“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.
The Food of Morocco
Beautiful full-color photos
Robust collection of recipes
Essays on cooking techniques and Moroccan cuisine
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.
Price at time of publish: $45
Pages: 528 | Published: 2011 | Formats: Hardcover, e-book
Best for Tagines
Tagines and Couscous: Delicious Recipes for Moroccan One-Pot Cooking
Opens with important Moroccan basics
Divided into sections by main ingredients
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.
Price at time of publish: $25
Pages: 144 | Published: 2010 | Formats: Hardcover, e-book
Best for History
Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco
Vivid descriptions of Morocco’s culture, cuisine, people
Includes more than 20 recipes for just for couscous
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.
Price at time of publish: $20
Pages: 368 | Published: 1987 | Formats: Hardcover, paperback, e-book
Best for Food Culture
Cooking at the Kasbah
Includes more than 100 recipes
Wide variety of flavors and meals
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.
Price at time of publish: $28
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
Includes appetizers, entrees, desserts, sides, and drinks
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.
Price at time of publish: $40
Recipes: 80 | Pages: 224 | Published: 2012 | Formats: Hardcover, e-book
Mourad: New Moroccan
Includes both classic and modernized recipes
Photography includes both Moroccan food and locations
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.
Price at time of publish: $96
Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 400 | Published: 2011 | Formats: Hardcover, e-book
Best for Culinary Heritage
Traditional Moroccan Cooking: Recipes from Fez
Vivid and descriptive writing
Many recipes have a large yield
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.
Price at time of publish: $18
Pages: 208 | Published: 2014 | Format: Paperback
Best for Street Food
Includes 75 recipes
Easy to read
Great for beginners and seasoned cooks
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.
Price at time of publish: $28
Recipes: 75 | Pages: 128 | Published: 1999 | Format: Paperback
Best for Vegetarians
Vegetarian Tagines & Couscous: 65 Delicious Recipes for Authentic Moroccan Food
Includes 65 recipes
Many recipes are also vegan
Starts with building blocks of Moroccan cooking
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.
Price at time of publish: $15
Recipes: 65 | Pages: 144 | Published: 2020 | Format: Hardcover
Best for Beginners
Easy Moroccan Cookbook: Quick and Simple Mediterranean Recipes
Made for modern audiences
Includes helpful labels (like one-pot or vegetarian)
Bright and colorful layout
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.
Price at time of publish: $19
Pages: 148 | Published: 2022 | Formats: Paperback, e-book
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
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.
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.
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.
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.