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The New Best Recipe (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)

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4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,041 Ratings  ·  236 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 BittmanMastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia ChildBetter Homes and Gardens New Cook Book by Better Homes and GardensMy Greek Traditional Cook Book 1 by Anna Othitis
Best Cookbooks
6th out of 1,008 books — 995 voters
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7th out of 181 books — 121 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maren
Jan 02, 2016 Maren rated it it was amazing
I love this book! I look here first when dealing with cuts of meat I haven't cooked before. It also helps me decide how I want my animals butchered (I buy whole or half animals from local ranches)--it can be daunting to sort through all the different options. I have used many, many recipes from here and expect to use many more in the future. I get top-notch results and feel confident that my time in the kitchen will be well-spent if following a recipe I found here.
A.
Jan 18, 2010 A. rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
Jun 16, 2008 W Todd Kaneko rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
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 Shaw
Nov 03, 2011 Heather Shaw rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 02, 2014 Rene rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 23, 2007 Sara rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 20, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 28, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 15, 2014 Ampersand rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 27, 2011 Leif Erik rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
I've yet to go wrong with anything from this one. The Chicken Marsala is particularly well-received by my audience.
Anita
Oct 30, 2014 Anita rated it it was amazing
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
May 12, 2014 Stacielynn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, cookbooks
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
Holly
Oct 18, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing
This cookbook is fantastic! The recipes take a little more effort than the recipes you'd find in a more "standard" cookbook, but you consistently get restaurant-quality food from them. If you like to learn about how/why certain foods turn out the way they do, read the introduction to each of the recipes. America's test kitchen tested variations on all of the recipes in the book, and provides a few paragraphs on what they tested and how they came to develop the best version of a particular dish.
Sarah
Mar 21, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
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 liked it
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 it was amazing
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
Apr 24, 2009 Molly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dinnertime
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
Jan 12, 2013 Iris rated it it was amazing
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
Reading Fool
Aug 04, 2016 Reading Fool rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This is my go-to book in the kitchen, along with The Joy of Cooking. The America's Test Kitchen crew has done the research and figured out the best recipe for all the classics and many contemporaries, testing different parameters and describing their results to you. They have updated many of the recipes that your parent or grandparent made decades ago. I highly recommend the TV show also.
Angela Burkholder
Jan 09, 2016 Angela Burkholder rated it liked it
"Best" is a matter of personal preference. Some of the recipes in here are, in my opinion, wonderful, and others fall spectacularly short of even good. However, I don't always want things to crunch when they do or be chewy when they do, etc. That being said, it's a good book to check out when you're hungry for good ole American food.
Christina
Jan 04, 2009 Christina rated it it was amazing
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
Barbara
This book is always the one I look through for recipes for the week. I use at least one a week. Last night I made their Tuna noodle casserole. It was wonderful. Not your regular Tuna noodle casserole at all.

Their Blueberry muffins are to die for. I can go on and on. This is the only book I really need.
Chris
Jul 14, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
My go to Cook Book, aside from Epicurious.com. Great advice about cooking things you've never had before, reasons for why to do things (cooking potatoes with skins, without skins, etc.) fool-proof way to hard oil eggs. Modern version of Joy of Cooking!
Jennifer
Mar 10, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Great volume. I think they unnececessarily complicate some things, but all of the recipes I've tried have ranged from solid to fantastic. And they're all well tested, so you don't hit any scaling errors. You can expect results the first time through.
Charcoal
Aug 08, 2014 Charcoal rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
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
Apr 02, 2008 Becky rated it it was amazing
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
Candelaria Silva
I use this book once or twice a week. They convinced me to brine turkey and chicken breasts with delicious results. I also like that they give you detail - almost to the point of tedium - about how they arrived at "the best recipe."
Kathy Ferrell
Nov 13, 2012 Kathy Ferrell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love-these, own-it
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
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Other Books in the Series

Cook's Illustrated Annuals (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Cook's Illustrated 1993 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 1994 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 1996 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 1997 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 1998 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 1999 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 2000 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 2002 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 2003 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)
  • Cook's Illustrated 2005 (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)

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