Must-Have Cookbooks by Women Chefs to Empower You in the Kitchen
Claire Saffitz is a pastry chef and food writer who rose to fame as a host and recipe developer for Bon Appétit's YouTube channel. Her cookbook, Dessert Person, is a celebration of all things sweet. Her newest book, What's for Dessert, broadens the dessert options!
Why we like it: Saffitz's writing and recipes are known for their clarity and approachability, and she has a talent for breaking down complex culinary concepts in a way that's easy for anyone to understand. As she once said, "I want people to feel empowered. I want them to feel like they can do it, that they can make something that's delicious and beautiful and satisfying."
Meera Sodha is known for her innovative and fresh approach to vegetarian cooking. Her cookbook Fresh India is a vibrant collection of recipes that celebrate the diversity of Indian dishes, but with a modern twist of using seasonal vegetables. It's a must-have for anyone who loves veggies.
Why we like it: Sodha is the favorite at Gneiss Spice. She uses tons of spices, and recipes are characterized by simplicity, flavor, and accessibility. Whether you're a seasoned home cook or just starting out, her recipes are easy to follow and produce high quality results. Sodha's work is a testament to the power of food to bring people together and create joy in the kitchen.
"Cooking should be fun, easy, and not stressful. It's about using fresh ingredients, being creative, and enjoying the process." — Meera Sodha
Melissa Clark is a well-known cookbook author and food writer, with a reputation for creating delicious, easy-to-make recipes that are perfect for busy weeknights. With over 40 cookbooks to her name, Clark has become one of the most trusted voices in the food world. Clark's recent cookbook is Dinner in One, which is focused on meals that can be made in a single pot, pan, or skillet.
Why we like it: Dinner in One is perfect for anyone who wants to make a tasty meal without spending hours in the kitchen. As a mom of three young kids, I've turned to this cookbook the most this winter. It features everyday recipes from pasta to soups to stir-fries.
"Cooking is about being creative and putting your own spin on things. It's about having fun and enjoying the process as much as the end result." — Melissa Clark
NICOLE A. TAYLOR
Nicole A. Taylor puts jubilation on the main stage with her cookbook, Watermelon & Red Birds, the very first cookbook to celebrate Juneteenth. As a master storyteller and cook, she bridges the traditional African-American table and 21st-century flavors in stories and recipes. Nicole synthesizes all the places we’ve been, all the people we have come from, all the people we have become, and all the culinary ideas we have embraced.
Why we like it: We are most excited about this book! Anyone can look up a recipe online. But cookbooks help us to discover things we didn't know we wanted to cook! Watermelon & Red Birds is a delightful mix of tradition and celebration and wholly unique. Plus, there is a drinks section, and she blends her own spice mixes!
Samin Nosrat is a chef and educator who is known for her innovative approach to teaching home cooks. Her cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is an essential guide for building confidence in the kitchen. The book is structured around the four essential elements of good cooking: salt, fat, acid, and heat. Nosrat explores each of these elements in detail, explaining how they work together to create balance and flavor in a dish.
Why we like it: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat has an empowering message to home cooks, especially women. In a food industry that is often dominated by men, Nosrat's book is a refreshing reminder that anyone can be a great cook, regardless of their gender or background. It celebrates the power and creativity of home cooking, and encourages readers to trust their instincts and embrace their unique cooking style. Read it cover to cover!
"Women have always been great cooks, but the patriarchy has convinced us otherwise. It’s time to unlearn that and start telling our own stories in the kitchen." — Samin Nosrat
Toni Tipton-Martin has made it her mission to celebrate the rich history of Black foodways in America. Tipton-Martin's cookbook Jubilee is a landmark work that celebrates the contributions of Black cooks and chefs to American cuisine and includes more than 100 recipes from two centuries of African American cooking,
Why we like it: In her introduction, she tells us to “engage all of your senses the way my ancestors did...Taste and adjust seasoning according to your own preferences. These skills, often mischaracterized as a mythicized natural-born talent or a culinary ‘mystique,’ are acquired by observation and practice and intelligence. As you are guided by your senses, you will feel empowered by the skills you have mastered.” May we all feel so empowered in the kitchen, and may this book connect us to the history of American cooking.
"Black cooks and food writers have been exploring and refining the rich culinary traditions of this country for centuries, but their contributions have been consistently and purposely erased from the mainstream narrative." — Toni Tipton-Martin
Yossy Arefi is a recipe developer and food stylist who created the delightful book Snacking Cakes which celebrates the simplicity and joy of homemade cakes. The book features 50 recipes for easy-to-make, one-bowl cakes that are perfect for snacking or sharing with friends and family.
Why we like it: One bowl cakes? No stand mixer? Cakes that are meant to be eaten anytime and easy enough for my seven year old to make? Yes please! Each recipe has recommended variations for glazes or frostings as well as alternative sizes. It's truly a "choose-you-own-adventure" cookbook.
Anne-Marie Bonneau has learned that "zero-waste" is above all an intention, not a hard-and-fast rule. Because, while one person eliminating all their waste is great, if thousands of people do 20 percent better it will have a much bigger impact on the planet. The good news is you likely already have all the tools you need to begin to create your own change at home, especially in the kitchen. And she'll show you how in her book, The Zero-Waste Chef.
Why we like it: We have long followed The Zero Waste Chef on social media. She practices what she preaches, except she is not preachy at all—and that's why we really like her and this book. Anne-Marie makes us excited to do better!
"We don't need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions doing it imperfectly." — Anne-Marie Bonneau