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25 Must-Have Cookbooks for Holiday Entertaining

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 06, 2022

For a lot of us, the joy of the holidays revolve around spending quality time with family and friends. And what's the single most important part of those occasions? The food, of course! While we enjoy our loved ones, we also expect to be noshing on delicious treats, sipping tasty beverages, and sitting down to delectable dinners. Here are a range of 25 cookbooks offering recipes, menu plans, and entertaining tips to give you inspiration as you plan your holiday celebrations.

All-Purpose

These five cookbooks run the gamut between comfort food and upscale delicacies. Many of them offer menu suggestions and party strategies for planning the perfect get-togethers.

The Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition

Updated and expanded by Megan Scott and John Becker (Irma Rombauer's great-grandson!), this 1931 classic remains the ultimate kitchen bible, guiding home cooks through every type of dish imaginable, from flan to pad thai to fried chicken and thousands more recipes spanning a wide variety of cultures.

The Modern Hippie Table

With an array of menus to help plan any meal, big or small, this lifestyle cookbook encourages everyone to find joy in the art of cooking and entertaining in a fun, relaxed, and approachable way. Blogger Lauren Thomas offers 70+ simple, yet elevated, recipes for every occasion.

Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays

Food Network star Ree Drummond shows you how to ring in your favorite holidays with inspired menus for every type of occasion. Create a variety of delights with dozens of mouth-watering dishes—including the perfect set of Christmas bakes and 19 recipes for Thanksgiving alone.

Celebrate with Babs

For celebrations from New Year's Day to Christmas, Barbara Costello shares 100 of her family-favorite recipes. With menus for a year's worth of festive occasions, you'll always know what to serve. Plus, helpful entertaining suggestions and party hacks will bring less stress and more meaning to your get-togethers.

Cook Like a Pro

From cutting perfect cauliflower florets to tips for keeping your stovetop clean, Ina Garten offers more than just a winning collection of recipes. Along with such delights as Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs and Chocolate Chevron Cake, you'll find ingenious tips like how to set up an elegant bar or quickly peel heads of garlic.

Cuisine-Specific

Perhaps you prefer holiday fare that caters to a specific culture or tradition. Maybe you're feeding a houseful of vegans or looking for unique dishes to bring to potlucks and office parties. In any case, here are seven cookbooks that shine a light on distinct cuisines, techniques, and traditions.

Bress 'n' Nyam

From Sweet Potato Pie to Salmon Cakes on Pepper Rice, Gullah Geechee food is the culinary representation of the coastal South. In this groundbreaking and beautiful cookbook, Matthew Raiford traces the history of his community and family and the food that brought them together.

Korean American: Food that Tastes Like Home

Eric Kim shares family recipes alongside insightful, touching stories and stunning images. Learn what Thanksgiving means to a first-generation family, complete with a full holiday menu. Add flavor-forward dishes like Crispy Lemon-Pepper Bulgogi and Milk Bread with Maple Syrup to your traditions.

Mi Cocina

Join on a culinary journey with this set of deeply personal recipes based on his travels throughout Me´xico. Highlighting the diversity, richness, and complexity of Mexican cuisine, he offers dishes and techniques that span 32 states, 156 cities, and 20,000 incredibly delicious miles.

Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch

From food writer Jake Cohen comes a brilliantly modern take on Jewish culinary traditions. With innovative recipes like Roasted Tomato Brisket and Matzo Tiramisu, he reinvents the food of his Ashkenazi heritage and draws inspiration from his husband's Persian-Iraqi traditions for a fresh, enticing approach.

The Nom Wah Cookbook

For the last 100 years, Nom Wah Tea Parlor has been slinging some of the world's greatest dim sum from New York's Chinatown. Now owner Wilson Tang invites us into his kitchen with 75 easy-to-make recipes: from bao to vegetables, noodles to desserts, cakes, rice rolls, chef's specials, dumplings, and more.

The Art of the Board

A beautifully arranged snack board is a welcome addition to any occasion. Whether creatively plating Thanksgiving leftovers or wowing friends with fancy cheese and charcuterie spreads, Olivia Carney provides guidance for over 75 seasonally inspired snack boards, recipes, and cocktails.

Vegan Christmas

An expert in bold flavors and textures, Gaz Oakley offers a collection of spectacular plant-based recipes. From holiday breakfasts like sweet potato waffles and tofu benedict to party food like mini sausage rolls and boozy tiramisu, enjoy a decidedly decadent vegetarian holiday.

Pop Culture-Inspired

Many holiday traditions involve revisiting cultural touchstones like favorite movies, books, or television shows. Add richness to the experience by serving yummy dishes and drinks inspired by your entertainment of choice with one of these fun guides.

Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook

Originating on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk, Life Day is the galaxy-wide celebration of family, friendship, and hope. With over 40 festive recipes, this cookbook will help chefs at any skill level create the galaxy's most delicious appetizers, main courses, beverages, and desserts.

The Unofficial Hogwarts for the Holiday Cookbook

From sumptuous fall and winter feasts to delectable desserts and tea-time treats, this book has it all. Celebrate in true wizarding world style with treats like: Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, and more. With 75 delicious recipes, this cookbook is sure to stupify any fan of the boy who lived. Tuck in.

Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas

With 55 delicious recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts, including personal faves from the network's top leading ladies and gentlemen, like Lacey Chabert's Sweet Potato Pie and Chris McNally's Classic Eggnog. Plus everything you need to host the perfect Hallmark holiday watch party.

The Official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook

Take a seat at the Christmas table of Downton Abbey with this collection of classic British holiday recipes from the Edwardian era. Downton fans will appreciate elegant photos of finished dishes, recaps of fan-favorite moments from Christmas episodes, memorable character quotes, and more.

Baking

From cookies to fruitcakes, baked goods loom large in traditional holiday eats. Most of the cookbooks here offer a selection of baked recipes, but here are five guides that will take your baking to the next level.

Baking with Dorie

A Five-time James Beard winner, Dorie Greenspan offers a collection that celebrates the sweet, the savory, and the simple. Every recipe is signature Dorie: accessible, yet sophisticated. Don't miss the Meringue Little Marvels or the Double-Decker Caramel Cake.

The Book on Pie

This comprehensive handbook from NYT contributor Erin Jeanne McDowell distills all you'll ever need to know to bake perfect pies. Find everything from classics like Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie, to more unusual recipes like Birthday-Cake Pie and Caramel Pork Pie with Chile and Scallions.

Black Girl Baking

James Beard Award-winner Jerrelle Guy leads you on a sensual baking journey with creative bakes and wholesome ingredients. Each recipe in her collection tells a story. Orange Peel Pound Cake invokes summers spent in Florida, while Rosketti cookies reimagine her mother's Guam childhood.

Advent: Festive German Bakes to Celebrate the Coming of Christmas

With over 100 classic recipes, Anja Dunk shares the best of traditional German festive bakes. From lightly spiced Lebkuchen and jam-filled ginger hearts to snow-capped coconut macaroons and marzipan-filled Stollen, you will find delectable spiced treats to share with friends and family.

Baking for the Holidays: 50+ Treats for a Festive Season

Fans of Sarah Kieffer's hugely popular 100 Cookies will be thrilled with this collection of easy, yet innovative, recipes, like: Triple Chocolate Peppermint Bark, Meyer Lemon-White Chocolate Scones, Pear-Almond Danish Bread, Hot Chocolate Cake, and Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pepita Streusel.

Drinks and Cocktails

From spiced cider to martinis to egg nog, no fête is complete without some scrumptious sips. Here are four guides to help you raise your glass.

Very Merry Cocktails: 50+ Festive Drinks

Featuring more than 50 festive libations, this versatile guide from Jessica Strand has something for every occasion, whether a kid-friendly cookie party, an elegant soirée, or a cozy night in for two. Recipes range from timeless classics and craft cocktails to party punch bowls and zero-proof libations.

60-Second Cocktails

Mixology in a minute! Award-winning drink experts Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley offer 60 delicious cocktails you can create in 60 seconds or less. Whether you have classic or adventurous taste, this guide to easy cocktail creation is the perfect addition to your home bar.

Modern Classic Cocktails

One of the greatest dividends of the cocktail revival of the past thirty years has been the relentless innovation. Renowned NYT cocktail and spirits writer Robert Simonson offers 60+ recipes for today's modern classics with entertaining backstories around their creation.

Mocktail Party: 75 Plant-Based, Non-Alcoholic Mocktail Recipes for Every Occasion

Swap your hangover-inducing cocktail for a tasty plant-based alternative. Developed by dieticians Diana Licalzi and Kerry Benson, these healthy and delicious recipes include a host of options like an Aperol-less Spritz, a No-Bull Bloody, Warm Cider & Sage, and a Tiramisu Mocktini.

The holiday season is upon us. It's time to get cooking! Hopefully you've found something here that can help you elevate your holiday party refreshments.

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