The 8 Best Cookbooks to Give as Wedding Gifts in 2021

When everything on the registry has already been purchased...

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Our Top Picks

Best for Overall: Martha Stewart's Newlywed Kitchen at Amazon

Everything the newlywed couple needs to be successful and enjoy their time together in the kitchen.

Best Practical: The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition at Amazon

Recipes have been specifically designed for the two-person household so you can rest assured you won’t be eating leftovers for a full week.

Best Celebrity: Cravings: Hungry for More at Amazon

Whether or not the newlyweds are Chrissy fans, it’s a solid cookbook worth adding to anyone’s collection.

Best for Entertaining: Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over at Amazon

This lax mindset is exactly what newlyweds need to hear when it comes to future entertaining.

Best Healthy: Healthier Together at Amazon

Specifically targets for-two households with the goal of nourishing your body and your relationship in tandem.

Best Memoir: Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir at Amazon

This book dives head-on into 'the intersection of race, fame, and food,' and his personal account will inspire and motivate anyone to follow their dreams.

Best Baking: Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes at Amazon

All newlyweds should have at least one dessert-centric book, and this is the one to get.

Best Technical: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking at Amazon

Filled with plenty of recipes, as well as infographics and illustrations, this thorough guide will enhance the knowledge of any novice or experienced cook.

Brides and grooms pack wedding registries full of new and fancy kitchen gadgets and appliances for aspirational future kitchens, but the often-overlooked kitchen essentials—cookbooks—are the gift that keeps on giving. This list includes our top picks for the perfect gifts for newlyweds, sure to keep them motivated in the kitchen for years of married life to come.

Here are the best cookbooks to give as wedding gifts.

Best Overall: Martha Stewart's Newlywed Kitchen

Martha Stewart's Newlywed Kitchen: Recipes for Weeknight Dinners and Easy, Casual Gatherings: A Cookbook
Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Includes party recipe ideas

  • Many organizing tips

What We Don't Like
  • Small type font

From casual weeknight dinners for two to more involved, larger gatherings, Martha Stewart has everything the newlywed couple needs to be successful and enjoy their time together in the kitchen. The first part of the book details essential kitchen equipment and tools, teamwork tips, and even dining decor suggestions (in true Martha fashion). The 100+ recipes range from basics like 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs and Double Chocolate Brownie Bars, to more refined entertaining options like Buckwheat Blinis with Caviar and Crème Fraîche or Browned Butter-Herbed Cashews.

Number of Recipes: More than 100 | Pages: 304 | Date Published: 2017

Best Practical: The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition

The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition: 650 Recipes for Everything You'll Ever Want to Make
 Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • More content than other books

  • Smaller yields

What We Don't Like
  • Fair amount of recipes don’t have photos

America’s Test Kitchen has specifically published a “gift edition” of this popular for-two book. Its luxe package looks impressive and gift-worthy, and the content is tailor-made for newlyweds (or empty nesters, college students, etc.). Recipes have been specifically designed for the two-person household—even dishes like lasagnas and cakes have been precisely scaled down—so you can rest assured you won’t be eating leftovers for a full week.

The test kitchen team has developed creative ways to utilize kitchen equipment in new ways, and a thorough introduction section provides you with shopping and storage tips and tricks.

Number of Recipes: 650 | Pages: 448 | Date Published: 2017

Best Celebrity: Cravings: Hungry for More: A Cookbook

Cravings: Hungry for More: A Cookbook
 Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Gorgeous photography

  • Quick meals

What We Don't Like
  • Does not include beverages

Chrissy Teigen may be a celebrity, but she’s just like us when it comes to dinnertime. No stranger to the kitchen, this is her second cookbook and it’s a diverse collection, with recipes ranging from comfort food like “banana bread that breaks the internet” to more exotic dishes like Thai fish cakes or more refined recipes like scallop linguine. For the starch-enthusiasts out there (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), there’s even a chapter devoted to potatoes called “Potatoes and Their Friends.”

The book is full of fun anecdotes and tips that bring the reader/home cook into Chrissy’s kitchen, and, whether or not the newlyweds are Chrissy fans, it’s a solid cookbook worth adding to anyone’s collection.

Number of Recipes: More than 100 | Pages: 256 | Date Published: 2018

Best for Entertaining: Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over

Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over
 Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Simplifies entertaining

  • Readily available ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Few meatless options included

Alison Roman’s collection is all about “unfussy food, unfussy vibes and the permission to be imperfect,” and this lax mindset is exactly what newlyweds need to hear when it comes to future entertaining. An introduction section offers Roman’s key tips, as well as recommendations for shopping, essential ingredients, and the must-have equipment for small apartment living.

Recipes like One-Pot Chicken with Dates and Caramelized Lemon and Smashed Eggs and Fancy Fish on Crackers are the perfect crowd-pleasers, and there are also plenty of veggie-centric sides and salty snacks (Labne with Sizzled Scallions and Chile (Almost Ranch)—yes please!) to satisfy all your guests, all the while minimizing the stress that too often accompanies entertaining.

Number of Recipes: More than 100 | Pages: 320 | Date Published: 2019

Best Healthy: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships: A Cookbook

Healthier Together: Recipes for Two--Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships: A Cookbook
 Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Gluten- and dairy-free recipes

What We Don't Like
  • Index alphabetized by ingredients

This cookbook targets for-two households with the goal of nourishing your body and your relationship in tandem—perfect for the health-conscious newlywed couple. The 100+ recipes to cook with your partner are all gluten-free, dairy-free, and plant-forward, but with mouth-watering dishes like Chocolate Tahini Brownie Bites and General Tso’s Cauliflower, you won’t even notice what’s missing. Chapters like “Better Than Takeout” and “Brunch Vibes” make it easier than ever to cook your own meals and dine out less often. There’s even a 20-minutes or less chapter for when you’re in a time crunch but still want to get a homemade meal on the table.

Number of Recipes: More than 100 | Pages: 240 | Date Published: 2019

"Cookbooks are a great gift to newlyweds, [especially] after the past year helped everyone to find a new love for cooking at home and trying new dishes. We love pairing a fun cookbook with a new platter or board for plating their finished dish. There are so many fun ways to do beautiful and bountiful meals displayed on boards now; it can be a fun way to create a beautiful tablescape, as well." — Sarah Sarbacker and Andrea VandeBerg, Wedding Planners and Cherry Blossom Events Cofounders

Best Memoir: Notes from a Young Black Chef

Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir
 Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Interesting background information about the author

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Not many recipes

Food is an extremely personal part of life, and it is, therefore, no surprise that there’s a whole sub-genre of cookbooks that fall into the “memoir” realm, recounting the associations one has with certain dishes. In his inspirational new memoir, Kwame Onwuachi, the award-winning executive chef at Kith/Kin and former Top Chef contestant, takes readers on a journey through his career thus far, recounting the good and the bad.

The culinary industry is notoriously tough on any new chef, but as a person of color, it can be even more unfavorable. This book dives head-on into “the intersection of race, fame, and food,” and his personal account will inspire and motivate anyone to follow their dreams, no matter the challenges ahead.

Number of Recipes: Less than 50 | Pages: 288 | Date Published: 2020

Best Baking: Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes

Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes
Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Easy-to-read type

  • Explains baking terminology

What We Don't Like
  • Smaller than expected

All newlyweds should have at least one dessert-centric book, and this is the one to get. James Beard Award-winning baker Joanne Chang, known for her notorious Boston bakery chain, Flour, has released a new “baking bible” that includes her favorite dessert recipes, but specifically those that she could never sell in her bakery for logistical reasons. However, lucky for us, she’s bringing them to home kitchens everywhere now.

Throughout the book, recipes progress in difficulty, so you can start out simple with cookies and work your way up to a masterful crepe cake. The book also details kitchen tips and tricks, an equipment breakdown, and essential techniques (homemade puff pastry anyone?).

Number of Recipes: 125 | Pages: 464 | Date Published: 2019

Best Technical: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Courtesy of Amazon 
What We Like
  • Has recipe variations

  • Useful infographics

What We Don't Like
  • No photos, only illustrations

Acclaimed chef and writer Samin Nosrat breaks cooking down into the four key elements that make food so delicious and appealing in this part-encyclopedia-part-cookbook. The book received so much notoriety that it even got Netflix’s attention—you can follow Nosrat around the world as she explores salt, fat, acid, and heat in a documentary-esque series. But even those who’ve seen the Netflix show will still want the hefty book that started it all; filled with plenty of recipes, as well as infographics and illustrations, this thorough guide will enhance the knowledge of any novice or experienced cook.

Number of Recipes: 100 | Pages: 480 | Date Published: 2017

Final Verdict

For an overall winning newlywed cookbook that offers plenty of recipe variety, entertaining tips, and a gifty exterior that’ll look nice in any kitchen or bookshelf, we recommend Martha Stewart's Newlywed Kitchen (view at Amazon). For those looking for an even more comprehensive collection with recipes specifically pared down for two, your best bet is The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in Cookbooks to Give as Wedding Gifts

Theme

Lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann suggests selecting a cookbook based on a type of cooking that is going to appeal to one—or both—of the betrothed. “Narrow down options based on a specific interest of the couple, such as meal prep, keto meals, or vegetarian cooking,” she says. “For example, my cousin and his fiancé are really enjoying plant-based eating at the moment, so purchasing a book on this subject for them will be perceived as a very thoughtful gift.”

Intent

“My recommendation is to be sure the book you settle upon is something the couple will continue to use and enjoy. It should be a welcome gift,” Swann says. “Don’t make your choice a 'hidden message' (aka: you need to eat out less) by ensuring the intent behind your present is straight-forward:” to provide the bride and groom with an ongoing source of an entertaining activity they can engage in together, partners who are passionate foodies, etc.

Expertise

When purchasing cookbooks, it’s wise to consider the skill level of potential recipients. Many texts are written explicitly for beginners, whereas other titles were crafted with the assumption a reader already has foundational knowledge of certain culinary techniques. Reviewing the introductory section of most books can provide an overview of the included content, plus the author’s intended audience.

FAQs

What are some things you can write in a cookbook as a wedding gift?

Swann is particularly fond of the following inscriptions:

“Here’s to making great meals together…Cheers.” This is a play on the oft-used sentiment on wedding greetings “Make a great life together.” She also suggests, “Looking forward to us all breaking bread together in the future.”

How should you wrap a cookbook as a wedding gift?

“Start by using wax or parchment paper as base layer to protect the book,” Swann says. "Next, wrap the book in one or two dish towels (preferably in the couple’s wedding colors). The final flourish is adding a fabric bow with chic item (like a wooden spoon) slipped into the knot as an additional accent.”

Is a homemade recipe box on par with a store-bought cookbook? 

The best wedding gifts are personalized and reflect one’s relationship or connection to the individuals getting married. According to Swann, “If someone really loves your cooking or meals you’ve savored together in the past, a homemade rendition is perfectly acceptable.” Or, if your DIY recipe collection directly relates to the couples’ journey together, like a prior vacation in Mexico or their first date at an Italian restaurant, Swann also gives this gift idea two thumbs up as long as its paired with small, store-bought accouterments to round out the presentation. She recommends looking for a keepsake box with a couple of utensils that go with the recipes inside of it.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a cookbook enthusiast herself, collecting dozens over the years and always turning to them for inspiration, whether it’s a time-consuming weekend baking project or just a quick Monday night dinner. Having worked in the cookbook publishing world in the past, she knows what it takes to create a quality book that delivers something new and exciting to readers—particularly in an increasingly online world.

This roundup was updated by Rachel Werner, a cookbook reviewer, culinary writer, and former World Food Championship judge. Her lifestyle content, food styling, and photography have appeared in a variety of regional and national publications including Fabulous Wisconsin, BRAVA, and Hobby Farms Magazine. A selection of Rachel's recipes is also included in "Wisconsin Cocktails," a regionally themed mixology book (University of Wisconsin Press, 2020). Recent examples of her pro foodie pics are available on Instagram @trulyplanted.

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