Quick Summary: This article on the best cookbooks is based on the recommendations of culinary and pastry chefs. Their favorite cookbooks range from Plant based recipes, variety of desserts to flavorful Indian cuisine.

Cookbooks are a collection of recipes, instructions, and information about the preparation and serving of foods. A cookbook is also a journal of the fine art of cooking. Some people call cooking art and some a science.

Many cookbooks have been written by amateur and professional chefs and cooking schools. Some are bestsellers, some hidden treasures, and some from our very own kitchens passed down generations.

The story behind the dishes and the reason the author chose to write that recipe into their book brings a cookbook to life. Sometimes a good cookbook doesn’t even need to have pictures because good cookbook authors can describe a dish so realistically that it inspires you to cook.

Hoppingo approached a few culinary and Pastry chefs to find out their favorite and most recommended cookbooks and we compiled them together for you. Hope this helps you decide which one to open next in your kitchen.

A cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of past cooks, the advice of present cooks and the wisdom of cookbook writers. Click To Tweet

We spoke to Chef Dhruv Nijhawan of The Prodigal Farms in Noida, to find out which cookbooks he would recommend and these are his recommendations,

1. Plantlab by Matthew Kenne.


Matthew Kenney is an American celebrity chef, entrepreneur, author, and educator specializing in plant-based cuisine. He is the author of 12 cookbooks, with over 40 vegan restaurants and storefronts to his brand name and founder of a plant-based diet education business.

Plantlab will help home cooks enhance their skills to create beautifully prepared, delicious plant-based foods in their own kitchens. This book has a modern and creative approach that amps -up your skills as you go through the 100+ recipes of root purees, soups, kale polenta, and pizza.

Matthew explores his interest in nutrition and emphasizes the use of organic and unprocessed ingredients to achieve healthy and flavorful cuisine. Ken­ney regularly lectures on the subject of food and health, especially plant-based cuisine, including two highly viewed TEDx talks on the topic.

Matthew is extremely creative and wants to create plant-based versions of every cuisine. If you’re a chef looking to learn more about plant-based cuisine, you must read this book.


2. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page.


The Vegetarian Flavor Bible has been ranked as one of the five best cookbooks of 2014. Karen has included a cheat sheet that substitutes and suggests different plant-based foods for animal food in this book. Some of these are absolutely ingenious.

This creative cookbook is based on insights of leading American chefs suggesting a vegetarian or vegan diet for maximizing flavor which is usually camouflaged by meat-based stocks or butter and cream.

This book provides an A-Z  listing of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds cross-referenced with the herbs, spices, and other seasonings that will further enhance their flavor. Resulting in thousands of recommended pairings. It will empower you to create healthy and flavourful food in your own kitchen.


3. Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Porkish


Flour Water Salt Yeast is more than just a collection of recipes for bread and pizza—it also offers a complete baking guide, with a detailed explanation of the tools and techniques that set artisan bread apart. The book includes instructions on baker’s percentages. There is advice for managing ingredients ratios to create custom dough’s. There is also an entire chapter on the levain-making process, Flour Water Salt Yeast is an indispensable resource for bakers who want to make their daily bread remarkable bread.

Whether you are a beginner or a serious baker, Flour Water Salt Yeast has a recipe that suits your skill level and time constraints. Forkish’s guide to making a levain starter with only flour and water will thrill you by the delicious complexity of your naturally leavened bread. Pizza lovers can experiment with a variety of pizza doughs and sauces. You can watch Ken Porkish here.


4. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat.

Samin Nosrat is a cook, teacher, and author of the New York Times Bestseller Salt Fat Acid Heat. She is an Eat columnist at The New York Times Magazine and the host and an executive producer of the Netflix original documentary series based on her book.

Salt Fat Acid Heat is an energetic new approach to cooking by Chef Samin Nosrat using her radical, yet simple, fundamentals. Master the use of just four elements—Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food, and anything you cook will be delicious.

By explaining the how’s and why’s of good cooking, Salt Fat Acid Heat will help you be innovative in the kitchen and cook scrumptious meals with any ingredients, anywhere and at any time.

Salt Fat Acid Heat immediately encourages home and professional chefs to be innovative. With charming narrative, illustrated pages, and an easy approach to kitchen science, Samin exposes the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Refer to the 100 recipes and dozens of variations to make bright, balanced vinaigrette’s, perfectly caramelized roast vegetables, tender braised meats, and light flaky pastry doughs. Watch Samina’s talk on the “Holy Grail” elements of cooking.

Chef Dhruv Nijhawan on his recommended cookbooks,


Bake to Nourish, Bake to Celebrate, Bake for Love

To a non-baker, desserts can be the hardest skill to acquire. Baking relies on precise measurement, leave out some of the baking powder and you can turn your cake into a brick.

Hoppingo got recommendations for dessert cookbooks from Chef Prachi Jindal, a home baker who has been making desserts for 13 years. These are the cookbooks she recommends,

1. The Chocolate and Coffee Bible by Catherine Atkinson, Christine McFadden, Christine France.


This is the complete book on chocolate and coffee, with a compilation of amazing recipes. It has everything about chocolate and coffee: how to choose them, how to drink them and how to make delicious cakes, desserts, brownies, and other treats. It’s a celebration of the love for coffee and chocolate.

This is the ultimate bible for chocolate and coffee lovers everywhere with 300 delightful recipes and over 1300 photographs and step-by-step instructions.

The first part of the book tells the story of the cocoa bean. From its introduction by the Maya to European explorers in the sixteenth century until it emerged as today’s universally desired confection. There is information about different types of chocolates and how chocolate is made. And a catalog of the finest chocolate confectionery around the world.

More importantly, there is a collection of over 200 of the most amazing chocolate recipes ever invented. Including Death by Chocolate, Mississippi Mud Pie, Black Forest Gateau and more.

The second section of the book tells us the story of the coffee bean. The social and cultural impact of coffee through history. A global tour covers the wonderful range of coffee beans grown today. Explaining how the bean is harvested, processed, sorted, graded and tasted. With comprehensive advice on coffee brewing accessories. How to grind and make the perfect cup of coffee. Over 100 coffee desserts and cakes are included, including Tiramisu, Mocha Sponge Cake and Cappuccino Torte.

2. Passion For Baking by Marcy Goldman


Baking for over 20 years, Marcy Goldman is a professional pastry chef, master baker and award-winning author. She approaches every cake, every cookie and every crumb with passion and enthusiasm. For Marcy, baking satisfies “a life-long desire to create, nurture, nourish and give.” And she shares that desire with baking enthusiasts in her cookbook, A Passion For Baking. “This book is my personal and professional harvest of all my baking seasons to date. It is about both what to bake and how to bake it better”, she says.

In engaging and compelling writing, Marcy shares great recipes and a host of ground-breaking methods and tricks that make unique recipes streamlined. Known as the “maverick baker,” Marcy marries classic baking techniques with contemporary, more practical and easier techniques. Perfect recipes ready in no time with perfect results. Over 150 photos that showcase finished masterpiece recipes and her unique techniques.

A Passion For Baking is a must-have for baking enthusiasts and those new to perfect measuring.  Marcy provides holiday recipes for both old and new favorites.

Marcy maintains that baking is more than a craft. To her, it is a “sensory bouquet of scents, sights, sounds and textures just waiting to be experienced”.

The smells, the palpable experience, the amazing  results! There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly-baked bread, and biscotti coming from the oven. Discover the full spectrum of great baking found in Marcy Goldman’s best-selling A Passion for Baking.

Each month, there’s a whole new batch of new, innovative, and original recipes created by her on her website www.Betterbaking.com.


3. The Craft Of Baking by Karen Demasco


The Craft of Baking is designed to help home bakers think innovatively and enhance their depositories with new and refreshing combinations. Karen refers to baking as a craft because it’s about making things with care using artistic skill, ingenuity and the purest ingredients. Honing a craft requires commitment and passion. To excel at the craft of baking means being inventive and innovative while retaining a recipe’s original entirety. 

She is known for a simple approach, honing traditional recipes and home baking techniques to create new modern-day treats. The recipes you find in this book will feel familiar to you because of their simple techniques and straightforward ingredients. At the same time, you’ll notice the uniqueness with which those ingredients are used or combined. The Craft of Baking is a book that satisfies the baker in you. 

Karen’s ingenuity is unlimited. Using the bounty of the seasons as inspiration and Karen’s clear instructions, you will find it easy to be creative. All types of sweets, from muffins to pies. From cakes to ice creams and custards, are her mediums for exploring flavors. Her simple techniques, unique combinations, and inventive ideas, will change the way you bake. It will blossom your creativity into creating amazing, mouth-watering desserts.


4. Betty Crockers Cookbook by Betty Crocker



Many will be surprised to know that Betty Crocker isn’t actually a real person. She is the invention of an advertising campaign developed by a flour milling company called General Mills. The character was developed to give a personalized response to consumer product questions. The name Betty was selected because it was seen as a common American name.

With its fresh new design for 2000, Betty Crocker’s Cookbook will be everyone’s favorite in the kitchen. It is a must-have book for all cooks looking for new ideas. The book has more than 950 recipes. Recipes range from appetizers to desserts, so there’s at least one for everyone.

Let Betty Crocker be in the kitchen with you to create mouth-watering recipes, to ensure that you always cook delicious food. Follow the easy Step-by-step  instructions to guide you through new techniques.


5. The Big Book of Treats by Pooja Dhingra


Pooja Dhingra also called the Macaron queen of India, opened India’s first macaron store. She is the owner of bakery chain Le15 Patisserie that specializes in macarons and a host of french desserts. Trained at the prestigious French Culinary school, ‘Le Cordon Bleu’. She is presently the owner and executive chef of ‘Le 15 Patisserie’ and studio 15.  She also conducts cooking and baking workshops. Along with a celebrity clientele list, she has also made it to the Forbes’s ’30 under 30 entrepreneur list’.

The Big Book of Treats is Pooja’s gift to Indian home bakers. It teaches you how to make everything from cupcakes to brownies and birthday cakes. These delicious recipes will bring all sorts of baked goodies including macarons into your own kitchen.

It helps the reader understand commonly used ingredients, equipment, and techniques. With lots of interesting tips, for instance, the distinction between baking soda and baking powder along with a conversion table.

She makes relatively easy desserts using ingredients that can be found at any corner shop.

The Big Book of Treats, won second place at the Gourmand World Cookbook Award.

Listen to No Sugar Coat with Pooja Dhingra on Amazon.

6. Bake with Shivesh by Shivesh Bhatia


In Bake with Shivesh, the baker reveals elementry tips on food styling. These can be easily followed in your kitchen, with tools you already own. Furthermore, he talks about his favorite styling techniques and what works or what doesn’t on different social media platforms. This is a book for everyone looking to elevate the way they present food. It will help boost their confidence to make food look as good as it tastes.

His blog caters to people who’d like to bake at home from scratch and experiment in their kitchens. Giving them fancy techniques and equipment will only be intimidating. His attempt is to make baking doable and accessible. Shivesh has ardent followers on his blog and Instagram.

Shivesh Bhatia has over 200k followers and his own channel on YouTube, making him one of the most popular food bloggers in the country. Shivesh has created content for several brands including Cadbury’s, Epigamia and Dabur.  His website https://bakewithshivesh.com/ has a collection of his recipes and hacks.


Pastry Chef Prachi Jindal on her recommended cookbooks.


Variety is The Spice Of Life

Hoppingo approached Chef Ruchit Harneja, a Chef at an Indian restaurant called Musaafir in Houston. According to him, Chefs are an amalgamation of artist/scientist/doctor/nutritionist/hygienist and a lot more.

He says, spices are the soul of Indian cooking and he recommends this spicy cookbook.

  1. The Flavour of Spice by Marryam H. Reshii.


Marryam H. Reshii has had a neverending passion for spices as she has traveled across various countries, crushing, grinding, frying and tasting. Just to understand every facet of these outstanding ingredients.

The result is The Flavour of Spice, a zesty narrative that brings together stories about the origins of spices and how they evolved in the cuisines we know and love. She also shares interesting narratives from encounters with plantation owners and spice merchants, and beloved family recipes from chefs and home cooks.

She traveled from Guntur, India’s chili capital, to the foothills of Sri Lanka in search of ‘true’ cinnamon. From the hillsides of Sikkim where black cardamom thrives to the saffron markets in the holy city of Mashhad, Iran. This heady account pulsates with exciting tales of travel and discovery. Hence shows an infectious love for the ingredients that add so much punch to our cuisines.

Let’s hear Chef Ruchit talk about spices,


Food Fun Facts

1. Pound cake got its name from its recipe as the early recipes of pound cake called for one pound of butter, one pound of eggs, and one pound of sugar.

2. Nutmeg is a hallucinogen. If you ingest nutmeg in large doses, it works like a hallucinogen due to a natural compound called myristicin.

3. Crackers have holes in them for a reason. As they prevent air bubbles from ruining the product while baking.

4. White chocolate isn’t chocolate. It’s really just a mixture of sugar, milk, vanilla, lecithin, and cocoa butter.

5. One in four hazelnuts ends up in Nutella.



Author: Aparna Malhotra

Aparna is an avid reader, a passionate cook, a coffee aficionado and a musicophile. On most days you can find her appreciating the wonder of nature, nurturing her plants, lost in the deep blue sky, watching the sunset, being at one with the cycle of life.