18 Best Cookbooks For Beginners In 2023

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We've got our finger on the pulse of culinary trends. From buzzy new restaurants to hot young chefs, the culinary world is constantly evolving with new and exciting talent. To add to that, dozens of great cookbooks are currently on the market, with more arriving each day. It can be overwhelming to choose the right one but don't worry. Tasting Table has your back. We've curated a roundup of the best cookbooks for beginners in 2023, featuring a diverse selection of titles that will inspire and guide novice cooks in the kitchen. 

From international flavors to creative ways to use leftovers, these cookbooks offer accessible recipes, helpful tips, and a wealth of knowledge to help beginners develop their skills and confidence. Whether you're a complete newbie or an aspiring home chef, these cookbooks are your gateway to delicious meals and a lifelong love for cooking. Get ready to explore new flavors, techniques, and culinary adventures with these top picks for beginners in 2023.

Mind Over Batter by Jack Hazan

"Mind over Batter" is a fantastic book for beginners who want to explore the connection between food and emotions. The author, Jack Hazan, a licensed psychotherapist and master baker, has done an excellent job of introducing the concept of using baking as a therapeutic technique. The book contains 75 simple and healing recipes that can be made in any home kitchen.

What sets this book apart from others is its unique approach to organizing recipes into themed chapters based on common life moments and needs. For example, there are chapters dedicated to recipes for stress relief, heartbreak, and even grief. Each recipe is carefully crafted to address specific emotional needs and can help readers tap into their feelings and emotions. The book's emphasis on Middle Eastern baked goods adds a new dimension to the world of baking, while the author's take on classic American desserts provides a familiar touch for anyone looking for something more relatable.

That Cheese Plate Wants to Party by Marissa Mullen

Putting together a cheese plate is more than just arranging some sliced cheese on a platter. "That Cheese Plate Wants to Party" is a delightful book for any cook who wants to learn how to create impressive cheese boards for every occasion. The book offers 40 new cheese board ideas, thoughtful drink pairings, color themes, floral arrangement tips, tablescape ideas, playlists, and cheesy party games, making it the ultimate guide to party planning.

With an easy-to-follow layout, clear instructions, and beautiful photographs, this book is the perfect guide for creating impressive cheese boards. The book's emphasis on communal meals and connection is heartwarming, and the recipes and ideas presented are creative, delicious, and inventive. The book is a must-have for anyone who loves cheese and wants to take their cheese boards from dish to lifestyle.

Perfectly Good Food: A Totally Achievable Zero Waste Approach to Home Cooking by Margaret Li

All cooks find themselves in moments of culinary uncertainty, whether from a pantry bursting at the seams or a fridge on the verge of emptiness. "Perfectly Good Food: A Totally Achievable Zero Waste Approach to Home Cooking" is one of the greatest cookbook releases of 2023 for its wealth of ingenious use-it-up tips. The authors, Margaret and Irene Li, provide creative ideas on how to make the most of the ingredients you already have, ensuring that nothing goes to waste. This resourcefulness is a valuable skill for beginners, as it saves money and encourages a sustainable approach to cooking.

In addition to the use-it-up tips, "Perfectly Good Food" offers smart storage ideas that can help extend the lifespan of various ingredients. From freezing techniques to proper food storage practices, the book equips beginners with the knowledge to make the most out of their ingredients and minimize food waste.

Vegetable Revelations by Steven Satterfield

While meats often take center stage, vegetables are the real MVPs of the food world. Steven Satterfield, the James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and author of Root to Leaf, brings us a new cookbook that's full of recipes highlighting the beauty of nature's bounty. "Vegetable Revelations" is perfect for beginners looking to expand their culinary horizons and explore the incredible diversity of vegetables. Chef Satterfield helps readers uncover the nuances of texture, globally inspired ingredients, and the art of valuing every part of a plant in creative cooking.

One of this cookbook's best features is its examination of how texture affects the eating experience. Beginners often overlook the importance of texture in their cooking, but Satterfield brings attention to this crucial aspect, showing readers how different textures can elevate vegetable dishes to new heights. This allows beginners to create well-balanced and satisfying meals that celebrate the natural characteristics of vegetables.

Everyday Grand by Jocelyn Delk Adams

This book is a fantastic choice for beginners who want to infuse their cooking with a sense of celebration and gratitude. In each flavor-packed recipe in "Everyday Grand," author Jocelyn Delk Adams reminds us that both big and small events can be an opportunity for culinary appreciation and enjoyment. Adams, the creator of Grandbaby Cakes, has a knack for capturing the essence of various occasions, so you can create dishes that perfectly complement them.

Whether it's the refreshing Georgia Peach Salad with Candied Pecans and Cornbread Croutons for a perfect summer day's picnic at the park or the tantalizing Mojito-Marinated Skirt Steak with Chimichurri for a romantic backyard date night, the recipes offer a delightful range of options for various celebrations. The book even encourages readers to bring their own blanket and bubbly, making the experience all the more special and fun.

Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling by Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral

Building off the success of their first book, "Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico," Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral are back with "Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling." While not all beginning cooks need to know the delicate intricacies of authentic Mexican food, this book centers on the art of grilling and hosting backyard gatherings. Good food is about more than just ingredients. "Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling" embodies the spirit of family, community, and celebration, where friends and loved ones come together to enjoy great music, cold drinks, and, of course, the primal allure of juicy, smoky grilled meat. 

From traditional classics to innovative creations, this book offers a wide variety of delicious recipes that showcase the authentic flavors of Mexico. The authors' expertise shines through as they share their knowledge and passion for Mexican cuisine, ensuring that every dish is both accessible and flavorful for any skill level.

Pasta for All Seasons by Michela Tartaglia

This book is a treasure trove of inspiration and practical guidance for beginner cooks who want to explore the world of fresh, innovative pasta dishes. Written by Seattle chef Michela Tartaglia, "Pasta for All Seasons" showcases the best of Northwest seafood, produce, and meat in 50 seasonal recipes that are sure to delight the taste buds. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients and homemade pasta, Tartaglia guides readers through the process of making fresh pasta at home, demystifying the technique and empowering beginners to create their own delicious noodles. 

The accompanying pasta primer is a valuable resource that helps home cooks choose the right pasta shape for each sauce or dish, ensuring a harmonious and satisfying combination of flavors and textures. From Pacific Northwest Wild Fiddlehead Fern and Leek Pesto to Orecchiette with Spot Prawns and Purple Asparagus, each recipe showcases the unique flavors of the region and demonstrates how pasta can be a canvas for culinary creativity.

Africana by Lerato Umah-Shaylor

The rich tapestry of African cuisine has never been more accessible thanks to Lerato Umah-Shaylor's captivating cookbook, "Africana." Perfect for both beginners and advanced cooks alike, this culinary masterpiece takes readers on a delightful journey through the diverse and vibrant cuisines of the African continent. Umah-Shaylor's creative approach begins with recipes that have been passed down through generations, ensuring that they remain relevant and exciting for contemporary palates.

In addition to classic recipes, the book contains Umah-Shaylor's own stories and anecdotes, providing cultural and historical context of African cuisine. Umah-Shaylor's infectious sense of adventure shines through as she shares her experiences and connections with Africa, creating a deeper appreciation for the food and the people behind it. This combination of storytelling and cooking makes the book a truly enchanting and engaging experience, which is what truly good cooking is all about.

The Vegetarian Reset by Vasudha Viswanath

Are you looking to adopt a healthy, plant-based lifestyle? Maybe you want to take the focus off meat in your home cooking. "The Vegetarian Reset," by Vasudha Viswanath, introduces the principles of vegetarian cuisine by combining a chef's approach to cooking with practical tips to make it easier to implement into your busy life. Forget about boring tofu dogs and bland salads. Each recipe in this book is interesting, innovative, and unique. Even if you consider yourself a carnivore, you're likely to find at least a few tantalizing ideas in this book.

Utilizing a little bit from every type of cuisine around the globe, "The Vegetarian Reset" helps you make the most of nature's bounty and encourages the use of the freshest possible produce. With tons of tips and tricks (like making homemade gnocchi from paneer), the cookbook provides a wealth of inspiration for incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet. 

Ever-Green Vietnamese by Andrea Nguyen

Branching off from the success of "Vietnamese Food Every Day," "Ever-Green Vietnamese" is the second book by James Beard Award-winning author Andrea Nguyen. This remarkable cookbook serves as an excellent guide for beginners delving into Vietnamese cuisine. Nguyen's approach to traditional Vietnamese cooking sets this book apart from others, as she highlights the country's rich heritage of plant-based and seafood-focused dishes with just a touch of meat.

One of the book's standout features is Nguyen's dedication to showcasing the resourcefulness and Buddhist traditions of Vietnamese cooking. Through her expertly crafted recipes, she not only imparts culinary knowledge but also delves into the cultural significance behind the ingredients and techniques used in Vietnamese cuisine. For novice chefs, the book proves to be an invaluable resource due to Nguyen's brilliant advice and exceptional teaching. She provides clear instructions and insightful tips that guide readers through each step, ensuring success in recreating the vibrant and comforting flavors of Vietnamese dishes.

Love Japan: Recipes from our Japanese American Kitchen by Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel

Chefs Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel, owners of Brooklyn's Shalom Japan, share their beloved family recipes combining traditional Japanese flavors and techniques with innovative twists and influences from Israel's Jewish heritage in the new book "Love Japan." One of the book's greatest strengths lies in its accessibility to beginners. Sawako and Israel understand the time constraints of busy lifestyles, and they have curated a collection of recipes that prioritize simplicity and convenience without compromising flavor. Whether you have limited time, space, or energy, "Love Japan" offers user-friendly recipes that are perfect for everyday cooking.

From well-known classics like karaage to creative fusions like matzo ball ramen, the cookbook encompasses a wide range of Japanese-inspired dishes. Each recipe is thoughtfully crafted to maximize flavor while minimizing complexity. The authors' expertise and experience in their home kitchen and restaurant shine through as they guide beginners through the steps with clear instructions and helpful tips.

Eating From Our Roots by Maya Feller

Registered dietitian and nutritionist Maya Feller brings us a new cookbook titled "Eating From Our Roots," which intends to "decolonize our plates," embrace cultural roots, and discover incredible flavors from cuisine across the globe. Full of deeply personal narratives from Feller, this book can inspire conscious food choices that promote health and a long happy life. 

Every culture around the world has centuries of culinary history that derived from our ancestors' practices of making the most of what they had to live the best possible life. Using this philosophy, Feller weaves her experiences traveling the world with her wealth of practical knowledge to bring a volume of recipes that showcase traditional cooking methods from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. By focusing on minimally-processed ingredients and plant-based substitutions, this book can help you not just eat better, but live better too.

On the Curry Trail by Raghavan Iyer

Beginner cooks seem to categorize curry as one cuisine, but history, like life, is much more complex. "On The Curry Trail," by Raghavan Iyer, is a love letter to the curries of the world. From Australia to Asia to Europe and the Americas, this book takes us on a culinary expedition to explore the unique origin and history of the world's signature curries. "On the Curry Trail" goes beyond just recipes. It provides a deeper understanding of the origins and cultural contexts of each curry. 

"On The Curry Trail's" engaging narrative lends insight into the factors that have influenced the evolution of curry, such as local ingredients, cultural tastes, political events, and historical factors. This holistic approach enriches the cooking experience and allows beginners to appreciate the broader cultural significance of the dish, which just adds to the flavor all the more.

Seed to Table: A Seasonal Guide to Organically Growing, Cooking, and Preserving Food at Home by Luay Ghafari

All good recipes begin with the ingredients, and truly great food can only come from the best possible produce. Want to know the secret to finding the best possible produce? Grow it yourself. That's exactly what Luay Ghafari tells us in "Seed to Table: A Seasonal Guide to Organically Growing, Cooking, and Preserving Food at Home," the first book from this master gardener.

With a detailed guide on preserving foods, dozens of simple and tasty recipes highlighting vegetables, and useful urban gardening tools, this book is essential for cooks who want to improve their skills and results long before the food hits the pan. Whether you have a large outdoor area or a tiny balcony, there are tips and tricks in this book that ensure maximum success.

Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking Fruit by Abra Berens

Set aside the grains and vegetables (for now). "Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking Fruit" is the ultimate primer on cooking and preparing fruits. Following the success of two previous books, Abra Berens brings us an ingenious compendium of all the ways fruit can be incorporated into cooking, from topping a soup to highlighting a salad. From apples and blueberries to melons and rhubarb, each fruit is given in-depth attention, including information on selection, preparation, and storage, along with a variety of delicious recipes.

The focus on fruits that are widely accessible and commonly found in the Midwestern United States adds a practical dimension to the book, ensuring that beginners can easily source the ingredients and embark on their fruit-inspired culinary adventure. While some exotic fruits are not included, this limitation serves to keep the focus on regional availability and allows beginners to develop a deeper understanding of fruits that grow closer to home.

Totally Kosher by Chanie Apfelbaum

Kosher food isn't just about spiritual practice. It's a cuisine all its own. Anyone is welcome to try their hand at Jewish cooking, and thanks to Chanie Apfelbaum, the creator of the popular blog Busy in Brooklyn, this style has never been more accessible. "Totally Kosher" introduces more than 150 fun and delicious kosher recipes inspired by dishes from around the world to Jewish cooks or anyone looking to explore this vibrant cuisine.

The cookbook presents a wide array of recipes, including quick-and-easy weekday meals, traditional dishes, and unfussy holiday dinners for Shabbat, Passover, or any other occasion. This diverse selection allows beginners to explore various culinary styles while keeping the recipes accessible and manageable for everyday cooking. The inclusion of modern twists on classics such as Miso Matzo Ball Soup and Instant Pot Paprikash brings an exciting, contemporary flair to traditional kosher cuisine. 

Indian Flavor Every Day by Maya Kaimal

Indian cuisine doesn't have to be intimidating for beginners or those unfamiliar with the deeply layered flavors and vibrant spices. "Indian Flavor Every Day," a new cookbook by Maya Kaimal, presents a refreshing approach to the joys of Indian cooking, even if you have minimal time and are low on ingredients. Maya Kaimal's ability to distill the foundational flavor-building methods of Indian cooking into accessible techniques that any beginner can master is a treasure. 

From creating spice blends to frying whole seeds in oil, these techniques unleash the essence of spices and elevate the flavors of everyday ingredients. With Maya's guidance, even the simplest dishes can be transformed into culinary delights bursting with Indian flair. The book also offers innovative suggestions, such as serving charred carrots with a gingery yogurt sauce or adding a pinch of garam masala to cookie dough, demonstrating the versatility of Indian flavors in various culinary contexts.

The Everlasting Meal Cookbook: Leftover from A-Z by Tamar Adler

There's a truth that all great restaurant chefs know: The ability to turn food waste and leftovers into new dishes is a true mark of skill and creativity. In "The Everlasting Meal Cookbook" by Tamar Adler, there are over 1,500 easy and creative recipes to transform almost any kind of leftover into a delicious meal to help you save money, time, and precious energy.

Adler understands the struggle of utilizing all the ingredients we buy and addresses it head-on, providing practical solutions to ensure that no food goes to waste. Whether it's extra potatoes, meat, citrus peels, rice, or even a few olives, she presents appetizing ideas that turn these leftovers into delightful culinary creations. The recipes are designed to be flexible without the need for precise measurements, empowering beginners to experiment and adapt based on what they have.