10 Recipes from Joy of Cooking That Everyone Should Master

There's no time like the present to perfect these time-tested classics.

Joy of Cooking has gone down in history as one of the greatest cookbooks of all time. This complete guide to home cooking, self-published by Irma S. Rombauer in 1931, has endured as a tentpole of culinary education for generations. Almost 100 years after its publication, Joy of Cooking remains a steadfast source for many home cooks.

If you don't already have a copy of Joy of Cooking on your shelves, the most recent edition is available on Amazon. Once you've secured your copy, we have 10 Joy of Cooking classic recipes that every home cook should master.

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An All-Time Classic

What's the secret to this cookbook's staying power?

"Since its debut in 1930, versions of this tome have earned a permanent spot in many kitchens," writes Sheri Castle, listing Joy of Cooking as one of Southern Living's 100 Best Cookbooks of All Time. "Despite its oddball recipe format, this book is an encyclopedic source for techniques, and U.S. culinary history if one has all of the versions."

Joy of Cooking has seen multiple revisions, with new generations of the family taking up the task to update and reinvent Rombauer's classic recipes. In 2019, Irma S. Rombauer's great-grandson, John Becker, and his wife, Megan Scott, published an edition of Joy of Cooking, adding over 600 new dishes alongside deep-rooted favorites.

Start with these classics.

Cobb Salad

"When you do not have this formula close at hand, remember: Egg, Avocado, Tomato, Chicken, green Onion, Bacon, and Blue cheese spells "eat Cobb,'" write John Becker and Megan Scott in the 2019 edition of Joy of Cooking. Try this spin, Cobb salad with shrimp.

Quick PB&J Thumbprints

While we can appreciate the wonder of a show-stopping layer cake, quick and easy desserts hold a special place in our Southern hearts. That's why we're so fond of these Quick PB&J Thumbprints, which pack all the nostalgia of our childhood lunchboxes into a slightly sweetened cookie. As an added bonus, the recipe only calls for 5 ingredients.

Cacio e Pepe

A slightly upgraded version of Joy of Cooking's classic Fettuccine with Butter and Cheese, this Cacio e Pepe is sure to become a family favorite. All it takes is a heavy dose of Romano cheese, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, and a half stick of butter. View the full recipe here.


The BLT was Joy of Cooking matriarch Irma S. Rombauer's favorite sandwich, so it's only right to include it among the essential Joy of Cooking recipes. Rombauer keeps it simple. We add a touch of garlic to our version.

Banana Bread

There are lots of banana bread recipes out there, but we'll be getting ours from an ever-reliable source: Joy of Cooking. Rombauer's version yields a tender loaf that will become your new go-to gift for new moms, neighbors, or just about anyone. Try our version here.

Basic Pancakes

Every home cook should have a basic pancake recipe memorized. The 1951 edition of Joy of Cooking recipe uses buttermilk to add an extra tang to the pancakes—soon enough, you'll be flipping these flapjacks every weekend. See how our version stacks up.

Country Captain Chicken

This fragrant curried chicken dish is a time-honored favorite amongst generations of Joy of Cooking fans. Check out our version of the classic recipe here.

New York Cheesecake

Rombauer's recipe for New York Cheesecake is much more than just a recipe: it's a guide offering tips and tricks to perfect a notoriously finicky dessert. You won't find this recipe online; you'll have to pick up a copy of the cookbook itself.


When developing the 2019 edition of Joy of Cooking, Becker and Scott sought to modernize the cookbook by adding internationally inspired recipes; shakshouka, a popular North African dish of poached eggs in tomato sauce, is a testament to these efforts. This one-skillet dish can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Southerners have been putting mayonnaise in our cakes for decades, and as it turns out, Irma S. Rombauer had the benefits of mayonnaise figured out, too. Rombauer's Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is perfectly suited for a special occasion; find Southern Living's take on the unconventional recipe here.

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