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Celebrity cookbooks are always greeted with a little side-eye at first. Don’t famous people all have private chefs or eat at fancy five-star restaurants all the time? But it turns out sometimes these celebs really do know their way around the kitchen and publish surprisingly excellent recipe books.
Our favorite celebrity cookbooks combine delicious recipes with beautiful imagery and — and this is key — some of the personality that attracts us to these celebs in the first place. Chrissy Teigen brings some of her signature wit that made her such a favorite on Twitter to her Cravings cookbooks, while Reese Witherspoon leans all the way into her Southern charm thing with Whiskey in a Teacup. And Stanley Tucci proves that he’s a made of many talents with his best-selling table tome too.
What Makes a Good Celebrity Cookbook
Quality writing, imagery, and, of course, food make the difference between a gimmick and a good cookbook.
Writing: We’re not mad at a celeb who uses a ghostwriter. In fact, we encourage it! But the writing should still sound authentically like the figure we already know and love, while remaining engaging, entertaining, and clear.
Photos: These should depict the food, not just the celebrity’s face. Colorful, beautiful images are also part of the appeal of cookbooks rather than finding recipes online.
Recipes: As with any cookbook, celebrity cookbooks have to clearly instruct people how to make good food. Ideally, the recipes are also unique or creative in some way, and stay on theme with the rest of the book (if there is a theme). This is where we learn if Antoni Porowski can make more than guacamole and if Stanley Tucci is as Italian as he claims.
1. Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
This is the cookbook that made everyone take Chrissy Teigen seriously as a home cook and recipe-writer (unless you’re Alison Roman). And for good reason. Her food is really delicious and the book is narrated with the same sharp humor that made her one of Twitter’s most beloved voices. Standout recipe is the Spicy Miso Pasta.
2. Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon
The title for Reese Witherspoon’s cookbook/lifestyle advice book is a reference to the actor’s grandmother Dorothea, who reportedly said that Southern women are like “whiskey in a teacup” — delicate on the outside but strong and fiery on the inside. Not unlike Legally Blonde come to think of it.
Witherspoon’s book includes more than just Southern recipes for fried chicken and biscuits, but also practical advice for looking picture perfect at all times, like how to host a party and how to hot roller your hair in the car (no, seriously). Standout recipe: Baked Brie.
3. Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski
You can’t expect the King of Thirst Traps not to include a picture or two of himself in his own cookbook, so we’ll forgive Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski for this one. Especially since the quality and variety of recipes are excellent, and as reviewers such as Ted Lasso and Padma Lakshmi have noted, his love of food is “infectious” and immediately draws the reader into his yummy world. Standout recipe: Polish Hangover Soup.
4. The Tucci Table by Stanley Tucci
Stanley Tucci’s second cookbook combines his own Italian recipes with his wife’s British ones, with charming personal stories and photography to match.
Tucci wrote this family-focused cookbook along with his British wife Felicity Blunt, and combines his Italian food traditions and British eats with an American twist. Tucci accompanies his indulgent Italian recipes with personal stories and photos about favorite food memories, and serving suggestions. Julia Child would be proud. Standout recipe: Tomato Soup.
5. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
If you haven’t seen Samin Nosrat’s series on Netflix, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, go do that first, where you will fall in love with the chef and food writer’s relentlessly upbeat and anyone-can-cook energy (she is moved to tears by parmesan cheese at one point). Then read this cookbook of the same name, which teaches the building blocks of good cooking more than straight recipes, accompanied by illustrations by Wendy McNaughton. Standout recipe: Buttermilk Marinated Roast Chicken.