Our picks for best cookbooks of 2020

26November 2020

This year, we’re all cooking at home a lot more. For this holiday shopping season, consider these picks for cookbooks that came out this year either for giving as a gift for that home cook in your life — or, add it to your own collection.

‘The Big Book of Instant Pot Recipes’

Over the years, I’ve tested out recipes from dozens from the newest multi-cooker and Instant Pot cookbooks for our annual Pioneer Press installment of best multi-cooker recipes. My favorite of those cookbooks this year — and possibly of all time — is this one by Kristy Bernardo, Emily Sunwell-Vidaurri, Amy Rains and Stefanie Bundalo. Recipes cover a wide range, including some standout ones I’ve tested so far: Easy Cabbage Rolls, Parmesan-Lemon Chicken Risotto and Chicken Wings — the best and easiest wings recipe ever in my opinion. The recipes are easy to follow and you get a lot of content in this whopping 500-plus-page book. This cookbook now has a permanent home on my cookbook shelf and it should for that multi cooker fanatic in your life too.

(Page Street Publishing Co., $30; pagestreetpublishing.com)

 

‘Land of 10,000 Plates’

Released last month in time for the holidays, Patrice M. Johnson explores Minnesota fare and food rituals while transporting us to meat-raffle, fish-fry, pizza farm and booya settings throughout the state. With 100 recipes, it’s safe to say lots of regional cuisine is covered. They include long-standing as well as newer food traditions, a rich story told of the state’s culinary journey. Recipes include SPAM Lefse Pizza, Jell-O Salad and Hmong Hotdish. And if you’re wondering if there’s a Tater Tot Hotdish recipe in there the answer is: You betcha!

(Minnesota Historical Society Press, $24.95; mnhspress.org)

 

‘Foolproof Fish’

Anything from America’s Test Kitchen is a go-to for well-tested recipes that will turn out right. Now, the television and cookbook powerhouse has come out with a collection dedicated to fish. Not only does the book have range, from a simple poached or baked fish perfect for a weeknight dinner, it inspires you to want to tackle things that might otherwise intimidate you, such as getting the frying technique down for fish and chips or making a roux for gumbo. The boost of confidence in cooking fish that this book gives even has me thinking I can tackle the grilled oysters on page 280 next. And there are some shortcuts that I’m loving such as a boneless oven version of steamed fish with ginger and scallions that makes the dish easier to make and serve since it does away with a whole fish and the use of a steamer basket. An essential for fish lovers.

(Penguin Random House; $35; americastestkitchen.com

 

‘Deep Flavors: A Celebration of Recipes for Foodies in a Kosher Style’

It’s clear Kenneth M. Horwitz has poured his heart into this book, which is not just a cookbook but an anthology that makes for great reading. With a wide range of recipes prepared in a kosher kitchen, the 330-plus book covers a lot of ground — traditional Jewish, regional American, reinterpreted international, vegetarian cuisine and beyond. Appetizers, main courses and desserts across many cultures are all in here, as are tips ranging from how to source ingredients to proper preparation. And last but not least, the collection includes Horwitz’s Texas State Fair Blue Ribbon-winning Spinach/Mushroom Lasagna. A prized cookbook indeed.

(Inspire on Purpose Publishing; $39.95; deepflavorscookbook.com)

 

‘The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook’

This book by Ashley Craft that just hit the market this month runs part cookbook, part coffee table book in my eyes. It’s fun to browse through the recipes and reminisce about the famous foods at the Disney theme parks. To me, it brings back cherished memories of heading to Disney World for spring break with my best friend growing up and her family (hi to the McGinley family!) every year. It’s up to you whether you have the ambition to take on the ingredients and techniques for a classic Dole Whip, Mickey Pretzels, blue milk from Star Wars land, Jack Jack’s Cookie Num Nums from Pixar Pier and other 100-Disney inspired recipes in this book.

(Simon & Schuster’s Adams Media, $21.99; simonandschuster.com/books/The-Unofficial-Disney-Parks-Cookbook)

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