The 8 Best Food Magazines in 2021

Explore the inspiring world of culinary journalism

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Our Top Picks

Gastronomica at Amazon

"It's the New Yorker of food magazines."

Cook's Illustrated at Amazon

"Attend culinary school by way of magazine (and, bonus, ad-free!)."

Food & Wine at Amazon

"Restaurants, travel, cooking, and wine, oh my!"

Milk Street at Amazon

"This one offers global, compelling stories and incredibly well-tested recipes."

Whetstone at Whetsone Magazine

"It's a minority-owned publication focusing on food origins and culture."

Toothache at Toothache Magazine

"Simply put: It's a food magazine for chefs by chefs."

Cherry Bombe at Cherry Bombe

"This very cool indie mag celebrates women and food."

The Art of Eating at Art of Eating

"A digital, ad-free magazine, it focuses on terroir-driven food and wine."

Print media may not be what it was a decade ago, but there are still some incredible magazine brands out there that would love nothing more than to help you learn your way around the kitchen, your local restaurant scene, and the world at large. Maybe you’re looking for foolproof recipes tested by a team of professionals with notes on why each step is what it is. Or, perhaps you’re looking for captivating stories about small artisans making sustainable wine, cheese, charcuterie, and chocolate.

Whatever you happen to be searching for, here are the best food magazines offering stunning photography, great recipes, and expert restaurant and travel intel.

Gastronomica

Gastronomica
Courtesy of Amazon 
What We Like
  • Deep dives on food and ingredients

  • The most literary of the options

What We Don't Like
  • May be too literary for some

Are you an intellectual with a love for gastronomy? Do you seek out hard-hitting essays while snacking on the best that your local cheese shop has to offer? If so, you’ll love Gastronomica. The publication seeks out the latest interdisciplinary research on the intersection of food and culture and publishes it in between poetry, words from noted historians, scholars, and chefs, and vibrant art that celebrates the joy and the craft of food. Your intellect and imagination will both be captured. One reviewer calls it “a delicious mix of intelligence and diverse topics.”

Frequency: Four issues per year | Focus: Food studies | Includes: Poetry, prose, photos, illustrations, and more

Cook's Illustrated

Cook's Illustrated
Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Excellent recipes and testing

  • Helpful gear and ingredient reviews

What We Don't Like
  • Mostly focused on cooking

For the most effective, tastiest recipes, tested by an army of professionals with proven techniques (plus an explanation as to why everything works), turn to Cook’s Illustrated, culinary school in print. Its aim is to figure out why recipes work and, sometimes more importantly, why they don’t work.

Have trouble cooking fish? Want to bust some myths about marinating? Want to really understand how to cook with apples? This magazine covers it all. The issues include step-by-step illustrations, photos, tips on substitutions, reviews of popular ingredients and cooking technologies, and more. You’ll master skills you never thought you could and have a greater grasp on the ones you were already comfortable with. For those who really care about cooking delicious, no-fail recipes, Cook’s Illustrated is your magazine.

Frequency: Six issues per year | Focus: Recipes and technique | Includes: Recipes, techniques, reviews, photos, how-to illustrations, and more

Food & Wine

Food & Wine
Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • A broad range of content

  • Keep up with trends

What We Don't Like
  • More ads than others

This mainstream magazine has you covered on restaurants, recipes, travel, wine, and cocktails. You’ll gain a new repertoire of great recipes from around the world, get a sense of the best restaurants from Naples, Florida, to Naples, Italy, understand which kitchen tools are indispensable and which are fleeting trends, and more. You’ll find food, design, and travel inspiration, new ingredients and techniques to try, and spots to flag for future vacations. All in all, Food & Wine is absolutely worth your time and money.

Frequency: 12 issues per year | Focus: Restaurants, travel, cooking, drinks | Includes: Recipes, techniques, reviews, photos, essays

Milk Street

Milk Street
Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Excellent recipes and testing

  • Great way to perfect recipes one by one

What We Don't Like
  • Mostly focused on cooking 

Christopher Kimball, founder of Cook’s Illustrated, has a brand-new magazine, called Milk Street (after the location of its headquarters in Boston). In it, you’ll find the best new recipes and techniques from around the globe, lots of great food content, and no ads. Kimball writes on the Milk Street website, “There is no ‘ethnic’ cooking. It’s a myth. It’s just dinner or lunch served somewhere else in the world.” If you feel similarly about the wealth of food awaiting you from across the globe, dive into Milk Street.

Frequency: Six issues per year | Focus: Recipes and technique | Includes: Recipes, techniques, reviews, photos, how-to illustrations, and more

Whetstone

Whetstone
Courtesy of Whetstone
What We Like
  • Minority-owned

  • Examines global food issues

What We Don't Like
  • Less about the industry at large

Traditional food media has recently gone through somewhat of a reckoning for its role in reinforcing white supremacy. Whetstone was founded in 2017 by food writer and former sommelier Stephen Satterfield and consultant Melissa Shi, celebrating food origins and culture. In it, you’ll find stories about topics like the Salvadoran diaspora, a search (and a fight!) for biodiverse avocados, home cooking in Kyrgyzstan, and more.

Whetstone is proudly led by a team of women and people of color, explaining on its website, “We believe that diversity isn’t just noteworthy, it’s what makes our work so essential. When the gatekeepers are diverse, so too are the stories, its tellers, and their experiences.”

Frequency: Four issues per year | Focus: Food origins and culture | Includes: Essays, photos, and long-form reporting

Toothache

Toothache
Courtesy of Toothache
What We Like
  • Professional recipes

  • Spotlight on chefs

What We Don't Like
  • More geared toward chefs than consumers

Toothache, the indie food magazine for chefs by chefs, is great for professionals looking for a more industry-focused magazine that will keep them abreast of the goings-on of their colleagues. The website explains, “We essentially made this a collaborative project and gave chefs blank pages. We then let them add whatever images, recipes, and writing that they wanted.”

Baking recipes are by weight (as, you know, a professional baker would do it), industry leaders, such as Alex Stupak and Mei Lin, are featured, and if you know what you’re doing in the world of food, there’s really nothing like it.

Frequency: Two issues per year | Focus: Chefs | Includes: Recipes, photos, and anything else that chefs want to contribute

Cherry Bombe

Cherry Bombe
Courtesy of Amazon
What We Like
  • Celebrates women and food

  • Beautiful photos and design

What We Don't Like
  • One of the pricier options

Cherry Bombe was founded by two women—Claudia Wu and Kerry Diamond—who had spent time in editorial and fashion (in fact, they worked together for a time at Harper’s Bazaar) and wanted to create a print magazine celebrating women and food. The name, said Diamond in an interview with Fast Company, is about “food, femininity, and a kind of fierceness in two simple words. It sums up what we’re all about.” In it, you’ll find gorgeous photos, profiles on female stars in the food world, and upcoming trends—perfect for the food-loving trendsetter of the group.

Frequency: Two issues per year | Focus: Women in food and beverage | Includes: Interviews, recipes, photos

The Art of Eating

The Art of Eating
 The Art of Eating
What We Like
  • Literary

  • Explores traditions, dishes, and ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Only digital

Food writer Edward Behr’s claim to fame is that his Art of Eating article "The Lost Taste of Pork” convinced Chipotle founder Steve Ells to move from conventionally raised pork to humanely raised pork, making Chipotle the first major buyer of humanely raised meats among US restaurants.

But the magazine didn’t start out as a major influencer among food CEOs. In fact, it started as Behr’s newsletter and grew into a major force among in-the-know food lovers. It focuses on simple and satisfying food and wine, with special attention to where they originated.

Frequency: Four issues per year | Focus: The origins of food and beverage | Includes: Reviews, photos, essays

What to Look for in Food Magazines

Price

The food magazines you subscribe to should fit your budget. Subscriptions for many of the options from bigger publishing houses, such as Food & Wine, can be purchased for under $10 per year when they go on sale. Others can be much more expensive. That said, if you find an independent magazine that you love, you can be sure that you’re supporting a wider range of voices and putting dollars directly into the pockets of creators.

Content

Believe it or not, the world of food magazines is pretty broad. Do you want to stay up on trends? Do you want deep-dives on obscure French cheeses? Do you want to read photo essays by chefs? Do you want to understand what tannins are? Each magazine has a slightly different angle and perspective.

Number of issues per year

Most of the bigger publications release a new issue every month or two. Some are quarterly, while others come around just a couple of times a year. If it takes you a while to sit down and read a magazine, a few issues annually may be perfect for you. If you want to stay on top of trends as they happen, those that come more frequently might better fit your needs. Or, you can always subscribe to both.

FAQS

 Why do food magazines have such a range in price?

The short answer is: different business models.

Some magazines are owned by large publishing corporations, such as Hearst or Conde Nast. Many of those magazines have large advertisers who work with the brands. With that business model, you’re not paying full price for the magazine because advertisers are essentially subsidizing its production. In exchange, the magazine will have ads throughout.

Other magazines are independent, meaning the reader pays the entire price for the publication. Those tend to be more expensive, but will not have ads. They also tend to feature a wider range of voices and/or more niche content.

There are also smaller, independent magazines that have some ads.

If you find an independent magazine you love, it will likely be more expensive, but you know your dollars are directly supporting the creators.

How do I find the best food magazine for me?

Take inventory of what you’re looking for: Do you want a bunch of well-tested, global recipes? Are you looking for essays or interviews with chefs? Look through the options and buy individual copies of the magazines that interest you. If you enjoy one issue, you’ll probably enjoy a subscription.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats? 

When writer, podcaster, and professional cheese nerd Christine Clark isn’t writing or teaching a cheese class, she’s reading a food memoir, cookbook, or food magazine. If you have a preferred method for storing your food magazines, she's all ears.

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