The best cookbooks of 2020
Read our review of the best cookbooks of 2020. There’s something for everyone – be it Afghan cuisine, one-tin bakes or sustainable cooking.
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With so many more people cooking at home at the moment, there’s never been a better time to get stuck into a new cookbook. We've discovered dozens of great new cookbooks this year, but which ones made our ‘best of 2020’ list?
Whether you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the keen cook in your life, or just want to add to your own ever-expanding collection, we’ve selected a range of books covering everything from simple every day recipes to show-stopping restaurant dishes. Read on to discover which cookbooks we loved this year.
For more gift inspiration and foodie buys, visit our reviews section. You’ll find gift guides, spirit reviews and over 400 buyer’s guides offering unbiased, expert advice on products worth investing in. For a special personalised gift, why not build a customised My BBC Good Food cookbook? Filled with your pick of our triple-tested recipes, it would be ideal for a foodie friend or to use in your own kitchen.
The Hand and Flowers cookbook by Tom Kerridge
Tom Kerridge opened the Hand and Flowers gastropub in 2005. It's gone on to become the first, and only, pub in the UK to be awarded two Michelin stars. Now comes the long-awaited cookbook, which gives readers a rare glimpse into life at such a successful pub-restaurant, as well as the chance to recreate some of its most iconic dishes at home. The book features 70 of the restaurant’s most popular menu items, including smoked haddock omelette, slow-cooked duck with duck fat chips and gravy, and the legendary chocolate ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado ice cream. A great gift for budding restaurant chefs or extra-ambitious dinner party hosts. (Bloomsbury Absolute)
Restore by Gizzi Erskine
An important read in the current climate, Gizzi Erskine’s latest book offers thought-provoking and insightful commentary on the issues surrounding the way we farm, cook, eat and shop, and how we can restore the earth, and our bodies, with food. It features over 100 stunning recipes, with a focus on seasonal ingredients, nose-to-tail/root-to-shoot eating and cooking from scratch. The chapters cover everything from essentials like making pasta, stocks and sauces, to pickles and ferments, fruit and veg, pulses and grains, meat and fish. As always, Gizzi’s recipes are creative, seriously satisfying and packed full of flavour. Think marmite, onion and roast root vegetable stew with cheesy scones, korma wings, wet and wild monkfish kievs and black pepper crab. (HQ publishing)
Jikoni: proudly inauthentic recipes from an immigrant kitchen by Ravinder Bhogal
The second cookbook by chef, food writer and restaurateur Ravinder Bhogal, Jikoni is a collection of recipes created for her London restaurant of the same name. The dishes reflect Ravinder’s multicultural background and are a unique, eclectic fusion of flavours and cuisines. From exciting breakfast and brunch dishes like piña colada pancakes and kimchi parathas, to her iconic prawn toast Scotch eggs with banana ketchup, Ravinder’s recipes are refreshing and exciting. The excitement continues through chapters on veg and salads, fish and shellfish, meat and finally sweet things and desserts. (Bloomsbury)
Wings and Things: lip-smacking chicken recipes by Ben Ford and David Turofsky
If you love big, bold flavours and get-your-hands-dirty food, this is the book for you. From the foodie duo behind Wingmans restaurant (Kilburn and Soho, London), it’s packed full of mouth-watering recipes mainly focused on chicken, including their award-winning wings, as well as thighs, drumsticks and loaded fried chicken burgers. There are also chapters on sides (hello mac 'n' cheese with short rib!), veggie dishes, proper-comforting puds and cocktails. The buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce are not to be missed. (Quadrille Publishing)
Parwana: recipes and stories from an Afghan kitchen by Durkhanai Ayubi
This beautiful book tells the story of author Durkhanai Ayuni and her parents, who fled Afghanistan in 1985 during the war and migrated to Adelaide, Australia, where they now own Parwana Afghan Kitchen restaurant and Deli Parwana. Alongside family stories which delve into Afghanistan’s rich history, culture and traditions, are gorgeous, vibrant photographs and authentic Afghan recipes. These include fragrant rice dishes, dumplings, curries and dhals, as well as chutneys, breads, drinks and desserts. (Murdoch Books)
Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain
Accompanying her latest BBC Two series of the same name, Nadiya Bakes features over 100 recipes, from celebration cakes, biscuits, traybakes and pies to show-stopping desserts and breads. As always, Nadiya puts her signature creative twists on classic recipes – think sheekh kebab toad-in-the-hole, orange and lemongrass meringue pie and pecan pie empanadas – and provides plenty of inventive shortcuts to help anyone achieve impressive bakes at home. (Michael Joseph)
Simply: Easy Everyday Dishes by Sabrina Ghayour
Award-winning Persian chef Sabrina Ghayour is back with her fifth cookbook, this time celebrating the kind of food she cooks at home – easy, everyday recipes packed full of flavour. While still largely influenced by the flavours of Iran and the Middle East, Sabrina provides easier versions of traditionally complex recipes, like Turkish pide and tahchin (baked rice cake). She also brings exciting new twists to traditional dishes, such as her chorizo, goat’s cheese and cumin borek and white chocolate, raspberry and pistachio tiramisu. (Mitchell Beazley)
Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage
For his latest book, Yotam Ottolenghi has teamed up with chef and core member of the Ottolenghi test kitchen Ixta Belfrage, to create something beautiful, informative and truly inspiring. It features over 100 impressively innovative, exciting dishes which bring a new lease of life to everyday veg. Think romano pepper schnitzels, cabbage tacos with celeriac and date barbecue sauce, hasselback beetroot and kimchi rice fritters. The duo also explain how to get maximum flavour from food, looking at how different methods, flavour pairings and produce can elevate your cooking. (Ebury Press)
One Tin Bakes by Edd Kimber
It is a rare joy to leaf through a cookbook and find you want to make every single recipe in it. Such is the case with Edd Kimber’s latest book. Perfect for anyone who loves to bake but, as Edd puts it, ‘doesn’t have a magical cupboard full of every baking vessel known to man’, the recipes are all made in just one tin. A 23 x 33cm brownie tin, to be precise. Covering cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, tarts and desserts, there’s a bake for every occasion – from classic birthday cake and tiramisu, to unique bakes like tahini chocolate chip cookie bars, grapefruit meringue pie, chocolate and cardamom carrot cake with brown butter frosting and pistachio crème brûlée tart with honey-roasted apricots. (Kyle Books)
Speedy MOB: 12-minute meals for 4 people by Ben Lebus
The new go-to for anyone who loves food but lacks time, the latest book from the Mob Kitchen team is all about creating flavour-packed dishes, fast. Each of the 75 recipes can be made from start to finish in just 12 minutes (yes really – we’ve time-tested several of them). It features creative dishes like curried coconut chickpeas on toast, chorizo cauliflower fried rice, cheat’s dan dan noodles and elderflower eton mess cheesecake, along with plenty of time-saving hacks. (Pavilion Books)
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Which cookbook did you love in 2020? We’d love to hear below...
This review was last updated in October 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.