the best cookbooks for beginners
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Due to restaurant closures and social distancing measures in place to help combat coronavirus, many people are currently cooking at home for the first time. But what if you have no idea how to cook (let alone what to make)? These helpful cookbooks for beginners are all great places to start!

It’s never too late to learn something new—especially when it comes to cooking. These cookbooks highlight chefs with different perspectives on learning to enjoy cooking. Whether you have a family or you’re happily flying solo, there are ways to make your kitchen and existing ingredients work for you and your appetite. Even if you’re just learning to boil water, these chefs will meet you where you are and teach you that cooking is about more than necessity—it can become a passion.

Related Reading: The Best Online Cooking Classes for Every Skill Level, Budget, and Appetite

“Where Cooking Begins” by Carla Lalli Music, $14.69 on Amazon

Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music (cookbooks for beginners)


Carla Lalli Music streamlines cooking into simple, understandable terms. Inspired by meals she whips up for her own family, her guide outlines six cooking techniques that she views as absolutely indispensable. She also gives guidelines on making swaps and substitutions so you never feel stuck in a rut of recipes.Buy Now

Related Reading: 10 Kitchen Rules All New Cooks Should Take to Heart

“Salt Fat Acid Heat” by Samin Nosrat, $20.98 on Amazon

Salt Fat Acid Heat cookbook


What makes a delicious meal? It all begins with how these ingredients coexist together. Chef Samin Nosrat has taught pro chefs as well as middle school students how to cook with her revolutionary philosophy. The meals are as delicious as they are simple, and they include ingredients that you definitely have on hand. Don’t worry—you got this! Be sure to check out her new podcast too.Buy Now

“How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman, $18.59 on Amazon

How to Cook Everything 2019 edition


This cookbook has been the home cook’s guide for many years, and just last year, the 20th anniversary edition was released with revised tips and new recipes. Mark Bittman focuses on natural, fresh ingredients that will leave you not only wanting more, but excited to whip up your next delicious meal as well.Buy Now

“Twelve Recipes” by Cal Peternell $27.99 on Amazon

Cal Peternell Twelve Recipes cookbook for beginners


Not only is Cal Peternell’s cookbook stunningly colorful, it features basic techniques and recipes that will help you feel confident in the kitchen. Peternell first began collecting these recipes when his eldest son left for college—completely unprepared to cook for himself. This book is much more than a guide for college students—it’s a guide for anyone hoping to cook healthy meals independently.Buy Now

Super Easy Cookbook for Beginners” by Lisa Grant, $13.99 on Amazon

Lisa Grant Super Easy Cookbook for Beginners


Lisa Grant compiles 120 five-ingredient recipes that you’re sure to love as you learn the basics of cooking. She also takes the time to highlight cooking skills and techniques that you’ll remember for years to come.Buy Now

“Simple: The Easiest Cookbook in the World” by Jean-Francois Mallet, $16.42 on Amazon

Simple: The Easiest Cookbook in the World


Jean-Francois Mallet managed to compile an entire book of recipes that consist of less than four steps and fewer than six ingredients. It also has tons of photos so that you’ll be able to follow along without fear of getting lost.Buy Now

“Cook Like A Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks” by Ina Garten, $14.99 on Amazon

Ina Garten Cook Like a Pro Barefoot Contessa cookbook


No one knows their way around the kitchen better than the Barefoot Contessa. Garten’s goal with this book was to help home cooks find their sense of confidence in the kitchen—regardless of their experience level. As always, she delivers.Buy Now

“Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs” by Juia Turshen, $20.05 on Amazon

Julia Turshen cookbook Small Victories


Julia Turshen focuses on achievable recipes that will leave your mouth watering for more. Turshen includes recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—as well as little lessons that will make your time in the kitchen more useful and fulfilling.Buy Now

“The I Don’t Know How to Cook Book” by Mary-Lane Kamberg, $14.24 on Amazon

The 'I Don't Know How to Cook' cookbook


With over 300 simplified recipes, Mary-Lane Kamberg has assembled a go-to cookbook for dishes that you know and love, but may not be comfortable whipping up on your own. There’s even a glossary of cooking terms so you never feel in over your head.Buy Now

“The First Real Kitchen Cookbook” by Jill Carle, $11 on Amazon

The First Real Kitchen cookbook


This book may be intended for college students moving into their first real homes, but it’s great for everyone. Jill Carle proves that a four-burner stove and a pantry stocked with basics are all you need for a delicious meal.Buy Now

Hungry for more help? Check out the best meal prep cookbooks, best Instant Pot cookbooks, and easy cookbooks for busy weeknights. And see the Chowhound community thread about learning to cook in the time of coronavirus.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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