Food, Kitchen

10 Cookbooks Everyone Should Own

Every home cook should have at least a few good cookbooks in their collection. In today’s post, I’m giving you my recommendations for 10 cookbooks you should have in your arsenal. The Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking are well-known classics and are pretty much guaranteed to show up on any list of must have cookbooks. There are others though, like Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings, that are worthy contenders and definitely deserve a place on your shelf.

I love collecting cookbooks. Even if I never cook a single meal from it, I still love looking at the pictures and the descriptions of the recipes. These cookbooks I’m recommending today are sure to become favorites and you’ll likely find yourself going back to them over and over again – I know I do.

Here are my 10 recommendations for cookbooks everyone should own.

The Joy of Cooking

by Irma S. Rombauer

As much as I love Julia Child, if I could only own one cookbook it would probably be this one. This is a huge cookbook filled with tried and true recipes. The Joy of Cooking contains 4000 retested and perfected classics from the original book as well as 500 new recipes, so you’re guaranteed to find some favorites. The steps are all clearly laid out. Even down to the basics of how to boil an egg. Julia Child called this cookbook a “fundamental resource for any American cook.” I recently added this beloved cookbook to my collection and you should too.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

by Julia Child with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

Julia Child is the queen of French cooking and this cookbook had a huge impact when it first came out in 1961. Julia taught America how to cook and eat. She got Americans excited for authentic French Cuisine and made food that was considered fancy and expensive attainable. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is full of complicated recipes, but don’t let that scare you. At the same time, don’t be fooled into thinking that you can cook through the entire cookbook like in the movie Julie & Julia. It’s called Mastering the Art of French Cooking for a reason. This book isn’t meant to be rushed through in a year and let’s be honest, it was pretty ballsy of Julie to try to take on something that took Julia many, many years of blood, swear and tears to perfect. You should definitely have this in your arsenal of cookbooks though. Don’t be afraid of it. Learn the techniques, follow the steps and you’ll be on your way to some delicious French cuisine.

If you’re feeling ambitious, go for the two-volume set.

Jacques Pepin’s New Complete Techniques

Jacques Pepin is pretty much the master of techniques and cooking skills. I mean, have you ever watched his knife skills? It’s fascinating to watch. There are more than 600 techniques and methods as well as 160 recipes in this book, demonstrated by Jacques in over 1000 color photographs. The techniques range from the basics of how to sharpen a knife or peel an onion to more advanced skills like how to bone a chicken and making flowers out of fruit. This book is suited for every skill set, from the novice all the way up to professionals. This is on my wish list and will make its way onto my bookshelf soon.

I was fortunate to meet Jacques Pepin at a book signing earlier this year and he was so friendly and just delightful.


by Chrissy Teigen

I know what you’re thinking. A cookbook by a model? Yes, Chrissy is beautiful and she’s a model, but she has cravings just like everyone else. The difference is that she has to make every single bite count. And that’s what this book is all about – all of the flavor packed, comfort foods you want to eat when those cravings hit.

Chrissy has been Instagramming her culinary creations for years, as well as running a food blog called So Delushious. This book is as Chrissy describes “basically any dish you know and love, jacked up to a bordering-on-socially-unacceptable amount of flavor” – it’s the truth. I’ve made several recipes from this cookbook and they’ve all been insanely good. There are even some of John Legend’s recipes in the book including fried chicken wings, roasted potatoes and a breakfast sandwich. This is not a diet friendly cookbook, but if you’re looking to splurge (it’s ok to splurge every now and then) you should definitely own this book. Also, Chrissy’s commentary and recipe descriptions alone make this cookbook worth buying.

Here’s where I made her Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal – I was bored and made this recipe at midnight. No regrets.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

by Rhee Drummond

At 400 pages this book is filled with unpretentious and delicious recipes. Each recipe has step by step photos as well as photos from life on her ranch. There are old school recipes, comfort foods, contemporary favorites and even a section for freezer meals. It’s definitely a major contender in the world of cookbooks and was a great addition to my cookbook collection.

Try the Hamburger Soup recipe. It’s simple, hearty and delicious.

Betty Crocker Cookbook – Bridal Edition

I have a slightly older edition of this cookbook and I love it. In fact, it’s one of only a few things that survived my first marriage. All joking aside, this would make a fantastic gift for a bride-to-be. There are over 1000 recipes in this book along with information on organizing your kitchen, entertaining, and romantic meals for two.

Mr. Miller loves Zucchini Bread, and the recipe I use came from my Bridal Edition cookbook. Check out the recipe {here}.

New York Cookbook: From Pelham Bay to Park Avenue, Firehouses to Four-Star Restaurants

by Molly O’Neill

I have had a long time love affair with New York, but I’ve only been there once. Once is all it takes, really. New York is such a fascinating melting pot of people, cultures, and food. This cookbook is a celebration of the New York food world with recipes collected from all five boroughs by New York Times food writer Molly O’Neill. There are over 500 recipes, including shopping guides, cooking tips, and walking tours. There’s even a recipe for Katharine Hepburn’s Brownie’s. New York’s food is almost as fascinating as it’s people, and this cookbook is a must have for any cook.

Check out the Amazon link and there are a couple of recipes in the product description. One of the recipes is for “Confessional Chili” by David Durk. David Durk was once the partner of the famous Frank Serpico and word has it that he has served this chili to prisoners, and informers, many of whom he claims “would never talk to a New York Cop.” This chili supposedly made them start gabbing “immediately.” There are many cool stories like this throughout the book, making it part cookbook/part history lesson.

Better Homes and Gardens: New Cookbook, 16th Edition

I have my Mom’s copy of this cookbook from like the 1970’s that has recipes that actually call for Spam. Seriously. It’s a great cookbook though, and many of the recipes are still relevant today. This edition is fully revised and includes more than 1200 recipes, 1000 color photos, and also includes tips and how-to information. The recipes include all-time favorites, modern classics, canning, grilling, and Holiday foods. This cookbook is a great resource to have!

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients

Who doesn’t love Ina Garten? Everyone should own at least 1 of her cookbooks. She’s like a national treasure and she and Jeffrey are totally #relationshipgoals. Ina Garten is the queen of entertaining, and makes everything she does seem so simple! Wanna be more like Ina? This cookbook offers up the techniques behind her elegant food and easy entertaining style. In Back to Basics, Ina covers things like 10 ways to boost the flavors of your ingredients, to 10 things not to serve at a party. The recipes are short and simple with tips and hints to make things work perfectly. “How easy is that?”

Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook caters to bakers at every level – from beginner to expert. There are over 200 recipes including a variety of cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, and bread. If you’re a novice baker like me, you’ll appreciate the step-by-step how-to photos, equipment glossaries, make-ahead information, and storage techniques that make trying to bake seem a little less daunting. Martha covers pretty much everything in this book – biscuits, muffins, cookies, sweet and savory pies, and even cakes that are elegant enough for formal occasions like showers and weddings. This book is essential to any cook’s library.

I hope you try at least one of these cookbooks. Or maybe you already have some of these in your collection. If you do, then you know why they’re my favorites. Not sure which one to go for first? I’d suggest The Joy of Cooking. It’s super versatile with thousands of recipes for all occasions.

Thanks for reading, have a fabulous Friday, and as Jacques Pepin would say, “Happy Cooking!”

– Michelle

Michelle Miller/That Mrs. Miller is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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  • Reply Grace

    I want all of these!!! Specifically, Chrissie Teigan’s (I think she’s hilarious), and the NY Cookbook. That looks fascinating! Great list!

    July 21, 2017 at 9:19 am
    • Reply thatmrsmiller

      Chrissy is my spirit animal!! I love her. The cookbook is great and her hilarious personality is all throughout the book.

      July 21, 2017 at 9:23 am
  • Reply Laura

    The Better Homes and Garden cookbook is my go-to (and always has been). I have my own updated version and my Grandma’s. Such a great cookbook list – I love Ree and want to be friends with her 🙂 That New York cookbook sounds awesome!!

    July 22, 2017 at 9:57 pm
    • Reply thatmrsmiller

      To be honest, Rhee kinda gets on my nerves a little (lol) but her recipes are so good! I just want to be BFF’s with Chrissy Teigen!

      July 22, 2017 at 10:15 pm

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