Best Cookbooks of 2012

... and the winner is Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

After last year's tie for first place, this year we have a very clear winner.  For the second year running Yotam Ottolenghi takes the crown, this time with his restaurant partner Sami Tamimi.

We amalgamated 215 Best Cookbooks of 2012 lists from TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Websites, Blogs and Booksellers across the world (there are links to all of them below) to come up with the definitive guide to the best books on food and drink.

For those of you interested in data:

  • From 215 lists there were 2,136 votes
  • 651 different cookbooks made the list
  • 343 cookbooks had only one vote

Check out the Best cookbooks of 2011, Best cookbooks of 2010 and Best cookbooks of 2009 lists.


1. Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

This is the third year in a row in the top 10 for Yotam Ottolenghi - last year he was also #1 with Plenty. Obviously he earns top place by producing stellar cookbooks, but also because his books appeal to reviewers all across the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

2. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Deb is a home cook in a tiny New York kitchen who has built a wildly successful blog, indexed here on EYB, and now has an equally popular cookbook. We expect even more success from Deb in coming years.

3. Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel

Meticulous instructions from master bakers and chefs teach you how to achieve perfection in your baking.

4. Gran Cocina Latina by Maricel E. Presilla

It's a mammoth task to take on the cuisine of an entire continent, but Maricel has spent 30 years visiting every country in the region, and she seems to have succeeded with this book.

5. Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet

Having wowed the professionals last year with the massive, and massively expensive Modernist Cuisine, this more approachable version for home cooks has proved equally popular with EYB members and reviewers.

6. Canal House Cooks Every Day by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer

Seasonal recipes for home cooks - a wonderful compilation from the two women behind the Canal House series of books.

7. Roots by Diane Morgan

Taking what may seem the least glamorous of vegetables, Diane has crafted a wonderful collection of recipes for familiar and less well known root vegetables.

8. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten

Ina keeps producing reliable, well-produced books that her fans love and this one was no exception.

9. Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid

Naomi has made many trips to this fascinating but little-known land and she generously shares her knowledge of its cuisine and people.

=10. Fäviken by Magnus Nilsson

One of those restaurant cookbooks for which we had to add a huge number of new ingredients to our database, which probably means you will find many hard to source. Beautiful to look at though!

=10. Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan

The award winning chef from San Francisco's Slanted Door restaurant, Phan wants Vietnamese cooking to become as understandable to home cooks as Italian or American cooking.


Runners Up

Top British Picks

  1. Jerusalam by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
  2. Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts) by Russell Norman
  3. The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater
=4. Hugh's Three Good Things...on a Plate by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
=4. The Square: The Cookbook, Volume 1: Savoury by Phil Howard
=6. J Sheekey Fish by Allan Jenkins and Tim Hughes
=6. Salt, Sugar, Smoke by Diana Henry
=8. Mark Hix on Baking by Mark Hix
=8. Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson
=8. The Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Catherine Phipps
=8. You're All Invited by Margot Henderson

Top Australian Picks

  1. Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
=2. Mr Wilkinson's Favourite Vegetables by Matt Wilkinson
=2. Origin by Ben Shewry
=4. Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop
=4. Hugh's Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
=4. The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater

Top Canadian Picks

  1. Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel
=2. Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
=2. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
  4. Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid
=5. Canada's Favourite Recipes by Rose Murray and Elizabeth Baird
=5. Fäviken by Magnus Nilsson
=5. The Soup Sisters Cookbook by Sharon Hapton
=5. Toqué by Laprise Normand
=9. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten
=9. The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant and Kate Leahy

Top Drinks Books

  1. Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz
  2. The Juice by Jay McInerney
=3. Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla by Peter Liem and Jesús Barquin
=3. To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene
=3. Wines of the Southern Hemisphere by Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
=3. World's Best Cocktails by Tom Sandham

Top Vegetarian & Vegan Books

  1. Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule
  2. Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin
  3. Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kriss Carr
  4. The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations by Kim O'Donnel
  5. Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero
=6. Pure Vegan by Joseph Shuldiner
=6. Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas

Top Memoirs & Books About Food

  1. Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson
  2. Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
=3. My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
=3. Restaurant Man by Joe Bastianich
=3. The Art of the Restaurateur by Nicholas Lander
=6. Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz
=6. The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan

Sources for Data

TV & Radio

Food Network, Good Morning America (ABC), Here & Now (WBUR), KCRW, CTV Montreal, NPR, PBS Food, The Splendid Table (NPR), The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5

Newspapers & magazines

US: Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Atlantic, The Austin Chronicle, Booklist, Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Buffalo News, Buffalo Spree, The Charleston Post & Courier, Charlotte Observer, Chicago Daily Herald, Chicago Sun Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, City Weekly (Salt Lake City), Cooking Light Magazine, The Courier-Journal (Louisville), Culture Magazine, The Detroit News, Edible, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Press, The Island Packet, January Magazine, Jewish Daily Forward, The Library Journal, LA Weekly (best gift cookbooks), Lexington Herald-Leader, The Library Journal, Mercury News (San Jose), Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Nashville Scene, New Haven Register, New York Daily News, The New York Times (Sunday Book Review), NWI Times, The Oregonian (Vegan books), The Oregonian (Gluten-free books), Palm Beach Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pocono Record, Publishers Weekly, Reader's Digest Open Kitchen, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Saveur (best cookbooks), Saveur (gift books), Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Tampa Bay Times Times, Time Out New York, USA Today, Vegetarian Times, The Village Voice, The Virginian Pilot, Vox Magazine, Wall Street Journal (Best cookbooks), Wall Street Journal (Best drinking books), The Washington Post,

Canada: Calgary Herald, National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, Parents Canada, Toronto Globe & Mail, The Vancouver Sun

UK & Ireland: The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Guardian (Word of Mouth), The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, London Evening Standard, The Observer Food Monthly, She Knows, The Scotsman, The Times, The Times (best gift cookbooks), Wall Street Journal (European edition)

Australia & New Zealand: The Australian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Canberra Times, Food & Wine Magazine (Canberra Times), Time Out Sydney, The Listener (New Zealand)

Blogs, websites & online magazines

US: 5 Second Rule, About.com, Add a Pinch, American Food Roots, Archetype Me, Baking Bites, Bitch Buzz, Bite Club Eats, Blisstree, Bloomberg, BookPage, BookTrib, Brain Pickings, BuzzFeed, The Chalk Board, Cook In Dine Out, Cookbooks for Dinner (T. Susan Chang), Cooking With Amy, Cream Puffs in Venice, The Culinary Life, The Daily Batch, Daily Candy, The Daily Meal, The Daily Muse, Delicious Living (gluten-free), Delicious Living (vegan), Denver Westworld News, Dessert First, Don Genova's Blog, Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk, Eat the Love (author cookbooks), Eat the Love (blogger cookbooks), Eater, Eleventh Stack, Epicurious, Everybody Eats News, Figs and Function, FitSugar, Food in Jars, For the Love of Food, The Fresh 20, Friends Eat, The Gastro Gnome, Good Reads, Goop, Hedonia, The Heritage Cook, Huffington Post, In Sock Monkey Slippers, The Kitchn, Kitchen Food Garden, Learnist, Leite's Culinaria, The Little Kitchen, Life in Pleasantville, Marché Dimanche, Maria in Italy, Maroc Mama, Matt Bites (Kristina Gill), Memories of a Nonya Kitchen, Metroland, Mrs Wheelbarrow's Kitchen, Newsday, One Green Planet, Parents.com, The Parsimonious Princess, Punk Domestics, Real Food Kosher, Rose Water & Orange Blossoms, Running With Tweezers, Savor Tonight, A Serious Bunburyist, Serious Eats (cookbooks), Serious Eats (food books), She Wears Many Hats, Shutterbean, Simple Bites, Simple Good and Tasty, Savor Tonight, Star Chefs, Stirring the Pot, The Style Saloniste, Turntable Kitchen, Veggie Girl, The Wandering Eater

UK & Ireland: Big Spud, Good to Know Recipes (UK), Huffington Post UK

Canada: A Baked Creation

Australia: Gourmet Chick, MindFood, Stonesoup, Visit Vineyards.com, Wagshal's Food

Cookbook authors

Toni Lydecker, John Mariani, Lucinda Scala Quinn, Michael Ruhlman

Booksellers, Libraries & Book Awards

Amazon.com, Amazon.com (Food lit), Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, André Simon Awards, Appetite for Books of Montreal, Atomic Books of Baltimore, MD, Barnes & Noble, Bookcourt of Brooklyn, NY, The Book Depository (UK), Greenlight Bookstore of Brooklyn. NY, Irish Book Awards, Kitchen Arts & Letters of New York City, Librarie Gourmande of Montreal, Los Angeles Public Library, Omnivore Books of San Francisco, Porter Square Books of Cambridge, MA, Quill & Quire (Canadian booksellers' picks), Readings of Melbourne, Australia, Schaumber Township District Library, WH Smith Food & Drink Book of the Year (UK)