The Best Cookbooks to Read (or Gift) This Holiday Season

Whether you want to bake for Christmas or get healthy in the New Year.

cookbook covers
Image by Chineme Elobuike for Thrillist

The holidays are a time to think big, get your hands dirty, and indulge. Last year gave us the confidence to take on bigger projects, from sourdough bread to homemade pasta, and this year, we’ll be able to share those skills with our loved ones. To help us tap into our patissier potential, we’ve got a selection of baking guides to offer up some festive inspiration. From Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking to Ann Byrn’s A New Take on Cake, you’ll cover everything from mastering Southern biscuits to elevating a boxed cake mix.

But come January, we might find ourselves leaning into healthier options, taking the oath of Dry January and drafting restorative resolutions. For that, we have Drew Barrymore and Pilar Valdes’ Rebel Homemaker, a collection of healthy recipes interspersed with musings on wellness, as well as Charity Morgan’s Unbelievably Vegan, a plant-based approach that blends together Creole and Puerto Rican influences.

Here’s a full list of food and drink guides we cannot wait to tuck into this holiday season:

Rebel Homemaker by Drew Barrymore and Pilar Valdes

Release date: November 2
Drew Barrymore and her culinary partner-in-crime, Pilar Valdes, have put together a guide for unconventional homemaking, featuring recipes like Soft-Scrambled Yuzu Kosho Eggs and Brie and Apple Grilled Cheese. Rebel Homemaker is part cookbook, part journal, with personal essays that touch on topics like slowing down, turning to nature, and staying present.

Release date: November 9
Cheryl Day is one of the South’s most respected bakers. She co-owns Savannah’s acclaimed Back in the Day bakery with her husband, Griffith Day, offering up traditionally Southern, from-scratch baked goods. And now, with a definitive collection of over 200 recipes, she celebrates the generational pull of Southern baking, paying homage to her great-grandmother, who was an enslaved pastry cook famous for her biscuits and cakes. Diving deep into handwritten recipes, she’ll teach you how to make everything from flaky, buttery biscuits to light and crisp fritters.

Taste Makers by Mayukh Sen

Release date: November 16
While it's not exactly a cookbook, Taste Makers is a great springboard for discovering cookbooks written by immigrant women who have made significant cultural contributions to American cuisine. Mayukh Sen, a James Beard and IACP Award–winning writer, profiles Mexican-born blind chef Elena Zelayeta; Marcella Hazan, the deity of Italian cuisine; and Norma Shirley, a champion of Jamaican dishes. Taste Makers is an exploration of the ways in which food can provide a sense of belonging for immigrants in America.

Release date: November 16
Flipping through this book will be like walking through a Christkindl market, imagining the smells of festive German bakes, like lightly spiced lebkuchen and marzipan-filled stollen. You’ll also find how-tos for edible tree decorations and Anja Dunk’s own linocut illustrations—fit for a fairy tale vibe.

A New Take on Cake by Anne Byrn

Release date: November 16
Anne Byrn, the best-selling author of The Cake Mix Doctor, is returning with 50 modernized classics and 125 new recipes—all starting from cake mix. From bundts and layers to slabs and loaves, this book will give you an easy way out without compromising on taste. Think: Blood Orange Loaf with Campari Glaze and Ice Cream Cone Cake. Plus, the recipes accommodate gluten-free, sugar-free, and plant-based diets.

Release date: November 23
There’s nothing that says a celebration quite like sparkling wine. Replete with profiles of exemplary producers, bottle recommendations, and colorful infographics, this guide explores sparkling wine traditions and offerings from around the world. It’ll take you through various trends, from the retro appeal of natural wine’s cult-hit pét-nat, to prosecco’s overnight transformation into a multi-million-dollar brand.

Pies Are Awesome by Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin

Release date: November 23
Sure, you could finish your pie with a few poked holes or a lattice weave crust. Or you can challenge yourself with intricate, seasonal pie art . Pie baker extraordinaire Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin shares step-by-step how-tos of her most elaborate decorative patterns, ranging from easy to difficult. There’s a design for every kind of holiday or celebration, along with tips for working with both homemade and store-bought dough.

The Sweet Side of Sourdough by Caroline Schiff

Release date: November 30
Caroline Schiff, pastry chef at Brooklyn’s Gage & Tollner, proves that sourdough isn’t just for savory baking. With recipes like Orange Ricotta Drop Biscuits and Grapefruit Brown Sugar Brulée Cake, Schiff shows us how the robust tanginess of sourdough can add another dimension to sweet treats. She’ll also share tips and tricks for building and maintaining a sourdough starter—both active and discard.

Waffles + Mochi Get Cooking by Yewande Komolafe

Release date: December 7
This kid-friendly cookbook is based on the Netflix children’s show from Higher Ground, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company in partnership with Netflix. Written by Berlin-born, Lagos-raised food writer, Yewande Komolafe, the book will take you along with Waffles and Mochi as they embark on culinary adventures around the globe. Some recipes include Chicken Sancocho, Kimchi Grilled Cheese, and Cloud Meringues. And, of course, there will be a foreword by Michelle Obama herself.

Unbelievably Vegan by Charity Morgan

Release date: January 18
In her debut cookbook, wellness advocate and celebrity chef Charity Morgan taps her Creole and Puerto Rican heritage to create plant-based alternatives like Creole Krab Cakes with Tarragon Remoulade, Smoky Jambalaya with Blackened Veggies, and Beer Battered Fysh and Chips. Morgan’s dedication to vegan food began when her husband, NFL linebacker Derrick Morgan, noticed that he had more energy and increased stamina after eating her home-cooked vegan meals. Before she knew it, she was delivering meals to nearly two-dozen NFL players and making the transition to a plant-based lifestyle herself.

The Gluten-Free Cookbook by Cristian Broglia

Release date: January 26
Cristian Broglia’s comprehensive guide showcases 350 recipes that are naturally gluten-free by design, rather than reliant on ingredient substititions. There’s an emphasis on international food cultures, with more than 80 countries represented. Indulge in Egyptian Stewed Fava Beans, Australian Pavlova, and Korean Bibimbap.

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Jessica Sulima is a staff writer on the Food & Drink team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram