My Favorite Cookbooks – A Baker’s Dozen

Food & Drink General Lifestyle Wellness

My Favorite Cookbooks – A Baker’s Dozen

baker's dozen cookbooks
I Read Cookbooks Like Novels. Above are Some of My Favorites!

Calling all cookbook-aholics! Yes, I admit it. I, Gwen Gottlieb, am a cookbook-aholic.  I love collecting cookbooks. Even though I’m online plenty, searching for recipes, there’s nothing like holding a cookbook in your hands. I read them like novels. I choose most of my cookbooks these days, focusing on healthier recipes from various food/lifestyle plans, such as Keto, Mediterranean, Whole 30, Vegan, Paleo, etc. because we like everythaannnng! 

And that’s just what I’ve given you here—a little bit of everything. With many of us cooking more meals at home these days, I wanted to share some of my favorite cookbooks with you – a baker’s dozen, to be exact. What is a baker’s dozen? It’s 13 instead of 12 – a little extra treat or bonus. 

I have something for everyone on this list. You’ll see. From slightly complicated to quick and easy, you’ll find books I’ve featured before on Instagram, and they are perfect for a shout-out here.

I hope you enjoy reading about these favorites. Bon Appétit!

So let’s get to it.  My Favorite Cookbooks – A Baker’s Dozen

1. Zen and Tonic: Savory and Fresh Cocktails for the Enlightened Drinker

Author: Jules Aron

zen and tonic coktails


I’m kicking off my list with a cocktail book because every good meal deserves a refreshing cocktail. And with holistic health and wellness coach Jules Aron’s book, you’ll be taking your cocktail-making game to the next level. The book Zen and Tonic features unique wholesome recipes that use ingredients from your backyard and local farmer’s market. Learn how to make simple syrups and infusions with superfoods. It’s the perfect excuse to get your drink on while you’re cooking dinner. See the full review here.

2. Easy Everyday Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 125 Delicious Recipes from the Healthiest Lifestyle on the Planet

Author: Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD & Serena Ball, MS, RD

cookbook meditarranean


My go-to cookbook for quick weeknight meals that are anything but bland. All of these 125 recipes come together in 30 minutes or less using easy kitchen hacks and budget-friendly, healthy ingredients like roasted veggies, whole grains, pasta, and more.  Most of the recipes are easily adaptable for gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and vegetarian lifestyles. Greek Zucchini Pita Nachos, Broccoli-Cheese Risotto, Artichoke Cheese Strata, anyone?

3. Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch

Author: Jake Cohen

Jew-ish Cookbook

A modern taken on Jewish food, author Jake Cohen combines the flavors of his Ashkenazi heritage with his husband’s Persian-Iraqi traditions to create unique new flavorful dishes. With recipes like Pumpkin Spice Babka, Matzo Tiramisu, Short Rib Cholent, Iraqi Beet Kubbeh Soup, Roasted Tomato Brisket, and Jake’s Perfect Challah, you won’t be disappointed with this cookbook.  Besides the yummy recipes, Jew-ish is a celebration of vibrant history, blending cultures, and the joy of family. See the full review here. 

4. Buck Naked Kitchen: Whole30 Endorsed: Radiant and Nourishing Recipes to Fuel Your Health Journey

Author: Kirsten Buck

Buck Naked Cookbook

Some of you may know Kirsten as the winner of the Next Whole30 Star. She follows a mostly paleo way of eating, and her recipes follow this lifestyle. This woman knows her stuff. Because of her own health issues, Kirsten adopted a mostly paleo way of eating—gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, healthy fats, no refined sugars—and experienced dramatic weight loss. It’s loaded with delicious recipes like Summer Berry Galette and Moroccan Lamb Stew. There’s something for every taste. Whether you’re trying to kick your weight loss journey into high gear or want some delish recipes, you need this cookbook. See the full review here.

5. Instant Pot Fast & Easy: 100 Simple and Delicious Recipes for Your Instant Pot

Author: Urvashi Pitre

instant pot cookbook

I love my Instant Pot, and I’m always on the hunt for new recipes for it. This cookbook is a goldmine of recipes, and I love its international flair. Whether you’re in the mood for Japanese, Thai, Mexican, or Moroccan food, this cookbook has you covered. And, as described on Amazon, because these are Instant Pot recipes, dishes like Japanese Chicken Curry, Chinese Steamed Ribs, and Mexican Pulled Pork are ready in a fraction of the time they would take using traditional cooking methods. As with all of Pitre’s recipes, the focus is on whole foods instead of artificial convenience ingredients, so the recipes are delicious, easy, and healthful too. See the full review here.

6. Healthyish: A Cookbook with Seriously Satisfying, Truly Simple, Good-For-You (but not too Good-For-You) Recipes for Real Life

Author: Lindsay Maitland Hunt


Simple, good-for-you (mostly!) recipes. I love that this cookbook has a mix of healthy and a few decadent recipes because we all need to indulge once in a while. These recipes are super easy, use affordable ingredients, and you won’t have to use every pot in your kitchen. Emphasizing balanced eating rather than fad diet tricks, Hunt includes 131 guilt-free recipes, including Healthyish treats, such as her Banana–Avocado Chai Shake, Peanut Butter Granola, Salty Watermelon, Feta, Mint, and Avocado Salad, Miso–Butter Toast with a Nine-Minute Egg, and Pozole with Pinto Beans and Queso Fresco. Yum!

7. She Does Keto: The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Women

Author: GIGI Ashworth

she does keto cookbook

A keto cookbook for the ladies (although men love it, too!). Author GIGI Ashworth’s recipes target the female’s unique nutritional needs. With more than 115 recipes to try and a 21-day meal plan, this cookbook makes it easy to follow the keto lifestyle. GIGI makes sure you get enough healthy fats in your diet, and she also explains how keto can assist with common health concerns (like PCOS and endometriosis). This book helps you get the most out of the ketogenic diet and feel fit and fabulous. We don’t follow keto, but we LOVE the recipes in this book. See the full review here.

8. Help Yourself: A Guide to Gut Health for People Who Love Delicious Food

Author: Lindsay Maitland Hunt

gut health

A gut-friendly cookbook with plant-focused recipes. Dishes emphasize plant-based ingredients like vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains, along with eggs, fish, and some meat and dairy, if you’re so inclined. Plus, Lindsay gives science-backed wellness advice and valuable info on your gut microbiota. Don’t be fooled by the cookbook’s theme – these recipes are fantastic. Think Seeded Almond Flour Waffles with Raspberry-Flax Smash, Garlicky Shrimp and Quinoa “Grits,” Special-Occasion Short Ribs with Olive Oil and Kefir Mashed Potatoes, and Parsley, Kale, and Pumpkin Seed Pesto. Told ya! See the full review here.

9. The Defined Dish: Whole30 Endorsed, Healthy, and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes

Author: Alex Snodgrass

Healthy, tasty, and easy recipes endorsed by Whole30. All of Alex’s recipes are grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, and they’re absolutely delicious. Try the Chipotle Chicken Tostadas with Pineapple Salsa or the Chicken-Fried Steak with Cauliflower Gravy. You won’t be disappointed. Alex includes fab variations, too, such as using lettuce wraps instead of taco shells to ensure recipes can work for almost any diet, Whole 30 or not. There’s a reason this book was a New York Times bestseller!   See the full review here.

10. How to Dress an Egg: Surprising and Simple Ways to Cook Dinner

Author: Ned Baldwin & Peter Kaminsky

how to dress an egg

I love that author Ned Baldwin is a self-taught chef, and rather than teaching you how to make complicated dishes, the authors focus on cooking one main ingredient really well. Learn how to roast the perfect chicken (bet you’ve never heard of his method!) or grill sea bass with crispy skin. Peter Kaminsky has written numerous cookbooks as well as other books. Talk about talent! This cookbook belongs on every home cook’s shelf. See the full review here.

11. Veganish by Ed Harris

Author: Ed Harris


Whether you’re 100% vegan or just looking to add more plant-based meals to your diet Veganish is a must-have cookbook. It’s part of a series that Chef and Author Ed Harris has put together, sharing his experiences with food over the last twenty years. Ed includes delectable recipes that will take your vegan cooking to another level.  Interested in learning more about a vegan lifestyle? Read more about it in the cookbook. Ed also sells fabulous aprons, spices, and more on his site.   See the full review here.

12. Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated

Author: Irma S. Rombauer

joy of cooking cookbook

An absolute staple for any home kitchen. Joy of Cooking has been in print since the 1930s. The newest edition has a staggering 600 new recipes. And it has all the classics you need, like chocolate chip cookies and cornbread. Modern dishes are in here, too, like Caramelized Tamarind Tempeh and Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza. See the full review here.

Bonus: How to Cook Everything―Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition: Simple Recipes for Great Food

Author: Mark Bittman

how to cook cookbook

A bonus cookbook that I recommend every home cook has – How to Cook Everything. Whether you’re entertaining guests for dinner or want to master a family-favorite dish, this cookbook is a must-have. See the full review here.

My Favorite Cookbooks – A Baker’s Dozen

What Cookbooks are You Into these Days?

So there you have it. My Baker’s Dozen. Every one of these cookbooks is chock full of delicious recipes, as well as a glimpse into each of the chef’s personal stories – their journeys and how they ended up cooking, creating recipes, and publishing their ‘babies.’

Hope you enjoyed and if you purchase and whip up something from one of these gems, please let me know.

Aside from adding to your own library, any one of these cookbooks would make a beautiful gift. I have given several of these as hostess gifts (sometimes with dishtowels, coasters, or one of my bread mixes from Shopping with Gigi – shameless plug), and they always go over well.

Thanks so much for reading this and for being here. I’d be so appreciative if you’d share this post, my site, and boutique with friends. Take a quick sec and email this link. And sign up yourself if you haven’t already! (Maybe someone emailed you this post!) Just takes your email address, and you’re in!

Oh, and don’t forget, if you purchase something from this post, I may earn enough to one day buy a cup of coffee (tall) from Starbucks!
All rights reserved. In other words, unauthorized use and/or duplication of any images or written material is a real no-no without express and written permission from yours truly – me. Thank you.

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Find me on Pinterest (I would love for you to pin some of the pics), InstagramFacebook, TwitterTikTok & YouTube. Besides those social media channels, you can also follow me on LinkedIn.

And you can shop for my favorite looks & products on 

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  • Reply
    Janet Montgomery
    May 11, 2021 at 5:12 am

    Gwen, such a great collection here. You’ve really included something for everyone. I don’t cook as much these days but sometimes I do like to whip up delicious meals. Thanks for providing some cool ways to happy meals.

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      May 12, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      You are very welcome! It’s fun to cook when you don’t have to! LOL!

  • Reply
    Sherri Preston
    May 11, 2021 at 7:11 am

    I think you’ve covered it all, great post and love the recommendations, I will be sure to pick up a couple of these!

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      May 12, 2021 at 6:31 pm

      You can whip up a little something for your Wednesday wine sessions!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Such a great selection. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      May 12, 2021 at 6:31 pm

      Thank you, Michele! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 11, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Love this list. I love ANYTHING by Ina Garden.

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      May 12, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      Ooooh! She is wonderful!! And classic!

  • Reply
    May 12, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    Brilliant!!! So many great choices … I also prefer a printed recipe and authors usually include wonderful stories about theirs.


    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      May 12, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      Yes, I love hearing the stories! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Barbie Holmes
    May 13, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    What a lovely cross-section of cookbooks!! I am curious about gut health so that’s the first one I’m checking out. Thank you, Gwen!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Ok, this was a fun post. My cookbook collection is big, and we had very little overlap!

  • Reply
    Marijke Doldersum
    May 17, 2021 at 1:41 am

    Cook books. Big YES! Always loved as they cannot beat online. I culled a lot when I left Australia but am collecting again. I just can’t help myself!

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      May 17, 2021 at 6:50 am

      I can relate, Marijke! I just can’t help myself either when it comes to cookbooks, lol! I have so many!

  • Reply
    Kim Cook
    May 27, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    I need number 1 and I love number 8. You have some great books here!


    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      May 29, 2021 at 8:32 pm

      I really do love these!

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