The best cookbooks for every occasion

From showstopping bakes to healthy but delicious weeknight dinners, Ali Roff Farrar shares her edit of the best cookbooks for every occasion and culinary skill level. 

17/06/2021
4 minutes to read

The perfect recipe book is a meaningful purchase – invest in a good one and it can be both an everyday friend and a family heirloom. So, what’s the best recipe book around? Well, that depends on what you’re cooking. Here’s our selection of the best cookbooks you can buy, for every occasion, diet and lifestyle.


The best healthy cookbooks

Joe's Family Food

by Joe Wicks

Book cover for 9781529016314

Spend less time in the kitchen and more time together with 100 brand new family-friendly recipes from Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, the nation's favourite PE teacher and record-breaking bestselling author.

With 100 healthy, tasty, simple recipes to feed the whole family, this book is sure to provide new favourite go-to meals for speedy suppers, celebrations and everything in between.

The How Not to Die Cookbook

by Michael Greger MD

Book cover for 9781529010817


Pinch of Nom

by Kay Featherstone

Book cover for 9781529014068

The fact that this is the fastest selling non-fiction book in the UK says it all. With over 100 gorgeous healthy and slimming recipes – a third of which are vegetarian – created by restaurant owners Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, the recipe book was born from the incredibly successful food blog (the UK's most visited), also named Pinch of Nom. The best bit? There are no fancy unobtainable or overly expensive ingredients, and every recipe is gloriously tasty without a hint of dieting deprivation in sight. 

30 Day Kick Start Plan

by Joe Wicks

Book cover for 9781509856183

Anyone who’s ever been on a health kick will tell you that you can exercise as much as you like, but without the right meal plan and nutrition, you’re fighting a losing battle. Enter the wonderful Joe Wicks and his 30-Day Kickstart Plan: a month-long guide featuring his signature healthy and satisfying recipes, along with weekly plans including a prep guide and six new HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. 

The How Not To Diet Cookbook

by Michael Greger MD

Book cover for 9781509893119

The latest offering from Michael Greger, New York Times bestselling author of How Not to Die, is a must for anyone looking for a science-based, long-term weight-loss guide. Dr Greger knows diets don’t work. His cookbook urges readers to cut the calorie counting, quit the regimes and instead use science to guide them. Discovering valuable medical and scientific insights into weight loss, including the twenty-one weight-loss accelerators in the body, you’ll be equipped with recipes to follow as well as scientific understanding to help make healthy habitual changes to improve wellbeing.


The best all-round cookbooks

The Dirty Dishes

by Isaac Carew

Book cover for 9781509841004

Having trained as a chef as a teen, Isaac Carew went on to work at some of the best restaurants in the world, as well as have a career as a top model which saw him travel the globe gleaning inspiration for his recipes along the way. In highly acclaimed cookbook Dirty Dishes, Isaac offers a diverse collection of easy yet exciting recipes for those who want to inject a little adventure into their day to day cooking. 

The Roasting Tin: Simple One Dish Dinners

by Rukmini Iyer

Book cover for The Roasting Tin: Simple One Dish Dinners

Rukmini Iyer’s hugely popular The Roasting Tin is the ultimate one-dish dinner cookbook. We all have those nights when we just need to throw a dish in the oven and get on with our evening, and The Roasting Tin offers seventy-five recipes to ensure even the busiest of us can create varied, delicious, tasty home-cooked meals with the greatest of ease in the least time.

Persiana

by Sabrina Ghayour

Book cover for Persiana

Sabrina Ghayour's bestselling debut cookbook Persiana has popularised Persian and Middle Eastern food around the world, making it accessible and more popular than ever. 

With over 100 recipes for Middle Eastern dishes, including Lamb & Sour Cherry Meatballs; Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Olive Tagine; Spiced Carrot, Pistachio & Coconut Cake with Rosewater Cream, Persiana is a celebration of the food & flavours from around the Southern & Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Ottolenghi SIMPLE

by Yotam Ottolenghi

Book cover for Ottolenghi SIMPLE

SIMPLE comprises 120 new dishes that will suit whatever type of cooking you find easy, whilst keeping all the inventive elements and flavour combinations that Ottolenghi is loved for at the forefront of every recipe.

Featuring dishes that can be served in under thirty minutes, created with ten ingredients or less, and others that can be made ahead of time for ease, SIMPLE is the flavour-forward recipe book with minimal hassle for maximum joy.

East by West

by Jasmine Hemsley

Book cover for 9781509858125

East by West is the first solo cookbook from bestselling author, cook and TV presenter Jasmine Hemsley, co-founder of Hemsley + Hemsley. Featuring 140 delicious recipes from around the world, East by West champions the ancient Ayurvedic philosophy of eating to nourish, sustain and repair for ultimate mind-body balance.


The best vegetarian cookbooks

The Vegetarian Kitchen

by Prue Leith

Book cover for 9781509891504

Well-known chef and Bake Off judge Prue and her niece Peta Leith, a distinguished patisserie chef in her own right, collaborated to create this lovely plant-based cookbook. With shining recommendations from renowned chefs Tom Kitchin and Raymond Blanc, this has to be one of the best vegetarian cookbooks out there. 

Veggie Lean in 15

by Joe Wicks

Book cover for 9781509856152

From Smoky Sweet Potato Chilli to 'Creamy' Butternut Pasta, Veggie Lean in 15 features a fantastic range of meat-free dishes, all prepared in fifteen minutes flat. The recipes are ideal for full- and part-time veggies, as well as those wishing to cut down on eating meat in a healthy and delicious way. There are also plenty of make-ahead ideas to get you prepping like a boss in no time at all.


The best vegan cookbooks

Vegan (ish)

by Jack Monroe

Book cover for 9781529005080

The wonderful Jack Monroe has a no-nonsense approach to cooking, and recipe book Vegan(ish) is a real gem in her ever-growing crown. Her ethos is simple. If everyone eats more plant-based meals, both our food bills and our detrimental impact on the environment will decrease. Her simple, budget-friendly and nutritious plant-based recipes will suit everyone, from long-time vegans to those wanting to introduce a meat-free day into their week. 

The 28-Day Vegan Plan

by Kim Julie Hansen

Book cover for 9781509874934

A bible for first-time vegans, The 28-Day Vegan Plan by food writer and blogger Kim Julie Hansen provides a foolproof guide to going vegan in just four weeks. It includes one hundred recipes to keep meals colourful and varied, plus a handy shopping list and a genius guide to vegan alternatives from cheese to eggs.


The best flexitarian cookbooks

Eat to Save the Planet

by Annie Bell

Book cover for 9781529047592

Annie Bell, award-winning recipe writer for the Mail on Sunday YOU magazine and a registered nutritionist, delivers this ground-breaking cookbook to help you change your diet and the world for the better. Offering new recipes for your weekly menu from aubergine stuffed with lamb and buckwheat to speedy cauliflower, lentil and watercress risotto, this book provides recipes based on recommendations from the Planetary Health Diet which was commissioned by Lancet-EAT and written by an international group of scientists.

One Part Plant

by Jessica Murnane

Book cover for 9781509812646

In One Part Plant, Jessica Murnane has one friendly request: that you eat just one plant-based meal each day. There's no crazy diet plan with an anxiety-inducing list of forbidden foods. Or pages filled with unattainable goals based on an eating philosophy that leaves you feeling hungry and deprived. Instead, Jessica offers you the tools to easily and deliciously make plants the star of your plate - no matter how much junk food occupies it now.


The best simple recipe books

Solo

by Signe Johansen

Book cover for 9781529064940

'Turning cooking for one from a soul-destroying mathematical exercise to a self-loving luxury, Solo is gleefully self-indulgent yet somehow wildly practical.' - Alexandra Heminsley

With easy ideas for every meal, including nourishing breakfasts, speedy suppers and batch recipes to save you time and effort, Solo has got you covered. Perfect for first-time cooks as well as experienced chefs, this handy book is the ultimate guide to cooking for one – and to enjoying the process just as much as the delicious results.

Joe's 30 Minute Meals

by Joe Wicks

Book cover for 9781509836093

Joe Wicks is here to prove that you don’t need loads of time to cook great food. Joe’s 30 Minute Meals is full of more than one hundred delicious, nutritious recipes that can be cooked in just thirty minutes. Most chapters are organized by main ingredient, making it easy to find a recipe for every auction, and recipes are labelled as reduced-carb or carb-refuel for those who are already following Joe’s eating structure.


The best baking books

Bake

by Lorraine Pascale

Book cover for 9781509820740

Lorraine Pascale promises to coach bakers to the top of their game with her recipe book Bake. Knead, fold, prove, whisk and beat your way through her sweet and savoury recipes, perfect to share with and impress loved ones, or simply enjoy all to yourself.

Nadiya Bakes

by Nadiya Hussain

Book cover for Nadiya Bakes

Nadiya Hussain’s Nadiya Bakes, the wildly popular recipe book from the 2015 winner of The Great British Bake-Off, compilesher favourite recipes from her BBC Two series. There are desserts, pies, puds, breads and even no-bake recipes, for the ultimate baking cookbook. 


The best cookbook for those on a budget

Cooking on a Bootstrap

by Jack Monroe

Book cover for 9781509831111

Award-winning cookery writer and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe's first cookbook A Girl Called Jack, was a runaway bestseller. The sequel Cooking on a Bootstrap makes budget food fun and delicious, with 118 incredible recipes including Fluffy Berry Pancakes, Self-Love Stew, Marmite Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Hot Sardines with Herby Sauce.

Tin Can Cook

by Jack Monroe

Book cover for 9781529015287

Number one bestselling writer and award-winning campaigner Jack Monroe strikes again with Tin Can Cook – perfect for those on a budget or simply looking to make a meal from store cupboard standards. Tin Can Cook is a must-have recipe book for students and busy parentss alike, with Jack creatively turning simple ingredients into exciting dishes such as mandarin curry and pina colada toast.

Tiny Budget Cooking

by Limahl Asmall

Book cover for 9781509858101

Tiny Budget Cooking features 100 delicious recipes bursting with flavour and variety. The book is organized into four weekly plans, each comprising a dedicated shopping list, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes for every day of the week. Whether you’re just starting out or a confident cook, Limahl makes cooking simpler than ever with creative ways to reinvent leftovers and a clever swappable ingredient tool that helps to personalize the dishes.


The best celebrity cookbooks

Antoni in the Kitchen

by Antoni Porowski

Book cover for 9781529010336

Lovers of Queer Eye will know the team’s in-house food and wine guru Antoni is always equipped with a recipe for something delicious to share with even the most culinarily challenged. In this gorgeous lifestyle-cum-recipe book, you’ll learn not only easy week-night recipes, but how to entertain with Antoni’s signature effortless style. Does anything scream sophistication more than Medjool dates with blue cheese, Marcona almonds and prosciutto? Nope, thought not. 

Prue

by Prue Leith

Book cover for 9781509891481

Be taught in your own kitchen by one of the best. The Great British Bake Off judge and much-loved cook Prue Leith presents her all-time favourite recipes in her cookbook Prue – all deemed by the legend herself to be ‘worth the calories’. And it’s not all baking (though there is a wonderful section on puddings): there are plenty of tried and tested fuss-free favourite recipes for lazy leftover meals and meat-free options.

Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook

by Ainsley Harriott

Book cover for Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook

Ainsley Harriott compiles his favourite Mediterranean dishes, exploring one of the healthiest (and most satisfyingly varied) diets in the world. In five categories –light bites, meat, veggie, fish and desserts – Ainsley takes us on a tour of the jewels of the Mediterranean, from Jordan to Sardinia, featuring favourites such as herby sesame falafel, to lesser-known pane frattau – layered flatbreads with tomato and poached eggs. Yum.