The 10 Best Cookbooks to Give Your Grad
Help your graduating high school or college student master the kitchen with our top cookbook picks for beginner, intermediate and advanced cooks.
So you need a gift idea. Actually, you needed it yesterday. Besides a Target gift card (and yes, that will always be a great gift), you wonder: What could a high school or college grad want-or need?
Fortunately, EatingWell's editors are ready and waiting with our favorite grad gift idea: a cookbook! After an informal staff survey, we've pulled together this list of the best cookbooks to give graduates at every level of cooking ability, from can't-even-use-a-microwave to budding chef.
The Best Cookbooks to Give Beginners
1. How to Cook Everything: The Basics by Mark Bittman
Your grad will get: 185 recipes with 1,000 teaching photos illustrating every technique and recipe, from cracking an egg to using pasta water. Recipes include salads, soups, sides, meats, fish, poultry and desserts. (Editor's tip: Tell them to try Bittman's blueberry muffin recipe.) $20, amazon.com
2. Cook Like a Pro by Ina Garten
Your grad will get: Ina Garten's new guide to easy, delicious weeknight recipes, packed with insights on mastering the basics-from prepping to cooking to serving. She also shares dozens of fun tips for entertaining, including how to set up a great bar. $21, amazon.com
3. EatingWell Vegetables: The Essential Reference by the Editors of EatingWell
Your grad will get: Our editors' comprehensive volume on vegetables-organized alphabetically by vegetable and spanning 100 common and less common ones, from arugula to yucca. This (nonvegetarian) cookbook includes 250 easy recipes, plus nutrition and shopping notes so your grad will be inspired to #eatmoreveg. $22, amazon.com
Ideal Cookbooks to Give Intermediate Cooks
4. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat
Your grad will get: Schooling in Nosrat's revolutionary philosophy: master the use of four elements-salt, fat, acid and heat-and anything you cook will be delicious. Plus, 100 essential recipes like a bright, balanced vinaigrette, perfectly caramelized roasted vegetables and tender braised meat. $23, amazon.com
5. Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook by Elisabeth Prueitt
Your grad will get: The best baking recipes from Prueitt-co-founder of San Francisco's famous Tartine Bakery. But not everything is baked; her collection of 200 recipes spans every meal (and, of course, dessert). Learn how to make everything from the best gluten-free pancakes (and 45 more gluten-free options) to foolproof salmon and roast chicken. $27, amazon.com
6. Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking by Jessica Koslow
Your grad will get: 100 healthy, seasonal recipes from Koslow (owner of LA's popular restaurant Sqirl), organized into seven chapters, each centered on a key ingredient or theme. From classic grilled cheese with tomato coriander jam to blood orange upside-down cake, these well-written recipes ensure that anyone cooking from this book will eat deliciously. $29, amazon.com
A+ Cookbooks to Give Advanced Cooks
7. Dining In by Alison Roman
Your grad will get: A vegetable-forward book with such gorgeous photos, they'll want to leave it out as a coffee-table display. Each of Roman's highly creative recipes-125 in total-comes with a story behind it in her characteristic wry Instagram voice. (Editor's tip: We love her strong opinions, but disagree with her on one point-that avocado doesn't belong on toast!) $20, amazon.com
Get our: Healthy Avocado Toast Recipes
8. Now & Again by Julia Turshen
Your grad will get: 20 creative menu ideas and 125 doable recipes to inspire gatherings, holiday parties and more. They'll especially appreciate Turshen's helpful timelines for throwing the best food-filled parties. And who doesn't need more ideas for reusing leftovers in new and delicious ways? $24, amazon.com
9. Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
Your grad will get: Ottolenghi's latest tips, tricks and 130 recipes featuring his signature Middle Eastern-inspired flavors, including Cauliflower, Pomegranate and Pistachio Salad, Lamb and Feta Meatballs and Braised Eggs with Leeks and Za'atar. Every recipe is simple in that it falls into at least one (and often more than one) of the following categories: can be made in 30 minutes or less, can be made in a single pot, calls for 10 or fewer ingredients, can be made from pantry staples or can be prepared ahead of time. $22, amazon.com
A Classic for All Cooks
10. Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
Your grad will get: One of the most-published (and sold) cookbooks in America-it's been in print continuously since 1936! This classic is just a fun one for anybody to own. With over 4,500 recipes for every meal and more than 1,000 helpful drawings, this book is one you and your grad will enjoy looking through together. (Editor's tip: Hunt for a vintage version online if your grad would appreciate that!) $25, amazon.com
Make It Personal
Once you've picked the perfect cookbook for your grad, get some bonus points for packaging: personalize your gift by wrapping it up with a copy of your favorite recipe (preferably handwritten). And remember that gift card idea? It's a perfect add-on gift to help your grad get all the cookware and must-have kitchen tools he or she will need to start cooking through those new books!