Chances are, you never want to make banana bread or a sourdough loaf ever again, so it’s time to get creative in the kitchen and mix up your culinary repertoire. If you’re struggling for inspiration, investing in a brand new cookbook is the easiest way to begin widening your portfolio of recipes. The best cookbooks UK are full of inspiration for mixing up mid-week dinners and are great if you’re on the hunt for healthier alternatives to everyday dishes.
Whether you’re looking for show-off recipes for an indulgent and sophisticated at-home date night, something easier-than-it-looks to impress your friends at your next al fresco dinner party or a quick meal to satiate you after a day of WFH, there’s a cookbook out there for you. Whatever your cooking style and favourite cuisine. But with thousands upon thousands to choose from, whittling down the best can be a little overwhelming.
The 10 best cookbooks UK to buy now
1. 120 Easy and Delicious Asian-inspired Vegetarian and Vegan recipes
Finding recipes for good vegetarian or vegan food that actually tastes amazing can still be a difficult task these days, even with the rising popularity of meat-free food. Meera Sodha’s incredible new book, East, offers the perfect solution.
Filled with delicious, impressive but still easy-to-make dishes inspired by Asian cuisine from a range of countries including Japan, India, China, Thailand and Vietnam, this is a collection of recipes that will truly change the way you eat. Make everything from noodle and curry dishes to salads and desserts. Some of the highlights include the roasted paneer aloo gobi and the caramelised onion and chilli ramen. Oh, and you won’t want to miss out on the salted miso brownies
2. The Superiority Burger Cookbook: The Vegetarian Hamburger Is Now Delicious
This is not my favourite cookbook. Gastronomy of Italy by Anna del Conte taught me more about food; Real Food by Nigel Slater taught me more about myself; Tartine Bread taught me more about what to do when a seminal book’s author pivots to union-busting. But it is the most interesting cookbook I own, effortlessly, wryly achieving what so many restaurant cookbooks fail to grasp.
Restaurant cookbooks too often hoard their truth, their Restaurant Essence, leaving it to be divined from portentous landscapes and meticulous still-lifes, only to dissolve in the steam of a bubbling pot. Brooks Headley and his team lay it on the table, not telling the story of what the restaurant is but of who it is for: an essence of genuine sharing, genuine community, and genuine dexterity — never in service of chefs’ whims, but of farmers’ offerings and customers’ needs.
3. How to Make Anything Gluten Free: Over 100 Recipes for Everything
There’s no need to miss out on delicious-tasting foods just because you’re gluten intolerant! Are you avoiding gluten but yearn for fresh bread, all your favorite takeaways or a naan bread with your curry? And for your sweet tooth do you crave jam doughnuts, bakery-style cookies and classic cakes?
How to Make Anything Gluten-Free is the first cookbook that shows you how to unlock all the food you truly miss eating – but nothing tastes or looks “gluten-free”.
4. Eat Better Forever: 7 Ways to Transform Your Diet
Looking to eat better this year but fed up of gimmicky quick fixes? Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is here to help with Eat Better Forever, which offers seven simple strategies to transform your diet alongside 100 of his healthiest recipes yet. Starting with the simple message that we all need to Go Whole, Hugh’s recipes are based around real, nourishing foods: think flavoursome Asian hot pots, mushroom chachoukas and Moroccan-spiced lamb steaks.
5. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Less a cookbook than a full-blown gastronomical movement, Samin Nosrat’s bestseller introduces readers to the most basic culinary principals on which all good food depends – distilling her years in the kitchen at Chez Panisse into elegant chapters on salt, fat, acid and heat.
It’s one of those rare volumes that genuinely lives up to the hype, and will fundamentally transform the way that you cook even the most basic of dishes. Case in point: her buttermilk roast chicken.
6. The Hand & Flowers Cookbook
Tom Kerridge opened the Hand and Flowers gastropub in 2005. It’s gone on to become the first, and only, pub in the UK to be awarded two Michelin stars. Now comes the long-awaited cookbook, which gives readers a rare glimpse into life at such a successful pub-restaurant, as well as the chance to recreate some of its most iconic dishes at home.
The book features 70 of the restaurant’s most popular menu items, including smoked haddock omelette, slow-cooked duck with duck fat chips and gravy, and the legendary chocolate ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado ice cream. A great gift for budding restaurant chefs or extra-ambitious dinner party hosts.
7. The Joy of Cooking
The Joy of Cooking has been in print for over 85 years now! This book must have done something right to stay in print for that long. And with this 2019 edition, John Becker and Megan Scott developed more than six hundred new recipes, tested and tweaked tons of classic recipes, and updated every section of every chapter to reflect the latest ingredients and techniques available to home cooks today.
This is one of the best cookbooks for beginners and experts, as it features basic and more complicated recipes. That is to say, if you’re going to have any cookbooks on your shelf, this should be at the top of the list.
8. The Flavor Equation
Molecular biologist turned food writer Nik Sharma explores the components of flavour, from emotions and memories to sight and sound. Tips on harnessing key flavours (brightness, fieriness and so on) preface recipes that draw on Nik’s time in India and the US, with illuminating notes on why each dish hits the flavour jackpot. This is a book that teaches much, entertains and entices you to cook – a work of genius.
A delicious journey through the Middle East, Falastin by Ottolenghi co-founder Sami Tamimi and co-collaborator Tara Wigley offers more than 110 recipes. A mix of traditional and contemporary dishes, the tome is a veritable travel log of the chefs’ time in cities such as Bethlehem, East Jerusalem and Nazareth. Think of it as escapism for the tastebuds; no passport necessary.
10. Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food
If you’ve already cooked your way through bestselling author Julia Turshen’s other hits (namely Now & Again and Small Victories), you’ll want to snag her latest: a collection of 110 ‘foolproof’ recipes that are equal parts practical and nutritious. Sprinkled throughout the pages are personal essays, adaptations for dietary needs and tips you’ll return to again and again (like how to use up that leftover buttermilk)
Why do you buy the best cookbooks?
Whether you’re a kitchen master of Chopped-level proportions or just tiptoeing into the world of creating your own culinary delights, we’ve got a cookbook or two for you. A good cookbook can help you make gorgeous and delicious meals (or make a perfect foodie gift). You may recognize some updated versions of old favorites from your mother’s or even grandmother’s kitchen.
Some of them have stunning food photography that’s a feast for your eyes as well as your stomach, while others are more utilitarian for when you just need to get dinner on the table before the kids stage a mutiny. We’ve even got an Instant Pot cookbook option, for those of you who want to use the trendy kitchen tool to create fantastic meals, fast. A great cookbook also makes an excellent gift for just about any person (or occasion!). Add a few to your shopping cart today.
Cookbooks are being released at a rate of knots, bringing fresh inspiration to cooks everywhere. While new ideas are always welcomed, there are of course some tomes that we reach for time and again, that follow us from house to house and show their age through torn covers and oil-splattered pages. These are the best cookbooks from the last century or so, the absolute classics, filled with recipes that we know will never fail us. Every household should have these cookbooks on the shelves, they make excellent Christmas, birthday, wedding and housewarming gifts.