Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big cookbook test 2021. Here we present all the cookbooks we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best cookbooks for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy cookbooks.




Summary

  • Cookbook sales are steadily increasing. In recent years, double-digit sales gains have been achieved.
  • Cookbooks contain cooking tips for every day and every occasion. In the process, the desire to cook can be awakened and a healthier and more conscious lifestyle can be implemented.
  • Cookbooks can serve as a casual recipe collection or provide comprehensive basic knowledge for budding amateur cooks.

The Best Cookbook: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying cookbooks

Don't feel like cooking? Then it's time for a breath of fresh air at the cooker. Cookbooks inspire you to try out new recipe ideas, get to know the cuisine of exotic countries or bring back long-forgotten German dishes.

Cookbooks can help you when you don't feel like cooking or lack the inspiration for new creations. (Image source: unsplash.com / Dan Gold)

There is a wide range of cookbooks available. This guide will help you find the right cookbook and discover or revive your passion for cooking.

Why should I cook for myself?

What's for dinner today? If your path then leads you to the freezer or to the snack bar on the corner, then you don't yet know the advantages of cooking your own meals. Food simply tastes better when you cook it yourself.

Good cookbooks can help you get over the initial hurdles. They not only contain recipes, but also explain various cooking techniques and individual steps that are important during preparation. Cooking for yourself means having certainty about the ingredients used.

This is particularly valuable in today's world and a decisive step towards living more consciously. The variety of cookbooks awakens the desire to eat. So how about trying out recipes yourself and inviting friends over for a tasting instead of visiting an expensive restaurant. Not only will you gain confidence, but you'll also save money.

What recipes should the cookbook contain?

Not all cookbooks are the same. There is a wide variety of different themed cookbooks. You can do justice to your own ideas or find a suitable gift idea for an amateur chef friend. What does cooking actually mean to you? First ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I like to cook elaborate and extensive menus?
  • Do I prefer to cook quick and inexpensive dishes?
  • Do I prefer to cook classic and tried-and-tested dishes?
  • Do I want to try out new recipes?
  • Do I have a preference for the cuisine of a particular country?

If you know what you like to cook, you will quickly find the right cookbook. If, on the other hand, you are unsure and looking for a cookbook for general inspiration, basic cookbooks are the best choice. They present a range of tried-and-tested dishes.

What purpose should the new cookbook serve?

For a passionate cook, it would make no sense to buy a cookbook that, in addition to the recipe section, also has a theoretical section and provides descriptions and explanations there that the cook has mastered for years.

If you are familiar with the common terms and abbreviations, you can trust a cookbook that only has a recipe section.

If cooking techniques such as deglazing, roasting, straining, breading, marinating or poaching are to be explained, an informative school cookbook is the better choice.

How should a cookbook be structured?

A classic cookbook should have the following structure:

  • Product knowledge
  • Cooking techniques
  • Equipment
  • Illustration of the dishes
  • Recipe section
  • Overview article
Contents Explanation
Introduction A short introduction can whet the appetite for the dish, Important for the reader is the time needed to prepare and cook the dish.
List of ingredients The ingredients should be listed clearly. The information should be clear and understandable., Any abbreviations should be explained at the beginning or end of the book.
Shopping list A shopping list is particularly practical and makes meal planning easier., It is particularly useful for products that are difficult to find or expensive if possible alternatives are pointed out.
Preparation The preparation of the food should be presented clearly and in individual bullet points., Using continuous text here looks confusing.
Background knowledge Finally or as an introduction, the user can be provided with background information on the dish., The origin and distribution of the dishes and regional differences can be dealt with., This is particularly useful for cookery books that deal with the cuisine of foreign countries and cultures.

A classic cookbook provides you with extensive background knowledge. The individual ingredients are described in detail in the product information section. An introduction to cooking includes descriptions of the individual cooking techniques and the necessary equipment. The recipe section should be clearly laid out.

Appealing photos that clarify the individual preparation steps and depict the finished dish in an appealing way enhance every cookbook and arouse the desire to cook the dish immediately.

Do I want to cook or bake?

If you answer this question for yourself, it will quickly become clear whether you need to buy a cookbook or a baking book. For versatile hobby cooks, combined cookery and baking books are also a good idea.

What are my eating habits?

An ordinary cookbook is geared to normal eating habits. No consideration is given to certain preferences or restrictions. If you follow a certain diet, the market offers the corresponding cookbooks. This applies, for example:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Low carb diet
  • Paleo
  • Clean Eating
  • Raw food
  • sugar-free life

These are so-called niche products, which are published in correspondingly smaller editions and find more buyers.

Do I have experience in working with cookbooks?

You need to understand how to work with cookbooks. When you hold your first cookbook in your hand, you may be a bit indecisive when leafing through it.

A good structure makes it easier to use. For example, colours can be used to distinguish the theoretical part from the recipe part.

More inexperienced cookbook users will find help in the detailed recipe information, the indication of the necessary working time and the calories contained.

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Decision: What types of cookbooks are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between three different types of cookbooks:

  • Cookbooks with home cooking
  • vegetarian cookbooks
  • vegan cookbooks
  • LowCarb cookbooks

What distinguishes cookbooks with home cooking and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

These cookbooks are widespread. The range is correspondingly extensive. Almost every household has a cookbook that describes hearty, traditional German cuisine. Meat and fish play a major role.

Advantages
  • Large range
  • ingredients easy to obtain
  • recipes easy to understand
Disadvantages
  • Traditional recipes
  • Many recipes are similar
  • Health value is less in focus

Cooking is done with regional ingredients. The recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients are inexpensive to buy.

What distinguishes vegetarian cookbooks and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Vegetarian cookbooks are selling more and more. About eleven percent of all Germans are vegetarians. But the cookbooks are also bought by meat eaters who like to try out new recipes and generally want to live healthier and more consciously.

Advantages
  • Appealing selection
  • Varied recipes
  • Healthy cuisine
Disadvantages
  • No recipes with meat included
  • No recipes with fish included

What distinguishes vegan cookbooks and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Vegan cookbooks make up a comparatively small share of cookbook production. In Germany, slightly more than one percent of the population lives vegan. Since the recipes completely dispense with animal products, the general interest in them is rather low.

Advantages
  • Varied recipes
  • Opportunity to try new things
  • Healthy ingredients
Disadvantages
  • Complete renunciation of animal ingredients
  • Low circulation
  • Niche product for advocates of vegan nutrition

What distinguishes LowCarb cookbooks and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

LowCarb is a diet trend that was born in the USA and is becoming increasingly popular in Germany. The books are very popular with people who want to lose weight.

Advantages
  • Varied recipes
  • Ideal for those wanting to lose weight
  • Healthy and fresh products
Disadvantages
  • Danger of nutritional deficits
  • High protein content

The recipes are oriented towards reducing carbohydrates to a large extent and focusing on protein-rich foods instead.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate cookbooks

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate cookbooks. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular cookbook is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Content
  • Appearance
  • Claim
  • Structure

Content

Every book is first evaluated according to its content. This is difficult to do with a novel.

A cookbook can easily be assigned to the corresponding genre.

Cookbooks correspond to the most diverse culinary directions. From the classic rustic cookbook, which revives the recipes from grandmother's times, to the recipe collection of the famous star chef, everything is represented on the market.

For a good cookbook, it is important that the instructions are easy to follow and that the dishes are simple and uncomplicated to cook. Regional ingredients that are easy to obtain and not overpriced are an advantage.

Appearance

It is said that some people choose their books to match their living room furnishings. However, other priorities apply to cookbooks. It is important that the recipes are presented in an appealing way. The book should be handy and have a good overview. Glossy paper and high-quality photos enhance every cookbook accordingly.

Demand

It is up to you to decide what you want from your new cookbook. Do you want to learn something as an inexperienced layman or simply be inspired as a hobby cook? Cookbooks have a language and orientation adapted to the respective target group. Therefore, the right cookbook can be found for every requirement.

Structure

Cookbooks belong to the category of non-fiction books and should therefore impart knowledge. This is best achieved if the books follow a certain structure that is easy to follow.

Cookbook structure structure in detail
Classical part naming of ingredients, explanation of cooking techniques, description of cooking utensils, recipe part
Informative part history of cooking culture, explaining basic terms, explaining ingredients of food, naming possible allergens in food, dealing with certain diets

Anyone who wants to buy a pure recipe book will not be impressed by this division and will choose a rather sober cookbook. Before buying, take a look at the book, then it will quickly become clear whether the structure corresponds to your own ideas and whether you can work well with the cookbook.

Facts worth knowing about cookbooks

There are countless cookbooks on the market. Before you buy one, you need to think about a few things. Our guide has already prepared you for the selection of your new cookbook. Now here is some more interesting information that will not only appeal to amateur cooks.

How long have cookbooks been around?

Actually, the word cookbook dates back to antiquity. At that time, the boundaries between nutrition and medicine were less narrowly drawn. The oldest cookbooks come from the Orient. In the "Book of Rites", published around 300 BC, various dishes are described in detail. You can still find the "Eight Delicacies" on the menu in Chinese restaurants today.

Why are cookbooks so popular?

Cooking is a popular hobby and for a long time now it has not only been women who stand behind the cooker and stir in pots and pans. Anyone who hasn't yet acquired a taste for it will be on the lookout for a cookbook by their favourite celebrity chef after watching the next live cooking show on TV at the latest. Cooking means creativity and can always be reinvented. Cookbooks provide the necessary impulses and indirectly ensure that hobby cooks never get bored.

What recipes are there?

Each cookbook is divided into different categories. There you will find recipes for:

  • Starters
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Meat dishes
  • Fish dishes
  • Rice dishes
  • Potato dishes
  • Pasta dishes
  • Casseroles
  • Desserts

If you specialise in certain dishes, you will also find cookbooks that deal only with fish dishes, with casseroles, with soups, with pasta dishes or with game dishes.

What are the best-known historical cookbooks?

The work "On the Art of Cookery" has survived from Roman antiquity. The text was written in the 3rd century. Caelius Apicius is named as the author. This seems to be a collective term for gourmets living in Rome at the time.

Cookbooks have been around for a long time, and are now experiencing a revival and increased use. (Image source: pixabay.com / RitaE)

A special feature were the countless sauce recipes. Out of about 400 recipes, about 100 were dedicated to sauces alone. The book is preserved in a Carolingian manuscript from the 9th century. A copy is preserved in the Vatican library. The form of the recipes is rather unusual for modern times. The short treatises presuppose an understanding of cooking and limit themselves to the essentials. For example, the recommendations for pork liver say: pepper, thyme, lovage, garum, wine in moderation and oil.

Photo source: flickr.com / Heather Ford

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