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The New Best Recipe (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)

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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  11,027 ratings  ·  222 reviews
The flagship book of the award-winning, best-selling series, is back-bigger and better than ever. Fully-updated and double the size of the original, this new edition boasts 22 chapters covering 1,000 foolproof recipes. 40% new recipes pack this 1,000-page, one-stop source for the best-tested recipes in America.
Hardcover, 1028 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by America's Test Kitchen (first published January 1st 1995)
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The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. RombauerHow To Cook Everything by Mark BittmanBetter Homes and Gardens New Cook Book by Better Homes and GardensMastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia ChildMy Greek Traditional Cook Book 1 by Anna Othitis
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6th out of 854 books — 861 voters
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8th out of 146 books — 85 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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A.
This book has great, solid, totally doable recipes (even for a person with a more frugal than gourmet budget), and I totally geek out on their scientific-method-style approach. I have to say, though, that the introductions to their recipes consistently amuse me. Almost all follow this format where they say "every version we could find of this item was insipid and embarrassing, with undesirable flavors and a texture no one could enjoy. We set out to see if we could salvage the reputation of this ...more
Michele
Jan 05, 2009 Michele rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All level cooks
It's hard for me to name my favorite cookbook - largely because I have nearly 500 of them and if truth be told I read them more than cook from them. But if one of my clients or friends wants to know what book to add to their collection, this is near the top of the lists.

Brought to you by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine (our friends from America's Test Kitchen), this book has taken all the trial and error and guesswork out of the recipes included - and the two inch thick book boasts 10
...more
Angela
Mar 19, 2009 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like to cook and bake
Recommended to Angela by: Momsy
I wasn't that excited when my mom got me this book as a Christmas present. I mean, how many cookbooks does one girl need? Then I started reading it and getting excited: I LOVE that someone has already done the work that a good cook would do. The reason great cooks are great cooks is that they try recipes, tweak them, try again, till they arrive at THE best recipe for something. Since I don't cook that much, the chances of me ever becoming a great cook by my own unaided efforts are pretty slim. B ...more
W Todd Kaneko
This is a pretty killer book. I think that there could be more recipes in the book, given how huge it is, but that isn't really the book's agenda. The authors have tested several versions of the recipes to determine what techniques and ingredients produce the best results. I had no idea that you should cover fried eggs while they cook so that the tops will steam-cook. Nor did I know how superior oven-fried bacon can be to the normal pan-frying. Who knew that frozen spinach makes a better spinach ...more
Heather Sinclair Shaw
Nov 03, 2011 Heather Sinclair Shaw rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cooking nerds who want to know WHY!
Recommended to Heather by: Mary Cline
Shelves: cookbooks
I love poached eggs, but I've never been able to make them well. When I tried the recipe in this book, they came out Perfect. Perfect, I tell you. And they've been perfect ever since.

I love waffles, but I've never been able to make them well. When I tried the recipe in this book, they came out Perfect. Perfect, I tell you. And they've been perfect ever since.

I love mashed sweet potatoes, but I've never been able to make them well. When I tried...well, you get the idea.

If you've ever cooked somet
...more
Rene
The ONLY downside is its size. However, if I owned it (and hadn't checked it out from the library), I would be willing to get rid of several other cookbooks I own to make room for this one. This was my daily reading at lunchtime for several weeks. It was fascinating to find out the ideal temperatures, cooking times, ingredients, equipment, mixing methods, etc. for many, many recipes. The science-lover in me appreciated all the different tests that were applied to each recipe. I am grateful for t ...more
Sara
When the folks at Cook's Illustrated say "exhaustively tested," they mean exhaustively tested. Each recipe in here has been deemed the best and so far, I can't disagree. A good, basic, bare bones cookbook, it is a great launching-off point for any cook - beginner or otherwise.
Kathryn
Although I would much rather call Berit to ask her what I should do with ____________? I find myself often referencing this very large compendium of almost everything I like to eat. It may even replace Betty the Crock as my go to cookbook. I wonder what my mother will say?
Emily
This book has yet to let me down. I have made countless recipes from this book, each one with clear cut instructions and detail. It is my "go to" book. I shouldn't have been surprised, in my experience, everything Cooks Illustrated has put out has been of good quality.
Ampersand
This cookbook is incredibly comprehensive and a great place to start for anything. However, I call it 50 Ways to Kill a Chicken because of the in-depth explanations and details (the joke being that it could probably tell you how to pick out your live chicken at the marketplace), not to mention that each recipe has been tinkered with in every possible way. The detail put into this cookbook allows a competent chef the ability to make their own additions to the recipes, but for those of us that are ...more
Leif Erik
I've yet to go wrong with anything from this one. The Chicken Marsala is particularly well-received by my audience.
Anita
This is practically the only cookbook you will ever need. I love the scientific approach to recipe development - they test dozens of versions of each recipe before deciding on the "best" one. Some recipes have more than one "best", cornbread for northern vs. southern, brownies for cakey vs. chewy, etc...

Guidance on techniques, cookware, individual ingredients, and more make this the most valuable cookbook in my collection. Favorites include tabouli, hummus, cheesecake, muffins, cornbread, and th
...more
Stacielynn
This book is often far, far more than i need, but it never disappoints. Everything I make from this book is worth the extra effort. I LOVE their waffle recipe and use it every time I make waffles. Last week I made the Boeuf Bourguignon and it was incredible. A great balance of flavors, a smooth and rich gravy, perfect texture. More time-consuming? Yes, but so worth it. And I made the meal almost entirely in advance, so a weeknight dinner with friends was easy to pull together.

This is always a gr
...more
Sarah
Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a fancy cook. (Pancakes, anyone?)

We got this book a few years ago as a Christmas gift and I never used it thinking it was too advanced for me. Then we stumbled across the TV version of the book on PBS (America's Test Kitchen) and they seemed very practical and straightforward so I pulled the book off the shelf and gave it a whirl. I'm glad I did -- I have found it to be accessible and most importantly Reliable. The recipes come out great every time, so I h
...more
David
Oct 31, 2014 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: home cooks
Shelves: food-and-drink
The New Best Recipe is a compilation of many volumes of Cook's Illustrated. The book is great from a reference standpoint, and I have yet to find an American dish that isn't covered. One feature that I especially like: the techniques in the book are explained, not just used (e.g. how to flambe, how to stir scrambled eggs for your preferred result). Like The Joy of Cooking and Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, the book includes some basics of cooking, like what the various cuts of meat are and ...more
Elizabeth McDonald
Mar 13, 2010 Elizabeth McDonald rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cooks and bakers
While I'll never give up my Joy of Cooking, I think that I could probably do just fine for the rest of my life with just it and this cookbook. (Though, thankfully, I don't have to.)

Published by the Cook's Illustrated folks, this is science applied to cooking. The cover asks, "Would you make 38 versions of creme caramel to find the absolute best version? We did." Every recipe is preceded by a short essay about the potential problems of the dish and the experiments the authors did to solve them. (
...more
Molly
Absolutely indispensible, wholly practical, educational, and entertaining. I've had this cookbook for awhile, and it has never let me down. If you are interested in building a foundation of basic cooking methods, an arsenal of simple everyday recipes, and in learning the hows/whys and the science of food, it will serve you well. Between 'The New Best Recipe' and a recently revised edition of 'The Joy of Cooking' I don't think I'll ever have to buy another workaday cookbook. (Though I still jones ...more
Iris
My go-to book on how to bake, cook, make anything if I don't already have a go-to recipe already. One caveat: Expect to add 20-50 more steps than you're used to and add 10-20 minutes to total prep time while you read the (semi)anal directions/descriptions on why you're doing the extra steps. You think I'm kidding, but really, good things take time, and it's one of CI's tenets of wisdom.

Example: Chocolate chip cookies, and the act of rolling them into a ball, dividing them, then turning them divi
...more
Christina
If you want to know the answers to why...this is the cookbook for you. The nuts and bolts of the basics are here. If you want merely a plethora of fancy photos & redundant recipes keep looking. This is a cookbook to take to bed at night. It is the science and alchemy of cooking. Why does poultry breast meat dry out, but thighs are under cooked? What is the best cut of Beef for roasting? And at what temp? Do YOU know about a gland in a leg of lamb that should be removed before roasting? I fin ...more
Lisa
I have friends who adore this book and rank it among their favorite cookbooks. While I appreciate all the experimentation to compare different versions of a dish, in the end the few recipes I tried were too fussy and time consuming and I just did not enjoy cooking from the book.
Charcoal
This book had a lot of great instructions on how to prepare different foods. It had instructions on how to cut fish and different temperatures for cooking different meats. My only issue with the book is that it didn't have enough pictures of the recipes.
Becky
I love this cookbook because it tells you (in sometimes painstaking detail) why certain steps are important, certain equipment is better, what different cuts of meat are good for, the science behind the cooking, etc. (it even has step-by-step illustrations). Cooks Illustrated / America's Test Kitchen has painstakingly tested all of that for you and come up with their "best recipe" of so many different dishes- practically everything is in here. Do not attempt the recipes if you just want to whip ...more
Kathy Ferrell
I cook a lot, and own several cookbooks. This one is my most used by far. I would highly recommend this to a person just setting up house as a "first cookbook", and also to experienced cooks. Every recipe is very clear and easy to understand. Well illustrated.

One of the things I like BEST about this is that it gives you the REASON for performing a certain action, and I think this really helps you grow as a cook. You gain skill every time you make something. For example, I thought I knew how to
...more
Suezy Proctor
The New Best Recipe, by Cook's Illustrated's editors, is like an American version of Julia Child's, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Both are awesome references, but I love all the latest technology, science and diversity of recipes in Cook's book. I also love that in time, we can now find just about any foodstuff in our local farmer’s markets, grocery stores and online, if needed. A quote from the inside flap of the book reads, “The new edition of the best recipes from Cook’s Illustrated….w ...more
Eric
This is the best cookbook I've ever had. Cook's Illustrated has done the homework on what set of ingredients and processes are the best to use for many many basic foods. The purpose, I believe, is for taste, not diet, not cost, not time. It is all full-recipe, full butter, etc. The pancakes: best I've ever made. The cakes: I won't go back to box cakes (ok, maybe). Grilled chicken: it gives the solid basics of how to. It also provides explanations of how they did their research, and for specific ...more
Tricia
Jun 02, 2008 Tricia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who likes making tasties
i have a book stand for this fella. everything from perfectly goobery chewy chocolate chip cookies (although best when almond extract is substituted for vanilla) to chicken with 40 cloves of garlic to home made ricotta ravioli. this book goes through all the permutations of the recipe and tells you why the one they chose is "the best." what's great is that: say, you like your mashed potatoes with peels or your creme brulee with a crust one shade darker, you've got all the permutations in front o ...more
Jennifer Burke
One of those "if you only own 1 cookbook" kinds of books -- the folks at Cooks Illustrated and PBS's America's Test Kitchen try out hundreds of variations on classic and newer recipes to figure out the 'best' way to make something so you don't have to experiment. Many of my family and friends' faves are ones from this book, or variations it offers. It's truly a kitchen reference book, something I turn to when I want to make sure I get something right, or want to try something new and not worry i ...more
Betsy
An overall excellent cookbook. The sugar cookie recipe from this book is the only one you will ever need, and it's easy to tinker with it to make a myriad of different cookie variations. In fact, you can probably say that about most of the recipes in this tome. The directions and brief explantaions for why each recipe turned out the way they did are crystal clear.

The only thing even remotely nagative I can say about this book is that the Test Kitchen does does not cater to people who liek a lot
...more
Cina
Excellent! I love the lengths of experimentation the staff goes through to get you the best results. In fact, I'm noshing on curried chicken salad using the poaching method and recipe from CI. Sooo yummy!
Lori
I do read cookbooks like others read mystery novels. That being said, this hefty work by Cook's Illustrated has all the aspects I've come to love and appreciate about their work - a complete explanation of what works, what doesn't and why. If they take a classic recipe in a new direction, they explain why. This saves me much time and experimentation because I rarely prepare a recipe as written so having an explanation of what they've already tried and why eliminates much of the guesswork involve ...more
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bangladesh 1 4 May 26, 2013 08:37PM  
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