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The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  13,437 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
A revision of the Fall 2005 BookSense pick and bestseller, this edition features a new light recipe chapter, more than 1500 color photos, heavy duty paper and binding, over 2 dozen new recipes, and handy new cooking charts. This instant classic belongs on the shelf of every home cook. Publisher's Weekly called it "a foolproof, go-to resource for everyday cooking." The new ...more
Spiral-bound, Revised Edition, 726 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by America's Test Kitchen (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own, 5-stars
After this book saved my Thanksgiving, I felt it deserved a review from me. My husband's family has commented many times on what a good cook I am...and 99.9% of the reason goes to this book! I mean, I am not one of those cooks who can throw a little of this and a little of that into a pot and it turns out marvelous. I am black and white when it comes to cooking, I follow the instructions to the letter. If the recipe calls for white pepper, I go buy WHITE pepper isn't even consider ...more
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
I love this cookbook, and don't think I can say enough good things about it. It's great for basics, and has many recipes that I come back to again and again. Most are great for weeknight cooking, and the directions are very easy to follow - many with photographed step-by-step instructions.

This is a great book for beginning cooks as well as more advanced cooks who are looking to add some variety to the rotation of weeknight dinners.

I also like the binder/loose-leaf page format. You can rearrang
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: mine
I read a whole lot of cookbooks, collect masses of recipes, and do an awful lot of cooking and baking. This is far and away the absolute best cookbook I've seen out there--and I was raised on both Betty Crocker AND Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks. They take a very scientific approach to developing recipes and testing ingredients/cookware. This allows them to figure out how things could go wrong and use somewhat nontraditional approaches that make food better. Plus, I appreciate that their c ...more
Sep 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
If I were to own just one cookbook, it would be this one. It contains a staggering number of recipes, like any good cookbook should, but the best part is the multitude of helpful culinary hints. How should I store lettuce? What is an acceptable substitute for buttermilk? How can I tell if my bread dough is adequately proofed? What the hell does it mean to proof bread dough, anyway? At 700+ pages it commands a sizable portion of the shelf, but the ring binding is perfect for laying open on the ba ...more
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at a Costco of all places because it was cheap and I'd tried and liked some recipes from the Cook's Illustrated magazine. I didn't expect it to be by far my favorite cookbook.
I'd consider myself more of a foodie than a cook, which is why I love this book. The recipes are simple, directions easy to follow and for most recipes there are pictures of the end result. Most importantly, the recipes, without fail, turn out delicious. Even my foodie friends that I've turned on to th
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This cookbook is amazing. Everything is so well thought out and well done. This is THE way to make everything! When I want to make something that I know will be excellent (although possibly a lot of work) I go to this cookbook. The great thing about this cookbook is that the authors have tested so many different ways to make the same dish and they present the easiest, best tasting way.

Because the authors are so precise, the timing of these recipes is not for those living at 8500 feet (like
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If I could have just one cookbook for family meals, this is the one I would keep. I use it at least once a week. It's my go-to cookbook for dinner basics like meatloaf, tacos, sloppy joes and breakfast food like pancakes and waffles. The recipe for French toast is the best - who knew flour in the batter is the key to keeping it crisp. I like the 3-ring edition better than the updated hardcover edition because I like to pull out a page instead of coking from a bulky book. This is a great gift for ...more
Ann Johnson Davis
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cook-books
My stepchildren (who are deathly afraid of any food that looks "different" ie didn't come from a box) will eat everything I've made from this cookbook. The orange chicken & green beans is great (but too much soy sauce & chili paste for me). We have it every Thursday night! DH makes the peanut butter cookies on a regular basis, and they rarely last more than a day.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, all the recipes have come out very tasty. Some of the recipes are a little fussy, and a few seemed like they created way too many dirty dishes. I'm going to be trying more of them, I haven't found one I wouldn't make again yet.

The tomato sauce that accompanies the lasagna recipe is fantastic, and really easy!
The meatloaf is the best I've eaten.

Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
The book just arrived in the mail this morning, so I haven't had time to actually try any recipes, but coming from America's Test Kitchen, the recipes tend to work every time (I've had ONE recipe fail, from the American Classics cookbook).

Here's what I've noticed so far: it's big, it's heavy, but because it has a ring binding, designed to stay open flat where you want it, you won't care. The book is divided up into chapters on appetizers, salads, meats, breads, desserts, etc., but the first cha
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
I absolutely love this cookbook! I consider it my cooking Bible because it's absolutely packed with every basic recipe you could ever need! It's similar to the classic Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Garden's all purpose cookbooks but better! Like their Cook's Illustrated products, America's Test Kitchen recipes have great directions and explanations for why things work. This book is great for a beginner cook who is trying to learn the ropes (seriously it would be next to impossible to mess u ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i am so excited to have found the joy of cooking/betty crocker cookbook of the 21st century. you can't really beat the nerd chef's appeal of this cookbook. the test kitchen TESTS ALL THE RECIPES and then tells you how to do it just right... with fabulous little hinty-bits about techniques AND they also test products and give recommendations about the best things to buy. now, as one that doesn't necessarily appreciate product placement, this part was a little weird and it definitely dates the boo ...more
Dec 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like to cook
probably totally nerdy for me to add this, but seriously, this book answers any questions for the everyday cook. I sometimes just sit and read it. Way good recipes with explanations as to why they did certain things. It's full of good tips and photos and ratings for different brands of what to buy and things like that. Anyone who likes to cook should get it and read it!
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love this Cookbook...I've made many recipes, and the kids have eaten most, if not all of them. This is my go-to cookbook when I can't figure what I want to cook that night...or for when I'm menu-planning for the week.
Laura Schnettler
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite cookbooks. I love ATK. The recipes are very detail oriented, ingredient heavy, and labor intensive, but so delicious! Not your calorie counter cookbook.
Mar 26, 2009 added it
Shelves: own
Again, this is a book I return to again and again to get information or to look up standard recipes. A must have for any kitchen.
Emilia Anne
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read this cookbook cover-to-cover countless times. I have made nearly every recipe (minus the wedding cake) and each recipe has been 10/10 success. Do all the tiny steps seem daunting and slightly annoying? Yes. Worth it in the end? Definitely.

I would recommend to any and everyone.
Karen Hanson
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of America's Test Kitchen. I'm pretty big on cooking and it's just about the only cooking show I like to watch. Great tips, recipes, and explanations of why things are done the way they are. I was super excited to get this cookbook as a gift for Christmas last year (I literally carried it around for several days) and it has pretty much taken over as the only cookbook I use. It is a great cookbook to have on hand for the everyday basics and has tons of info such as equipment recomm ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
Literally my kitchen bible. I wish there were more photos, and the looseleaf format hasn't held up well, but this is my kitchen go-to for.... so many things. The biggest downside is that when there is a choice between fat and lean, this cookbook always picks fat; and the recipes are often not naturally kosher - I have to adjust them. Otherwise, it's a great basic. I find the recipes less complex in here than in the Cook's Illustrated recipes, so this is a more suitable basic cookbook for someone ...more
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My second favorite cookbook (only coming up second to "The Flavor Bible"), and my most favorite cook book of recipes. We received this as a wedding gift from one of my parents sweet friends, and we've been in love (with each other and the book) ever since.

I've always wanted to know 'the best' recipe for this, that, and everything in between. Oh, and what size egg is best, and who makes the best ingredient for that, and what makes this come out flat?

Favorite recipe so far: Eggplant Parmesan...HUG
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have tried about 50 recipes from this and most I have cooked or would cook again. The book doesn't have a gimmick-it is full of good, solid food that would please crowds of people with varied tastes. Some of my favorite recipes include weeknight chili, stuffed bell peppers, creamed spinach, cream biscuits, sugar cookies, molasses spice cookies, and snickerdoodles. Once in awhile you'll come across a recipe too fussy for the family chef, but the overwhelming majority are realistic and have a go ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
I think I might need to get my hands on the newer edition of this cookbook. I'm generally not a fan of new editions b/c often my favorite recipes have been changed. In this case, though, the design of the cookbook needed serious improvement. ATK's recipes are tried and tested to ensure they always work. And they do. This is a very user-friendly cookbook which contains lots of helpful pages like "good salad combinations" to provide endless variations. The recipes are delicious and many are family ...more
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
So I like to read cookbooks. Front to back. I really enjoyed this one because of all the side notes. I learned a lot of useful things about the science behind cooking. I'm a bit of an applied science junky anyway and my current labratory is my kitchen. Sorry kids - you and Dad are my test subjects!

I've liked most of the recipes I've tried so far. Those that I didn't care for turned out fine, I just didn't like the seasoning. We aren't very adventureous around here so things like curry didn't go
Jan 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Received this as a bridal shower gift from a friend who loves to bake and insists that late one night she wandered into her kitchen to discover this book kicking Betty Crocker's ass.

I haven't made much from this book yet, but so far, the recipes I have made have been mighty tasty. Unfortunately, there is a large meat section filled with tons of gross dead animal pictures. The seafood section is especially creepy. Otherwise, it seems to be a good cookbook. The recipes use a lot of fresh ingredie
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: keep, cooking
Is it weird to have a signed cookbook? Well, if it is or not, mine is signed. I was living in Boston (where ATK is located) when this one came out, so I went to the book signing. Very interesting listening to the cooks interact and explain what they do and don't like about the book, and about their customers! They all seemed quite frustrated that people don't tend to follow precisely the recipes that they work so hard on. A great book but, to be honest, recipes do tend to be a bit too exact for ...more
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I just discovered the convenience of checking cookbooks out from the library, and this was the first one I did. This is a great general cookbook, and if I didn't already have my dog-eared Joy of Cooking, I would buy this one. I also own the Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe book, and I like that one better for the detailed explanations of why they selected certain ingredients and methods in one recipe over another. This book was a simplified version of that, which I didn't really need. But this is ...more
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: resources
My mom gifted me this in 2006, when I was a grad student living on my own and desperately needed to learn to cook. This cookbook taught me to cook, along with cultivating a better sense of taste and an appreciation for fine food made from normal ingredients. In 6 years, only a handful of recipes have been deemed "never cook again" - and that's out of hundreds of recipes I've tried (yes, I counted up every recipe I made out of this particular book). Whenever I cook from this book for company, eve ...more
Jennifer Loebach
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great slow cooker recipes!
May 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
If you love Cook's Illustrated magazine this is a cookbook for you! The editors have tested for the best ingredients and the best procedure for making each perfect recipe. Kitchen equipment and off-the-shelf grocery store items are tested, as well, so you'll know exactly which food processor or can of tomatoes to buy. There are lots of photographs (I love photographs in cookbooks!). Bless them, too, for giving special one page collections of quick and easy recipes for things like appetizers for ...more
Mar 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
I learned a lot from this book -- like how to know where to cut the tough ends off asparagus (bend one piece at the end, and where it bends is the cutting point). And a pictorial difference and temperatures for knowing when pork is just-right or overcooked pork -- my resulting pork chops were much better.

The book's beautifully illustrated with lots of photos, its directions are clear, and the recipes I've tried have been really good. I'm buying one for me and then it's going on my housewarming
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