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When you invite someone over for dinner, you need a good repertoire of recipes from which to choose. That’s why today I’m sharing with you 13 of the best cookbooks for entertaining. They are the best of the best, and you can have confidence cooking out of them each and every time you host friends for dinner. Click on the pictures below to read more about each book. Let’s get to it!
1. How to Cook Everything
by Mark Bittman
When famous chefs like Mario Batali and Bobby Flay call this book a classic and say that it’s the one book they would want with them on a desert island, you know it’s got to be pretty darn good. Like the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, it contains over 2,000 recipes, and almost anything you would ever want to know how to cook is here (I mean, it is called How to Cook Everything!). It’s perfect for beginners and experienced cooks — it’s not just a cookbook, it’s an education. A must-have for your collection.
2. Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl
by Ree Drummond
Ree’s recipes are straightforward, full of amazing flavor, and easy to understand, thanks to her step-by-step photos. She makes you feel like you can cook anything, and bonus — she’s hilarious. Any of her cookbooks would be great to use in entertaining (especially this one), but Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl includes basic-but-delicious homestyle dishes that will impress any friends you invite over for dinner.
3. Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
by Cook’s Illustrated
Why You Should Own It:
Every recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is rigorously tested until it’s deemed perfect. And with over 2,000 recipes in this cookbook, you’ll be well-stocked with high-quality dishes for entertaining. The only potential downside is that there are no photos of finished dishes, only detailed instructions and pencil drawings. But the cool thing is that they tell you their process for testing each recipe, including what worked, what didn’t, and why. This book will make you a better cook, for sure.
by Chrissy Teigen
Why You Should Own It:
Chrissy Teigen knows good food, and she’s not afraid of a little butter, cream, or spice. Her book, Cravings, is full of great-tasting recipes with a heaping side of stories and humor. If you want dinner recipes that you’ll be proud to serve to your friends, this is your cookbook, but you’ll have to look elsewhere for desserts — Chrissy says she’s no good at baking.
5. Platters & Boards
by Shelly Westerhausen
Platters & Boards is perfect for you if you don’t necessarily enjoy cooking but love to entertain and to create beautiful displays of food. Organized by time of day (Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Anytime), the pictures and recipes in this cookbook will give you all the tools you need for casual entertaining and also inspire you to build your own boards and platters.
6. Magnolia Table
by Joanna Gaines
When Joanna Gaines published her cookbook earlier this year, Fixer Upper fans rejoiced. And rightfully so. With a great balance of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes, Magnolia Table has the perfect blend of Southern and gourmet dishes. Whether you try Jojo’s Biscuits, her Mom’s Bulgogi, or Aunt Opal’s Banana Pudding, you’ll feel like you’re sitting at the Gaines’ family table. And how can you not love the tagline: “A collection of recipes for gathering?”
by Gina Homolka
Why You Should Own It:
I’ve been following Gina’s blog, Skinnytaste, for many years. She has a huge following, and it’s because her recipes are consistently good — like restaurant-quality good. I can confidently say that if you want to fix healthy dishes that don’t taste like they’re healthy, you’ll want to buy this cookbook. Calories and nutritional information are included with each recipe as well as a code that lets you know whether it’s vegetarian, gluten-free, freezer-friendly, or quick & easy. Skinnytaste is an all-around great resource for healthy, tasty cooking.
8. Foolproof Recipes
by Ina Garten
Why You Should Own It
You can’t go wrong with any of Ina Garten’s cookbooks. You just can’t. Her recipes are simple and down-to-earth and yet so good. Foolproof Recipes is my favorite of her cookbooks, though, because it includes advice specifically for entertaining. Besides providing lots of solid recipes, Ina shares her own process for making “a game plan” when she’s having guests over. She makes entertaining seem calm, quiet, and inviting. And that’s a win in my book.
9. Top Secret Recipes, Step-by-Step
by Todd Wilbur
After college, I lived in West Africa for 2 years, and Todd Wilbur’s original Top Secret Recipes was my lifeline to American food. We lived far from any restaurants, much less American restaurants, and his copycat recipes for dishes from Taco Bell and Olive Garden gave me a taste of home when America felt far away. Now he’s upgraded many of his recipes from years past with step-by-step photos. If you want to make recipes that taste like your favorite restaurant’s, like Wendy’s Chili, Chick-fil-a’s Chicken Sandwich, or Cracker Barrel’s Chicken Fried Steak, buy this book!
by Meathead Goldwyn
If you (or your spouse) love to grill when you have people over for dinner, this book should be on your shelf. Goldwyn separates fact from fiction when it comes to temperature, smoke, searing meat, brining, marinades, and grills themselves. This cookbook will take you from amateur to grill master in no time. And the 100 recipes are just bonus!
11. Eat Happy
by Anna Vocino
These last three cookbooks are great for entertaining guests who have special diets, intolerances, or food allergies. Eat Happy is a wildly popular book with recipes that have no sugar and no grains, also making them gluten-free. Your guests will thank you for fixing them meals that honor their needs but are also delicious.
12. Pure Delicious
by Heather Christo
If you or someone you know has food allergies, you know how difficult it can be to eat at other people’s houses or to go to restaurants. Because when it comes to food allergies, it’s not just a preference. Eating something you’re allergic to can mean life or death. That’s why Pure Delicious is such an important cookbook to own. All of its 150 recipes are free of the top allergens: dairy, soy, nuts, peanuts, gluten, seafood, cane sugar, or eggs. That’s a miracle in and of itself! When you cook out of this cookbook, your guests with food allergies can eat worry-free.
13. Oh She Glows
by Angela Lidden
Why You Should Own It:
When it comes to vegan recipes, The Oh She Glows Cookbook (named after the popular blog), is the best one you can buy. Whether you make one of the smoothies or a creamy vegetable curry, the recipes in this book will please both your vegan and non-vegan friends.
These 13 best cookbooks for entertaining contain the perfect recipes to give you confidence in the kitchen when you invite people over for dinner. Each one would make a great addition to your cookbook collection. Check them out today!
Did I miss any must-have cookbooks for entertaining? Which of these are you most excited to check out? Let me know in the comments below!
For more dinner party recipe ideas, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Planning a Casual Dinner Party Menu and Choosing Go-To Recipes for Last-Minute Entertaining!