10 Must-Have Indian Cookbooks For Your Kitchen

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There's no better way to start out or continue your exploration of Indian cooking than with the help of a trusty cookbook. Although it's easy to look up recipes online, there's just nothing like having the real thing to flip through, study, and cook with. Between the curated recipes, thought-out instructions, and beautiful recipe photos, a good cookbook is a helpful and beautiful addition to your kitchen. An Indian cookbook makes an excellent purchase for yourself or a gift for the cooking enthusiast in your life. But picking the right cookbook can be a bit tricky. Looking at a shelf full of cookbooks at your local bookstore is overwhelming enough; enter the endless possibilities that come with online shopping, and your head may start to spin.


But don't let decision fatigue get to you. Through cooking experience and reliable reviews, we've compiled a list of the most well-regarded Indian cookbooks. Whether you're interested in mastering your favorite takeout dish, learning about Indian cooking techniques, or throwing together flavorful Indian recipes quickly, you'll find your perfect cookbook in this list.

The Indian Cooking Course

If you only plan to have one Indian cookbook, "The Indian Cooking Course" by Monisha Bharadwaj is an excellent option. Not only does it include a whopping 300 authentic Indian recipes, but it also offers a comprehensive understanding of cooking techniques, essential Indian ingredients, and regional dishes. Whether you're in the mood for a healthy meal, comfort food dishes, or delicious snacks, this cookbook will have a recipe for you as well as all the pertinent information to master the dish in your own kitchen.


The author, Bharadwaj, is a trustworthy expert to take your Indian cooking cues from. She grew up in India and is an accomplished chef, author, and food historian. She's also taught several cooking courses at Ashburton Cookery School, The Bertinet Kitchen, Seasoned Cookery School, and Divertimenti. Her experience as an instructor shows in this outstanding cookbook, which takes you through each recipe step-by-step and offers some of the traditions and history behind the regional dishes.

Indian Instant Pot Cookbook

If you love Indian food but don't have a lot of time for cooking, you can have the best of both worlds with this instant pot cookbook. Pick up the "Indian Instant Pot Cookbook: Traditional Indian Dishes Made Easy and Fast" to make Indian cooking easier than ever. Instant pots cook at high pressure and high heat to make classic recipes in far less time. You'll be amazed at just how much you can make with this one cooking appliance. You can enjoy a variety of cuisines with the instant pot, and this cookbook shows a surprising number of varied Indian dishes, from butter chicken to tangy yogurt soup to spiced tea recipes. With 50 flavorful and accessible recipes, you won't get bored or run out of quick meal options any time soon.


If you're new to Indian cooking or have recently purchased an instant pot, this is a great instruction manual to have on hand. "Indan Instant Pot Cookbook" walks you through easy tips for cooking with a pressure cooker without sacrificing the flavor. With this book, you can save money by skipping takeout but still getting your favorite Indian dishes quickly. Follow the guidance in this cookbook to enjoy delicious meals in practically no time! It's a great option for instant pot lovers, novice cooks, and busy families alike.

Indian Flavor Every Day

"Indian Flavor Every Day" by Maya Kaimal is a celebration of authentic Indian flavors. It's one thing to learn how to cook a few recipes, and it's another to understand the flavors of a cuisine. This cookbook is a great starting point to learn the essentials of traditional Indian flavors. Kaimal is passionate about making Indian cooking and flavors accessible to the average at-home cook. She's a chef, entrepreneur, and author. As a businesswoman, her company creates classic Indian soups, sauces, condiments, and more. By purchasing her products, she hopes people can experience authentic Indian flavors on a more regular basis, even when they don't have time to make something from scratch.


She wrote this wonderful cookbook with the same goal in mind. "I looked at the cuisine as built on different flavor-building components, and so I tried to break those down," Kaimal explained during an interview with Salon TV. "What are the techniques that go into getting all that yummy, nuanced, layered flavor? ... I designed the book around teaching those techniques and showing you how to use them." The book includes 80 recipes, but you can also expand the techniques learned from it to flavor and liven up your food outside of those recipes.

Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen

"Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen" is written by Meera Sodha and focuses on authentic Indian cuisine that she grew up eating at her family dinner table. Sodha is a renowned food writer who has written two other cookbooks, "Fresh Indian" and "East," which are also worth purchasing if you're really looking to build out your cookbook collection. But "Made In India" is a great starting point to learn at-home Indian cooking.


However, this is not the cookbook to purchase if you're looking to recreate your favorite Indian takeout dishes. Instead, the recipes focus on more everyday, simple, but still flavorful and rich home recipes. The collection of 130 recipes is assembled and presented by Sodha, who gathered them from three generations of Indian cooks in her family. These are tried and true dishes that have been loved by the author's family and are sure to become favorites in your house as well. With amazing dishes like, chapatis, easy samosas, and mouthwatering curries, you're sure to find something (or several somethings) you love in this wonderfully authentic collection.

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen

Indian food can be a great option for vegetarians and vegans because there are so many meatless ingredients and rich flavoring options in the cuisine. Many Indians are vegetarian or limit their meat consumption for religious reasons. So, meatless protein options like chana (chickpeas), dals (lentils), and seeds are already commonplace in beloved Indian recipes. Although plenty of Indian recipes include chicken, lamb, and other meats, it's often quite easy to find plant-based meals at your local Indian restaurant. Bring those recipes and more into your kitchen using a purely vegan cookbook.


"Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook" by Richa Hingle is an excellent cookbook to have on hand whether you're fully vegan, vegetarian, or just looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet. In this cookbook, you'll find delicious weeknight meals with mouthwatering spices, vegetables, and other meatless proteins. Hingle also includes breakfast dishes and popular Indian desserts like gulab jamun and ras malai. With this cookbook as your guide, you don't have to choose between amazing flavor and sticking to a vegan diet; you can have both and enjoy the process of preparing your plant-based meal while you're at it.

An Invitation to Indian Cooking

Madhur Jaffrey's "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" was first published in 1973, and decades later, the recipes are just as incredible as ever. This book introduced many Americans to Indian cooking and continues to do so to this day. With over 160 recipes, Jaffrey's book takes you through beloved dishes like Mulligatawny Soup, chutneys, Chicken Biryani, and so many more. "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" is widely regarded as one of the greatest cookbooks ever written; it's even been enlisted in the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame. So, if you're going to pick just one Indian cookbook to have in your kitchen, this may be the best choice.


Despite being a widely respected book, "An Invitation to Indian Cooking" is not at all stuffy or intimidating. As the name implies, it's quite inviting. Jaffrey does a great job making Indian cooking accessible and offers alternatives if you can't accomplish the exact ingredients or techniques for a dish. "I want people to cook this food. If they don't come 100% there, they come 99% there. I want them to learn about it. Then they'll want to go 100%," Jaffrey explained her philosophy to NPR. "There's no exact way, even in India. Every home is different. The same dish in a different home – I would want to go and eat the same dish in somebody else's house because it would be different from mine."


Indian-Ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family

What cookbook is right for you is dependent on the type of cook you are. If you're someone who wants to follow each recipe to an exact science and master classic dishes, then there are plenty of cookbooks on this list for you. However, if you're a more laid-back cook who's interested in keeping things simple, then you'll want a different style of cookbook. "Inidan-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family" is the perfect option if you want Indian flavor but aren't as concerned about strict cooking rules or perfectly authentic meals. This book focuses on making Indian-inspired recipes quick and easy, even for busy families. The author, Priya Krishna, offers many delicious Indian-American dishes that any home cook can master.


"Indian-ish" is a fun read as well as a helpful guide to creating unique and flavorful recipes. Krishna took inspiration from her mother's combination of Indian and American cuisine for this innovative collection. Although it's not as authentic of Indian cooking as some of the other books on this list are, it offers amazing flavors and easy dishes that you're to love.

Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India: A Cookbook

For many of us, travel and food are intrinsically linked. Culture and food are so connected that it's hard to explore one without the other, and why would you ever want to? If you love travel just as much as you love food, then "Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India" is the perfect cookbook for you to go on a culinary journey with.


"Chaat" is based on the exciting recipes discovered by Maneet Chauhan during her cross-country journey through some of India's most beloved markets and restaurants. Along with over 80 recipes, this book offers stunning photography and storytelling from the author's time exploring regional cuisine. This collection provides a taste of local dishes from vendors and chefs across India, and you can follow the recipes to bring those flavors into your home. Between the photos and the flavors, you may find yourself planning your own cross-country trip after a little time with this cookbook.

Plant-Based India: Nourishing Recipes Rooted in Tradition

We've already covered one vegan cookbook on this list, but Indian cooking opens up so many plant-based options; why would we limit ourselves to just one? "Plant-Based India: Nourishing Recipes Rooted in Tradition" by Dr. Sheil Shukla is a great cookbook for vegans, Indian food lovers, and anyone trying to incorporate more nourishing, plant-based foods into their diet. The book offers 100 healthy and flavorful vegan meals like stews, roti, bhāt, and more.


Along with walking you through the instructions for each recipe, the author, Dr. Shukla, offers nutrition information for the fresh produce and other flavorful and nourishing ingredients included in each dish. Along with working as a cook, Shukla is a physician, making his advice for a healthy and well-rounded Indian diet all the more valuable. If you want a closer look at the types of meals you can find in his cookbook before purchasing, Shukla also shares plant-based Indian recipes on his Instagram. Shukla is also a food photographer, so seeing the vibrant and delicious dishes he's created is a delight.

Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food

Rather than sticking to traditional Indian dishes, Nik Sharma uses his cookbook, "Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food," to offer new ways to explore the bold flavors of Indian cooking in a variety of recipes. Armed with his knowledge of cooking and science, Sharma walks you through 100 amazing recipes and offers an exploration of Indian spices and flavors. His original and mouthwatering recipes use Indian cooking techniques and flavors as the backbone. But he also includes ingredients that will be familiar to American audiences. It's an amazing blend of flavors, and the recipes are wonderfully easy for at-home chefs to follow.


This book is also an excellent choice for anyone who values the photography in a cookbook. Sometimes, flipping through the glossy pages of mouthwatering dishes is almost as satisfying as sitting down to eat them, and that's especially the case in this beautifully photographed book, which was nominated for James Beard Best Cookbook Photography in 2019.

How did we select cookbooks?

This list was compiled from multiple sources to ensure that only the most loved and high-quality Indian cookbooks made the cut. Using a combination of professional and customer reviews, personal recommendations from home chefs, and my own cooking experience, the list was narrowed down to these ten helpful and beautiful cookbooks. By including a variety of cookbooks for different skill sets, cooking styles, and interests, there should be something for every type of cook.