Gluten-Free Cookbooks: A Dietitian Reviews
Gluten-free cookbooks are a great way for newly diagnosed celiacs to get inspired and excited about cooking gluten-free.
It’s interesting to me that cookbooks have not become obsolete over the last few decades with the explosion of the digital age. While the internet can also be a great source for recipes and cooking tutorials, there is something that is special about cookbooks that have kept them from disappearing completely.
I can’t exactly explain why that is, but I do know that there is something unique about the experience of flipping through a book of recipes with glossy, colorful pictures alongside it that the internet will never be able to replace.
Cookbooks provide you with the ability to build skills in the kitchen, skills with cross-contact, and a good cookbook will provide you with a uniquely inspiring experience as you flip through it. Is it the connection aspect of food that we are tuning into? Is it a connection to our body and what it craves that we are channeling?
Whatever it is, cookbooks are invaluable resources. So let’s talk about some of the best gluten-free cookbooks a celiac can buy.
This blog post was written by dietetic intern Devorah Steinberg and revised by Tayler Silfverduk, RDN.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
What Makes a Good Cookbook
I own many cookbooks. Some that I use on a regular basis, and some that I’ve flipped through once or twice, and are then unfortunately banished to the back of my bookshelf until the next time I gather together items to be donated.
The determining factors that decide if my cookbooks will be used regularly are:
- Photos: Before I even start experimenting with the recipes, I flip through the pages of each cookbook that comes my way. That, in and of itself, is an enjoyable and relaxing experience – and one that will keep me coming back to look at a cookbook even if I don’t actually cook from it on a regular basis.
- Clear recipe instructions: One of the worst cooking experiences is feeling overwhelmed with a recipe, and the only thing worse than that is feeling that way once you’ve already started following the recipe! After almost 2 decades of cooking, this doesn’t happen to me often anymore. But if it does, I know it’s because of unclear recipe instructions!
- Simple recipes: Yes, there are some foodies out there who love multiple step recipes that use exotic ingredients. However, I am most definitely NOT one of them. I am a busy person, and despite enjoying cooking and eating, I usually want recipes that are simple to make.
- Taste: After reading that I appreciate simple recipes, you may think that I don’t prioritize good food – but that could not be further from the truth! Delicious food is something that is integral to my eating experience, and it should be for yours too. Good cookbooks are only as good as their recipes taste!
Top 6 Gluten-Free cookbooks
With photos, recipe instructions, simplicity, and taste all factoring into my reviews of gluten-free cookbooks, below are the gluten-free cookbooks that met all of the criteria.
Against all Grain, by Danielle Walker
Danielle Walker is one of the most well known gluten free/paleo bloggers and cookbook authors out there. She was one of the first bloggers I came across when I made the switch to a more paleo-style eating almost 10 years ago, and I’ve been following her online since then.
Against All Grain was her first cookbook that came out back in 2013, and it remains one of my most used cookbooks to this day. It’s laid out beautifully, which makes it very enjoyable to look through. The recipes call for easy to find ingredients (for the most part), and the instructions are clear and well-written.
Danielle Walker really excels at making gluten-free cooking less intimidating and is a great resource for a first exposure to a whole new way of cooking and eating. My favorite recipes are:
- Vanilla Almond Granola (pg 56) – a staple in my house!
- Ginger Garlic Broccoli (pg 112)
- Slow Cooker Sesame Orange Chicken (pg 130)
- Spaghetti Squash Boats with mini-meatballs (pg 192)
- Hidden-veggie muffins (pg 194)
Against all Grain: Meals Made Simple, by Danielle Walker
Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker is another great gluten-free cookbook. Not only is this a cookbook, it’s also an 8 week meal plan with shopping lists! Since many people who pick up a cookbook with the word “simple” in its title may also be looking for ways to make other areas of their life more simple, this cookbook is more than just recipes.
It teaches you how to shop, what to shop for, which kitchen utensils you need, how to meal plan, and so much more. While I would argue that not every recipe included meets my definition of simple, none are overly complicated – and most that I tried turned out delicious! My favorite recipes are:
- Pumpkin bread (pg 64)
- Italian Wedding Soup (pg 82)
- Mexican Burgers (pg 164)
True Comfort, by Kristin Cavallari
True Comfort is a relatively new gluten-free cookbook as it just came out in 2020. It contains many recipes for foods typically considered “comfort foods” so the title is quite appropriate. The pictures that accompany the recipes are absolutely gorgeous, but unfortunately not every recipe has a photo alongside – something that I really missed.
That being said, though I found the recipe instructions to be a bit more complicated than Danielle Walker’s, the recipes were still relatively simple to follow with easy-to-find ingredients. Everything I made turned out well and was enjoyed by my whole family. My favorite recipes are:
- Butternut Squash and Leek Chowder (pg 92)
- Classic Pasta Bolognese (pg 139)
- Spicy Peruvian Chicken (pg 140)
True Roots, by Kristin Cavallari
True Roots is a good, family-friendly cookbook that will not be intimidating at all for a new gluten free cook. The recipe titles are fresh and new, so it’s not even boring to look through this cookbook!
My only complaint – which I have with many cookbooks – is that there are not enough pictures! It’s really hard for me to feel inspired to make a new dish when I don’t have a good picture alongside it.
Here are some of my favorite recipes (and you will see that they are all ones that have a photo alongside it!):
- BBQ Chicken Salad with Pineapple Chipotle Ranch Dressing (pg 39)
- Cannellini Bean and Pistachio Hummus (pg 139)
- Zucchini Chips with Dill Sour Cream and Onion Dip (pg 143)
Eat What You Love, by Danielle Walker
And it’s back to my favorite gluten-free blogger and cookbook author! I really didn’t think a 3rd cookbook by the same author would have much more to offer me, but boy was I was wrong!
Eat What You Love was published a few years after Danielle Walker’s initial first few cookbooks, and it’s arguably her best. She has really honed in on what most of us want – hearty, healthy, comfort food presented in an organized and well laid out manner. I find myself leafing through this cookbook on a regular basis, and I’ve already tried out many of the recipes.
My only caveat is that some of the recipes are multi-stepped and can be more complicated than the recipes in her earlier cookbooks. My favorite recipes (so far!) are:
- Nut-free Lunchbox Bread (pg 48)
- Dill Chicken Salad (pg 64)
- Seasoned Fries (pg 125)
- Creamy Broccoli Soup (pg 163)
- Moroccan Chicken Sheet-pan Supper (pg 201)
Against the Grain, by Nancy Cain
It’s easy to confuse this cookbook with Danielle Walker’s Against all Grain since the titles are so similar. And it doesn’t help that they came out within a year of each other. But besides those two things, these cookbooks are really quite different from each other.
The titles of the recipes in Nancy’s Against the Grain recipe book lack imagination and creativity. Additionally, there are not many photos included and most of the recipes are not my favorite.
So you may be wondering why I’ve included this cookbook in my list of top 6 gluten-free cookbooks, right? Well, the answer is that the baking section of this cookbook is what really bumped it up a few notches for me (because we all know how baking gluten-free can be challenging).
Many of the recipes for breads and desserts came out well, and that has made it a useful cookbook that I find myself turning to on a semi-regular basis. Some of my favorite recipes are:
- Fluffy Buckwheat Pancakes (pg 132)
- Calzones (pg 178)
- Flour Tortillas (pg 196)
- Flourless Double-chocolate Brownies (pg 236)
- Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti (pg 250)
Finding a Good Gluten-Free Cookbook
Gluten-free cookbooks are a great way to build up your gluten-free cooking skills, recipe base, and understanding on potential points of cross-contact in other kitchens. When it comes to cookbooks, there is a huge variance on what people like and prefer.
The above are favorites of mine, but there are tons of cookbooks for celiac out there to explore.
A tip given to many clients is to go check out 1 cook book a month from the library to explore. If you like it, buy it but if you don’t, no harm no foul.
For more gluten-free cookbooks I like, check out my Amazon store front page!