Best Cookbooks to Diversify Your Home Menus

Review & Comparison, Last Update May 11, 2020
Whether you seek to enhance and develop your cooking skills or improve your eating habits, a good cookbook will become a helping hand in both cases. Offering a choice of recipes to meet different tastes and suit different occasions, a good cookbook can quickly make a skilled cook out of a home enthusiast. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Author
Subject
Book Type
Publisher
Number of Pages
 
PROS

This culinary book provides valuable, easy-to-follow recommendations that can help quickly get rid of excess weight. Besides, you'll find a Meal Planning Template that will help you practice good mealtime habits.

CONS

The book might contain some non-scientific claims.

OUR VERDICT

If you feel dependant on food and want to change your eating habits for the better, this book offers an efficient 30-day step-by-step plan to quickly put yourself back onto the right nutrition track. Not only will you improve your metabolism and immunity but also you'll be able to lose some weight, all of this without feeling hungry.

detailed parameters
Author

Melissa Hartwig, Dallas Hartwig, Richard Bradford

Subject

A 30-day guide to total health and food freedom

Book Type

Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle edition

Publisher

Yellow Kite (2015)

Number of Pages

432 pages

PROS

All given recipes are smartly subdivided into categories allowing you to quickly find the dish you are about to cook. Besides, the book contains instructions on how you can toss of amazing desserts in a pan. 

CONS

There are no pictures of food.

OUR VERDICT

Created by an experienced cook specifically for instant pot owners, this cookbook will become your best helping hand in cooking quick, delicious, and nutrient-wise dishes. It contains more than 500 recipes both for beginners and for experienced users to meet any tastes and cook single-serve dishes as well as family meals.  

detailed parameters
Author

Jennifer Smith

Subject

500 everyday Instant Pot recipes for beginners and advanced users

Book Type

Spiral-bound, Paperback, Kindle edition

Publisher

Original Life-Saver Publisher (2018)

Number of Pages

270 pages

PROS

Vegan and vegetarian recipes are paid special attention to in this book. So, even if you are an avid carnivore you won't be able to resist trying a few recipes to taste something different or give your meat menu a rest. 

CONS

Some cooking times are not precise enough. 

OUR VERDICT

Are you rather an eater than a cook? The culinary book by Tieghan Gerard will change the way you treat meals. Appetizing pictures of real ready-to-eat dishes will call for your inner cook while simple recipes based on a few ingredients and maintained by foolproof instructions will make cooking a breeze. 

detailed parameters
Author

Tieghan Gerard

Subject

125+ delicious, show-stopping recipes made simple

Book Type

Hardcover, Kindle edition

Publisher

Clarkson Potter (2019)

Number of Pages

288 pages

PROS

All readers will get access to the exclusive online content including 80 videos and over 400 additional recipes to further complement and enhance the cookbook content. You just need to register your purchase on the Betty Crocker website.

CONS

It's a pretty old edition. 

OUR VERDICT

If you are a home cook seeking to greatly improve your culinary skills and master exquisite recipes, this cookbook from Betty Crocker is for you. Along with a truly vast choice of recipes suitable for any occasion, it will also introduce you to the basics of food canning, preserving, and pickling. You'll get useful expert tips and enjoy a lot of interesting recipe facts. 

detailed parameters
Author

Betty Crocker

Subject

1500 recipes with nearly 1100 gorgeous photos

Book Type

Hardcover, Spiral-bound, Ring-bound

Publisher

Betty Crocker (2011)

Number of Pages

640 pages

PROS

The first chapter contains helpful info on using species and condiments in a proper way as well as tips on basic measurement and cutting techniques. And there is a whole chapter devoted to delicious and calorie-wise breakfasts. 

CONS

Many recipes are rather complex. 

OUR VERDICT

In this book, a famous food blogger with millions of followers, Christine Diane «Chrissy» Teigen, shares her culinary secrets and her favorite recipes. Along with exquisite dishes for true gourmets, here, you'll also find a whole bunch of quick meals for your everyday menus that will take a minimum of your time and effort to cook.

detailed parameters
Author

Chrissy Teigen

Subject

Favorite recipes of Chrissy Teigen

Book Type

Hardcover, Kindle edition

Publisher

Clarkson Potter (2016)

Number of Pages

240 pages

The Whole 30: Paperback

An Effective Way to Get Rid of Food Dependency

If you usually eat burgers or creamy pasta for lunch, drink a few cups of latte and hot chocolate a day, and can’t imagine your evening without a glass of Margarita, chances are great your relationships with food are complicated and you are dependant on it, which is one of the biggest problems for many people today that stands in a row with drug and alcohol addiction. The Whole30 Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom will give you a chance to change the way you eat and put yourself onto the right nutrition track.

First off, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig who are the authors of this book are certified nutritionists specialized in helping people change their relationships with food. So, they know for sure what you feel when eating up ice cream at night or swallowing yet another cocktail coming back from work, and know how to break that vicious circle and stop treating food as some kind of antidepressant or reward.

In general, this book is a 30-day guide on healthy nutrition with rather strict rules on what you are allowed to eat, and we'd fib if we said that following them is very easy. That said, this book is not about quick results. What it's driven towards first and foremost is to help you get rid of bad eating habits for good and in the end, make healthy eating your lifelong nutrition strategy, so it's definitely worth trying.

According to Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, one of the main rules of switching to healthy eating is to cut down on sugar and starch consumption. For this reason, such ingredients as legumes, grains, dairy products, as well as sugar, of course (including all of its varieties) are forbidden and not included in the menu, not to mention bakery, fast food, and junk food. That being said, the choice of meals provided in this book isn't scarce, featuring 150 chef-created ready-to-cook recipes, all accompanied by mouth-watering photos and fitting the Whole 30 principles. Offering healthy substitutes and alternatives to your calorie-packed favs, those recipes will keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Review of The Whole 30: Paperback The official 30-day FULL-COLOUR guide to total health and food freedom

... and Build Proper Eating Habits

"We are what we eat". This phrase was said by Hippocrates centuries ago but it is still relevant today. However, switching to healthy nutrition principles is easier said than done given that you need to change not only the way you cook and eat but also the way you think about food. And this is by far the hardest part for food dependants. However, the Whole30 guide will help you with that as well.

Along with a choice of healthy and delicious recipes that will improve your metabolism and sleep quality, promote weight loss, enhance your immunity and raise your self-esteem, the book also delivers a whole load of tips and recommendations on how to battle your temptations, plan your meals, eat during family events and outings, tackle some ups and downs that you might face in the program, and even how to go grocery shopping. The book language is very motivating, and there is a separate chapter with FAQ revealing detailed info on all sorts of foods, drinks, and supplements, as well as inspiring success stories of other Whole30 guide followers that will encourage you to stay strong and avoid failures.

Overall, the Whole30 Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom fully lives up to its name. You’ll get an in-depth step-by-step plan on how to break your unhealthy eating habits and build proper ones. It will help you change your relations with food and your whole lifestyle to feel healthier and balance your body weight.

The Whole 30: Paperback The official 30-day FULL-COLOUR guide to total health and food freedom in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Spiral-bound

A Comprehensive Guide for Instant Pot Owners

An Instant Pot cooker is a kind of cooking wizard, serving as a helping hand for many busy cooks who often lack time on cooking yet want to be able to treat their loved ones to fresh and nutritious homemade meals. However, as it happens, many users tend to run out of recipe ideas very quickly which often causes them to put those pots back on the shelves and return to cooking/eating pre-packaged and take-out foods. Sounds like your scenario? If so, then this cookbook featuring a collection of recipes tailored specifically for instant pots will come to help!

What sets this cookbook apart from the competition is an extensive choice of recipes which, unlike many other Instant Pot recipes primarily built around exotic, canned or rare ingredients, use simple foods that can be found in just about any grocery shop. Furthermore, all recipes are laid in a simple and easy-to-understand manner so that even novice cooks will be able to handle them with ease. Besides, you can easily modify and mix up recipes for different presentation and serving ideas or simply to add a personal touch to them.

Another selling point of this book is that it contains as many as 500 recipes. Thanks to that, you'll have no problem finding an idea of what to cook for breakfast, lunch, dinner or hearty family meals, as well as how to please your kids and what ingredients to use to concoct vegan and vegetarian dishes. With such straightforward instructions, full-fledged ingredients lists, and precise cooking times, you can rest assured that all of your meals will come out cooked to perfection and appetizing-looking.

The other benefit of this cookbook is that it offers a list of low-fat and low-sugar substitutes enabling you to adjust any dish to your dietary needs. Moreover, all recipes are smartly organized into categories by the main ingredient so you will be able to quickly figure out what you want to cook and find the needed recipe in the blink of an eye. A nice bonus is that this book also includes detailed instructions on how to use an Instant Pot, which makes it an attractive choice for first-time Instant Pot users.

Review of Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Spiral-bound 500 Everyday Recipes for Beginners and Advanced Users

Created by a Professional Cook

What's interesting about this cookbook is that despite its seeming simplicity, it was written by a professional cook - Jennifer Smith has over 10 years of experience of working in US and UK restaurants. Along with traditional cooking methods, she had a hand in using an Instant Pot pressure cooker which allowed her to hone her skill and masterfully combine various techniques. However, what's especially unique of her is that she's not afraid of sharing her expertise with other people, which she eagerly does in her book by disclosing her signature cooking tricks, something that very few other famous chefs do. Besides, she's also a great expert in family cooking. Being a wife and a mother of four kids, Jennifer knows what problems cooking usually entails so she strives to help other home cooks to get the most out of their pressure cookers and achieve excellent results in a reduced time.

To resume, this Instant Pot cookbook by Jennifer Smith provides one of the best collections of recipes that are delicious and nutritious while also being very quick and easy to cook. Moreover, they use rather simple foods, which makes this cookbook a perfect fit for just about any budget, diet, and lifestyle.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Spiral-bound 500 Everyday Recipes for Beginners and Advanced Users in the use

 

Half Baked Harvest Super Simple: Hardcover

A Book for a Lazy Cook

Cooking is not your forte and you are rather an eater than a culinary expert? It’s time to change the way you treat meals and discover the whole new world of savory dishes you can cook in the comfort of your own home. For that purpose, the Half Baked Harvest Super Simple cookbook by Gerard Tieghan can become your best guide!

A food photographer initially, Gerard Tieghan has soon retrained as a food blogger and made a successful career as a cook by building her own food blog and writing her first book, The Half Baked Harvest Cookbook. It didn't take long for this book to become a best-seller. With plenty of inspiring recipes, accompanied by professionally-made food pictures, it quickly found its loyal audience, offering them a no-fuss way of cooking and translating many all-loved favourites into more manageable and quicker dishes.

Overall, in this book, you will find 125 recipes of super-simple dishes (as the title suggests), ranging from breakfast ideas to pizza crusts to tasty meat dishes to flavorful veg meals and unforgettable desserts. Best of all, all these recipes are easy to cook, no matter your cooking experience, and use simple ingredients which you can buy in the nearest store or already have in your fridge.

With busy cooks and trending techniques in mind, Gerard Tieghan offers a choice of recipes for Instant pots, multi-cookers, and slow cookers, plus you get usual stovetop instructions that will inspire you to always try something new. Also, you'll find handy icons indicating the needed number of ingredients, cooking times, and cookware that will help you take over cooking and become a pro in a short while.

Review of Half Baked Harvest Super Simple: Hardcover More Than 125 Recipes

With a Plant-powered Diet in Focus

Taking care of their health and trying to minimize the harmful imprint on the world, many people today turn to a veg-based diet. However, modern vegan and vegetarian menus are far beyond just eating green salads and raw fruit and veg. Now plant-powered cooking has become a kind of art, with many specialized restaurants, snack bars, and grocery shops opening all around the world.

Not to fall out from food trends, in this book, Gerard Tieghan paid special attention to vegan and vegetarian recipes, too. Notably, they (recipes) are not less flavorful and appetizing than meaty dishes. Plus they all come with stunning photography which will make even avid carnivores eager to try a few veg-based recipes to diversify their menus or to give their meat treats a short rest.

In a word, full of simple recipes coming with fool-proof prep instructions, The Half Baked Harvest Super Simple cookbook by Gerard Tieghan is an expressly helpful compendium for busy, lazy, and beginner cooks.

Half Baked Harvest Super Simple: Hardcover More Than 125 Recipes in the use

 

Betty Crocker Cookbook: Ring-bound

Extensive Legendary Recipe Collection

If you want to have everything you need to know about home cooking and American food traditions in one book, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

First published in 1950, this legendary cookbook has been popular for decades and stays strong today. It’s a cookbook your moms and grandmas used to cook after and it still has a lot to offer to modern home cooks. Though Betty Crocker is not a real person but a fictional character created for a food contest back in 1921, her identity is synonymous with quality and helpfulness when it comes to cooking. All in all, there have been published 250 Betty Crocker cookbooks, and this 11th edition is hands down one of the best of them.

What you’ll get is an impressive collection of as many as 1500 recipes on 640 pages. It’s a sort of culinary Bible that will teach you how to cook literally anything - from tried-and-true classic recipes to some contemporary favorites. Notably, despite such a big volume, the book is not a boring set of recipes but rather an exciting culinary guide that has passed the test of time and was updated to meet modern cook needs and make cooking more appealing and fun. Along with a plethora of recipes, the book features tons of practical tips and hints and provides a whole myriad of colorful and engaging pictures that will inspire you to cook and try something new.

All built around American culinary standards, the book is not the best option if you look for the dishes from other cuisines, yet, in terms of American cooking tradition, it has everything you need to know and even more. Here, you’ll find specific chapters devoted to breakfast and brunch, slow cooker recipes, vegetarian treats, and some quick meals you can toss off in less than 20 minutes. Each recipe you’ll encounter in this book provides nutrition facts and some expert tips on how to prepare and cook specific ingredients as well as offers different serving options and contains other interesting info which does not directly pertain to cooking. All this makes the Betty Crocker book a perfect match both for novices in search of easy-to-cook dishes and for advanced cooks striving to level up their skill.

Review of Betty Crocker Cookbook: Ring-bound 1500 Recipes for the Way You Cook Today

A Helping Hand for a Diligent Home Cook

Home cooking is more than just making and serving meals. There is philosophy behind it that, apart from cooking itself, also entangles shopping for ingredients, making food stock, utilizing leftovers, and more. It's a so-called "dish economy” that allows diligent home cooks to get the most of their food budget and kitchen time and treat their families to delicious and diverse meals. And this is what the Betty Crocker cookbook can teach you unless you are not into it yet.

Thus, Betty’s staples will help you make use of what you have in the fridge, allowing you to combine the ingredients in some unexpected ways and whip up quick and tasty treats. The Make-ahead section will show you how to prepare food items in batches and use them later in different ways, which is an extremely useful skill for busy cooks and a great chance to avoid using pre-packaged foods. A One-dish Dinner chapter will come in handy when you need to cook a simple family dish without compromising the taste and flavor profile and the Heirloom Recipe and New Twist will let you savor traditional recipes redesigned.

For novice cooks seeking to build solid culinary skills and feel confident in their home kitchens, this culinary book provides an insight into the basics of different cooking techniques, detailed instructions on canning, preserving, and pickling, and easy-to-follow helpful recommendations beyond the recipes themselves.

To cut a long story short, the Betty Crocker cookbook packed with tons of photography, useful information, and amazing recipes is by far the fullest basic culinary guide for home cooks and a must-have for any home kitchen.

Betty Crocker Cookbook: Ring-bound 1500 Recipes for the Way You Cook Today in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Chrissy Teigen Cravings: Hardcover

Gourmet Cooking Made Easy

A model, a TV-host, and an extremely popular Instagrammer with over 5 million followers, Chrissy Tiegen is real big on food and on cooking. In her blog and on her website, she not only shares tons of recipes but also posts videos of herself tossing off some new treats or modifying tried and tested dishes in her home kitchen. Her debut cookbook “Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat” is an absolute top-seller that evokes curiosity even among those who don’t know Chrissy Tiegen. So, let’s find out if it’s really worth the hype or it’s yet another book of fancy recipes from a celebrity.

What distinguishes Chrissy Tiegen's approach first and foremost is that she doesn't take food too seriously and treats cooking as something fun (just like many other things in her life).  In this book, she shares her one-time favs and signature recipes as well as favorite treats of her husband who is an R&B singer and her mother who is from Thailand and knows everything about spicy, flavorful, and zesty Thai cuisine. The tweak behind Chrissy Tiegen’s recipes is that she takes pretty simple, affordable, and easy to find ingredients and mixes them out in a bit extraordinary combos to fit the most sophisticated tastes of avid gourmets. On the other hand, though, all treats are quick and easy to whip up to meet the needs of busy cooks.

One more distinctive feature of this cookbook is a specific approach to healthy food. Although Tiegan claims that you won't find here a bunch of diet recipes, some way or another, most of her recipes are meant to be good for your health and friendly to your body as well. Thus, she replaces noodles with zucchini slices in lasagne and swaps mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower to cut down calories and deliver the taste that bursts with a diversity of flavors on your taste buds.

Review of Chrissy Teigen Cravings: Hardcover Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

Find a Treat for Any Occasion

Why do we normally buy a cookbook? An obvious answer is to diversify our daily menus without a hassle of spending too much time on cooking. However, an added goal is to be able to step away from habitual dishes we regularly cook for breakfast and festive dinners and try something different to delight ourselves and impress our guests. With that in mind, the Cravings by Chrissy Tiegan has something to offer for any occasion.

There are separate chapters on breakfasts and dinner recipes, carbs, salads, Thai recipes, party treats, soups, noodles, desserts, and more. So, whether you need an idea for a hearty weeknight family dinner, plan a party with friends or arrange a romantic date, you’ll definitely find something special in this book. Spicy notes, cheesy melts, unique causes, and dressings, Tiegen's recipes have it all. And all of them are maintained by gorgeous colorful photos of dishes you can’t resist cooking.

To sum it all up, if you are a foodie looking for new tastes and unique flavor combos or an experienced cook striving to add a new twist to your habitual repertoire, this recipe book will get you covered.

Chrissy Teigen Cravings: Hardcover Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat in the use

 

What Is a Cookbook?

Despite a plethora of recipes, culinary tips, and recommendations available here and there, time-honored cookbooks are still very popular and highly demanded among home cooks, novices, and everyone else who seek to level up their culinary skills and/or simply diversify their menus.

By definition, a cookbook is a collection of recipes along with detailed instructions on food preparation, cooking times and techniques applied. With first cookbook samples dating back to the 4th century, they represent by far the oldest genre (if we may call it a genre, of course). However, a real rise of culinary book publishing took place in the 17th century when royal and noble families turned to hiring pro cooks to do the cooking for them, thus, bringing the whole process of cooking to the level of art.

Today, cookbooks are available in numbers, providing well-organized collections of recipes alongside clear and easy-to-follow instructions as well as colorful illustrations of ready dishes or step-by-step pictures for beginners. Recipes in these books can be grouped by the course, the main ingredients, the cooking technique applied or simply laid out in alphabetic order.

With a good cookbook at hand, you’ll greatly extend your cooking options. At the same time, using proper cookware and knife sets will let you achieve great results and make sure all your dishes come out perfect on the first try.

What Features to Compare

Though seemingly simple, in practice, finding a culinary book that will become your irreplaceable culinary assistant and a source of inspiration is easier said than done. Hence, whether you are in search of your first culinary guide or choose yet another cookbook for your collection, the info on what aspects to consider when buying a culinary book won’t go amiss.

Type

Cookery books are very diverse and come in different types. Thus, there are professional cookbooks created for chefs and students of culinary schools that contain more detailed info on serving, workflow issues, and cooking in larger portions. Furthermore, you can find international and ethnic cookbooks focusing mainly on the cultural culinary traditions and cuisines of a certain country or ethnic group. Community cookbooks narrow down the choice of recipes to a certain region or society. Normally, they target home cooking and provide traditional family recipes varying from one home to another within a certain area or territory.

When it comes to the subject, culinary books fall into all-in-one guides and single-subject books. While the first type offers a wide choice of dishes and even drinks ranging from appetizers to desserts and digestives, the latter usually deals with a certain ingredient, single cooking technique, dish class or course, or even a target group of eaters.

Author

A book author always lends a personal touch on its content, and the same is true for culinary books as well. Cookbooks can be written by individuals or groups of authors. Those writers can be anyone - from professional cooks to restaurant chefs to cooking teachers to food bloggers to dieticians to celebrities and even foodies or enthusiastic cooks making up their signature collections of simple, exquisite, extraordinary, nutritious, or gourmet recipes for different types of audience.

Subject

While the main subject is obviously recipes, there is usually some kind of common idea bringing them together in a single book. With that said, you can come across culinary books on a specific diet (vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, gluten-free, etc.), books of recipes for some sort of cookers, extensive collections of everyday recipes, culinary guides for beginners as well as collections of calorie-wise recipes, sports nutrition guides and more.

Form

The form of your culinary book totally depends on your personal preferences and convenience. Thus, many might go for a Kindle edition to download it to their e-readers while others will choose to stay with paperback editions to enjoy turning pages, making some marks, or even leaving stains showing off their favorite recipes.

Did you know?

How to Write Your First Cookbook

If you are an avid cook or a home baker with extensive experience and a whole bunch of signature recipes behind your back, we bet, you’ve thought more than once about writing a cookbook to share your knowledge and give others a chance to taste your dishes. Yet, there is a complex multi-stage process in between the whole idea of writing a cookbook and actually publishing it. So, to prevent doubts and confusion from hindering your chance, we’ve made up a shortlist of tips on where to start from and how to proceed.

  1. Organizational matters.

This is probably the hardest stage in a whole process since here, you are about to define your way and set a basis for all the work you’ll have ahead. Thus, before you start writing, you first need to select the subject or main focus of your book and then find your niche. In other words, there should be something that will be your forte and make your book stand out among the rivals or make it different in a good way. To do that, search what is popular on the market, check diets, food trends, nutrition tendencies, etc. Once you’ve made up your mind about your book scope, think about its style and general mood, and outline the contents.

  1. Creating unique and interesting content.

This is where you need to closely work on your recipes and walk in the reader’s shoes. Cook your recipes once again as if you were a reader. This will help you see what is missing and what needs to be corrected. As you test, make up detailed descriptions and add some useful tips you deem necessary. Besides, you can make pictures of your dishes or hire a photographer to take professional shots.

  1. Bringing your book to life.

Before publishing your book, it’s worth editing it to avoid rough mistakes and it’s also advisable to hire a pro editor to proofread your book. For publishing, you can either contact publishers by yourself or hire an agent, which might improve your chances. Meanwhile, you can also create a food blog to evoke interest to your book among the readers who might eventually evoke the publishers’ interest as well. Likewise, you are free to publish the book by yourself by paying the publishing costs or creating an e-book.

Apart from these three basic stages, there are also some essential practical things to remember when writing a culinary book:

  • To set up your own writing style, do a lot of reading on cookery. Read cookbooks, follow food blogs, check how professional chefs and amateurs describe their recipes.
  • While taking inspiration from other sources, avoid plagiarism.
  • Make it simple. Recipes based on well-known and widely available ingredients and cooked with no gimmicky appliances or utensils are more popular among common readers.
  • Mind the language. Write detailed step-by-step instructions in clear and simple words.
  • Go for standard measurements. If you stick to cups and spoons, always make a reference to how those will measure in grams, milliliters, or ounces.
  • When making the lists of ingredients for each recipe, put them in the same order you will use them when cooking.

Other reviews
Comments
0 Comments

Your comment was successfully sent

Error! Please try again later

Publish Date: 2020-05-11 15:21:10