Indian cuisine is known for its spice flavors. And as many spices there are in India, there are even more different types of dishes.
That’s because Indian cooking varies from region to region. Ingredients and techniques are influenced by the traditions, religion, and caste per region. Similarly, Indian cookbooks are just as diverse.
There are cookbooks that focus on dishes that have to be prepared on slow cookers or pressure cookers. These appliances are popular among Indian households because they make cooking easier.
There are also cookbooks that focus on regional cuisine. The most familiar are those that feature recipes from the northern and southern regions. Less known but more interesting for culinary buffs are those cookbooks with recipes from the western and eastern regions.
Indian cooking techniques may be complex but there are cookbooks that simplify dishes so that you can easily do them, even if you’re not familiar with the cuisine.
The best Indian cookbook is one that should have clear and fool-proof recipes. Most of the time, all you need is a reliable cookbook that cuts through the technique and focuses on delivering dishes that are flavorful and interesting. Here is a top ten list of the best ones on Amazon.
Best Indian Cookbooks
- Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking Paperback – Illustrated
- Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family Hardcover – Illustrated
- Veganbell's Indian Vegan Cookbook: 90 Easy, Plant-Based Recipes from India Paperback – Illustrated
- India: The Cookbook Hardcover – Illustrated
- Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn [A Cookbook] Hardcover – Illustrated
- Indian Cookbook: An Indian Cookbook Filled with Authentic Indian Recipes Paperback
- 30-Day Indian Keto Recipes: Lose Weight with Delicious Indian Keto Food Paperback
- The Easy Indian Slow Cooker Cookbook: Prep-and-Go Restaurant Favorites to Make at Home Paperback – Illustrated
- Rasika: Flavors of India Hardcover – Illustrated
- Entice With Spice: Easy and Quick Indian Recipes for Beginners Paperback
1. Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking Paperback – Illustrated
This is an updated edition of a classic Indian cookbook that has undergone more than ten reprints. It features more than 70 recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less and now comes with new color photographs.
Jaffrey is an icon in Indian cuisine and her recipes have simple and clear instructions which are what anyone needs to get over their trepidation in cooking Indian dishes. This book has a good spread of flavor profiles; she knows what spice to use in order to bring out the flavor of the meat and other ingredients. There are a variety of recipes here, ranging from vegetarian to meat dishes. There are also bread, appetizers, and rice dish recipes as well.
This book is also user-friendly. Instead of their Indian names, the spices all use Americanized names to make it easy to track them down in your local groceries. Readers love this book because the recipes come with stove top and pressure cooker instructions, a cultural necessity given the prominence of pressure cookers in Indian cooking. Plus, the recipes are fool-proof!
2. Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family Hardcover – Illustrated
This cookbook showcases the family recipes of the Krishna clan. These are not authentic Indian dishes but Indian-American versions of them. The recipes still retain the influences of the mother country but have been modified to suit the tastes of a generation of Indian-American kids accustomed to American cuisine.
Some examples of the dishes include pizza using Indian bread, an Indian “Gatorade”, and spiced, yogurt filled sandwiches with curry leaves sprinkled on top.
The recipes are clearly written and are easy to follow. Many of them are vegetarian recipes. Each recipe comes with some humorous and relatable family anecdote and a beautiful color photo of the dish. They also use Indian spices and grocery staples that can be found in Whole Foods or any local Indian grocery store.
Readers liked how the book breaks every recipe down so that anyone can make their own variations. They also liked how it gives a glimpse into the culinary life of an American Indian family. If you find real Indian food overwhelming at first, these recipes are a great entry point to familiarizing yourself with Indian flavor and spices.
3. Veganbell's Indian Vegan Cookbook: 90 Easy, Plant-Based Recipes from India Paperback – Illustrated
This book collects easy-to-cook vegan recipes that are flavorful but don’t require exotic ingredients or specialized kitchen tools.
Recipes are well-written with clear instructions and the complex recipes are broken down into multiple steps and sub-steps to make them easy to follow. Each recipe includes nutritional info, estimated prep/cook times, and uses ingredients that are available locally.
Readers like the amount of details each recipe has in this book. They also found its comprehensive sections on essential Indian spices and kitchen tools to be useful.
4. India: The Cookbook Hardcover – Illustrated
Written by an Indian culinary academic, this comprehensive tome features over 1,000 traditional recipes that are used in different regions in India. It also exhaustively explains Indian ingredients, cooking techniques and features the culinary history of the dishes.
These recipes have been carefully edited so that they are simple to follow and are doable in American kitchens. Recipes are categorized into nine food chapters with color photos accompanying each chapter. A typical page layout presents two recipes in a page with a boilerplate listing of origin, cooking time, ingredient list, basic directions, and no commentary.
Readers like the book because it provides cultural context to these recipes by including a chapter on the ten major culinary food locales of India. And while the recipe collection is an excellent documentation on regional dishes, this isn’t a cookbook for newbies since it does not teach you the basic essentials in Indian cooking.
5. Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn [A Cookbook] Hardcover – Illustrated
This book features South Indian inspired vegetarian dishes that are easy to do for home cooks. Also known as the “yoga diet”, these dishes are light and fresh but bold and rich in flavor.
The recipes are clear and easy to follow. There is also a good overview of cooking techniques, equipment, and commonly used ingredients. The majority of the recipes are gluten-free and vegan and can easily be adapted for those requiring special dietary needs. There are enough illustrations and photos in the book to aid the recipes.
Readers liked how the book provides numerous substitutions to accommodate the seasonality of produce, availability of ingredients, and one’s personal taste. One also liked reading the introduction to her family because it provides added context to the book’s vegetarian theme.
6. Indian Cookbook: An Indian Cookbook Filled with Authentic Indian Recipes Paperback
This book will teach you the basics of Indian home cooking, from how to make your essential spice blends to step-by-step instructions for planning an Indian meal.
The recipes in this book are a mixture of vegetarian and meat dishes. Not every recipe has a color photo of the dish but the recipes are all written clearly and are easy to follow. There are side notes for prep and cooking times, servings per recipe, and some nutritional info.
Readers liked the straightforward recipes and because they can be adapted to suit your individual dietary needs. If you’re looking for a basic Indian cookbook that features dependable Indian dishes, this is a good book for you.
7. 30-Day Indian Keto Recipes: Lose Weight with Delicious Indian Keto Food Paperback
Looking for keto dishes using Indian ingredients? This cookbook has a good collection of easy-to-follow recipes.
These recipes are based on the author’s special Indian keto diet plan which uses traditional ingredients to substitute carbs with healthy fats. These ingredients are also easily available in your local supermarkets.
Recipes are written clearly and include the nutritional facts of each dish. There’s a variety of both staple and special Indian dishes that should appeal to anyone looking to try out the keto diet without giving up on Indian food entirely.
8. The Easy Indian Slow Cooker Cookbook: Prep-and-Go Restaurant Favorites to Make at Home Paperback – Illustrated
This cookbook presents 60 traditional dishes that have been tweaked so that they can be cooked using the slow cooker.
The recipes are easy to follow and only require a 15-minute prep time. There’s a wide variety in the selection, ranging from meat, poultry, seafood, to vegetarian dishes. It also includes some suggestions on how to make some of the recipes vegan.
Readers found the appendix on smart shopping useful. It lists Indian markets and stores by city, state, and online so you can stock up on all the spices and ingredients you’ll need. There’s also enough detail on the ingredients, spices, and history of each dish.
9. Rasika: Flavors of India Hardcover – Illustrated
This cookbook showcases the modern Indian cuisine of critically acclaimed Rasika Restaurant. It has over 120 recipes accompanied with gorgeous four-color photographs.
Great for experienced home cooks, these recipes use traditional techniques as starting points to reinventing the dish. Samples of these recipes include squash samosas, eggplant and sweet potato lasagna, and masala chai crème brûlée.
Recipes are written clearly and are not fussy. Readers love the cookbook's innovative take on classic Indian dishes. If you’re looking to add some Indian gourmet dishes to your skill set, this book should appeal to you.
10. Entice With Spice: Easy and Quick Indian Recipes for Beginners Paperback
Written by a first-generation Indian-American, this cookbook has more than 90 recipes that come from the North and South regions of India. The cooking style is simple and no-fuss and uses fresh and readily available ingredients to recreate authentic Indian flavors.
The recipes are thorough in their instructions and are accompanied by step-by-step pictures. The spices used in this book are the typical spice staples in Indian cooking so they should be easy to find in any local store. There’s also a substitution list though for hard to find ingredients.
Readers liked its simple and quick approach to Indian dishes. One said she found the section on Indian bread and snacks very instructive because it does not have complicated techniques.
MADHUR JAFFREY'S QUICK & EASY INDIAN COOKING PAPERBACK – ILLUSTRATED by Madhur Jaffrey
Jaffrey is an expert at flavors and the recipes in this book accurately highlight the authentic flavor of the food without requiring long hours of preparation and cooking.
That’s why this book is a fantastic entry point into discovering the richness of Indian cuisine. The recipes come out tasting like gourmet dishes in an Indian restaurant and yet they are not so exotic that they require expensive ingredients and complex techniques.
If you’re looking for a non-intimidating cookbook that delivers fool-proof, home-cooked Indian dishes, this is the book you should have in your kitchen library.