The Best Cookbooks of 2016

Our favorite cookbook picks from 2016 that you should probably buy for your friends and relatives to pay it forward.

by Munchies Staff
Nov 21 2016, 5:00pm

'Tis the season to give and get gifts. But why stick to stale candy canes stuck in a stained mug that says "World's #2 Dad" when you could get something that, well,
suck? To wit, we here at MUNCHIES have tirelessly racked our greasy brains to compile the best food-related gifts on planet Earth, and quite possibly the universe. Behold, The MUNCHIES Holiday Gift Guide.




Raleigh-based chef Ashley Christensen has been credited with turning southern food traditions on their head. Her first cookbook, aptly named after her first restaurant, is an instant classic, from low-risk high-reward mashups (cornbread crab cakes) to little twists on classics (rabbit poblanos rellenos). ($26.63)

Buy Now

Dead Distillers: A History of the Upstarts and Outlaws Who Made American Spirits

An eerie, informative and entertaining look at the history of distillery in America from the guys at Brooklyn's Kings County Distillery. This book is best enjoyed with a stiff drink. ($15.99)

Buy Now

Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs

Writer Julia Turshen has co-authored a number of bestselling cookbooks, and it was about time for her first solo act. Recipes are punctuated with "small victories"—little shortcuts and cheat codes to make home cooking faster, easier, cheaper, and more delicious. ($15.39)

Buy Now

Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen

Katie Button has mastered Spanish cooking at Cúrate in unlikely Asheville, North Carolina. Her first cookbook, by the same name, is chock full of authentic Spanish recipes that have been adapted to use seasonal food from here in the states. ($21.30)

Buy Now

Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking

Sqirl chef Jessica Koslow's cookbook is the perfect culinary time capsule of 2016, with tons of healthy-ish recipes from her popular LA brunch spot. The food at Sqirl is pretty, but it's not just Instagram fodder—David Chang's endorsement reads, "I never understood why white people loved toast so much until I had theirs." ($28.02)

Buy Now

Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking

Through almost 140 recipes, Naomi Pomery of Portland's Beast and Expatriate leads readers through the fundamentals of cooking. After all, is there a better way to practice braising and searing than by making a milk-braised pork shoulder? We think not. ($22.00)

Buy Now

Dinner at the Long Table

Andrew Tarlow owns almost every cool restaurant Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and now he's sharing the family-style recipes that have become his at-home staples. These recipes are built to entertain year-round, so gift this book to a friend who will definitely invite you to their next dinner. ($40.00)

Buy Now

Cooking for Jeffrey

You know when you come home from work and the only thing you have to eat is a freezer burned Trader Joe's burrito and a bag of kettle corn? Jeffrey Garten doesn't. After almost 50 years married to the Barefoot Contessa, he's probably gotten used to coming home to roasted salmon tacos and vanilla rum panna cotta. Read on with envy. ($21.00)

Buy Now

Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki

The tiki movement is a complicated one to document, but there's no better person to tell the story than Martin Cate. His bar, Smuggler's Cove, is responsible for bringing tiki's modern renaissance to California, and now to print. ($17.85)

Buy Now

The Adventures of Fat Rice: Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau

The chefs at Chicago's Fat Rice fell in love with the previously unheralded cuisine of Macau. It's somewhere between Chinese, Portuguese, Malaysian and Indian food, and it's damn good. Through cartoons and step-by-step comics, you'll be addicted to Macanese cuisine after your first recipe. ($25.23)

Buy Now

The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito

Dining at Alex Rajj and Eder Montero's Txikito is like reading a love poem to the Basque Country, and their cookbook reflects that seamlessly. Give this gift with a bottle of olive oil—these recipes use it generously. ($19.49)

Buy Now

The Essential Oyster: A Salty Appreciation of Taste and Temptation

The oyster has long been a subject of poetry, art, and sexual obsession. Rowan Jacobsen's second oyster-centric book is full of stories, tasting notes, and photos of everyone's favorite bivalve. ($24.62)

Buy Now

Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting

Sure, grilling is simple. Fire, metal, meat. But the chef couple behind Ox in Portland have unpacked the art of the grill, investigating different fuel options and techniques, and, of course, tons of unexpected, creative recipes. ($23.79)

Buy Now


Peruvian chef Viriglio Martinez shares recipes from and inspired by his restaurant in Lima, weaving in stunning photography and personal essays. ($43.96)

Buy Now

All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China

China's cooking is complex, multi-faceted, and storied, and Carolyn Phillips has broken down the cuisine into five main regions with 35 total subcategories. ($26.61)

Buy Now

The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem

Marcus Samuelsson's book and synonymous Harlem restaurant reflect and built upon the history of the neighborhood. Turns out, nothing goes better with Harlem art and music history than marrow dumplings and ham hocks. ($22.59)

Buy Now

Dorie's Cookies

Cookbook author and culinary icon Dorie Greenspan knows cookies. And if you want someone to bake you pink peppercorn thumbprints and caramel banana bars, they'll need a copy of this one. ($20.34)

Buy Now

Num Pang: Bold Recipes from New York City's Favorite Sandwich Shop

Num Pang has the guts to call themselves "New York City's favorite sandwich shop," but we're not going to fight them. The mini-empire brought us fast-casual riffs on the bahn mi, and now they're bringing hoisin meatballs and crispy-skinned duck breast with black plum chutney to our kitchen. ($15.62)

Buy Now

Octophilosophy: The Eight Elements of Restaurant André

Somewhere between hyper-technical Asian gastronomy and a very American obsession with seasonal produce lies André Chiang's "octaphilosophy," the eight elements he cooks and lives by. ($36.38)

Buy Now

A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches

More hilarious than upsetting, really, but a treat nonetheless. Sandwich professional Tyler Kord's first book reads more like a journal or a therapy session transcription (with some killer recipes peppered in) than a conventional cookbook, and that's just fine by us. ($14.69)

Buy Now

Editor's Note: VICE may earn a small share of sales from links in this article.