As self-professed foodies, we're always interested in what food bloggers have to say—whether they're sharing the healthy sheet-pan dinners they make when they don’t have time to cook, which kitchen organizational tools they swear by, or how they make the most of leftover chicken. While we've already shared a list of the best new cookbooks we’re buying this season, we had to know which timeless kitchen tomes the pros find most approachable, covetable, and inspiring. Besides, who better to weigh in on the best cookbooks than professional recipe creators?
Ahead, we asked Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking, Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest, Naomi Robinson of Bakers Royale, Adrianna Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen, and Holly Erickson of The Modern Proper to share the best cookbooks everyone should have in their kitchen. From an accessible collection of modern recipes written by the food director of Bon Appétit to an updated classic boasting more than 1,000 recipes published by the New York Times over the past 150 years, their recommendations did not disappoint.
Keep scrolling to find out which cookbooks the pros deem worthy of staining, spilling on, and barely shelving.
What's Gaby Cooking by Gaby Dalkin
"I mean, [this is] hands down the best cookbook ever invented (obviously because I wrote it)!" jokes Gaby Dalkin of What's Gaby Cooking. "But really, it has everything you need to make incredible, delicious, and easy meals that are bright and balanced."
The cookbook's 125 recipes run the gamut from poblano scallion queso to salsa-topped fish tacos, but each is inspired by the bountiful produce and fresh seafood of the author's native California.
Dinner by Melissa Clark
This compendium of 200-plus recipes by New York Times columnist Melissa Clark is organized by main ingredient (think chicken, seafood, eggs, tofu, and veggies), making it a little easier to flip to a recipe for any whim or food preference.
"Melissa Clark can do no wrong in my world and this cookbook has incredible recipes for dinner no matter what mood you're in," says Dalkin.
Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden
Veggie lovers, take note: "[This is] hands down the most comprehensive vegetable-based cookbook," promises Dalkin. "Organized by season, this will bring new life to all your fave veggies."
The cookbook covers the basics (proper seasoning, hot and cold brining, essential condiments, etc.) before sharing 225 seasonally inspired, inventive recipes that are sure to help you get the most out of a CSA.
Half Baked Harvest Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard (2017)
"Of course, I have to recommend my very own cookbook," admits Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest. "Whether you need to get dinner on the table for your family tonight or are planning your next get-together with friends, Half Baked Harvest Cookbook has your new favorite recipe for everything from breakfast, to lunch, to brunch, to dinner, to dessert, that is easy, delicious, and unique."
Accompanied by gorgeous photos, the cookbook comprises dozens of modern comfort-food recipes from the food blogger-slash-photographer.
Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music (2019)
"Carla has a way with cooking that's relaxing, approachable, and delicious," says Gerard. "That style shines throughout the pages of her gorgeous cookbook."
The author, the former food director of Bon Appétit, shares 70 accessible, flexible recipes (organized by main ingredient) as well as genius suggestions and in-a-pinch food swaps to help you streamline your grocery shopping.
Healthier Together by Liz Moody (2019)
Healthier Together is the first cookbook from Liz Moody, a food writer and health blogger whose approach to mealtime changed once she met her then-boyfriend (now husband). Cooking alongside her partner reignited her love of food and cooking, resulting in 100-plus wholesome, nourishing recipes that are designed to serve two.
"With options for every kind of eater, Healthier Together provides a mix of everything from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner, and it's all nutritious and perfect for serving two," Gerard says.
Baker's Royale: 75 Twists On All Your Favorite Treats by Naomi Robinson
First up in Naomi Robinson's list of must-have cookbooks? Her own—Baker's Royale: 75 Twists On All Your Favorite Treats. "This is the book that has some of my best showstoppers, eye poppers, and mouth droppers," says the food blogger and photographer. "[It's a] dessert book that shows you how to find adventure and create new fusions and mashups that give classic well-loved desserts a modern twist."
Inside, you'll find 75 dessert recipes that are as inventive as they are irresistible. Expect riffs on classics (chocolate mousse fudge brownies) and over-the-top creations (crispy funnel cake-topped cupcakes), plus eye candy-esque photos shot by the author.
State Bird Provisions by Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski
In this cookbook by chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, the brilliant minds behind State Bird Provisions, the chefs share some of the recipes that helped their San Francisco restaurant earn a Michelin star—and icon status.
"A chic cookbook from one of the best restaurants in the nation," recommends Naomi Robinson of Bakers Royale. "It's the kind of book that shows less is more and the recipes are built on ingredients and influences far and near. The austere but refined dishes are exactly what I reach for when I'm entertaining."
Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavors by Diana Henry
The tenth cookbook from celebrated British food writer Diana Henry, Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavors lives up to its name. "The recipes are what everyday recipes should be: easy to execute, vibrant in flavor, and best of all, it teaches you how to be a better cook," declares Robinson. "This is my most stained and dirty book in the kitchen. It sees almost as much action as my whisk."
The Year of Cozy by Adrianna Adarme
"This book is by me so, of course, this is a shameless plug," confesses Adrianna Adarme, the creative force behind the popular food blog A Cozy Kitchen. Comprising a full year's worth of coziness, the cookbook is organized by season, with the recipes drawing on author's Latin-American background. "My favorites are the masala chai snickerdoodles, beer can pollo a la brasa, and Peruvian-style ceviche," notes Adarme. Stunning photos and seasonally inspired craft DIYs round out the book.
Aloha Kitchen by Alana Kysar
This cookbook by blogger Alana Kysar (of Fix Feast Flair fame) shares 85 modern recipes inspired by the author's Hawaiian roots. Raised in Maui, Kysar explores her heritage through the recipes and ingredients that have become inextricably linked with Hawaiian culture—think Portuguese bean soup, poke, laulau, and guava cake, to name a few.
"After reading and looking at its beautiful photos, you'll feel like you just got back from Maui," says Adarme. "And then you'll want to make everything. Make the Shoyu chicken, mac salad—honestly make everything. It's all good."
Nopalito by Gonzalo Guzmán and Stacy Adimando
Brought to you by chef Gonzalo Guzmán, Nopalito captures the spirit of regional Mexican cooking through 100 Mexican-by-way-of-California dishes, some of which are borrowed from the menu at the chef's San Francisco restaurant by the same name. "I love how it illustrates and explains food from the different regions of Mexico—Puebla, Mexico City, and the Yucatan," says Adarme. "All the salsas, aguas frescas, and tacos are drool-worthy."
The cookbook nabbed a James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award in 2018.
The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
New York Times food columnist Amanda Hesser lends her witticism and expertise to this James Beard Award-winning cookbook. Doubling as an anthology of America's culinary history, the cookbook chronicles more than 1,000 of the recipes that have been featured in the Times since the 1850s.
"I love this cookbook for too many reasons to count," says Holly Erickson of The Modern Proper. "Every recipe opens with a thoughtful intro—a wonderful opportunity to learn about the history of the dish as well as how best to cook it. It's even arranged in chronological order and is a fascinating way to see how American home cooking has evolved over so many decades."
One Big Table by Molly O'Neill
"This unique, engrossing cookbook spent many months on my bedside table, but not collecting dust," Erickson shares. "I'd pore over it each night before nodding off to sleep, devouring it like you would a really great novel. Food writer Molly O'Neill collected the recipes in this cookbook from all over the United States—from home cooks living anywhere from the most down-and-out trailer parks to wealthy Park City suburbs. Each recipe tells a story about the family's culinary tradition."
Gjelina by Travis Lett
Better suited to the ambitious home cook, this cookbook from Travis Lett—the owner and head chef of the acclaimed Venice Beach restaurant Gjelina—shares more than 125 of the chef's rustic New American fare recipes.
"For me, the Gjelina cookbook was one of the first restaurant cookbooks that I had ever encountered where I leafed through it and immediately wanted to make every single recipe, says Erickson. "I reach for it when I have extra time to spend on a dish for a weeknight dinner, and nearly every time I am cooking for company. It's a must-have for the ambitious home cook in search of new and exciting flavor profiles."