As much as we love eating out in London (and we really, really do), there’s nothing wrong with a home-cooked meal, especially when the recipes come from some of our favourite chefs and restaurants.
This Christmas, why not treat your loved ones (or yourself) to a little literary joy? Christmas cookbooks make for a perfect Christmas gift, with cookbooks available from your favourite restaurants and top chefs across the UK and beyond. Whether it’s a classic that’s been out for a few years or a new release, there are some brilliant cookbooks out there – they don’t necessarily have to be themed around Christmas either, as ones that are more general come in handy all year round. So this festive season, remember that a cookbook is for life, not just for Christmas.
We're cookbook and restaurant fanatics, so every year promises a great deal in terms of what we can eat out and what we can cook at home. Many of this year's best cookbooks combine both those worlds, bringing some of the best restaurants into your kitchen. Don't be put off by the idea of cooking restaurant food at home - whilst there are a few cookbooks that feature extremely technical recipes, the majority are very accessible and extremely cookable. At the very least, the most technical cookbooks make beautiful coffee table books and as a result, very welcome presents for the more food-obsessed people in your life.
We've cooked our way through the majority of this years cookbooks and come up with a list of our absolute favourites - the ones we keep turning back to time and time again, for easy midweek meals, delicious vegetarian ideas or just to marvel at beautiful artwork and plates of food.
If we’ve convinced you that a Christmas cookbook is this year’s must-have gift, take a look at some of our current favourites below.
What: Finally a cookbook from the wildly popular BAO, which has grown from humble street food stall to the first and last word in pillowy bao buns, delicious noodles and more. The book weaves together all the classic dishes and drinks from the restaurants, alongside their signature playful art styling. A must-own.
Buy now: BAO
Imad’s Syrian Kitchen
What: Imad Al Arnab ran his own restaurant in Damascus, before war forced him to leave his home behind. Not only does Imad’s Syrian Kitchen document the incredible story of how he found his way to Britain as a refugee, it also records 90 riotous recipes that have made his London restaurant so beloved.
Buy now: Imad’s Syrian Kitchen
Modern South Asian Kitchen
What: As far as chefs go, Sabrina Gidda has done it all, from running kitchens to multiple appearances on TV, supper clubs and more. Her debut cookbook is just as accomplished, bringing together a host of colourful, cookable recipes from her Punjabi upbringing, including hit dishes from her appearances on Great British Menu.
Buy now: Modern South Asian Kitchen
Time & Tide: Recipes and Stories from My Coastal Kitchen
What: One of Cornwall’s most recognisable chefs, Emily Scott’s cooking is deeply rooted in the landscapes and ingredients of her home county. Her second cookbook is another love letter to Cornwall, packed with gorgeous, naturally-lit photography and gentle recipes that celebrate the wonders of the West Country.
Buy now: Time & Tide: Recipes and Stories from My Coastal Kitchen
Ikoyi: A Journey Through Bold Heat with Recipes
What: Without doubt one of the most exciting restaurants to arrive in London in years, Ikoyi has astounded with newfound approaches to heat and spice within cooking, looking broadly at food through the lens of West Africa. The book is as much for the coffee table as it is the kitchen, with Jeremy Chan’s precise recipes finally recorded on paper for the first time, giving incredible insight into the process of one of the country’s most talented young chefs.
Buy now: Ikoyi: A Journey Through Bold Heat with Recipes
Mother Tongue: Flavours of a Second Generation
What: Cookbooks have a habit of falling into tried-and-tested formats, so it’s always welcome to see a refreshing, unique voice arrive on the scene. Gurd Loyal is just that, and his debut book is full of boundary-breaking, cross-culture recipes that draw on his plural British Indian identity and upbringing. Honestly, who says no to a miso masala fried chicken sando?!
Buy now: Mother Tongue: Flavours of a Second Generation
Nistisima: The secret to delicious Mediterranean vegan food
What: The follow up to the excellent Taverna, Georgina Hayden delves into the traditions of fasting foods, where meat and dairy are replaced by vegetables, pulses and grains. The result is a book full of easy, delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes that will become staples in your dinner rotation. We loved Taverna too, so you could always double up and buy these both as a bundle!
Buy now: Nistisima: The secret to delicious Mediterranean vegan food
Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many
What: Another of 2024’s big hit cookbooks, Jeremy Lee finally brings his unique voice and liberal cooking style to a book. Lee is one of London’s truly beloved chefs - his generosity of spirit and larger than life character are legendary at Soho stalwart Quo Vadis, and his debut cookbook is equally essential.
Buy now: Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many
A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food from Asia
What: A breakout star in the cookbook world, Lara Lee’s recipes riff on Indonesian flavours, through the lens of approachable everyday recipes that you just want to eat. A Splash of Soy takes this a step further with delicious everyday recipes like cheesy kimchi linguine with gochujang butter, and sambal patatas bravas, with pantry and vegan swaps included too.
Buy now: A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food from Asia
Rambutan: Recipes from Sri Lanka
What: There’s no denying that Rambutan has been one of the smash hit restaurant openings of 2024, and Cynthia Shanmugalingam’s delicious Sri Lankan cooking can be yours at home through gorgeous recipes. Rambutan isn’t just a collection of wonderful recipes, it’s also an eye-opening, colourful journey across Sri Lanka.
Buy now: Rambutan: Recipes from Sri Lanka
If you can’t be bothered to cook these meals yourself, gorge on our complete list of London’s hottest restaurant openings instead, or work up an appetite with our list of restaurants that are coming soon.