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Best cookbooks for complete beginners

Cook your way to culinary success with these cookbooks for beginners

Best cookbooks for complete beginners
22 March 2020

Learning to cook can be an incredibly exciting thing to do. But it can also be somewhat intimidating. Fancy kitchenware, techniques you've never heard of and a list of ingredients as long as your arm: if you don't know what you're doing, it can all seem a little much.

But there are some guides out there to help you get on your way when it comes to cooking. From classic books by Delia Smith to more recent guides to learning to cook, there's plenty out there no matter what your level of skill, kitchen set-up or taste in food.

Loved (or loathed) any of our picks? Let us know by voting for your favourite.

Best cookbooks for complete beginners

Best cookbooks for complete beginners

1. Delia's Complete How to Cook

£29.81
Buy now from Amazon

Many a proficient home cook started their culinary life with this classic book from Delia Smith. The techniques she covers can be very, very basic – how to boil an egg, for example – so it really is for those who are interested in mastering the basics. It's a great way to learn the techniques you'll need when your skills level up and you're a bit more confident in the kitchen

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2. The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer

£24.00
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Like Delia Smith's How to Cook, the Joy of Cooking is another absolute classic. First published in the 1930s, the book has sold over twenty MILLION copies and for good reason. Simple recipes like chocolate chip cookies and banana bread are included for you to try – and the updated version even has a big vegetarian section.

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3. How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson

£20.80
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Nigella Lawson is queen of the comfort food. If you're not into butter or cream or you don't have a sweet tooth, this probably isn't the book for you. But if you want an introduction to baking you can't do much better. Cakes, biscuits, puddings, chocolate and more: it's all here.

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4. Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater

£8.19
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Simple, fast and wholesome food is the name of the game in this lovely little Nigel Slater book. More than three hundred fresh, easy recipes are included in Real Fast Food – think grilled aubergines, steamed apples, creamy mussels and roast chicken.

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5. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

£19.26
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You may have seen the Netflix version of this show, and the cookbook is just as good. The book is based on a simple principle: all great recipes contain four elements, namely salt, fat, acid and heat. Recipes vary in difficulty, ranging from a simple vinaigrette to a more complex stew.

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6. Japanese Cookbook for Beginners by Azusa Oda

£13.02
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If you're into Japanese food, you'll love this book. It will help you make all your favourite Japanese dishes. Start with simple staples like miso soup or ramen, then work your way up to more complex recipes like sushi. And you'll get to practice your knifework.

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7. 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver

£13.00
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You can't go wrong with five ingredients, can you? From Italian seared beef to warm lentil salad to comforting sausage bake, there's something for everyone in this book, proving simple doesn't have to mean boring.

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8. SIMPLE by Yotam Ottolenghi

£17.69
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Full of Ottolenghi's signature flavours, SIMPLE gives you a whistle stop tour through Middle Eastern cooking. Each recipe takes less than half an hour, contains ten ingredients or less, can be made ahead of time with ingredients you already have, and is a great way to make Ottolenghi's notoriously complex cooking easy. What more could you want from a cookbook?


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9. Quick & Delicious by Gordon Ramsay

£15.00
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Gordon Ramsay guides you through some simple, quick and delicious recipes in this book. All 100 recipes take less than half an hour to prepare, so there's a lot of scope for weeknight cooking and simple dinners with friends – and all of them are made up of readily available ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. Simple.

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