Cookbook Review: Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

The ultimate comprehensive cooking primer for the beginner and expert alike.

With the holidays coming, everybody has several people on their list that are impossible to gift. Not this year. You can finish early. Just buy several of these babies and give your inner Santa a rest.

Nobody else does the excellent job of testing and “the science” of cooking that CI does. I have been a fan for many years of all their variations: America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated.  They are always logical, well presented and sound if somewhat fussy at times. Who else will test the same recipe 20 times? They are a national treasure.

Cook’s Illustrated has produced many wonderful cookbooks. I own many of them but if you must get just one, this is it. With 2000 recipes from the last 20 years of Cooks Illustrated all beginning with “Why This Recipe Works” , it gets you in the spirit to cook. If you want to roast a chicken, you have…. I lost count but pages and pages of choices. With those classic black and white drawings, you get just the information you need. No photos here but just solid reliable information.

Start with a Table of Contents in the front that is actually useful. It lists all the recipes with their variations and page number. As is usual with CI, the names of the recipes actually tells you what it is. I hate the cookbooks that gives fancy names to everything that means nothing. The Index is equally useful as is usual for CI.

This is not new material and if you have all the back issues and other cookbooks, I’ll almost sure you have all these recipes. Now I dare you to find them and get them organize in a logical and useful manner. I can’t.

Warning: if you or your receiving cook must have color pictures with the recipes, this book is not for you. If you want utility and a book that will still be used in 30 years, this is your book. I declare this an instant classic.

For about $26 you get 4 pounds and 928 pages and it’s all great. A wonderful bargain.

Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

Notes: I got mine as a present from a family member. No review copy here.

Last Updated
October 1 2014


  1. says

    I’ll definitely be on the lookout for this one. In fact, I think I have a nice credit at Amazon, need to check it out. I like the seasonal publications they put out but don’t have any of their cook books.

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