10 Favorite Cookbooks From the Sneaky Chef Herself

Cookbooks are to me what novels are to others. They are not only piled high in my kitchen but on my nightstand, where I consume them like bedtime mysteries as I try to decipher the best techniques and tools of the trade.

I am a self-taught mom chef, and I more or less learned to cook by working my way through cookbooks. Over the years, I’ve gathered so much inspiration from them that I’ve become the author of several cookbooks myself. My Sneaky Chef series and newest book, SNEAKY BLENDS, show that I’m a living testament to the fact that you can learn to cook from cookbooks without going to culinary school! These are just some of my classic go-to faves.

Barefoot Contessa at Home
by Ina Garten

Ina Garten is my absolute cooking idol, period. Her style is as warm and inviting as her food, and she captures the essence of the adage “food is love.” I adore her fresh, simple, and lovingly uncomplicated food. Her simplicity is her genius, and even if you don’t follow a recipe to the T, you can glean brilliant ideas from just looking through her mouthwatering photos and brilliant combinations of fresh ingredients.

The New Basics Cookbook
by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

This classic from the ‘80s never feels outdated—it’s the book that taught me how to boil an egg. It has the best “101” techniques of any cookbook. I’ve used this one so much it’s literally falling apart. There’s no better brisket in the industry!

Jane Brody’s Good Food Book
by Jane Brody

The original classic on nutrition and food—Jane E. Brody, award-winning personal health columnist of the New York Times,is the guru of health-promoting foods. No gimmicks, all good sense, and great food—I’m always amazed how “new” this cookbook seems, even decades after it was written.

Barefoot Contessa Family Style
by Ina Garten

Again, Ina Garten shows us that food doesn’t have to be fancy or pretentious to be amazing. Her clever use of fresh, seasonal ingredients makes an incredible presentation and clever tricks that always impress—unpretentious, but always delicious. This is one of my favorite books for everyday cooking for the family.

The Healthy Kitchen
by Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley

Andrew Weil is THE guru of healthy cooking and living Hippocrates’s philosophy of “let food be thy medicine.” He is a testament to the fact that healthy food doesn’t have to be punishment—he crafts beautiful, creative foods with a clever use of ingredients that feels decadent.

Cool Kids Cook
by Donna Hay

In COOL KIDS COOK, Donna Hay takes her signature style of simple, smart, and seasonal recipes and makes it fun and accessible for kids. With adorable graphics, food-fun stickers, and recipes like “spaceman eggs,” the kid-friendly recipes in this book will make your kids want to get in the kitchen with you.

The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2017
by America's Test Kitchen

AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN brings cooking school into your own kitchen. It’s filled with core techniques, equipment, and ingredient recommendations, and other tricks of the trade that will make you feel like an expert. It even tells you why recipes succeed and, more important, why they fail, and how to fix problems.

Daniel: My French Cuisine
by Daniel Boulud

This is my sophisticated foodie favorite! My chef idol, world-renowned French chef, and one of America’s most respected culinary authorities Daniel Boulud brings us into his own personal kitchen to see how he cooks casually for friends at home and gives us an insider’s guide to reveal the art of French cooking from his top-rated restaurant Daniel.

Eat This, Not That!
by David Zinczenko

As they say, “awareness is the first step to rehabilitation,” and this cute, fun book really opens your eyes to grocery store enlightenment—and it’s done in a style that even the kids will pick up and peruse. It’s not so much a cookbook per se, but it helps readers make smarter food choices that are lower calorie or better for you in general, while still encouraging you to enjoy your food!

Canyon Ranch Cooks
by Scott Uehlein

This book defines modern-day spa cuisine—the original farm-to-table cuisine. From clever classic guacamole that uses asparagus to cut calories and chocolate cake that tastes way too good to be healthy—there’s no deprivation here!