Whether you enjoy collecting cookbooks for aesthetic shelf purposes or you want to recreate every single recipe Julie & Julia style, there are plenty of great ones coming out this year.
For those looking to refine their technique, Cook This Book and Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ are the ideal guides to help you fine tune skills like knife work and smoking meats. Those who are constantly refreshing flight trends to plan post-pandemic vacays will likely want to grab a new cookbook to explore the culinary traditions of places like Hawai’i, Tasmania, and Oaxaca, to learn more about their food cultures and histories before they travel to their destination.
Here are the best cookbooks of the 2021 so far, plus a couple that you’ll want to go ahead and pre-order because you’ll definitely want to make recipes from them.
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An Expansive Soul Food Cookbook
Chef Deborah VanTrece’s new cookbook, The Twisted Soul explores a wide range of Southern cooking, from salads and sides to hearty mains and desserts. There’s something for everyone in VanTrece’s cookbook, with simple and complex recipes all inspired by the many cultures and cuisines in the American South.
A Cross Cultural Conversation Cookbook
Hawai’i’s rich culinary traditions feature influences from indigenous Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Filipino cuisines. Cook Real Hawai’i, by two-time Top Chef finalist Sheldon Simeon and Garrett Snyder acknowledges and highlights all these cross cultural influences with recipes like crispy cauliflower katsu and charred huli-huli chicken, and the book also has absolutely gorgeous photos that will transport you right to the Hawai’ian islands.
If You Can’t Wait To Barbecue All Summer
If you already prepped for spending the upcoming summer months outside with a smoker, be sure to also pick up Rodney Scott’s cookbook, Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ. The James Beard Award winner’s first cookbook is not only filled with mouth-watering recipes and photos for dishes like smoked chicken and BBQ bacon burgers, but it’s also a historical feat as the first ever cookbook written by a Black pitmaster.
A Book That Transports You To Tasmania
I was first introduced to chef Analeise Gregory while flipping through hotel TV channels last fall. Gregory was featured on an episode of National Geographic’s Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, where she cooked head to head against Ramsay in Tasmania. I was immediately captivated by her cooking expertise and bright disposition, so I was elated when I heard that Gregory released her own cookbook, How the Wild Things Are: Cooking, Fishing and Hunting at the Bottom of the World. The book is a gorgeous trip across Australia’s southernmost island, and a slower food culture of foraging, hunting, and fishing to eat.
Jake Cohen’s Updated Takes on Jewish Cuisine
This new cookbook from self described “nice Jewish boy” Jake Cohen, updates and reinvents dishes from his Ashkenazi heritage with recipes for Cacio e Pepe Rugelach and Matzo Tiramisu. Some of Cohen’s recipes also take inspiration from his husband’s Persian-Iraqi background, such as Iraqi Beet Kubbeh Soup.
For Former Bon Appetit Stans
Molly Baz, formerly a prominent member of the Bon Appetit Cinematic Universe, just released her highly anticipated cookbook which is all about teaching readers foundational cooking techniques. The book also uses QR codes to direct readers to videos (naturally) of things like how to precisely cut an onion, so it’s also a great book for just-starting-out home cooks who want to polish their skills. Baz’s writing strikes a fun and playful tone that might not be for everyone, but it’s still a great gift for your friend who unironically says “noods.”
For Fans of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
This cookbook had me at the words “Cheese, Wine, and Bread,” but if you need more convincing, YouTuber Katie Quinn’s new cookbook explores the many ways fermentation is used in your favorite dishes and drinks. The book also features gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations to go with its recipes, so it’s perfect for fans of artsy cookbooks.
A Short And Sweet Cookbook Plus Memoir
The innovative team from Miami’s Hy Vong, Tung Nguyen and Katherine Manning, just released their cookbook, Mango and Peppercorns. The book includes recipes from their acclaimed restaurant, as well as their moving story of how the two women learned to work together and helped raise Tung’s daughter, Lyn over a decades-long partnership.
Travel To Mexico’s Culinary Capital With This Cookbook
This new cookbook from Oaxacan born-and-raised chef Alejandro Ruiz explores recipes, techniques, and culinary traditions from the region. Recipes include how to make your own tortillas, and decadent dishes like Duck Tacos with Coloradito.
A Love Letter To San Francisco’s Chinatown
Of all the books on this list, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Mr Jiu’s in Chinatown. Mr Jiu’s (the restaurant) was not only one of our most-recommended restaurants in San Francisco that’s perfect for almost any dining scenario, but this cookbook from chef Brandon Jew and writer Tienlon Ho also expands on the restaurant’s origins in Chinatown and the neighborhood’s rich culinary and personal history.
If You’re Not Sick Of Baking Yet
After working your way through sourdoughs and the latest viral recipe of the week, consider this new book on baking cakes. It’s just in time for birthday parties to be a thing again.
The Requisite Celebrity Cookbook
Pepper Tiegen is probably best known as the mom of Chrissy Tiegen (who’s written a couple cookbooks herself). Her first cookbook includes 80 Thai-influenced recipes, from Pad Thai brussels sprouts to more traditional offerings like tom zapp hot and sour soup. Throughout the book, Tiegen also shares stories about her life, as well as her relationships with her famous family members.
A Modern Asian Cookbook That You’ll Use Everyday
Eastern and Western culinary traditions and flavors come together seamlessly in this highly anticipated cookbook from Hetty McKinnon. Recipes include dishes you’ll easily recreate again and again like Finger-lickin’ Good Edamame Beans with Fried Curry Leaves and not-too-sweet desserts like Tamarind Apple Crisp.
For Your Friend Who Won’t Stop Talking About Their Dutch Oven
If you or someone you know recently hopped on the [dutch oven] (https://www.theinfatuation.com/products/features/staub-dutch-oven-review) train, this new cookbook from Nerds with Knives’ Emily and Matt Clifton provides tons of recipes and dishes to get the most out of your purchase.
Something To Satisfy Your Travel Bug Before We’re Allowed To Go Places Again
If you’re itching to travel but not ready to book a flight just yet, this gorgeous cookbook should help you eat around the world from the comfort and safety of your own home. Author Renee Erickson jumps from places like Rome, Normandy, London and more with recipes like Mussels in Vadouvan Curry, Apricot and Bay Leaf Bellini, and Savory Buckwheat Crepes.
A Beautiful Cookbook You’ll Want To Keep On Your Coffee Table
Award-winning cookbook author of The Palestinian Table Reem Kassis just released her second book with even more dishes from the world of Arabic cuisine. Kassis’s book includes heavily researched recipes from historical periods on the Arabic peninsula, as well as folding in modern flavors and ingredients to create recipes like Caramelized Butternut Squash Fatteh with Za’atar. Each page of The Arabesque Table is gorgeous and insightful, making it a very chic cookbook to display as well as use in your home.
The New Nigella Lawson Book
Sure it’s a little cheugy, but when it comes to gifts for the Mom or Aunt you haven’t seen in months, you can’t go wrong with a Nigella Lawson cookbook. Lawson’s latest offering has more than 100 recipes for classic dishes like Chicken with Garlic Cream Sauce and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, plus essays about her life in food in her signature prose.
Bavel’s Very Hyped About Cookbook
If you still haven’t had the chance to check out Middle Eastern restaurant, Bavel, in L.A., their highly anticipated cookbook comes out in May. Chef Ori Menashe and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis mission for their second restaurant aims to celebrate a Middle Eastern cuisine without borders, with recipes that take inspiration and ingredients from various countries and cultures like Turmeric Chicken with Toum, and Date-Walnut Tart.
A Plant-Based Book to Pre-Order
If you’re looking for an excuse to start eating more plant-based meals, look no further than Samah Dada’s new cookbook, Dada Eats Love to Cook It. The book comes out later this year in June, but when it does, it’ll have tons of vegan, allergen-free, gluten-free, grain-free recipes that are inclusive to dietary restrictions but are still packed with flavor.