Anthony Bourdain’s very first effort—”Les Halles Cookbook”— still ranks among the top 25 most-discussed cookbooks ever on Chowhound. See the full list of chatter-inspiring cookbooks below.
Cookbooks and recipes are the single-most discussed topics in the Chowhound community threads, with restaurants running a close second. From the famous Cookbook of the Month archives—a digital book club where Chowhounds cook through and discuss some of the best new cookbooks— to the always popular What’s for Dinner where home cooks share their favorite new recipes pulled from the pages of culinary compendiums new and old.
It’s tough to pinpoint what makes a cookbook good, or discussion-worthy but our list contains everything from old standbys like Anthony Bourdain’s wonderful “Les Halles Cookbook” to new interpretations, as in Yotam Ottolenghi collection of dessert recipes called “Sweet.” In the spirit of all things cookbook along with the chatter they inspire, these are the top 25 most-discussed cookbooks on Chowhound.
If it’s greens you’re after, you can put your trust in chef Jenn Louis, a known entity in the Portland area where vegetarian cooking is as highly acclaimed—and criticized—as anywhere else in the world. Her compendium of 175 recipes covers 40 types of greens so you never run out of ideas for Meatless Monday.Buy Now
Speaking of vegetables, Yotam Ottolenghi has made an international splash with his inventive and soulful vegetarian cuisine but he started his career as a pastry chef. In this book, Yotam and his collaborator Helen Goh go “sweet,” tackling baked goods and other confections with dazzling photos and Ottolenghi’s signature creativity, as in his Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream.Buy Now
This book won the 2018 James Beard Award for best baking cookbook and has a near-perfect score on Amazon, so it’s not a huge surprise Chowhounds have enjoyed Stella Parks’ cookbook celebrating classic American desserts like cherry pie, fudge brownies, and even chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.Buy Now
When Chrissy Teigen talks (or tweets) we listen, and when she writes a book we buy it. That includes the follow up to her hit cookbook “Cravings” entitled “Cravings: Hungry for More.” True to form, Teigen’s second book has approachable recipes that you really really want to eat like Banana Bread, and Shake n’ Bake Chicken with Hot Honey.Buy Now
Nigella Lawson’s hit cookbook has lots of recipes but unlike most cookbooks, which are categorized by course or protein, these are broken up by moods and moments, as in “Hurry Up, I’m Hungry” for when there’s scarcely time to cook, or “Easy Does it” for feeding friends without losing your sanity.Buy Now
Malaysian cuisine is a beautiful melting pot with familiar flavors, and a cookbook about it could probably go on forever. This popular recipe compendium has a whopping 150 recipes from appetizers to noodles, rice, and lots of hearty mains. Expect a good deal of heat and plenty of seafood, too.Buy Now
“Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (That Happens to be Vegan)” by Shannon Martizen and Moe Wyse, $22.66 on Amazon
This vegan cookbook hails from the iconic Australian restaurant which bears the same name, fit with ambitious dishes like Mexican meatless meatballs in a saffron sauce, and cashew cheese, tuna, and green pea croquettes.Buy Now
Related Reading: Smith & Daughter’s Tangy Vegan Potato Salad
Deb Perelman has built a bit of a recipe and cookbook empire from her small NYC kitchen. This book has a bit of everything from highbrow mango apple ceviche with sunflower seeds to downhome delights like everything drop biscuits with cream cheese.Buy Now
Generally, one of the only silver linings of colonialism has been the fusion of global cuisines, and the Netherlands is a good example with its many Asian and European culinary influences. In this book, chef and author Emily Wright touches on that influence (and more) from one of the lesser celebrated but no less delicious European culinary traditions.Buy Now
Related Reading: Savory Cheese Cookies from Dutch Feast
From the indie magazine sensation that shines a bright light on women in food comes the brand’s first cookbook. “Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook” includes favorite recipes from some of the biggest stars in cooking including Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy), Melissa Clark (The New York Times), and Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef).Buy Now
With rather big shoes to fill, Laila Ali—daughter of Mohammad Ali—has done well for herself both as a four-time boxing world champion, and a cookbook author. In this, her debut cookbook, Ali delivers a one-two combo of comforting recipes that won’t bust your training regimen, like oven “fried” chicken and southern greens.Buy Now
Related Reading: Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries with Marinara Dipping Sauce
This book, with recipes from James Beard winner Naomi Pomeroy, doesn’t presume you know everything about cooking and serves as equal parts recipe compendium and how-to manual arming the home chef with confidence to nail any one of them.Buy Now
Russel Norman’s Venetian restaurant Polpo took on a life of its own as one of London’s best kept culinary secrets. Like any good secret, it didn’t stay under wraps for long. Norman’s 2012 publishing of these 140 recipes from or inspired by the restaurant is proof.Buy Now
Winner of multiple culinary awards this book on authentic Chinese cooking by Kiam Lima Ko offers recipes but also helpful techniques aimed to demystify and amplify this unique, and diverse cuisine.Buy Now
The recipient of much acclaim from book critics and fellow chefs alike, this book breathes life into the curated menus created by author Diana Henry, transporting the reader to a specific time and place through her personal essays that illuminate these colorful culinary moments in her life.Buy Now
Vodka infusions, delicious dumplings, smoked fish; this cookbook has everything you’d hope for in a book about Russian food. Dive deep into Soviet fare with this bright and bubbly book from the mind of Bonnie Morales, owner of Kachka restaurant (Portland, Ore.).Buy Now
Sugar and baked goods have so long gone hand in hand, it’s easy to take their association for granted. Not so fast, says Joanne Chang, author of the hit cookbook “Flour,” whose aptly titled “Baking with Less Sugar” speaks directly to those trying to whittle some of those residual carbohydrates from their daily diet by using more natural sweeteners like fruit juice and honey.Buy Now
You might remember Starry Kitchen, the speakeasy-style restaurant run by Nguyen Tran and his wife Thi out of a Los Angeles apartment in the last decade. It quickly became a sensation, racking up critical acclaim and impossible-to-get reservations. The couple has since left those humble beginnings behind, but their successes have continued, including this collection of 88 Asian-inspired recipes from America’s most famous underground restaurant.Buy Now
To call The Zuni Cafe a staple of the San Francisco restaurant scene would be a dramatic understatement. With this compendium of recipes, chef and owner Judy Rodgers brings her beloved food into your home with recipes like the famous Zuni roast chicken and espresso granita.Buy Now
The late, great Anthony Bourdain first helmed the kitchen at New York’s no-nonsense French brasserie, Les Halles. The beloved restaurant has since closed but its legacy—and that of its most famous chef de cuisine—live on in this collection of recipes and guide for French classics like roasted veal short ribs, steak frites, escargots aux noix, and foie gras au pruneaux. The lively cooking companion is written with Bourdain’s undeniable charm, wit and wisdom.Buy Now
First published in 1987, this book by author Marion Cunningham celebrates that first meal of the day with over 280 recipes ranging from the sweet to the savory, and including breakfast ideas for every sort of occasion, from casual to chichi.Buy Now
Though it is now defunct, the legacy of Lucky Peach—a cult food magazine which captivated the culinary world for years—lives on in its many editorial works, including this compendium of easy Asian recipes (they would later publish both and egg- and vegetable-centric cookbooks) which hit stores and online retailers in 2015. The collection was compiled by Peter Meehan along with the rest of the Lucky Peach editorial gang, and ranges from the simple to the more intricate.Buy Now
In this book, which reads both as a memoir and recipe collection, you’ll follow Alon Shaya as he winds his way from Israel through the American south (New Orleans, to be specific) and back again (to Israel) and discover how this journey informed Shaya’s unique and much-celebrated Israeli-Creole style of cooking.Buy Now
In a city not always thought of for its culinary prowess, there are still plenty of shining, dare I say golden, examples of excellence. Golden restaurant is one of them, famous in part for the wonderful sweet and savory pastries which emerge from the London restaurant’s kitchen over the course of a day. In this cookbook, you’ll find recipes for favorites like sticky buns, and spiced lamb en croute.Buy Now
Before Andrew Nguyen joined us for a Chowhound Table Talk celebrating her book “Vietnamese Food Any Day” she snagged a single subject James Beard award for this comprehensive pho cookbook. This book looks at the storied past of the warming soup, which helps tell the story of the country it originated, as well as some helpful know-how for making good pho at home.Buy Now
Header image courtesy of Getty Images / Issac Brekken.