The Best Cookbooks of 2023

Scroll on Instagram or TikTok for even 10 seconds, and you know that recipe inspiration is easier than ever to come by. Despite the fire hose of cooking videos available online, we still can’t resist the allure of the analog: cracking the spine of a new cookbook.

Hundreds of new titles publish each year, and, once again, our staff set out to read and test dozens of them to help you determine which to buy for yourself — and which to give the home cooks you love most. There is something for everyone on this list, all 18 offering novel and thoughtful instruction, stunning photography or illustrations and, of course, delectable recipes.

For the Grill Master
Who Has Yet to Perfect Tacos


‘Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling’

This cookbook (Abrams), from the restaurateur Bricia Lopez and the writer Javier Cabral, is a blueprint for hosting your own asada, a celebration built on heaping plates of grilled marinated meats that has spread from Sonora and Nuevo León, Mexico, to Southern California — and anywhere else friends, family and flavorful food are of the utmost importance. The recipes here will entice both the occasional backyard barbecuer and the die-hard taco enthusiast, and Quentin Bacon’s photography will make you want to make every single dish in this prismatic book. SARA BONISTEEL

What we made: Grilled Salpicón Tostadas (Page 57); Lemony Horchata con Manzanilla (Page 228)

For the Detail-Oriented Cook

Credit…Kevin White/America’s Test Kitchen

‘A Very Chinese Cookbook: 100 Recipes From China and Not China (But Still Really Chinese)’

What’s special about “A Very Chinese Cookbook” (America’s Test Kitchen) is seeing all the recipe-testing rigor and nerdy food science of America’s Test Kitchen applied to classic dishes from all over China, Hong Kong especially, and the canon of American Chinese cooking. Even though the recipes are true to their roots — which can mean complex techniques and many ingredients — they’re doable for any cook, given the clear instructions, helpful photos and detailed tips. As a bonus, the charming father-son pair Jeffrey Pang and Kevin Pang write about culinary history and share their personal stories without self-seriousness, which makes the recipes feel less intimidating and the reading a pleasure. GENEVIEVE KO

What we made: Laohu Cai (Tiger Salad, Page 69); Char Siu (Page 324)

For the Busy Perfectionist

Credit…Harvest/William Morrow

‘Bake Smart: Sweets and Secrets From My Oven to Yours’

“Bake Smart” (William Morrow) is CliffsNotes for bakers, and that’s a compliment. Samantha Seneviratne leaves out all of the unnecessary details that can trip up the unseasoned baker (no sifting flour; use whatever butter you have) and shares only the crucial tricks needed to get truly impressive bakes. I produced Levain-worthy, puck-size chocolate-cherry cookies thanks to Ms. Seneviratne’s note to use straight-from-the-fridge butter, which keeps the dough nice and dense. And with her friendly, clear instructions, I nailed pillowy citrus-swirled buns on my first try. Ms. Seneviratne, who regularly contributes recipes to The Times, has written the perfect guide for anyone who wants to ace their baking with minimum study. MIA LEIMKUHLER

What we made: Giant Choco Chunkies (Page 59), Big, Fluffy Lemon and Orange Buns (Page 210)

For the Flexitarian With a Thriving Herb Garden

Credit…Ten Speed Press

‘Ever-Green Vietnamese: Super-Fresh Recipes, Starring Plants From Land and Sea’

There isn’t a single question a home cook could come up with while cooking from Andrea Nguyen’s “Ever-Green Vietnamese” (Ten Speed Press) that the author seemingly hasn’t already thought of. Each recipe comes with thoughtful annotations in the margins and detailed notes beneath for any challenge you may face: Forgot to pick up hoisin for char sui cauliflower bao sliders? Ms. Nguyen jotted down a D.I.Y. substitution for you. Trying to cook as efficiently as possible? She has suggestions for how to time things just right. It’s as though she’s in your head, anticipating your needs. Which is good, because I need a banh mi, and she’s provided the most comprehensive blueprint for making one using any number of fillings readily available in the book. TANYA SICHYNSKY

What we made: Bánh Tôm (Crispy Sweet Potato and Shrimp Fritters, Page 93); Đậu Hũ Chiên Sả Ớt (Twice-Fried Lemongrass Tofu, Page 231)

For the Cook Who Wants the Story Behind Every Dish

Credit…Harvest/William Morrow

‘For the Culture: Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food’

With more interviews and essays than recipes, Klancy Miller’s phenomenal book leans more anthology than cookbook. Although the dishes are arguably not the main draw, the narratives pull double duty, centering Black women and femmes, and injecting palpable life into the recipes. Through stellar storytelling and approachable recipes — which include luscious desserts, simple weeknight dishes and zippy cocktails — “For the Culture” (Harper Collins) reminds readers of the tremendous impact of Black culture on food. Very few cookbooks achieve the narrative layers that Ms. Miller builds here. ELEANORE PARK

What we made: Caribbean Green Shrimp (Page 64); Single-Layer Carrot Cake (Page 244)

For the Weeknight Warrior

Credit…Clarkson Potter

‘Indian Flavor Every Day: Simple Recipes and Smart Techniques to Inspire’

In Maya Kaimal’s “Indian Flavor Every Day” (Clarkson Potter), sections for stocking a pantry robust with Indian flavors and guidance on and creating your own spice blends are combined with clear and concise recipes that consist of both traditional and modern takes. While the focus is getting dinner on the table, there’s even a chapter for those with a sweet tooth, in which Ms. Kaimal imparts desserts that aren’t traditionally Indian, like a chocolate tart, with deep flavor using ingredients garam masala. Most recipes includes clever serving suggestions — add coconut milk to leftover dal for a satisfying soup — and plenty of substitutions and cooking tips for ease of use. CATHY LO

What we made: Red Lentil Dal With Spinach (Page 142); Turkey Keema With Sweet Potatoes (Page 158)

For the American
‘Bake-Off’ Lover

Credit…W.W. Norton & Company

‘Love Is a Pink Cake: Irresistible Bakes for Morning, Noon and Night’

Claire Ptak, the California-born owner of Violet Bakery in London, brings her seasonal West Coast sensibility to a classic roster of British desserts in “Love Is a Pink Cake” (W.W. Norton & Company), her second cookbook. The results are dazzling, at once innovative and homey. Her rice pudding — a creamy, easy-to-make marvel that calls for toasting the rice in brown butter before baking it in cream — has become my go-to recipe. Buy this for the baker in your life, and hope they’ll thank you with bakewell bars or apricot chamomile scones. MELISSA CLARK

What we made: Blackberry and Rose Walnut Crumble Cake (Page 7); Rice Pudding (Page 207)

For the Hungry Traveler
Whose Passport Just Expired

Credit…Simon Element

‘Made in Taiwan: Recipes and Stories From the Island Nation’

To create the authoritative “Made in Taiwan” (Simon Element), Clarissa Wei, a Taiwanese American journalist based in Taipei, enlisted a village, with carefully researched recipes culled from chefs and home cooks across Taiwan. Tested and polished by Ivy Chen, a cooking instructor, the recipes are brought to life by photography from an all-Taiwanese team that deftly captures context, atmosphere and spirit. Evocative, observant, poetic and passionate, Ms. Wei’s writing celebrates and asserts Taiwanese identity through its cuisine. ALEXA WEIBEL

What we made: Cold Sesame Noodles (Page 141); Popcorn Chicken (Page 239)

For Your Cool Cousin Who Shares Her Cooking on TikTok

Credit…Harper Collins

‘Mayumu: Filipino American Desserts Remixed’

I don’t know the food blogger Abi Balingit personally, but if she’s anything like her new cookbook — vibrant, fun, smart — I’d like to. “Mayamu” (Harvest), which means sweet in Kapampangan, includes 75 “remixed Filipino desserts” like an ube skillet crinkle cookie, horchata bibingka and her crazy popular adobo chocolate chip cookies. The recipes aren’t just visually stunning; they taste great, too. Most recipes call for at least one ingredient that will need to be bought online or from Filipino markets, but they’re well worth seeking out if you don’t have them already. MARGAUX LASKEY

What we made: Cookies and Cream Suman Moron (Page 47); Basic Pandesal (Page 190)

For the Aspiring Pastry Chef


‘More Than Cake: 100 Baking Recipes Built for Pleasure and Community’

Known for her striking flavor combinations that speak to both her California childhood and Chinese heritage, the pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz overflows her first book with the unexpected. She fills flaky pie crust with adzuki beans and brown butter, turns miso soup into the filling for a savory danish and fries salty capers as the topping for an elegant olive oil cake. Her nubby granola shortbreads (which happen to be gluten-free) are supremely crumbly and buttery, dissolving on the tongue in bursts of sandy sweetness that make them almost impossible to stop eating. With recipes that manage to be both cerebral and whimsical, this is the ideal book for the daring baker who’sready for more. MELISSA CLARK

What we made: Citrusy Macaroons (Page 23);Nubby Granola Shortbread (Page 25); Olive Oil Cake With Crispy Capers (Page 93)

For the History Buff With a Spice Club Subscription

Credit…Workman Publishing

‘On the Curry Trail: Chasing the Flavor That Seduced the World’

After exploring curry’s prominence across the Indian subcontinent in “660 Curries” (Workman, 2008), Raghavan Iyer’s final cookbook examines how curry covered the globe. Thoughtfully researched but invitingly warm, with its conversational tone, approachable recipes and vibrant illustrations, “On the Curry Trail” (Workman) comprises four sections: Asia; Africa and the Middle East; Europe and Oceania; and the Americas. Cooked or perused, the book will deeply expand your understanding of curry — as well as the organic nature of foodways and the myth of authenticity. ALEXA WEIBEL

What we made: Prawn Curry With Darkened Cinnamon (Page 34), Chicken Lemongrass Curry With Potatoes (Page 55)

For the Aunt Who’s Also Getting a Pasta Maker

Credit…Voracious Books. Photography by Nico Schinco.

‘Pasta Every Day: Make It, Shape It, Sauce It, Eat It’

Meryl Feinstein smartly split “Pasta Every Day (Voracious) into four sections — doughs, shapes, fillings and sauces — and then provided pairing suggestions, which is great for those of us who like to choose our own adventures. The tone is both informative and reassuring, and the beautiful images included, as well as the helpful step-by-step photos for shaping pasta, ensure that neither this book, nor that glossy new pasta roller, will be relegated to the basement. CATHY LO

What we made: Ricotta Gnocchi Dough (Page 60); Broccoli Sauce (Page 281)

For the Resy Notify Obsessive

Credit…Hardie Grant North America. Photography by Aya Brackett.

‘Rintaro: Japanese Food From an Izakaya in California’

Chef-driven cookbooks can often miss the mark of translating restaurant dishes for the home cook. Not here. Sylvan Mishima Brackett’s first cookbook, “Rintaro” (Hardie Grant), honors and adapts Japanese traditions with a Californian state of mind, as he does at his restaurant in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. From Mr. Brackett, with help from Jessica Battilana, I learned that a seemingly professionally made fluffy cake or an expertly cured fish can each be easily prepared on a weeknight. His recipes, which possess remarkable clarity and detail, will appeal to amateur home cooks and seasoned restaurant chefs alike, and provide insights into Japanese cuisine the whole way. ELEANORE PARK

What we made: Gindara no Sunomono (Miso-cured Black Cod Sunomono, Page 68); Roll Cake (Page 275)

For the Writer Who Cooks

Credit…W.W. Norton & Company

‘The Secret of Cooking: Recipes for an Easier Life in the Kitchen’

As a writer, I couldn’t stop reading Bee Wilson’s chatty, smooth prose in “The Secret of Cooking” (W.W. Norton & Company), my new kitchen companion. As a cook, it delights me to know that if I work through every recipe in this book — which reads like an essay for living as much as a witch’s Book of Shadows — I will learn something new about cooking with each one. Some recipes are essentials, such as Ms. Wilson’s “universal sauces”: her go-to red curry, cilantro chutney and tomato sauce. And others, like her butter-poached carrots, may positively change your life. The lessons here are humble yet lasting. ERIC KIM

What we made: Magic Pasta (Page 25); Raymond’s Butter-Poached Carrots (Page 37)

For the Worldly Carbivore

Credit…Flatiron Books

‘The Simple Art of Rice: Recipes From Around the World for the Heart of Your Table’

“Rice is culture” is the mission statement at JJ Johnson’s Harlem restaurant FieldTrip, and the recipes in “The Simple Art of Rice” (Flatiron Books) reinforce that ethos. Beginning with a helpful guide to rice cooking techniques, as well as troubleshooting advice, the book stuns with rich photography and charming watercolor illustrations from Danica Novgorodoff. And the recipes, which range from simple and weeknight appropriate to project cooking, celebrate dishes from every culture in which rice is a staple. BECKY HUGHES

What we made: Lemony Chicken and Rice Soup (Page 207), Charleston Red Rice (Page 145)

For the Cook Who Doesn’t Think They’re a Baker

Credit…Clarkson Potter

‘Snacking Bakes: Simple Recipes for Cookies, Bars, Brownies, Cakes and More’

I have a hard time following baking recipes to the letter. I want to play with the ingredients based on my own tastes, whims or contents of my fridge. “Snacking Bakes” (Clarkson Potter) is made for curious, improvising cooks like me. Yossy Arefi, who regularly contributes recipes to The Times, offers substitutions and swaps for each of her recipes, including tips for how to adjust for different pans or formats (like turning a cake into cupcakes). After making her supereasy, aptly named do-it-all shortbread, I had to make the buckwheat variation just for fun. Crucially, none of the recipes I tried were too sweet, perfect for, you know, snacking. MIA LEIMKUHLER

What we made: Shortbread (Page 46); Chocolate Ricotta Cake (Page 143)

For the Nervous Cook
(or Jaded Kitchen Vet)


‘Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook’

In “Start Here” (Knopf), her debut cookbook, Sohla El-Waylly,who regularly appears in NYT Cooking videos, delivers the new “Joy of Cooking” for a globally minded generation of curious cooks. She dispenses the wisdom of a professional chef with none of the ego, delivering cooking fundamentals in a voice that balances self-deprecation, science and just enough cheerleading to guide both the novice and the veteran through complex projects, like saffron-stained tahdig, or simpler pursuits, like a whole broiled fish with limey cabbage slaw or beginner’s drop cookies with Fritos and marshmallows. KIM SEVERSON

What we made: Monday Chicken Dinner for Winners (Page 254); Add Anything Drop Cookies (Page 294)

For the Wannabe Vegetarian With a Soft Side


‘Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds’

“Tenderheart” (Knopf) will not only equip you to face whatever meatless resolutions you set for New Year. It will also inspire you to call your parents. Hetty Lui McKinnon imbues the chapters — each dedicated to a different vegetable — with stories of her father, a produce wholesaler in Sydney, Australia, who died when the author was 15. Her recipes are as creative as her writing is moving, and, like a loving parent, she sets you up for success throughout: Ms. McKinnon, who regularly contributes recipes to the Times, provides ample substitutions and tips for making dishes in this book vegan-friendly or gluten-free. TANYA SICHYNSKY

What we made: Cabbage and Kimchi Okonomiyaki (Page 106); Eggplant, “Char Siu” Style (Page 193)

How We Evaluated These Books

New York Times Food and Cooking staff members reviewed all of the books we considered this year. Each book was read cover-to-cover, and then a staffer chose at least two recipes to cook from at home. They were asked to assess how easy it was to find ingredients and to cook the recipes exactly as written, determining not only whether the recipes worked but also whether they lived up to expectation.

Each tester was asked to consider the following: Are the recipes — and the book itself — formatted in a way that makes cooking them easy and intuitive? Does this book add to the conversation around a particular technique or cuisine? Is the prose enjoyable to read? Did you learn something new? And most important, did the recipes work and were they delicious? The answers to those questions informed which books landed on this list.

We do not include cookbooks from writers who are members of The New York Times Food department to avoid conflicts of interest. There was a cookbook from one staff member, Yewande Komolafe, published this year:

Credit…Ten Speed Press

‘My Everyday Lagos: Nigerian Cooking at Home and in the Diaspora’

Read an excerpt from the New York Times Cooking columnist Yewande Komolafe’s debut cookbook, “My Everyday Lagos” (Ten Speed Press), here.

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