The 25 Best Cookbooks Of 2022

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It's like that old saying: if you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day, but if you teach someone to fish, you feed them for life. So instead of taking our loved ones to dinner or grabbing them a gift certificate to a restaurant, this holiday season, we're looking toward our local bookstore to help us play Santa.

Whether aspirational or practical, niche tomes down to essential cookbooks have enjoyed a boom in recent years (via NPD Research Group), perhaps due to the increased appreciation of food culture at large. 2022 saw a slurry of cookbooks dedicated to laid-back approaches to the kitchen, the obligatory restaurant-centric publications, and a little powerhouse of wine and spirit literature that our shelves are more complete because of. So, to help you sift through this year's strongest releases, we've compiled a list of 25 volumes we reach for most often.

I Dream of Dinner (so you don't have to): Low-Effort High-Reward Cookbook by Ali Slagle

After living in the confines of the Covid-pandemic, many of us realized how unfeasible it is for every at-home meal to be an absolute show-stopper. Ali Slagle's "I Dream of Dinner" embraces the realities of homemaking in the modern age by anthologizing affordable, quick, and relatively simple recipes for weeknight dining. Recipes like her Sheet Pan Fish with Bitter Greens realizes the stunning potential of quality ingredients made with casual care.

Slagle sees how, too often, we fill our cookbook shelves with volumes penned by chefs of notable restaurants from which we rarely find the time to cook. With "I Dream of Dinner," she delivers a book meant to be dogeared and stained from frequent reference.

The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress by Andy Baraghani

Following a stint at Bon Appetit Magazine, Baraghani left to pen his debut cookbook, "The Cook You Want To Be,"  committed to elevating the arena of the home cook's kitchen and reinvigorating everyday ingredients with Baraghani's own brand of laidback panache.

Recipes like Spicy and Sour Grilled Cabbage with Chopped Peanut Vinaigrette, Crispy Plum, and Pistachio cake are all lovingly shot without too much pretension and preciousness. Though Baraghani's style helped set the tone of cool-kid cooking, his first venture into cookbooks revealed a humble home chef dedicated to brightening up the dinner plate.

Delectable: Sweet and Savory Baking by Claudia Fleming and Catherine Young

"Delectable," Claudia Flemings's second foray into cookbook (her 2001 debut The Last Course has earned somewhat of a cult following) authorship gives her readers a look behind the curtain at such storied restaurants as Gramercy Tavern, where Fleming was employed as a pastry chef.

Intended for a reader comfortable in the midst of baking lingo and equipped with gear like piping bags and pastry scales, Fleming asks her audience to consider projects like making their own donuts or sandwich cookies, two daunting tasks not meant for the novice baker. But, with her show-stopping creations, this much-anticipated sophomore entry sees Fleming also bring her personal style and tendency toward seasonal ingredients to the table.

Japan Easy Bowls & Bentos: Simple and Satisfying Recipes for All Day Every Day by Tim Anderson

No stranger to the world of Japanese cookbooks, Tim Anderson continues his winning streak with "Japan Easy Bowls & Bentos," where he focuses on the simpler side of Japanese cuisine. 

Like so many of 2022's releases, Anderson acknowledges the hustle behind the average reader's life as he wrote this comprehensive volume. It will not only arm a home cook with secret weapon recipes but also with the skillset and mindfulness it takes to create their own uncomplicated at-home meals. Largely composed of elements his readers can prep ahead of time, Bowls & Bentos reads like a guide on how to cook as an act of self-care.

The Wok: Recipes and Tecnique by Keji Lopez-Alt

We love a book with a niche focus, and here Keji Lopez-Alt follows up his smash hit, The Food Lab, with another book of laser-sharp observations by one of the geniuses behind the new class of food culture. "The Wok" unsurprisingly zeros in on Asia's most universal pan. Lopez-Alt does more than convince you to season your wok; he deep-dives into the techniques and recipes that make the crescent-shaped cooking utensil sing.

Leaps and bounds more accessible than Lopez's previous book, "The Wok," sees the pan's potential as an invaluable addition to the kitchen. The author, largely known for his science-based approach to cooking, turns in one-pan meals meant for post-work cooking.

Noma 2.0 Vegetable Forest Ocean by René Redzepi, Mette Søberg, and Junichi Takahashi

Something of a designer cookbook, "Noma 2.0" revisits the Noma kitchen over a decade since Redzepi's first Noma volume. As its subtitle suggests, the team at Noma, which changed Nordic cuisine forever, turns toward the elements for inspiration. 

With avant-garde dishes that include baking in a bisected terra cotta pot, feathers, an all-mallard wing, and a snail broth plated into the crevice of a conch, Noma 2.0's creations look as much like an outfit Bjork would've worn in the mid-2000s as they do dinner items. Still, the book represents the peak of gastronomy and is a worthy addition for any high-minded home cook.

Masala: Recipes from India, the Land of Spices by Anita Jaisinghani

Chef/owner of Houston's Pondicheri, Anita Jaisinghani, compiles richly spiced foods in this cookbook dedicated to the spirit of masala spice. "Masala" is an exercise in restraint and curating as much as it explores its author's style of Indian cuisine. Jaisainghani's recipes balance hearty meats with fragrant stews, sauces, and chutneys, including Vindaloo Ribs and Smoked Eggplant Raita. 

Both healthy and indulgent, "Masala" is for the group of friends who love the challenge of a team effort, themed potlucks, or the Indian-food-obsessed individual wanting to step outside their comfort zone and widen their perspective of Indian-inspired cuisine.

What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People by Claire Saffitz

Claire Saffitz of "Dessert Person" fame returns with another sweet entry into the canon of cookbooks with what largely feels like a continuation of her previous project. Most notable in "What's for Dessert" is Saffitz's entire chapter dedicated to Easy Cakes, a section we return to whenever we have an extra chunk of time when we need our hands to be moving and our minds to turn off. 

Like Saffitz's debut, "What's for Dessert" is shot with exquisite attention to detail, recalling the richness of turn-of-the-century illustrated cookbooks and magazines.

Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations by Nicole A. Taylor

The first of its kind, "Watermelon and Red Birds" pays homage to the summer holiday with recipes for Juneteenth foods that celebrate black prosperity. Centered around the harvest of hot months, Taylor imagines melon salads, stone fruit sundaes, and batchable cocktails meant for an all-day cookout, any time of the year.

After writing for white-owned outlets like Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and The New York Times, it's nice to see Taylor hone in on recipes with an intended audience who looks like her, and the vibrant pages feature an all too rare sight of expertly lit and photographed black hands holding the exultant and comfortable dishes.

Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home by Eric Kim

In the world of fine dining, the intricacy and precision of Japanese cuisine often steal the spotlight, but when it comes to the realms of the home, Korean food aims for the heart. And inside Eric Kim's "Korean American," the first-time cookbook author explores the many banchan (side dishes), stews, and marinated meats that make a Korean home smell and taste so good. 

After cutting his teeth as a New York Times food columnist, Kim turned his food blog into a tangible object with this volume of eye-catching, celebratory-worthy meals with very little barrier to entry skill-wise. Kim's recipes, such as his Doenjang Salmon Rice Bowl, reinvigorate everyday items found in a Korean refrigerator and shine his own impressive vision onto them.

Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em by by Neal Bodenheimer and Emily Timberlake

Though the majority of our shelf is relegated to proper cookbooks, the ones we pull down the most often are our small collection of cocktail-centric volumes due to the relatively low barrier to entry, skill-wise. Containing variations of classics like an Old Fashioned and a Sazarac and inventions of their own, the "Cure" bar book looks back at the past decade and a half at the busy lounge.

Sure, "Cure" will send you to the local liquor store with a want list as long as your iPhone screen, but as the subtitle promises, "Cure" walks its reader through both theory and technique behind some of New Orlean's finest cocktails.

Horn Barbecue: Recipes and Techniques from a Master of the Art of BBQ by Matt Horn

Definably not a tome for every home cook (certainly not one for anyone without access to an outdoor barbecue), "Horn Barbecue" finds its niche with aspiring grill masters and meat lovers, providing a comfort food cookbook that aims to help its reader compose the perfect plate. 

Named after his award-winning Oakland restaurant, Horn BBQ, Matt Horn compiles his best recipes and lessons from his time as a pitmaster into this hefty volume. Like the "Franklin Barbecue" cookbook before it, "Horn Barbecue" informs the try-hard home cook of the secrets behind the nearly-mythic restaurant-style barbecue.

A Good Day to Bake: Simple Baking Recipes for Every Mood by Benjamina Ebuehi

Just the simple act of pre-heating our oven can send us into mild, stress-induced palpitations, so the thesis behind Benjamina Ebuehi's "A Good Day to Bake" massages our knee-jerk anxiety surrounding the stakes of baking. After her stint on the 2016 season of The Great British Bake Off, Ebuehi refocused her energy and created over 70 accessible baked recipes intended for a weekday wind-down and without the decorum and pomp often associated with the domestic hobby. 

Channeling the therapeutic qualities behind the ritual of baking, A Good Day to Bake reminds its reader of the little joys of readying a workspace to create everyday goodies.

Spice: A Cook's Companion by Mark Diacono

Less of a cookbook than an encyclopedia in the universe of spices, "Spice" deepens even the most versed cooks and chefs on the intricacies of flavors from all over the world. Diacono breaks down the origins and uses for spices such as Ethiopian passion berries, then applies his knowledge to somewhat simple recipes like his chaat sweet potatoes. 

Photographed like fine art, Diacono's book of spices finds the delicate beauty in often-looked-over harvests. "Spice" fits in a type-A bookshelf and is also a pleasant cover-to-cover read for anyone trying to stretch beyond what a conventional grocery store's spice shelf has to offer.

The Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans by Mason Hereford

Named after the sandwich giant of a restaurant, "Turkey and the Wolf" allows its many hungry followers to recreate the most Instagram-worthy sandwiches without having to travel to the New Orleans-based, bustling sandwich shop.

Hereford has a sandwich for every mood — a Grand Slam McMuffin to nurse your Sunday morning hangover, the Mama Tried Burger for when you're spending all of your cheat day points, and a reigned in tomato sandwich for when you're packing light for your picnic. No matter the vibe, Hereford's mouth-watering manual for everything that you could crave in between two pieces of toast might be the best thing to happen to sandwiches since sliced bread.

The World of Natural Wine: What it is, Who Makes it, and Why it Matters by Aaron Ayscough

The voice behind the popular Instagram handle @notdrinkingpoison challenges himself to the long-form format. Aaron Ayscough's first entrance into authorship starts with this gorgeous introduction to the sometimes snobbish world of natural wine. 

Set out to untangle the mythos and classification of the natural wine movement, Ayscough uses "The World of Natural Wine" to make what often feels opaque while ordering at a wine bar feel suddenly approachable, doing so through diaristic writing and easy-to-comprehend graphics. Both a primer on the basics of natural wine and an introduction to natural winemakers around the world, Ayscough writes the handbook wine culture has been craving for the past ten years.

Kin Thai: Modern Thai Recipes to Cook at Home by John Chantarasak

A far cry from the pad thai delivery we order too often, "Kin Thai" works to reframe the Western world's perception of Thai cuisine and encourages its reader to untangle the Thai kitchen one dish at a time. Comprised largely of curries and spiced soups, John Chantarasak, founder of the Anglo Thai cooking project, amasses his recipes in a debut worthy of MoMa's hallways. 

As vibrantly photographed as it is to cook through, the pages of "Kin Thai" contain eye-catching content throughout. Still, our favorites all veer toward seafood like Hoi Chaehn Pao (Roasted Scallops) and Goong Yai Pao (Grilled Lobster) and have us in search of the best Thai market within driving distance.

Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture From My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martinez

Rick Martínez takes his popular Food 52 video series Sweet Heat and Mi Cocina and transforms the visual visions into a page-turner of a cookbook. The layout of "Mi Cocina" roadmaps Mexico via recipes from 156 cities and highlights the diversity and complexities between regions.

Full of both heat and passion, Martínez's recipes, like for Puchero Tabasqueno, read as love notes to the author's childhood. Never dumbing down or Westernizing his creations for the average audience, Martínez asks his readers to expand their toolkit in the kitchen and grow into more complete home cooks.

My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi

Chef and memoirist Kwame Onquachi returns to bookshelves with a compilation of autobiographical recipes from Onwuachi's family history. Tracking dishes from Nigeria, the Caribbean, and New York's Bronx, "My America" honors the African Diaspora by putting into print the dimensions of the Black household.

At only 22, Onwuachi, winner of the James Beard Foundation "Rising Star Chef of the Year 2019," has already changed the fabric of his industry by rejoicing in the pastiche of the black experience in America. With dishes spanning from Puetro Rican Red Bean Sofrito to Baby Back Ribs and Red Velvet Cake, "My America" is full of diverse flavors and perspectives.

Modern Classic Cocktails: 60+ Stories from the New Golden Age of Drinks by Rob Simonson

One of the world's most active voices in cocktail journalism returns to bookshelves with an ode to the new wave of contemporary cocktails we're living through today. Simonson's "Modern Classic Cocktails" elegantly explains the basics of bartending while also offering specs for seductive drinks like a Basil Gin Gimlet and an espresso martini.

Like Simonson's previous book, "3-Ingredient Cocktails," "Modern Classic Cocktails" remains mindful of the average reader's limited bar cart and maximizes what his reader can stir and shake up in the comfort of their kitchens — without asking them to invest in an abundance of bar tools or obscure liquors.

Arabiyya: Recipes from an Arab in Diaspora by Reem Assil

Palestinian-Syrian chef Reem Assil paints her cookbook debut in brilliant color with "Arabiyya," a volume rich with vibrant palettes and spices that will entice its reader to head for their nearest Middle Eastern market immediately. 

After glimpsing Assil's hummus, we'll never again take home the sad tub of Trader Joe's caricature of the epic dip. While we're perhaps a few months off from attempting Assil's flatbreads, the author strikes a balance between recipes we feel ready to roll up our sleeves and create, and ones that we strive to accomplish. Alive in every way, "Arabiyya" is one of those rare cookbooks wherein the essays and slices of memoir are every bit as valuable as the recipes inside the book's covers.

Snackable Bakes: 100 Easy-Peasy Recipes for Exceptionally Scrumptious Sweets and Treats by Jessie Sheehan

Our very favorite sweet-treat author is back with another approachable manual for making crowd-pleasing desserts for everyone in our lives. Shifting her focus from vintage-inspired goodies to bite-sized baked goods, in "Snackable Bakes," Jessie Sheehan promises that all 100 recipes in her brightly lit book can be assembled in 20 minutes or less. 

Palpable in this short and sweet volume is Sheehan's energetic joie de vivre and distinct personality. So, whether your mixing bowl contains the contents for Sheehan's Summer Peach Fritters or Peppermint No-Churn ice cream, her delightful, vivid voice is sprinkled throughout her creations.

Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking Traditional Family Recipes from Italy's Best Home Cooks by Vicky Bennison

A follow-up to Vicky Bennison's successful 2019 release, the second installment of "Pasta Grannies" picks up where the first left off and continues to hone in on the Italian home cook by surveying the country's most loveable residents — elderly women. Unlike most cookbooks, "Pasta Grannies" realizes the potential of a collaborative project and brings together over a hundred favorite recipes from handfuls of Italian kitchens. 

Bennison's adventures inside the kitchen of Italy's rustic villas introduce her to the people and food behind the heartbeat of her book. Somewhere between intimidating and homespun, "Pasta Grannies" makes the perfect present for the person in your life trying to master the art of pasta.

The Wine Bible: 3rd Edition by Karen MacNeil

We don't know about you, but the bible that rests on our bedside table will always be MacNeil's deep-dive primer into the basics of grape varietals. Originally released in 2000, MacNeil's comprehensive and hefty "Wine Bible" has become the industry standard and an invaluable resource for the everyday wine drinker and sommeliers alike. 

Now, over 20 years since it first hit shelves, "The Wine Bible" has seen the wine industry explode in the U.S. MacNeil's third edition includes climate-based changes, a nod to the natural wine movement, new chapters on Great Britain, Croatian, and Palestinian wine, as well as the full-color pressing MacNeil's bible, deserted all along.

First Generation: Recipes from my Taiwanese American Home by Frankie Gaw

Frankie Gaw's debut cookbook, "First Generation," celebrates the layered experience of growing up as an Asian American with recipes straddling the fence of American comfort foods within the space of an Asian home, like Zuppa Tuscano Congee or Stir Fried Rice Cake Bolognese.

Gaw's approachable recipes rely on his reader's sense of play and curiosity; like his food blog, Little Fat Boy, "First Generation" will not only introduces its reader to ingredients and technique but also inspires ascend to a higher level of a home cook than when they opened it.