Ever since I was a student, cooking was a necessity to save money and not die of starvation. In those days, it mainly comprised of an array of different pastas and whatever else was in the fridge. Not exactly cooking, and since then, it hasn’t developed much. This is why I went on the hunt for the best cook books for a beginner like myself to add to his culinary repertoire. I wanted to focus on simpe cook books which explained everything in plain English and the majority of the meals could be prepared in under 30 minutes, and this list of cooking books is what I came up with.

They were chosen based on readers reviews, sales and how long they’ve been able to remain relevant, all important criteria to be trusted by a newbie like myself. I hope you find this list useful.

Top 5 Cooking Books For Beginners

1. The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook 3rd Edition – America’s Test Kitchen

Cook Book

America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, which calls itself a cookbook, cooking school, and kitchen reference in one, offers over 1,200 approachable recipes for a very wide range of dishes–from “weekday” fare like Creamy Rice Casserole, Cheesy Nachos with Spicy Beef, and Skillet Lasagna, to dressier recipes, including Pan-Seared Lamb Chops with Red Wine Rosemary Sauce, Roasted Trout Stuffed with Bacon and Spinach, and Chocolate Marshmallow Mousse. There are “specialty” chapters devoted to sandwiches, drinks, and slow cooker and pressure cooker dishes; a grilling section is a tutorial in itself.

2. How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food – Mark Bittman

Cook Book

How to Cook Everything” will be one of the more useful cookbooks you’ll owned. Each type of food has a “Basics” section that includes lots of preparation tips. The recipes themselves are detailed enough for beginners, and not so esoteric that you have to make a trip to a specialty grocery store every time you want to cook something. Especially helpful are the suggestions for expanding on each dish.

3. I’m Just Here for the Food: Version 2.0 – Alton Brown

Cook Book

If you like “Good Eats,” you’re bound to love this book. In this volume, Alton Brown goes into the how and why of cooking to help you understand the process involved. Any cookbook can tell you , for example, to sear a piece of meat. This book explains why you sear a piece of meat (and its not what you might think), why cast iron is the best cookware for searing it, and what happens if you mess up.

4. Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast – Jamie Oliver

Cook Book

This cook book is a collection of 50 meals, spread over 288 pages with not just a few, but a ton of pictures and spreads. The images are beautiful photographic art work, and often they aim to illustrate either ideas for presentation or preparation of the featured meals. Essentially you buy a collection of round about 150 recipes, nicely combined into complete small family meals with ingredients and amounts listed to serve 4 to 6 people at a time.

5. Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food: More Than 100 Delicious, Super-Fast, and Easy Recipes – Gordon Ramsay

Cook Book

This cook book is well organized. Every dish has a full color photograph, and every dish is uncomplicated enough that after a couple times making it, you don’t need to go back to the recipe. The recipes are diverse – everything from ethnic meals to sandwiches.