December 11, 2020

Holiday Gift Ideas: Cookbooks

Shelf of Cookbooks

A good cookbook is one of my favorite gifts to give or receive. I love being able to touch and feel my recipes because it makes me feel more connected to my cooking. Plus, there’s something so satisfying about thumbing through a book to choose dinner. I’ve selected some of my favorite cookbooks that make perfect gifts for the holidays, or any other time, really.

Below are some of my favorite cookbooks by local authors for kids, busy families, weeknight dinners, and the Instant Pot. Or, you can peruse all my favorite cookbooks in my Amazon shop.

Local Cookbooks

Zoe Bakes Cakes:

Our friend from @Zoebakes is the expert baker and bestselling author behind the Magnolia Network original series Zoë Bakes explores her favorite dessert—cakes!—with more than 85 recipes

The New Mediterranean Table: Modern and Rustic Recipes Inspired by Traditions Spanning Three Continents

Our friend Sameh Wadi’s cookbook The New Mediterranean Table infuses his cooking style with recipes his family brought over from Palestine. If you are a fan of World Street Kitchen in Minneapolis or Sameh’s cooking, you will love this book that feels like it’s straight out of Sameh’s kitchen. These recipes are longer and have lots of historical context to them, but they are wonderful. Shop Now.

Savoring the Seasons Of the Northern Heartland: 200 Recipes Blending Bold, New Flavors with the Traditional Foods of the Upper Midwest

This cookbook is my hands-down suggestion for people who want to cook as our ancestors did and to understand why we have ‘Fish Fry” among other Minnesota traditions. The recipes in this book are great, and the stories and traditions make you feel like you are talking to your grandma over a cup of coffee. A great book. Shop now.

The Artisan Bread Series by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg

Zoë François is an amazing pastry chef and baker from Minneapolis. The two books below feature all kinds of bread recipes that are approachable and easy to bake and include healthier options that use whole wheat flour. If you know someone whose goal is to start baking more, these books are a great place to start. Shop The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day and The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

The Great Minnesota Cookie Book

The Star Tribune runs a cookie contest every holiday season, and in 2018 they made a book out of some of the best recipes. It is an absolute joy. The book celebrates everything Minnesota cookie bakers have to offer, from every corner of the state and every background. If you want to take your holiday cookie making to the next level, this is the book to use. Shop now.

100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen, with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More

There is a little something for everyone tucked into the pages of this yummy book by local cookie hero Sarah Keiffer. From the Neopolitan Cookie to smacking the chocolate chip cookies in the pan, Sarah has delicious tips and tricks, Shop now.

The Birchwood Cafe Cookbook

One of my favorite Minneapolis restaurants, Birchwood Cafe, has its own cookbook that features some of the cafe’s best recipes. The book is organized by season and makes the recipes easy for the home chef. The Birchwood philosophy uses local, seasonal ingredients, which makes this a great book for everyone who wants to try cooking with natural, locally grown ingredients. Shop now.

The Northern Heartland Kitchen By Beth Dooley

Another cookbook that features recipes and tips on eating locally grown ingredients, Beth Dooley’s book is an ode to eating in the North. Like Birchwood, the recipes are organized by season and include ingredients fitting the time of year, plus ideas for growing or locally sourcing everything you need. Shop now.

Land of 10,000 Plates by Patrice M. Johnson

This is one more book that celebrates Minnesota culture and cuisine. Patrice M. Johnson weaves her personal experiences and rituals into inventive recipes. Pulling from traditions from around Minnesota, this book is another that you’ll pull off the shelf for special occasions throughout the year. Shop now.

660 Curries

Indian food can be challenging because the ingredients are not familiar, but I love it! A friend of mine from Minnesota, Raghavan Iyer, has the most amazing cookbook for Indian Food called 660 Curries that is a must on your shelf if you love Indian food. Shop now.

Sweet Nature: A Cook’s Guide to Using Honey and Maple Syrup

Another favorite by local cook and author Beth Dooley. This cookbook is perfect for cooking in Minnesota and using the natural resources of honey and maple syrup to make your food taste incredible.  Shop now.

Cookbooks For Kids

Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls

Nobody knows classic, homestyle cooking like (the fictional, but oh-so-real) Betty Crocker. This is a reproduction of a classic cookbook for children that has been around since 1957. The recipes are fun and tasty and have pleased kids and adults for generations. Shop now.

The Complete Baking Book For Young Chefs

Put together by the folks behind America’s Test Kitchen, this book features introductory baking recipes for kids. With recipes tested by thousands of kid bakers and easy-to-follow photos and guides, this book is a great way to introduce kids to baking. Shop now.

The Complete Cookbooks for Young Chefs

As the predecessor to The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs, this follows the same tried-and-true America’s Test Kitchen format. It is a wonderful introduction to the kitchen for budding chefs (professional or home) and makes cooking fun while building a lifelong skill. Shop now.

Instant Pot Cookbooks

My Instant Pot cookbook choices include some cuisine-specific books, such as Mexican and Indian dishes, but below are three of my favorite books for a variety of recipes. And don’t forget to check out my Instant Pot guide for all your Instant pot needs.

Instant Pot Cookbook For Beginners

This is a great place to start your Instant Pot journey. This book features a wide range of recipes for the pressure cooker and is written so you can make quick, delicious meals to eat all week long. Shop now.

Everyday Instant Pot by Alexis Mersel

With recipes for every meal of the day, this is truly a book you can keep out all year long. The book includes basics like yogurt and rice, as well as more complex (flavors, that is, everything is easy in the Instant Pot) dishes from around the world. Shop now.

How To Instant Pot by Daniel Shumski

This is basically a do-it-all guide to the Instant Pot. The book offers tricks and tips for using your Instant Pot and explanations of all its features. There are also more than 100 recipes to try once you have mastered your new gadget’s functions. Shop now.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Instantly Indian Cookbook: Modern and Classic Recipes for the Instant Pot

A true guide for cooking Indian food in the Instant Pot.   So far, I’ve made four recipes, and they’ve all turned out very well. In particular, the Buttery Dahl is delish and incredibly easy to make. I plan to crack this open in more depth during the cold Winter Minnesota months. Shop Now.

Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot® : A Cookbook

This cookbook by New York Times author Melissa Clark. This is a modern take on how to use your Instant Pot to get delicious family meals on the table in a hurry. Shop now.

Comfort in an Instant: 75 Comfort Food Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot®: A Cookbook

Cookbook number two in the Instant Pot genre for New York Times author Melissa Clark. Weeknight Chili, Chicken Parmesan, and Risotto are all the dishes you will find in the comfort food-focused Instant Pot book. Perfect for the long Minnesota Winters. Shop now.

Weeknight Dinner Cookbooks

Dinner Done Between Carpools

A Cookbook for family dinners by the ladies that pen the popular lifestyle site for busy Jewish women, brings you the cookbook you really need with easy-to-prep dinner recipes your family will want to eat

Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys

This cookbook is perfect for weeknight dinners. Each recipe is delicious, makes a substantial portion, and is not too fussy. I love the ribs and fried chicken here, and she has vegetable recipes that even picky eaters will like. Shop Now.

Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites: A Cookbook

What started as a blog for Deb Perelman has resulted in two trusted cookbooks for the home chef. Families and kids alike will enjoy these recipes. Tomato-Braised Gigante Bean GratinPizza Beans is the name Perelman dreamed up to sell the dish to her kindergarten-age son. It’s a casserole of tomato sauce, cheese, kale, and giant white beans. Shop Now.

One Pan, Whole Family: More than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals (Family Cookbook, Family Recipe Book, Large Meal Cookbooks)

70 incredible, reliable recipes that everyone—including the kids—will love. And to top it off, they’re all made in one pan and ready to eat in 45 minutes or less! Shop Now.


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Main photo by NeONBRAND