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This list has been curated by our Books Editor based on books she’s read or sampled, and books that have great Goodreads reviews.
Whether you want to add some (literal) spice to your fave summer meal, make the world’s most heavenly ice cream sundae, or create a charcuterie board that would stop Martha in her tracks, you’re in the right place.
We’ve gathered some new, highly rated cookbooks that’ll give your taste buds something to talk about. Plus, a moving food memoir (with recipes) that should be on every food-lover’s list this summer.
Best summer cookbooks
- Tables & Spreads: A Go-To Guide for Beautiful Snacks, Intimate Gatherings, and Inviting Feasts by Shelly Westerhausen Worcel and Wyatt Worcel
- Ice Cream Party: Mix and Match to Create 3,375 Decadent Combinations by Shikha Kaiwar with illustrations by Megan Roy
- Food Babe Kitchen More than 100 Delicious, Real Food Recipes to Change Your Body and Your Life by Vani Hari
- Spicebox Kitchen: Eat Well and Be Healthy with Globally Inspired, Vegetable-Forward Recipes by Linda Shiue
- Dada Eats Love to Cook It: 100 Plant-Based Recipes for Everyone at Your Table by Samah Dada
- Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream by Tung Nguyen, Katherine Manning, and Lyn Nguyen with Elisa Ung
- Eat Cool: Good Food for Hot Days: 100 Easy, Satisfying, and Refreshing Recipes that Won’t Heat Up Your Kitchen by Venessa Seder
- Joshua Weissman: An Unapologetic Cookbook by Joshua Weissman
Not only is this book display-worthy with its gorgeous copper foil lettering on the spine and cover, its contents will have you whipping up stunning charcuterie boards that you’ll be tempted to display all over social media. Watch out, Instagram!
Snackers and grazers take note. There are sections for all kinds of spreads — whether you’re going for something casual, interactive, or a holiday showstopper. Plus, there’s recipes and sections on how to enhance other parts of your table, and tips for prep, portions, and tons of details on styling. We especially love the choose-your-own-adventure illustration for figuring out how to build your spread. 😍
If you were into those “mix and match” books when you were a kid, this flippable mix and match recipe book may bring back some serious nostalgia. It’s an ice cream recipe book that’s seriously fun — no matter how old you are.
The pages are divided horizontally into three sections: toppings, ice cream flavors, and bases. Each card contains ingredients and directions — all you need to do is randomly flip each section to create a surprise combination. There are 3,375 possible combinations from the 45 recipe cards.
We landed on mascarpone rum ice cream on a base of chocolate pie crust cookies, topped with caramel sprinkles, and we’re not sorry about it. 🤤
Written by a food activist and co-founder of an organic food brand, this cookbook is designed to help you ditch processed foods and figure out what ingredients you should be buying from the grocery store in order to do so (think: how to really read labels, and an ultimate list of things to avoid when stocking your pantry).
There are more than 100 recipes made from simple, nutritious food. The first section teaches you how to set your kitchen (and shopping list) up for success and the second section contains the recipes — from Turkey and Red Pepper Egg “Muffins” and homemade ginger ale to Better Than Takeout Pad Thai, Healing Turmeric Hummus, and homemade Fig Newtons. Yum.
From renowned chef and physician Linda Shiue comes a collection of 175 vegetarian and pescatarian recipes from her own kitchen. Recipes are divided into sections: California, Asia, Mediterranean and the Middle East, and Trinidad.
Each section is filled with veggielicious treats for your taste buds: from Smokin’ Hot Vegan Vaquero Chili to Smoky Cauliflower Steak with Romesco. Shiue also shares her philosophy and tips for healthy cooking, plus plenty of stunning photos to energize every kitchen sesh.
We’re all looking for ways to get more veggies into our lives, and this cookbook was literally made to make it easy (and delicious) AF.
Author Samah Dada is all about using real, unprocessed ingredients in new ways, and she draws on her Indian roots for many of her 100+ plant-based recipes. Plus, a lot of these recipes are vegan, allergen-free, gluten-free, and grain-free, so there are plenty of recipes for basically anyone in these pages.
Chilled Chaat Masala Chickpea Salad anyone? And don’t even get us started on the dessert section — we’re drooling over the Sticky Date Cake with Salted Toffee Caramel Glaze.
This is not a cookbook, but there are 20 delish Vietnamese recipes. It’s a memoir of food, unlikely friendship, survival, perseverance, and a small restaurant near Miami’s Little Havana that turned into a nationally acclaimed destination.
It’s told from the perspective of both Tung Nyguen (who escaped the fall of Saigon in 1975) and Kathy Manning (who was taking in displaced Vietnamese refugees). Together they raised Tung’s daughter, and turned a tiny eatery into the popular restaurant Hy Vong — with their signature mango and peppercorns sauce.
Picture this: It’s 87 degrees, you’re in the mood to whip up a fun meal, but the idea of turning your oven on makes you want to vom. We’ve all been there. That’s exactly what this book is for — keepin’ you (and your kitchen) cool.
Eat Cool contains more than 100 recipes that are easy, delish, and use no- or low-heat techniques, plus make-ahead dishes that you can serve cold or at room temp. You’ll find ideas for breakfast, snacks, salads, soups, sandwiches, main courses, drinks, and desserts inspired by “culinary common sense,” as the author says, from around the globe.
If you’ve ever watched recipe videos online, then you’ve probably seen this guy on YouTube — his entertaining-yet-extremely-useful cooking videos captivate millions (seriously, this video from earlier this summer has more than a million views.) If you haven’t seen his videos, prepare to fall into a rabbit hole, and eventually emerge ready to eat all the things.
At just 25 years old, this chef and food blogger/vlogger is now also a cookbook author. With these 100 recipes, he encourages readers to actually take the time to make things from scratch because fast doesn’t always mean better.
If you’re over eating frozen dinners and getting let down by cookbooks promising great taste in 5 minutes, this is for you. You might laugh, try something new, and learn to love the process of cooking.
Naomi Farr is the books editor and a copy editor at Greatist. She loves focusing on all things books, beauty, wellness, and mental health. She’s also a YA fantasy writer and bookstagrammer. You can find her (and her cat) @avioletlife