Best cookbooks for beginners
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Are you someone who has recently developed an interest in cooking but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re a student living alone for the first time and have no idea how to cook a decent meal? Regardless of your situation, learning to cook can be a daunting task, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Luckily, there are numerous cookbooks on the market that cater to beginner cooks, and we’ve compiled a list of the best ones out there to help you get started.

Introduction: Why Do You Need a Cookbook?

Cookbooks are an essential tool for any home cook, whether they are a beginner or a seasoned chef. They provide a wealth of information, from basic techniques to more advanced methods, and offer countless recipes for you to try out. Cookbooks can help you develop your palate, broaden your culinary horizons, and give you the confidence to experiment in the kitchen.

If you’re new to cooking, a cookbook can be particularly helpful. It can teach you the basics of cooking, such as how to chop an onion, how to make a basic sauce, and how to cook different types of meats. Additionally, cookbooks often provide step-by-step instructions and illustrations to help you along the way.

Best Cookbooks for Beginners

Here are the top ten cookbooks for beginners that we recommend:

  1. “How to Cook Everything: The Basics” by Mark Bittman
  2. “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker
  3. “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” by Samin Nosrat
  4. “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen
  5. “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” by Ina Garten
  6. “Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food” by Jeff Potter
  7. “The Essential New York Times Cookbook” by Amanda Hesser
  8. “The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs” by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
  9. “How to Cook Everything: The Basics” by Mark Bittman
  10. “The Southern Living Cookbook: From the Foods Staff of Southern Living Magazine”

Best Cookbooks for Beginners: A Closer Look

Let’s take a closer look at some of these cookbooks and what makes them great choices for beginner cooks.

“How to Cook Everything: The Basics” by Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman is a well-known food writer and cookbook author, and “How to Cook Everything: The Basics” is a great place to start if you’re new to cooking. This book covers all the basics, from boiling water to roasting a chicken, and offers over 185 recipes to try out. Bittman’s writing style is approachable and easy to understand, and he includes helpful tips and techniques throughout the book.

“The Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker

“The Joy of Cooking” is a classic cookbook that has been a staple in many kitchens since it was first published in 1931. It covers everything from appetizers to desserts and offers over 4,500 recipes to choose from. The latest edition has been updated to include modern techniques and ingredients, but still retains the charm and character of the original.

“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” by Samin Nosrat

“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” by Samin Nosrat is not just a cookbook, but a comprehensive guide to understanding the fundamentals of cooking. The book is divided into four sections, each focusing on one of the four basic elements of good cooking: salt, fat, acid, and heat. The book includes over 100 recipes that showcase these elements in action and will help you develop a better understanding of how to balance flavors and create delicious dishes.

“The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen

If you’re a vegetarian or looking to eat more plant-based meals, “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen is an excellent resource. This cookbook includes over 700 recipes for vegetarian dishes, ranging from simple salads to more complex main courses. The book also includes tips for shopping for and preparing vegetarian ingredients, as well as a guide to essential kitchen tools.

“The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” by Ina Garten

Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa, is a beloved cookbook author and television personality. Her first cookbook, “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,” is a great choice for beginner cooks. The book includes recipes for classic dishes like roast chicken and mashed potatoes, as well as more adventurous fare like lobster pot pie. Garten’s writing style is friendly and approachable, and her recipes are consistently delicious.

FAQs About Beginner Cookbooks

  1. What should I look for in a beginner cookbook? A: Look for cookbooks that offer a mix of basic techniques and recipes, along with helpful tips and illustrations. You may also want to look for cookbooks that specialize in a particular type of cuisine or dietary preference.
  2. How many recipes should a beginner cookbook have? A: This can vary, but a good rule of thumb is to look for cookbooks with at least 100 recipes.
  3. Should I look for cookbooks written by famous chefs? A: Not necessarily. While some famous chefs have written excellent cookbooks, there are many lesser-known authors who have also produced great beginner cookbooks.
  4. Can I find beginner cookbooks at my local library? A: Yes! Many libraries have a great selection of cookbooks, including beginner-friendly titles.
  5. Should I start with a specific type of cuisine? A: This depends on your personal preferences, but starting with a cookbook that focuses on a type of cuisine you enjoy can be a great way to get started.
  6. Do I need to have fancy equipment to use a beginner cookbook? A: No! Many beginner cookbooks are designed with basic kitchen equipment in mind, so you don’t need to have a lot of fancy gadgets to get started.


Whether you’re looking to learn the basics of cooking or want to expand your culinary horizons, a beginner cookbook is an excellent place to start. The cookbooks on our list offer a range of recipes and techniques, and are all written with the beginner cook in mind. So go ahead and pick up a copy of one of these cookbooks, and start honing your skills in the kitchen!

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By Sarah

Hey there! I'm Sarah. I love Writing, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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