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.
By 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. 

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

Credit: Amazon

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

More Great Gifts to Give: