18 Cookbooks You Need in 2021

January 12, 2021

Over the last couple years, this cookbook round-up has been one of my favorite posts to write. Not only have I found some of my new go-to cookbooks, but I have also been able to introduce you to new ideas and reads to expand your own kitchen skills. This year, I am focusing on a few areas, but each of these sounds so special. These are cookbooks you need to have on your shelf!

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With so many new cookbooks being released all the time, it can be tough to dig through which ones are worth buying. If you’re into baking, eating more plants, hosting, drinking or a few wildcards, I have 18 picks here that you are sure to love!

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook

By Ashley Craft | Released November 2020

If you don’t know it by now, I’m a Disney person, born and raised. And whenever my family would visit Disney World, one of my favorite parts was all the delicious food and drinks we’d get to enjoy. I’m a huge fan of Dole Whip, drinking around the world at Epcot, and all of the many restaurants.

This book is organized by park, and includes plenty of favorites from both parks in California and all four in Florida. You can find classics like turkey legs and Mickey pretzels. But I thin I’m most excited to try the peanut butter and jelly milkshakes.

Dessert Person

By Claire Saffitz | Released October 2020

This may be the most anticipated cookbook of last year in baking circles, and I am sure it lives up to the hype. Claire Saffitz is best known for her work with Bon Appetit, but she now has her own YouTube channel.

This book would be an excellent addition to the shelf of any baker or lover of sweets. I’m already a pretty dessert-obsessed person. But even if you’re not, I’m sure you’ll be convinced by this book. I’d love to try the goat cheese cake with honey and figs.

Infused Cocktail Handbook

By Kurt Maitland | Releasing March 16, 2021

I am always looking for new ways to up my cocktail game, and after our first attempt at making own coconut rum this past year was so successful, this book definitely intrigues me. I’d love to learn more about infusing my liquor collection.

The author Kurt Maitland is a whiskey writer, and this isn’t his first cookbook. So you know he’s familiar with how to flavors work. I’m most interested to learn more about shrubs, like one in this book made with fresh blackberries and lime.

The Flavor Equation

By Nik Sharma | Released October 2020

After I finish reading The Flavor Matrix and The Food Lab, this is the next science-forward book on my list. It’s one of my resolutions this year to learn a bit more about the actual way cooking works, and I’m excited to apply that knowledge to my own recipes.

This is a good hefty book, with recipes sorted into 7 flavor categories, plus a few basic essentials. I’m most looking forward to trying the gingerbread cake with date syrup bourbon sauce, under the Fieriness header.

Lazy Day Brunches

By Ryland Peters & Small | Releasing February 21, 2020

If there’s one truth about me, it’s that I love brunch. Also, I love a good lazy day. So naturally, I was drawn in by the title of this book, of course. It’s packed to the brim with all kinds of morning favorites, from classic to new ideas.

Whether you have a sweet tooth or you’re more of a savory breakfast fan, or you are just in it for the cocktails, you are sure to find a new favorite. I’m excited to learn about some of the egg-based dishes, but I’m really intrigued by the recipe for almond twists.

Milk Street: Cookish

By Christopher Kimball | Released October 2020

I’ve always been a fan of the concepts behind the Milk Street cookbooks. Christopher Kimball is all about teaching you how to cook more easily. And I am totally on the same page. This book will turn you into someone who can cook, not just make you cook something.

If you’re like me and get a bit lazy about weeknight dinners, then you’ll love that recipes are limited to six ingredients, but they work hard. Plus there’s a whole chapter for pasta, and an entire page dedicated to dipping sauces. But I’m most loving the idea of carrot soup with rosemary and ginger.

Snacking Cakes

By Yossi Arefi | Released October 2020

Yossy Arefi’s previous cookbook, Sweeter Off the Vine, is one of my absolute favorites, so I am excited to see what she has in store for this new book. This one is all about making easy, everyday, one-bowl cakes. And I am always here for there being more cake around.

One thing I love about this book is that you not only get the recipes, but also explanations on how to make it even easier. Like if you need to use a different pan, or want a variation. Plus, the recipes in this book sound incredible — in addition to being super easy. I want to bake them all, but I’m most loving the idea of salty caramel peanut butter cake.

Shake, Strain, Done

By J M Hirsch | Released November 2020

It’s never a bad idea to invest in a cocktail book. I take a lot of pride in my bar, and love mixing up fancy drinks at home. But this book takes out a lot of the challenges, but making craft cocktails a lot ore accessible.

The drinks in this book are a step up from your basic rum and coke, but won’t cause you the stress of complicated equipment or obscure ingredients. Plus they sound so creative and interesting. I am most intrigued by the butter, bourbon, and honey combination called the Pooh Bear.

What cookbook are you most looking forward to this year? Fill your bookshelf with these 18 brand new releases for plenty of kitchen inspiration!

The Book on Pie

By Erin Jeanne McDowell | Released November 2020

So much of my own baking knowledge has come from years of following Erin McDowell, from her guide on cinnamon rolls to the innovative croissant loaf. So it goes without saying that I am definitely excited to see what this woman can do with a pie.

And this book leaves no type of pie untouched. Whether you are a fan of a classic apple pie, or something new and savory – you are covered. There are endless possibilities of combining crust recipes with those for fillings, so you’ll never run out of pie-deas (I’m sorry). I’m excited to try the root beer float baked Alaska pie.

Beyond Chopped Liver

By Kenden Alfond | Releasing February 23, 2021

I love it when two different interests of mine come crashing together into something incredible. And with the combination of Jewish culture and food with plant-based healthy eating, this book does just that. It’s my first introduction to Kenden Alfond, but I am so intrigued by the concept.

Each of the recipes in the book are inspired by Jewish culture, from ancient to modern. You’ll be sure to find recipes for all of the classics, challah and kugel and everything in between. Personally, I am loving the sound of mini sweet and savory parnsip and sweet potato latkes.

Use it All

By Alex Elliott-Howery & Jaimee Edwards | Releasing January 19, 2021

This is the book I wish I had last year when I was trying to convert to a low-waste kitchen. But it’s never too late to get started on sustainability. In fact, this book is more than just recipes. It’s a handbook on how to be better at wasting less in your kitchen.

The shopping basket suggestions will help you buy the right food together. And then follow the guides on using every part of each item you buy – including how to revive wilted produce. Instead of highlighting a specific recipe here, I’m letting you know there’s a whole spread with just ideas for using up either eggs white or yolks.


By Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin | Released January 5, 2021

I absolutely love that the authors of this cookbook, and the owners of the award-winning bakery of the same name are self-taught bakers. Because I am too, and books like these are how I get most of my knowledge and inspiration.

This book itself isn’t entirely new, but this is an updated second edition, which includes some new recipes from the original. Personally, I just want to get this book onto my shelf, so I can get started baking the black chocolate stout cake with salted caramel cream cheese buttercream. Hello!

Afternoon Tea at Home

By Will Torrent | Releasing February 9, 2021

Here’s one for the hosts, and of course the tea lovers. I have always wished that afternoon tea was more of a norm here in the US, but I’ll just have to take matters into my own hands. And this book, which includes plenty of inspiration, will help.

I love that it’s organized by season, and that it includes hosting tips and tricks, on top of the amazing-sounding recipes. Sandwiches, tarts, scones, not to mention curds, jams, and desserts. Everything about afternoon just sounds so perfect to me, especially the lemon and polenta drizzle cakes.

Zoe Bakes Cakes

By Zoë François | Releasing March 16, 2021

Cakes, especially showstopper layer cakes have never been my main area of expertise. But oh boy, do I love them: looking at them, eating them, watching time-lapse videos of decorating them. So you know this book is one that will really get me.

This book is all about making cake, from simple sheet cakes to a full-blown wedding cake tutorial. It covers the techniques and concepts, and is filled with so many gorgeous images of the layers and frosting. I can’t wait to try the apple cake with honey-bourbon glaze.

Cocktails, Mocktails, and Garnishes from the Garden

By Katie Stryjewski | Releasing February 16, 2021

Whether you are a gardener who wants to learn more about cocktails, a mixologist who wants to discover botany, or something who is new to both, this book is for you. I love the idea of using garden-fresh ingredients in my drinks, and creating some gorgeous, tasty garnishes.

This book covers all kinds of concoctions, from old classics to new favorites, and even some alcohol-free versions. Plus there’s a guide on creating a garnish garden. I am excited to see what she does with peach-infused gin, and to see all the stunning cocktail photos.

Spicebox Kitchen

By Linda Shiue | Releasing March 16, 2021

I love everything on my spice rack, so I was pretty excited to discover this cookbook, which really centers around using spices. As a bonus, all the recipes in this book are plant-forward, and many vegetarian. So it will fit perfectly into any vegetable-friendly life.

The author, Linda Shiue, is both a chef and physician, so there’s a focus on healthy eating in this book in addition to flavor. I wasn’t able to find any of the specific recipes included, but conceptually, it’s definitely intriguing. I especially love the idea of the recipes being globally inspired.

If these aren’t enough to fill your shelf, don’t worry. You can find my lists from 2019 and 2020 for more cookbook inspiration. Plus, here’s a couple bonus new releases I have already added to my own shelf, and read cover to cover. Let me know which of these 18 books you are most looking forward to, and then we can cook together this year!

Oh She Glows for Dinner

By Angela Liddon

I was afraid of vegan recipes before I starting reading the Oh She Glows blog. Now, while I’m not entirely plant-based, Angela Liddon is always the first one I turn to when I’m making a new meal. I especially love this book, because dinner can be the biggest struggle for eating more plants.

Flipping through the recipes included here, I don’t think anyone would be missing meat, eggs, or dairy. They all sound comforting, flavorful, and perfect for sitting around the dinner table. Plus there are plenty of ideas for menus, so you can easily put together an impressive vegan meal. Personally, I’m excited to try the bruschetta veggie burgers.


By Meera Sodha

This book is my first encounter with Meera Sodha, although it’s not her first book. I received this one as part of a gifted subscription box: Hardcover Cook. It’s a quarterly box that includes one cookbook and a variety of related ingredients or tools. I was excited to see this book in the vegetarian version of the subscription, because it fills a void in my own cooking.

All the recipes included here have their influence in Asian cuisines, which are some of my favorite to enjoy. From noodles, to curries, to desserts – everything is vegetarian, and many are completely vegan. I can’t wait to try them all, especially the coconut rice with eggplant and pickled cucumber.


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6 thoughts on “18 Cookbooks You Need in 2021

  1. Oh gosh, this is a fantastic list! I love checking out cookbooks from my library to try first, and then buying them later if we love several of the recipes. Adding the Disney one, Use it All, and Oh She Glows for Dinner to my list (to start with) and I’m saving this post so I can refer back to it when I’m ready for another cookbook to try!

  2. What a great resource for cookbooks, Kait! I always love when cookbooks include photos so I can see how delicious it looks before I get ingredients. That tea one sounds amazing–I’ll have to check that one out! I have a cup of tea just about every day, so I’m always on the lookout for new varieties. 🙂

  3. Well I just added a few more cookbooks to my Amazon wish list! I have a number of Disney ones but not that unofficial one and it looks really good. And I like the snacking cakes idea – anything that’s easy and convenient but also delicious is a win in my book!

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