Best cookbooks of 2021 by the experts

Who knows cookbooks better than the owners of specialist cookbook stores? They stock and sell thousands of cookbooks and because their stores are focused on food and drink books, they are true experts. They read the books, cook from them and then share their knowledge with their customers. When shopping for cookbook gifts this holiday season, please think about supporting one of these stores – don’t forget most of them also do online orders and many offer gift certificates.

We asked for favorite cookbooks of 2021 lists from the cookbook stores that feature in our directory. Some of the books listed were published in 2020 in their country of origin but in 2021 in the bookstore’s country. All these lists will be included in our Best of the Best list, which is being unveiled shortly.


Omnivore Books (San Francisco) – owner Celia Sack 

Kitchen Arts & Letters (New York) – owner Matt Sartwell

Matt also compiled lists of 10 less well-known new books and 9 great new food reads.

Book Larder (Seattle) – owner Lara Hamilton

Powell’s City of Books (Portland) – cookbook buyer Tracey T.

Now Serving (Los Angeles) – owner Ken Concepcion

Bold Fork Books (Washington DC) – owner Clementine Thomas


Appetite for Books (Montreal)owner Jonathan Cheung

The Cookbook Co. Cooks (Calgary)owner Gail Norton


cookbookbake (Brighton)owner Julie Haylett


De Kookboekhandel (Amsterdam) – owner Jonah Freud

Cook + Book (Netherlands) – owner Riejanne Schimmel

Goldhahn und Sampson (Berlin) – co-owner Andreas Klöckner

Kogebogeriet (Copenhagen) – co-owner Bitten Nielsen


Scrumptious Reads (Brisbane) – owner Julie Tjiandra

Books for Cooks (Melbourne) – owner Tim White


Cook the Books (Auckland) – owner Felicity Driscoll

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  • FJT  on  December 22, 2021

    Links to Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love seem to connect to Ottolenghi’s previous book, Flavour!

    • Jenny  on  December 22, 2021

      They are corrected now. Thank you.

  • Dishesdone  on  December 22, 2021

    Hi! Enjoyed the lists.
    Jew-ish links to Beverages of Oaxa

    • Jane  on  December 22, 2021

      I’ve been in too much a rush this year – completely overloaded, so haven’t had time to check all the links. I’ve corrected that one and will check all the rest when I get Best of the Best finished, which is currently all consuming.

      • Jenny  on  December 22, 2021

        I had checked them all after the Ottolenghi link was wrong but somehow missed Jew-ish – just checked them all again. As Jane said we were overloaded. Thank you.

  • gamulholland  on  December 23, 2021

    Thank you for doing all this. It’s a busy time of year— don’t overload yourselves. Speaking as an average user of the site, I’d rather you have a good holiday season. 🙂

    • Jane  on  December 23, 2021

      That is so sweet of you – I was really touched by this. In fact Jenny and I decided that we would delay the Best of the Best post until next week as neither of us had done any Christmas baking and it was almost Christmas Eve. Let the fun begin!

  • MollyB  on  December 29, 2021

    What’s going on with all the books with titles and authors in all lower-case letters? I just browsed through a number of the links above, and was surprised at the number of covers where the choice of font and design (and lack of correct capitalization) totally turned me off. I am so not a fan of the proliferation of retro-80s photography and design.

    That said, I love all these lists! “To Asia with Love” and “Simply Julia” are two of my favorites from 2021, and I just got “Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love,” and it looks great, too.

    Thanks for pulling all this together! There are some books I missed that I look forward to checking out.

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