Best Cookbooks of 2023

The delights of snacking bakes, the flavors of fruit, and the wonders of yogurt and whey help bakers and home cooks discover technique and tastes in the best cookbooks of 2023.


Arefi, Yossy. Snacking Bakes: Simple Recipes for Cookies, Bars, Brownies, Cakes, and More. Clarkson Potter. ISBN 9780593579176.

In this companion volume to Snacking Cakes, Arefi offers several classic recipes for cookies, brownies, bars, and more cakes, along with an array of interesting, less-expected bakes. Her skill at food styling and photography are on full display in the enticing photos throughout. With tantalizing, approachable recipes that are often quick and use minimal dishes, this will be a go-to cookbook for bakers of all levels. Savor the blueberry swirl blondies.

Berens, Abra. Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit. Chronicle. ISBN 9781797207148.

Berens centers on fruit in this smartly engaged cookbook. Her 80-page baker’s toolkit is learning-focused and in-depth. It is followed by chapters devoted to individual fruits, mixing sweet and savory choices with a variety of preparation methods. Enlivened with gorgeous photos and a strong point of view, Berens’s work engenders a mood of beauty and utility, a lovely pairing that will carry readers through hours spent in her very good company. Whip up the grape custard pie.

Dashtaki, Homa. Yogurt & Whey: Recipes of an Iranian Immigrant Life. Norton. ISBN 9780393254532.

This standout meditation on yogurt, its by-product whey, community, memory, and the power of food is as close to a poem as a cookbook can get. Dashtaki begins with an introduction to her immigrant experience and then details in depth how to make yogurt. Once crafted, this luscious foundation techniques as the recipes, this volume will be invaluable for readers who are new to cooking, but experienced cooks and bakers will relish the abundance of information and appealing recipes too. Mix up the New York Shuk eggplant salad.

El-Waylly, Sohla. Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook. Knopf. ISBN 9780593320464.

In this fantastically epic cookbook, El-Waylly aims to offer a “one-stop culinary school in a book.” With extensive use of spices and global food inspiration, these are full-flavor recipes that have lots of appeal. Focusing just as much on the techniques as the recipes, this volume will be invaluable for readers who are new to cooking, but experienced cooks and bakers will relish the abundance of information and appealing recipes too. Try the spiced potato-filled steamed buns.

Fong, Stacey Mei Yan. 50 Pies, 50 States: An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the United States Through Pie. Voracious. ISBN 9780316394512.

What captures a sense of place and belonging better than food? Fong, connecting deeply to that resonance, embarked on a project to celebrate every U.S. state as well as her childhood in Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. The result is a fanciful and heartfelt ode to place and pies, ranging from sweet to savory, and teaching readers about locales, history, and delicious crusts. Pick your state, but don’t miss Michigan’s cherry pie with cereal crust and cereal crumble topping.

Kieffer, Sarah. 100 Morning Treats: With Muffins, Rolls, Biscuits, Sweet and Savory Breakfast Breads, and More. Chronicle. ISBN 9781797216164.

Stellar design marks Kieffer’s expansive take on breakfast baking, which ranges from apple flips to whole-wheat yogurt muffins—with much in between. Kieffer is known for her inventive twists, and these recipes match her style—such as lemon meringue bread—and offer skilled bakers plenty of room to play. The entire aesthetic is as if Kieffer managed to capture the most delightful bakery in a book. Steep a cup of tea and bake up the brown-butter banana bread.

Le, Helen. Vegan Vietnamese: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes To Enjoy Every Day. Rock Point. ISBN 9781631069307.

By equipping vegans to savor and experience Vietnamese cooking, expert Le welcomes even more people to her table, made famous through her YouTube channel Helen’s Recipes. With sharp clarity and an inviting tone, she shows how to make pho, spring rolls, lemongrass chili tofu, chili jam, and even fishless “fish” sauce. Beautiful photos expand the high appeal of this educational, grounded, and illuminating work enriched by Le’s trademark sensibility. Make the pho.

Setareh, Saghar. Pomegranates and Artichokes: A Food Journey from Iran to Italy. Interlink. ISBN 9781623717407.

Focusing on the way food migrates across borders and its cultural and historical meanings, Setareh begins in Iran, with an introduction to its expansive, fragrant landscape. Next are recipes from the Eastern Mediterranean and Levant, highlighting how the food of one region flows through to another. The last section focuses on Italy and opens with a story of arrival and barriers. Rich in images and text, this is crafted for both readers and cooks. Steam the Iranian jeweled rice.

Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian American Table: The Foods, People, and Innovations That Feed Us. Harvest. ISBN 9780358008668.

Based on the work of the American Food History Project at the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian gathers centuries of culinary history into this immersive and richly illustrated work. Addressing Indigenous culinary traditions, the contributions of enslaved Black cooks, the foodways of immigrants, and the ways social change and technology has shaped cooking, this book’s panoply of history is deeply engaging—for cooks, armchair historians, or both. Don’t miss the soup beans and cornbread.

Tipton-Martin, Toni. Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs, and Juice: Cocktails from Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks. Clarkson Potter. ISBN 9780593233825.

Based on her vast culinary research, James Beard Award winner Tipton-Martin pens an illuminating and glorious work of history and libations, celebrating Black mixologists and the drinks they created. Each offering includes an informative and engaging headnote that places the beverage in its context and milieu. The lengthy bibliography of titles published between 1827 and today is a testimony to Tipton-Martin’s vital scholarship. Pour the cognac, coffee, and cream.

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