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The New Best Recipe (Cook's Illustrated Annuals)

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  17,666 Ratings  ·  246 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. RombauerMastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia ChildHow to Cook Everything by Mark BittmanBetter Homes and Gardens New Cook Book by Better Homes and GardensThe New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated Magazine
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321 books — 150 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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A.
Jan 18, 2010 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 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
Maren
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
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.
Angela
Mar 19, 2009 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 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 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
Kathryn
Feb 20, 2008 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 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.
Sara
Jun 23, 2007 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.
Leif Erik
Jun 27, 2011 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.
Leigh
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is filled with useful information!
Deb
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a great cookbook. Everything I have tried not only came out looking great but had great reviews! It is much more realistic on time required, etc. It is now my favorite cooibook.
Justin
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
This was a bit to heavy on the background and too light on the tips. For example, the book would say something like we tried boiling and it lost all of its flavor, then we steamed and that was pretty good but then we roasted and that was great. Imagine that with 10 times as many words for each recipe and you've got the idea. Just tell me that the veggie tasted crisper roasted!

In short, there are very many good ideas here but the verbosity and organization make them hard to find.
Flossmoor Public Library (IL)
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
5 stars

- Ms. Jenn
Mary
May 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbook
I have checked this book out of the library twice and been disappointed twice. The recipes are a lot of work and the results are just ok.
Elizabeth McDonald
Mar 13, 2010 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
David
Dec 24, 2007 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
Sarah
Mar 21, 2011 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
Molly
Feb 11, 2009 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 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
Christina
Oct 18, 2007 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
Suezy Proctor
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food, cooking, cookbook
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
Jennifer Burke
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
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
Hope
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love to cook and this is my go-to reference on cooking just about anything. Well-researched recipes. Clear directions. After years of cooking from the old edition and now this one, I've only had one recipe turn out disappointingly. The test kitchen at Cooks Illustrated spends an infinite amount of time testing and re-imagining recipes in order to create the definitive "best" way to make anything. Once in a while, I do find that while an approach to a recipe is no-doubt excellent, it may be a b ...more
Kathy Ferrell
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it, love-these
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
Becky
Apr 02, 2008 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
Eric
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Rene
Oct 02, 2014 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
Betsy
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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