the covers of five cookbooks: Quick & Simple, The Rise, Baking in the 20th Century Cafe, Dessert Person, and Eating Out Loud

20 Best New Cookbooks to Gift in 2020

Home cooks won't keep these books on the coffee table. These page-turners belong in the kitchen.
Mary Claire Lagroue
November 21, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

No gift befits the food-obsessed people in your life like a cookbook. Yes, a serving dish or (another) waffle maker wrapped and topped with a bow would be nice. But who wants nice? With a cookbook, you're giving someone the chance to hone their skills, prep food like a chef, or dine all over the world without going further than the supermarket. Read on for 20 of the best cookbooks from 2020. 

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book cover of Chaat Recipes from the Kitchens Markets and Railways of India
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Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India

James Beard Award-winning chef Maneet Chauhan traveled through her native India by train to collect inspiration for Chaat. This colorful cookbook resembles a travelogue, dotted with photographs of the markets and food vendors that Chauhan traces her recipes to.

Buy it: $28; Amazon

cover of In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean
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In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean

In Bibi's Kitchen attests: Grandmothers know best. Here, grandmothers (or bibis) from eight eastern African nations open their kitchens to readers, sharing stories and recipes that speak to their diverse cultures and cooking traditions.

Buy it: $22; Amazon

book cover for Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou
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Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou

Raised in a small fishing village near the edge of Louisiana's receding coast, chef Melissa M. Martin refuses to let the food of her heritage disappear with it. Mosquito Supper Club, like Martin's New Orleans restaurant of the same name, preserves the old-school Cajun recipes she learned from her mother and aunts with few changes.

Buy it: $23; Amazon

book cover for The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico
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The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico

Mely Martínez breathes Mexico's cooking into life with handed-down, comfort-food recipes using accessible ingredients. In addition to notes on regional recipe variations, the Tampico, Mexico, native includes true-to-life anecdotes of Mexican culture.  

Buy it: $25; Amazon

cover of Keeping It Simple: Easy Weeknight One-Pot Recipes
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Keeping It Simple: Easy Weeknight One-Pot Recipes

Yasmin Fahr drew on her travels to develop 60 simple, one-pot recipes, including 20-minute Rigatoni and Broccoli with Crispy Prosciutto and Miso-Ghee Chicken with Roasted Radishes. Perfect for the beginner cooks on your list, Keeping It Simple also defines technical terms like "active simmer" and "till al dente."

Buy it: $19; Amazon

book cover for My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes
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My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes

In his debut cookbook, Michelin-starred chef Hooni Kim doesn't just introduce readers to traditional Korean recipes. He anticipates their questions, from tracking down ingredients to achieving chewier noodles to making the most of homemade condiments.

Buy it: $28; Amazon

cover of Baking at the 20th Century Cafe: Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake
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Baking at the 20th Century Cafe: Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake

Michelle Polzine, pastry chef and owner of 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco, shares her impressive repertoire of classic European desserts in this grand tour of a cookbook. Think Apple Strudel, Plum Kuchen, Buckwheat and Herbed Cheese Crepe Cake, Austrian vanilla crescent cookies, and her famous 10-layer honey cake.

Buy it: $23; Amazon

cover of Eating Out Loud: Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day
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Eating Out Loud: Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day

Chef Eden Grinshpan's Israeli heritage shines through the more than 100 recipes of Eating Out Loud. Her modern approach to Middle Eastern food honors tradition with fresh ingredients and bold spices, which she pairs in unexpected, unfussy dishes.

Buy it: $24; Amazon

cover of The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food
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The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food:

Chef Marcus Samuelsson sheds light on the significant but long dismissed contributions of Black cooks to American cuisine, proving that Black food encompasses much more than soul food. From crab curry with yams and mustard greens to steak frites with plaintain chips, Samuelsson's recipes honor Black chefs, writers, and activists.

Buy it: $34; Amazon

book cover for Big Love Cooking: 75 Recipes for Satisfying, Shareable Comfort Food
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Big Love Cooking: 75 Recipes for Satisfying, Shareable Comfort Food

Chef Joey Campanaro dedicates Big Love Cooking to his mother and Italian immigrant grandmother, whose comforting, large-scale cooking inspired his love for shared meals. Recipes like Italian Wedding Soup, Campanaro Family Lasagna, and Sunday Gravy cater to families. But Campanaro's clear instructions also make this cookbook a worthy resource for dabbling in Italian cuisine.

Buy it: $23; Amazon

book cover for The Full Plate: Flavor-Filled, Easy Recipes for Families with No Time and a Lot to Do
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The Full Plate: Flavor-Filled, Easy Recipes for Families with No Time and a Lot to Do

As a mother of three, celebrity cook, and author, Ayesha Curry knows the value of no-fuss recipes that can come together fast enough for a weeknight. This collection includes Pineapple Chicken Thighs With Spiced Turmeric Cauliflower and others that might just convince families to reinstate home-cooked dinners. 

Buy it: $18; Amazon

book cover of Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
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Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Ina Garten updates 85 comfort food classics in Modern Comfort Food, using her signature "good ingredients" and paring down recipes for easier cleanup. Recipes like Spring Green Spaghetti Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe Cheese Puffs will leave home cooks eager to entertain again, mostly to show off their new favorite dishes.

Buy it: $21; Amazon

book cover for Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence
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Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence

Reluctant bakers, rejoice. YouTube star Claire Saffitz's exciting, reliable recipes will pull beginner bakers into the kitchen and more experienced bakers out of their same old cookbooks. Apricot and Cream Brioche Tart, anyone?

Buy it: $21; Amazon

book cover of Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook
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Cook with Me: 150 Recipes for the Home Cook

Cook With Me honors Alex Guarnaschelli's parents, whose adventures in home cooking inspired her to become a chef, with a selection of their recipes and others catered to the home cook. Guarnaschelli can attest that even 13 year olds (like her daughter) will eat their way through this cookbook, including its chapter on cooking vegetable main dishes like meat.

Buy it: $25; Amazon

book cover for Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple
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Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple

Quick & Simple: It's culinary legend Jacques Pépin's approach to food, summed up in a title and 250 recipes. As it's an update of The Short-Cut Cook, expect un-fancy ingredients, foolproof instructions, and dishes that reference both his French heritage and career in the United States. But Pépin's own whimsical illustrations make this a true collector's edition. 

Buy it: $21; Amazon

book cover for Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes
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Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes

Beans, lentils, and peas power 125 recipes, which borrow big flavors from cuisines around the world. From condiments and casseroles to drinks and desserts, these plant-based recipes will intrigue meat-eaters and long-time vegans alike.  

Buy it: $20; Amazon

book cover for Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering
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Magnolia Table, Volume 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering

Home cooks who have worked their way through Magnolia Table will delight in this second volume from Joanna Gaines. With fewer processed ingredients than the first, this unpretentious follow-up will become a fast favorite for family dinners and other casual gatherings. 

Buy it: $21; Amazon

book cover for Falastin
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Falastin: A Cookbook

This gem of a Middle Eastern cookbook includes more than pillowy pita bread and shakshuka. It captures Palestine's vibrant cuisine and culture through 120 recipes, heavy on veggies, herbs, tahini, and spices.

Buy it: $21; Amazon

book cover for Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen
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Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen

Chef and opera singer Alexander Smalls holds that, in the United States, Black food and music have followed a similar tune from the start. He compares each section of the cookbook to a genre of music — gospel and greens, opera and seafood, serenades and desserts — in this ode to Black culture. 

Buy it: $25; Amazon

cover of A Good Bake: The Art and Science of Making Perfect Pastries, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Breads at Home
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A Good Bake: The Art and Science of Making Perfect Pastries, Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Breads at Home

A chemical engineer turned baker, Melissa Weller breaks down baking into a simple science. At almost 500 pages, A Good Bake includes explanations of how and why techniques work, precise instructions, and plenty of step-by-step photos.

Buy it: $36; Amazon

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