The Top 10 Very Best Cookbooks Every Home Cook Needs

The best cookbooks to own.

In this day of the Internet, does it still make sense to own cookbooks? That’s a question I put to a group of my friends, all of whom are serious home cooks. The answer to my inquiry was a resounding “Yes!” from everyone. My next question, which should be obvious, was “What are the best cookbooks worth owning?” Not surprisingly, the responses to that question varied. The answers ran the gamut from old classics, like  Julia Child, to titles from newer food stars like Mark Bittman.

This list is a roundup of the responses I received from seasoned home cooks, plus my own must-haves. Do you agree? Are these the best cookbooks? Which titles would you add as the most spatter-worth cookbooks? Make sure to leave a comment with your suggestions.

Best Cookbooks to Add to Your Culinary Library

The best cookbooks to own.

1. “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”,  by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle

First published in 1961, this is the bible of French cooking, on which much of Western cookery is based.

The best cookbooks to own.

2. “Mexico One Plate at a Time”, by Rick Bayless

Based on the cooking show by the same name, this book highlights Bayless’ take on traditional Mexican cuisine but with his modern interpretations.

The best cookbooks to own.

3. “The New Moosewood Cookbook”, by Mollie Katzen

Based on the original 1977 version, this edition is a more of a modern version highlighting the wonderful world of vegetarian cookery.

The best cookbooks to own.

4. “An Invitation to Indian Cooking”by Madhur Jaffrey

Jaffrey brought Indian cuisine to the Western world with her 1973 debut cookbook.

The best cookbooks to own.

5. “La Technique”, by Jacque Pepin

First published in 1976, this illustrated guide to French cookery is still used as a textbook to teach chefs. It’s a much more user-friendly attempt than Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

The best cookbooks to own.

6. “The French Laundry Cookbook”, by Thomas Keller

Based on his work at the restaurant by the same name, and published in 1999, this book is about taking your time and attaining perfection.

The best cookbooks to own.

7. “The Joy of Cooking”

“The Joy of Cooking” has been continuously in print since it was first published in 1936. It is a mainstay in many home and commercial kitchens for its no-nonsense and reliable recipes.

The best cookbooks to own.

8. “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking“, by Marcella Hazan

Hazan’s books are considered to be the ultimate authentic Italian cooking guides.

The best cookbooks to own.

9. “How to Cook Everything”, by Mark Bittman

A resource for modern American cookery from The New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.

The best cookbooks to own.

10. “The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”, by Deborah Madison

This amazing book captures the variety of vegetarian cooking and really showcases the diet in a new and modern way.

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Image: Woman Following Recipe via Shutterstock

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace is a communications consultant and freelance writer who writes about everything from independent business tips to the modern history of the American hemline. Jen's passions and interests are varied and include a love for all things fermented, locavorism, cats, and community building among others.