragù to Vegetable Jambalaya—without breaking the bank.

6. Sweet Potato Soul

 

LNYC-based vegan personal chef, cooking instructor, and blogger Jenne Claiborne explains the surprisingly  beginner-friendly ways that she turned her favorite soul food recipes vegan.

7. The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook

Bring the lush and vibrant flavors of Italy, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon to your kitchen with this cookbook. It’ll teach you the basics of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid and how to add heart-healthy recipes into your diet.

8. How To Cook Everything

The title says it all, folks. This classic cookbook is beloved for its minimalist style. The recipes are simple and focus on nailing the basics (like how to grill vegetables or roast seafood) so that as you get more comfortable, you can make the recipes all your own.

9. One Pot

There’s a lot you can do in one pot: stew, steam, sauté, simmer, braise, roast. This book teaches you how to make more than 100 recipes, all of which go only require the one dish.

10. The Taste of Country Cooking

For those who need a story in their cookbooks, you’ll enjoy this walk back in time hearing about Edna Lewis’s life growing up in a small Virginia Piedmont farming community over 50 years ago.

11. Delish Insanely Easy Chicken Dinners

We may be biased, but this is one of our favorites on the list. In this cookbook, our editors take the easiest and most convenient dinner meal (chicken), and show you so many creative ways to cook, fry, broil, and most importantly eat it.

12. Beginner’s Baking Bible

Baking and cooking are two different arts, as you’ll learn from this cookbook. This book will teach you basic baking techniques (like melting chocolate and cutting butter into flour) then hit you with more than 100 recipes where you can try said techniques out.

13. Plenty

With the right herbs and spices, veggies can go from a nutritious necessity to a delicacy in their own right. That’s Yotam Ottolenghi’s approach, which is all about freshness and seasonality.

14. Cook Like a Pro

If you’ve ever watched the Barefoot Contessa, you’ve seen Ina Garten’s warm and welcoming approach to cooking, That’s what you can expect from this tome of recipes, too.

15. Twelve Recipes

Cal Peternell began working on this beautifully illustrated cookbook when his oldest son left for college. Whether you’re going off to college or living on your own for the first time, this book is all about independence through cooking.