The 10 Best Moroccan Cookbooks in 2022

Our top pick is “The Food of Morocco” by award-winning author Paula Wolfert

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The Spruce Eats Top Picks

The Food of Morocco” is a comprehensive guide to Moroccan cuisine, with a ton of recipes, stunning pictures, and cooking techniques. For rich tagine recipes both old and new, we recommend “Tagines and Couscous: Delicious Recipes for Moroccan One-Pot Cooking.”

If you're in the market for an introductory cookbook on Moroccan cuisine, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the array of titles that have been published on the topic. Or, if you already have a few books and want to grow your collection, it can be hard to decipher which books are worth acquiring. 

Here, we list our top picks for popular cookbooks that will successfully bring the traditional flavors and recipes of Morocco into your kitchen, as well as lesser-known books that can serve as reference material for those who want to explore the cuisine in depth. Additionally, you'll find books that capture the modern spirit of an ever-evolving cuisine.

Here are the best Moroccan cookbooks so you can start cooking.

Best Overall: The Food of Morocco

The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Beautiful full-color photos

  • Robust collection of recipes

  • Essays on cooking techniques and Moroccan cuisine

What We Don't Like
  • Many recipes require lots of preparation time

If there is just one book to own on the topic of Moroccan food, this is probably the one you'll want to invest in. A hefty volume both in size and number of pages, the book, written by one of the foremost experts on Mediterranean cooking, Paula Wolfert, explains the dishes, ingredients, and methods in authoritative detail. An excellent collection of reliable, traditional recipes helps give broad exposure to the cuisine.

The recipes in this book come from the author's 40 years' worth of research of, and experience with, Moroccan cuisine. They range from spiced harira (lentil and chickpea soup) to Berber skillet bread to chicken with olives and preserved lemons to couscous with seven vegetables. Wolfert also includes essays on food preparation techniques and the background behind essential ingredients such as argan oil, cumin seed, and saffron. Plus, this book includes sumptuous, full-color photographs.

Pages: 528 | Published: 2011 | Formats: Hardcover, e-book

Best for Tagines: Tagines and Couscous: Delicious Recipes for Moroccan One-Pot Cooking

Tagines and Couscous by Ghillie Basan

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy-to-follow recipes

  • Opens with important Moroccan basics

  • Divided into sections by main ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Text is quite small

  • Some ingredients are difficult to find

In this collection of authentic recipes, compiled by food writer and restaurant critic Ghillie Basan, you'll find flavorful variations on the tagine, a cornerstone of Moroccan cuisine. This hearty, fragrant one-pot casserole is traditionally cooked in a vessel of the same name. There are more traditional recipes, such as chicken tagine with preserved lemons and green olives, and lamb tagine with dates, almonds, and pistachios. But there are also more modern recipes, such as eggplant tagine with cilantro and mint, and monkfish tagine with tomatoes, potatoes, and black olives.

Plus, this book has ideas for how to complete your Moroccan-style meal, with recipes for various couscous dishes (which traditionally accompany tagines), as well as other recipes for vegetable and salad sides.

Pages: 144 | Published: 2010 | Formats: Hardcover, e-book

Best for History: Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco

Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Vivid descriptions of Morocco’s culture, cuisine, people

  • Includes more than 20 recipes for just for couscous

What We Don't Like
  • Includes few shortcuts or substitutions

The predecessor to "The Food of Morocco," this is the title that helped launch Paula Wolfert's award-winning cookbook writing career and establish her reputation as an expert on Moroccan and Mediterranean cooking. Although the book is decades old, it remains relevant and is treasured by many who own it.

This book was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2008, and it's not hard to see why. It includes dozens of well-researched and carefully compiled recipes on not only the many varieties of couscous dishes, but also delicacies such as bisteeyas, which are pies made of thick, flaky layers of pastry and filled with a variety of foods. A bonus: Each chapter has a tidbit on one aspect of Moroccan food culture, such as a vivid description of the ubiquitous souk, or marketplace.

Pages: 368 | Published: 1987 | Formats: Hardcover, paperback, e-book

Best for Food Culture: Cooking at the Kasbah

Cooking at the Kasbah by Kitty Morse

Courtesy of Abe Books

What We Like
  • Includes more than 100 recipes

  • Wide variety of flavors and meals

  • Beautiful pictures

What We Don't Like
  • Some ingredients are tricky to find

The Casablanca-born author has written a number of cookbooks about her native cuisine. Although modest in size, it effectively delivers both Moroccan charm and authentic and straightforward recipes sure to yield pleasing results.

Plus, the more than 100 recipes are accompanied by the author's own history growing up in Morocco, as well as helpful time-saving cooking tips and lush color photos, both on location in Morocco and of gorgeous food stills.

Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 156 | Published: 1998 | Format: Paperback

Best for Variety: Morocco: A Culinary Journey with Recipes from the Spice-Scented Markets of Marrakech to the Date-Filled Oasis of Zagora

Morocco by Jeff Koehler

Courtesy of Kobo

What We Like
  • Includes appetizers, entrees, desserts, sides, and drinks

  • Easy-to-understand recipes

  • Well organized

What We Don't Like
  • Not every recipe has a picture

Beautiful writing, beautiful photos, and recipes that yield praiseworthy results—what's not to like about this book? The author takes you through a historical, cultural, and culinary journey through Morocco, from the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts to the Sahara. This makes this cookbook one to add to your own collection for both reading and cooking.

The more than 70 recipes in this collection feature the diverse flavor profiles and cooking styles of Moroccan cuisine, influenced by Spanish, Arab, and Berber cultures, and includes a wide range of dishes, from classic tagines to filled pastries to fragrant sweets to street eats. Plus, the author, also a photographer, captures the immediacy of Moroccan marketplaces and the serene stretch of date palms in the town of Zagora with his sumptuous color photographs.

Recipes: 80 | Pages: 224 | Published: 2012 | Formats: Hardcover, e-book

Best Modern: Mourad: New Moroccan

Mourad: New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Includes both classic and modernized recipes

  • 100+ recipes

  • Photography includes both Moroccan food and locations

What We Don't Like
  • Many recipes are quite complex

The author is the owner and chef of an acclaimed Moroccan restaurant, Aziza. He shares fresh, modern adaptations of time-honored dishes while keeping the reader (and cook) connected to Moroccan culinary tradition. He does so in the form of 100-plus recipes that include all the classics we've come to expect from Moroccan cooking, such as tagines, couscous, basteeyas, and more, but adapted in unexpected, creative ways—while still maintaining the essence of the culinary tradition's flavors and textures.

Plus, the recipes come in the form of very detailed, methodical directions, and are accompanied by stories of the author's childhood cooking with his grandparents, historical background on many of the dishes, specific techniques such as how to handle phyllo dough, and vibrant illustrations.

Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 400 | Published: 2011 | Formats: Hardcover, e-book

Best for Culinary Heritage: Traditional Moroccan Cooking: Recipes from Fez

Traditional Moroccan Cooking by Madame Guinaudeau

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Vivid and descriptive writing

  • Many recipes have a large yield

What We Don't Like
  • Both book and text size are small

Translated from French to English, this small paperback is not glossy, but it makes a nice read and gives insight into some of the cooking traditions associated with Fez. One of the most authentic recipe books out there, this book covers everything from how to preserve lemons for tagines to how to make the ideal Moroccan bread. It includes traditional recipes for tagines, couscous, harira, basteeyas, and more—but note that many of them are for 10 to 20 people, so you'll have to adjust accordingly if you're cooking for fewer.

The book also contains vivid descriptions of Fez, the cultural capital of Morocco, with the author taking you on a tour through the spice markets of the city, to a potter's workshop, and into a wealthy host's banquet, for example. It's a nice supplement to any collection.

Pages: 208 | Published: 2014 | Format: Paperback

Best for Street Food: Café Morocco

Cafe Morocco by Anissa Helou

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Includes 75 recipes

  • Easy to read

  • Great for beginners and seasoned cooks

What We Don't Like
  • A little dated

This little book's layout is particularly intriguing: it's simple and colorful. We also admire the selection of recipes included; they use authentic seasoning and have lovely presentations. Filled with 75 easy-to-prepare recipes, this book takes you into the medina, or the old part of a town or city in Morocco, and gives you a taste of the variety of street foods found there. These recipes encompass everything from sides such as grilled pepper and tomato salad, to mains such as lamb tagine with prunes, to desserts such as pastry crescents with almond paste. Colorful and informative photographs round out the book.

This will enhance your own cooking of Moroccan dishes and also serve you well when looking for inspiration or researching recipe comparisons. 

Recipes: 75 | Pages: 128 | Published: 1999 | Format: Paperback

Best for Vegetarians: Vegetarian Tagines & Couscous: 65 Delicious Recipes for Authentic Moroccan Food

Vegetarian Tagines and Couscous by Ghillie Basan

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Includes 65 recipes

  • Many recipes are also vegan

  • Starts with building blocks of Moroccan cooking

What We Don't Like
  • Formatting can be tricky to read

Though meat is a staple in much of Moroccan cuisine, there is a plethora of plant-based options for vegetarians to enjoy the flavors of the country. Ghillie Basan compiled 65 delicious vegetarian recipes that range from appetizers to hearty tagine meals to sides. Some highlights include lemon couscous with roasted vegetables and lime, cauliflower and chickpea tagine, and filo fingers stuffed with feta, olives, and preserved lemons. 

Thanks to the beautiful photography, the cookbook is as much a feast for the eyes as your stomach. It’s a colorful book that’s organized into neat sections by type. The introduction also includes the building blocks of Moroccan cuisine and then goes on to describe essential recipes. 

Recipes: 65 | Pages: 144 | Published: 2020 | Format: Hardcover

Best for Beginners: Easy Moroccan Cookbook: Quick and Simple Mediterranean Recipes

Easy Moroccan Cookbook by Aneesa Waheed

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Made for modern audiences

  • Includes helpful labels (like one-pot or vegetarian)

  • Bright and colorful layout

What We Don't Like
  • Recipes don’t have accompanying pictures

It can certainly be intimidating to dive into another culture’s cuisine. Luckily there are many incredible cookbooks out there for beginners. For example, “Easy Moroccan Cookbook Recipes” by Aneesa Waheed is a perfect entry point for curious cooks who want to explore the culture, cuisine, and history of Morocco. 

The aesthetically pleasing book is broken down into six sections by ingredients and food type. Each recipe–both classic and modern–is incredibly easy to follow. Some tasty highlights include lemon garlic fava bean dip (bessara), flaky baked chicken pie (pastilla), and goat tagine with argan oil. 

Pages: 148 | Published: 2022 | Formats: Paperback, e-book

Final Verdict

If you want a well-researched, all-encompassing guide to Moroccan cooking, we recommend "The Food of Morocco." In addition to recipes, you'll get a thorough guide to ingredients and techniques. If you're interested in making tagines, a cornerstone of Moroccan cuisine, "Tagines and Couscous: Delicious Recipes for Moroccan One-Pot Cooking" has variations that range from traditional to modern.

What to Look for in a Moroccan Cookbook

Instructions

A recipe is only as good as the directions provided to make it. A good cookbook has clear and concise instructions that take you through each step of a recipe and explain the method, along with the background and history of it.  It should be easy for you to follow and understand and be written in an easy-to-read font, making it enjoyable to use.

Ingredients

A cookbook that has recipes from a different culture can have ingredients that are hard to find. Are the ingredients in the recipes readily available, and if not, is there information supplied on where you can find them? It is vital that these details are provided; otherwise, you'll get frustrated and probably never use the cookbook.

Photos

Seeing the visual aspect of a recipe that shows what the food item should look like is helpful when making it on your own. A cookbook with large, colorful photos showcasing the finished product is good to have, or even better, look for one that has visuals taking you through each step of making the recipe.

FAQs

What types of recipes can be found in a cookbook?

Cookbooks typically have indexes and categories in them for ease of locating recipes. These can include appetizers, soups, salads, sides, entrées (a.k.a main dishes), desserts, and snacks. 

Do cookbooks provide other information besides recipes?

Most cookbooks don't just have recipes in them. Many contain a wealth of information on how the recipes came to be and other data such as the history, travel, economy, and culture of the country.

Are recipes in a cookbook tested?

Cookbooks should provide recipes that have been well-tested. Some cookbooks are based solely on recipes that the author personally developed and created. Expert chefs and cooks test recipes to ensure that they are correct.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

This roundup was written by Christine Benlafquih, an editor, writer, and home cook who has developed hundreds of Moroccan recipes. She offers Moroccan cooking classes and culinary tours in Casablanca, Morocco, and owns multiple titles on this list, including "Cooking at the Kasbah" by Kitty Morse and "Traditional Moroccan Cooking: Recipes From Fez" by Madame Guinaudeau.

Allison Wignall, who updated this article, is a writer who focuses on food and travel. She’s always in the kitchen trying to recreate recipes from around the world. Her work has been featured in publications, such as Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.

Updated by
Sharon Lockley
Sharon Lockley
Sharon Lockley has over 20 years of experience as an editor and writer and has been contributing to The Spruce Eats since 2019.
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Additional reporting by
Allison Wignall
Allison Wignall The Spruce Eats

Allison Wignall is a staff writer for The Spruce Eats who focuses on product reviews. She has also contributed to publications such as Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.

Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
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