Baking was a popular pandemic pastime—and while home cooks reconnected with their kitchens or discovered a sweet new hobby in the last few years, the trend shows no signs of slowing down. What’s not to love? The comforting precision, the (relatively) instant gratification, the delicious finished product. Whether you’re interested in tackling a multi-tiered cake or an artful tart, need a step-by-step guide for finally making that sourdough starter, or just want to crack the code on the perfect chocolate chip cookie, there’s a book for that.

Read on for all the cookbooks jam-packed with recipes and techniques that will elevate your baking game.

Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

The beauty of Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts is in baker Alice Medrich’s recipes that are equal parts delicious and accessible. With a range of recipes for puddings, pies, and cakes that come together quickly (plus over 100 recipes for no-fuss, no-bake treats) the book is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth who doesn’t have the time to whip up elaborate sugary creations. Medrich also includes a section on “the dessert maker’s basic pantry” in which she outlines the ingredients to keep in the pantry, fridge, and freezer—and all the desserts you can make whenever the mood strikes.

It’s a baking and gifting favourite for Lukas Volger, recipe developer, editor, and cookbook author, most recently of Snacks For Dinner. “She has such a way of streamlining a recipe, technique, concept—to make it sound both logical and straightforward but also elegant and sexy and fun,” he says. “It fully delivers on the ‘easy’ promise without turning out mediocre, over-simplified duds.” Volger has made many of the book’s recipes, and calls every single one a hit. “Her almond cake, a financier-type one that comes together in minutes in the food processor, is one I make constantly,” he says.

  • Full title: Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts
  • Author: Alice Medrich
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 289
Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts: Quicker, Smarter Recipes

The Art of Fine Baking

James Beard called Paula Peck’s cookbook The Art of Fine Baking “As complete a treatise on the art of baking as you will find in the English language.” The 1961 tome is a classic for a reason. Both novices and seasoned pros will appreciate the comprehensive collection of largely classic French recipes—from petits fours and gâteaux to cakes, frostings, fillings, and decorations. All have easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations for more intricate, technique-driven desserts like mille feuille and pâte à choux.

“It has been a ritual for me to come back to this vintage book before the holiday season,” says Atsuko Fujimoto of Portland, Maine’s Norimoto Bakery, “for Dresden Stollen in particular.”

  • Full title: The Art of Fine Baking
  • Author: Paula Peck
  • Ebook Available: No
  • Pages: 320
The art of fine baking

Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking

Cheryl Day outlines over 200 brilliant recipes in her instant classic Treasury of Southern Baking. The self-taught baker, New York Times bestselling cookbook author, and owner of Savannah’s Back in the Day Bakery spotlights the American South through its traditional, from-scratch baked goods and stories that add both historical context and plenty of heart. Plus, the book is peppered with genius tips and tricks—like blanching peaches to make peeling easier.

Food & Wine Best New Chef Paola Velez calls Day’s book a “must must must-have,” noting “Chef Day will never, ever lead you astray with this gem and I’m so grateful that she shared it with the world.” Flaky buttermilk biscuits, salted peanut honey pie, peach cobbler, and apple Brown Betty are just a handful of the savoury and sweet recipes we’re bookmarking.

  • Full title: Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking
  • Author: Cheryl Day
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 400
Cheryl Day's Treasury of Southern Baking

Baking: From My Home To Yours

Dorie Greenspan has written recipes and co-authored cookbooks with the likes of Julia Child and Pierre Hermé, but Baking: From My Home To Yours is the baking legend is illuminated. Along with a collection of more than 230 recipes—including Perfection Pound Cake and lemon tart—Greenspan shares charming anecdotes from her own life, as well as plenty of trusty tips for navigating ingredients, tools, and recipes.

It’s a favourite and most-used for Camille Cogswell, Food & Wine Best New Chef and owner of soon-to-open Walnut Family Bakery outside of Asheville, North Carolina. “Dorie is a great teacher and her recipes are super well-tested, so I always know that when I’m looking for some guidance,” she says, “She’s my most trusted source.”

  • Full title: Baking: From My Home To Yours
  • Author: Dorie Greenspan
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 528

Shop Here

Baking: From My Home to Yours

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

The Brooklyn-based pie shop was an instant sensation when it opened in 2009 for outrageously delicious, nostalgic-with-a-twist pies in flavours like salted caramel apple and lemon chess. The subsequent cookbook by owners and sisters Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen features 60 recipes for these and more, organised by season. Find lavender blueberry pie in the summer and rhubarb custard pie in the spring—a nod to the fact that the Elsen sisters focus on fresh, in-season ingredients. The section on techniques is illuminating, too, with tips on how to create the flakiest pie crust and apply decorative touches.

“The recipes are very versatile, so I use them as bases and transform them,” says Andrea Cote, pastry chef for RPM Restaurants in Chicago. “For example, skip the eggs in the fruit fillings and make compotes or purées and use as ice cream topping or a parfait layer.”

  • Full title: The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop
  • Author: Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 224

Shop Here

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop

The Cake Bible

“This book is easy to follow for a passionate and curious baker,” says Angela Pinkerton, James Beard Award-winning pastry chef and owner of Pie Society in Berkley, California. The Cake Bible author Rose Levy Beranbaum is known for her keen ability to transform complex recipes and techniques into easy-to-follow, unintimidating instructions, allowing anyone to master recipes from mini bundts to a multi-tiered wedding cake.

In addition to recipes, Levy Beranbaum—also the author of The Bread Bible and The Baking Bible—includes sections to help the reader understand the results, plus helpful guides on substitutions and “complementary adornments,” ie buttercream frosting or fondant. “The recipes are simplified and sophisticated, and accessible but elevated,” Pinkerton says. “It’s still my go-to recipe guide for perfect cakes … an absolutely inspirational book.”

  • Full title: The Cake Bible
  • Author: Rose Levy Beranbaum
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 592

Shop Here

The Cake Bible

Modern Sourdough

Modern Sourdough: Sweet and Savory Recipes from Margot Bakery by Michelle Eskeri was the book that opened my eyes to the wonder of working exclusively with naturally leavened breads,” says Kevin Masse, baker and owner of Small State Provisions in West Hartford, Connecticut. “This is the book where pages are falling out, stained by splatters and always close at hand when I need to reference.”

Eshkeri’s book includes more than 100 recipes inspired by both her heritage, growing up in Australia and England and her beloved London bakery. There’s a step-by-step guide to making and storing a sourdough starter and techniques for folding, scoring, and more. Both savoury and sweet recipes run the gamut from naturally-leavened pizza and inventive loaves to cinnamon buns and babka.

  • Full title: Modern Sourdough Sweet and Savory Recipes from Margot Bakery
  • Author: Michelle Eskeri
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 224
Modern Sourdough : Sweet and Savoury Recipes from Margot Bakery

Pastry Love

Owner of Boston’s Flour bakeries Joanne Chang shares 125 sweet and savoury recipes in Pastry Love, which was named one of Food & Wine‘s Essential New Cookbooks when it dropped in the fall of 2019. Pastries and breads like lamingtons and passion fruit and raspberry pavlova are broken into sections ranging from “Easy as Pie” to more challenging “Time to Show Off” and finally, “Master of Your Pastry Domain.”

“The ingredients she uses are unique and the book has detailed instructions and helpful tips for the home baker or a professional chef,” says Claudia V Martinez, 2022 JBFA Outstanding Pastry Chef nominee and executive pastry chef at Miller Union in Atlanta. “She’s creative with putting her twist on classics and still staying true to classic techniques.”

  • Full title: Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes
  • Author: Joanne Chang
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 464

Shop Here

Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes

Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

“One of my favourites is the Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook,” says Jim Smith, chef and owner of The Hummingbird Way Oyster Bar in Mobile, Alabama. “There are great classic recipes in this book that have clearly been very well written, tested, and beautifully presented.”

The domestic goddess and self-made mogul knows a thing or two about baking, and she underscores it with more than 200 well-organised recipes for cookies, cakes, pastries, breads, and much more. Sweet and savoury treats include Cherry Frangipane Galette, Sausage and Feta Hand Pies, and a classic apple pie. Another bonus of the book is the cache of photo-illustrated techniques and equipment, making it a winner for all skill levels.

  • Full title: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
  • Author: Martha Stewart
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 416
Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Fruit: The Art of Pastry

“I love fruit and always use it in my desserts,” says Claudia V Martinez of Atlanta’s Miller Union. “This book has amazing recipes along with tips on storing fruit, preserving, different ways of working with them, and the seasonality of them.”

Martinez says she’s a huge fan of the book’s author—French pastry chef Cédric Grolet, who may be best known for his mind-bending, trompe l’oeil desserts that are as delicious as they are artful. Fruit: The Art of Pastry (the English version of his original French book entitled “Fruits”) includes fairly advanced recipes, along with lush, highly-stylised imagery of creations like the “lemon-shaped dessert” made to look exactly like the citrus fruit, with a centre of yuzu ganache. The book includes 130 recipes using 45 different fruits to whip up dazzling cakes, eclairs, and cookies.

  • Full title: Fruit: The Art of Pastry
  • Author: Cédric Grolet
  • Ebook Available: No
  • Pages: 336
Fruit: The Art of Pastry

The Baking Bible

A classic by celebrated author and baker Rose Levy Beranbaum, The Baking Bible is another must-have for any baker’s library. Dominique Lombardo, executive pastry chef at New York’s Rezdôra Osteria Emiliana calls the extensive book “always reliable,” adding that it’s a “good go to book when you need a base recipe to help create a new recipe and dish.”

The book brings together all new recipes, organised in four sections: cakes; Pies, Tarts, and Other Pastries; Cookies and Candy; Breads, and Yeast Pastries. Each—from classics like honey cake and chocolate chip cookies to more creative concoctions like ElderBlueberry Pie—is meticulously broken down to ensure your baked goods come out perfectly every time.

  • Full title: The Baking Bible
  • Author: Rose Levy Beranbaum
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 576

Shop Here

The Baking Bible

The All-Purpose Baker’s Companion

Winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook of the Year award in 2004, The King Arthur Baking Company’s All-Purpose Baker’s Companion got a refresh in 2021, with glossy new photos, recipes, and revisions. More than 350 recipes cover the baking landscape and include quick breads, sourdough, crackers and flatbreads, cakes, pies, and tarts. Also new in this version: an overview of gluten-free ingredients. Sidebars are chock full of tips for turning out perfect apple slab pie, fudge waffles, and cranberry almond coffee cake, to name a few.

Lauren Goudeket, pastry chef at The Harvey House in Madison, Wisconsin says baking her way through the book made her want to go to school for pastry and to pursue a career as a pastry chef. “It has basic, easy to follow recipes for just about everything and gives a great understanding of the different baking and pastry methods,” she says.

  • Full title: The King Arthur Baking Company’s All-Purpose Baker’s Companion
  • Author: King Arthur Baking Company
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 592
The King Arthur Baking Company's All-Purpose Baker's Companion

The Great Scandinavian Baking Book

Spotlighting the traditional baked treasures of Scandinavia—including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and IcelandThe Great Scandinavian Baking Book includes a comprehensive range of recipes for savoury breads, cakes, pies, and, of course, dozens of cookies.

Published in 1999, Matt Horton of O&H Danish Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin explains that even though the book is a bit older, there are tons of great recipes from all over Scandinavia. “For us, this heritage and tradition is something that we cherish,” he says. “This book inspires us, and when we get inspired to make something we really think about adding our own flair or modern twist to many recipes.” Try the Swedish tea ring, scented with cardamom, and don’t miss the ingredients section where Ojakangas offers her best tips for crushing the aromatic spice whole.

  • Full title: The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
  • Author: Beatrice Ojakangas
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 332
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book


Pieometry by Lauren Ko is a truly beautiful cookbook,” says Alicia Wang, executive pastry chef at The Line DC. Ko’s ode to pies is an exquisite, visually stunning culmination of her journey from self-taught baker to endlessly creative Instagram star.

The charming, oftentimes punny cookbook offers not only Ko’s step-by-step techniques to recreate her artful pies—including how to naturally dye dough, cut patterns, and weave designs—but includes recipes for results that taste as excellent as they look. Ko’s flavour combinations are nothing short of inspired, from the “Heads or Scales”—blueberry mint curd with a speculoos crust and kiwi, to “C and Easy,” a butternut bacon macaroni and cheese pie with a whole wheat cheddar chive crust. A section on equipment runs the gamut of the usual suspects (a stand mixer, a rolling pin) to the more unexpected, like alphabet cutters and a ruler.

  • Full title: Pieometry: Modern Tart Art and Pie Design for the Eye and the Palate
  • Author: Lauren Ko
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 304
Pieometry: Modern Tart Art and Pie Design for the Eye and the Palate

Black Girl Baking

Amanda Mack, the owner of Baltimore’s Crust By Mack, has loved scratch baking ever since she was a little girl. “Naturally, as I began to explore other bakers I found solace in those that shared the same love for authenticity and imperfections that help highlight the journey of a dish rather than just its beauty,” she says. “Jerrelle Guy was one of the first bakers I fell in love with! Her recipes were delicious but the imagery truly brought out the beauty of the process.”

In Guy’s Black Girl Baking, the celebrated baker shares stories from her childhood and more, alongside 75 recipes, broken into the five senses. There’s sea salt butterscotch tart under “Sight: Shapes, Color and Patterns” and honey wheat raisin bread in the “Aroma: Scents and Cinnamon” section. Mack is particularly fond of her buttermilk beignets and plum chai pie, calling them, “favourites that bring me comfort and a sense of home each time I make them.”

  • Full title: Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringin
  • Author: Jerrell Guy
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 208
best baking cookbooks


Shirley O. Corriher’s methodical cookbook delves into the science of baking and pastry, according to Susan Bae, pastry chef at Kevin Tien’s Moon Rabbit in Washington, DC— “something I focus on when it comes to creating desserts,” she says. “Recipes and methods are explained thoroughly enough for a home baker who is willing, and for the seasoned chef to sift through to make them work in a professional setting.”

Corriher’s background in French culinary training and chemistry makes her an unparalleled baking expert. Besides 200-plus recipes, the book is full of granular, easy to digest tips and troubleshooting advice for making pastry flakier, cakes moister, and souffles light as air.

  • Full title: Bakewise: The Hows & Whys of Successful Baking
  • Author: Shirley O. Corriher
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 544

Shop Here

BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes

Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi

Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh is a vivid reminder to the world that Ottolenghi started his illustrious culinary career as a pastry chef. The beautiful collection includes more than 110 recipes for cakes, pies, and cookies—all conveyed with easy-to-follow instructions and conversational notes. The cookies section, for example, starts with a list of reasons why the treats are easy and make people happy. (According to Ottolenghi and Goh, they’re hassle-free, freezer-friendly, and festive-friendly.)

“When I lived in London I used to live near one of Ottolenghi’s shops and would stop by for a coffee and cake almost every morning,” says Chef Carla Henriques, Executive Pastry Chef of Hawksmoor NYC. “The recipes in this book are simple, detailed and showcase a diverse range of offerings alongside helpful photos.”

  • Full title: Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi
  • Author: Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 368

Shop Here

Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi

The Modern Cafe

Francisco Migoya shares nearly 250 recipes, organised into categories of the cafe’s five main elements—the bakery, the pastry shop, the savoury kitchen, beverages, and the retail shelf—each with its own recipes. Author Francisco Migoya taught the Café Operations class for the Baking and Pastry Arts program at The Culinary Institute of America, and his other works include the Elements of Dessert, Frozen Desserts, and Modernist Pizza.

Rabii Saber, Four Seasons Orlando executive pastry chef and a 2022 semifinalist for James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef, uses the Modern Cafe frequently for both reference and inspiration. “It’s a great resource for both professional pastry chefs and home bakers,” he says. While many of the book’s tips focus on current or aspiring cafe owners, Migoya’s expertise in the pastry and bakery sections are applicable to bakers of any skill level.

  • Full title: The Modern Cafe
  • Author: Francisco Migoya
  • Ebook Available: No
  • Pages: 560
The Modern Cafe

The Pie and Pastry Bible

With 300-plus recipes, Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bible is the definitive guide for crafting no-fail pies and pastries. Recipes run the spectrum from standard fruit pies to tarts, gallettes, custard and ice cream pies, as well as a comprehensive range of pastries, with how-tos on classic French puff pastry, Danish pastry, and strudel dough. “It has all the classic recipes you are looking for as well as some fun and unusual recipes,” says chef Danielle Bailey of Holler Treats in Portland, Oregon.

Besides a dizzying array of pie and pastry ideas, though, the book also includes savoury recipes (roasted poblano quiche, for example), myriad execution tips and time-saving tricks, plus an entire chapter on crusts. There’s miracle flaky lard pie crust, flaky cheddar cheese pie crust, vanilla, gingersnap, chocolate, and graham cracker crumb crusts, and so many more to build the backbone of your perfect pie.

  • Full title: The Pie and Pastry Bible
  • Author: Rose Levy Beranbaum
  • Ebook Available: Yes
  • Pages: 704

Shop Here

The Pie and Pastry Bible - by Rose Levy Beranbaum (Hardcover)

This story first appeared on

(Main and Feature Image Credit: Amazon)

© 2021. TI Inc. Affluent Media Group. All rights reserved.  Licensed from and published with permission of Affluent Media Group. Reproduction in any manner in any language in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited.

Food & Wine and the Food & Wine Logo are registered trademarks of Affluent Media Group. Used under License.

Subscribe to the magazine

Subscribe Now
Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.