The Year’s Best Southern Cookbooks
Our food editor’s picks for the best books that celebrate Southern cooking.
In this beautifully photographed book, Atlanta chef Todd Richards shows that soul food is much more than country cooking. Richards uses classic Southern ingredients (tomatoes, collards, seafood) to completely redefine what most people think of as soul food—think: Collard Green Ramen and Blueberry-Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken.
Buy It: $24; amazon.com
Coconuts and Collards
Von Diaz’s debut cookbook is filled with must-try dishes, but it’s also an equally great read about growing up Latina in the South. Diaz and her family moved from Puerto Rico to Atlanta when she was young. Through moving stories and inventive recipes (okra cooked with sofrito, chicken with guava barbecue sauce), she marries the place she left behind with the place she grew to love.
Buy It: $18; amazon.com
Carla Hall’s Soul Food
Chef and co-host of The Chew Carla Hall has written several cookbooks, but this one is the most personal. Hall who grew up in Nashville, distanced herself from Southern cooking as her career began to take off. Wanting to reconnect with her roots and fully appreciate the art of African-American cooking, she embarked on a tour of the South, talking to famers, chefs, and home cooks about their shared food history. She documents this trip in the book, which covers a range of Southern soul food, as well as interviews with many of the people she met.
Buy It: $14, amazon.com
The Southern Living Party Cookbook
We teamed up with entertaining expert Elizabeth Heiskell to update one of our most popular cookbooks of all time. Whether you’re a new cook who is just learning how to throw a dinner party, or a lifelong entertainer, you’ll find plenty of fresh recipe and hosting inspiration in this helpful handbook. Packed with gorgeous photos and fun anecdotes from Heiskell, it deserves a spot on your bookshelf, right next to the original.
Buy It: $32; amazon.com
Turnip Greens & Tortillas
Chef Eddie Hernandez combines Mexican and Southern ingredients and cooking techniques to make wildly popular dishes at the popular Georgia restaurant chain Taqueria del Sol. Although both Mexican and Southern cooks have strong opinions about the “right” way to prepare classic dishes, Hernandez isn’t afraid to break the rules. In this book, you’ll find recipes for chicken-green chile potpies in puffed tortillas, peach salad with lime dressing, and Mex-American Black-Eyed Pea Salad.
Buy It: $20; amazon.com
Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook
Sweet Home Café is the acclaimed restaurant at Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Much like the museum itself, this cookbook shows how African Americans from all over the country shaped how we eat today. With more than 100 recipes (Sénégalaise Peanut Soup, Maryland Crab Cakes, Jamaican Grilled Jerk Chicken) and fascinating stories by culinary historian Jessica B. Harris, it will be appreciated by food and history lovers alike.
Buy It: $21; amazon.com
Chasing the Gator
Chef Isaac Toups comes from a long line of Cajuns, which informs his cooking at his celebrated restaurants Toups' Meatery and Toups South in New Orleans. His first cookbook does deep into Cajun country and takes the reader on a wild ride, with plenty of incredible food along the way, including dirty rice, boudin, and Louisiana Ditch Chicken. With help from food writer (and former Southern Living editor) Jennifer V. Cole, Toups’ voice—hilarious, opinionated, and a little salty — comes through loud and clear, making it a fun read.
Buy It: $22; amazon.com