SPICE it Up! Our Top Picks for Korean Cookbooks This Year

Korean cuisine is having a major moment. With its bright, bold flavors, mix of spices, vegetables, noodles, rice, and meats, Korean food brings an exciting new palette to the table. Whether you're new to the world of Korean cooking or looking to expand your repertoire of banchan, stews, barbecue, and more - it's time to explore some top-notch Korean cookbooks. We've gathered our favorites to inspire your kitchen adventure!

Best for Beginners: Korean Cookbook: Quick and Easy Authentic Korean Recipes

Looking to discover authentic and easy Korean recipes? Our top pick is the brilliant new cookbook Korean Cookbook: Quick and Easy Authentic Korean Recipes with Vibrant Color Photos for Beginners.

This Korean cookbook makes cooking mouthwatering Korean food completely approachable for home cooks. With over 100 flavorful recipes, easy-to-follow instructions, and gorgeous color photos accompanying each dish - you'll be cooking up Korean feast in no time!

Dig into classics like:

  • Kimchi
  • Bulgogi
  • Bibimbap
  • Mandu
  • Japchae

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As well as fast, modern favorites perfect for weeknights like:

  • Korean fried chicken
  • Gochujang pork chops
  • Kimchi jjigae
  • Dakgangjeong
  • Korean noodle salad

The author walks readers through essential ingredients, equipment, techniques, and cultural insights for mastering authentic Korean cooking. Yet recipes are tailored for busy home cooks with easy substitutions and shortcuts where possible.

Vibrant photos, simple instructions, and tasty variations make this an essential Korean cookbook for beginners through experts. Pick up a copy and explore Korea one dish at a time!

"This stellar Korean cookbook makes whipping up classic and modern favorites easier than ever. A must-have manual for fabulous Korean homecooking!"

Maangchi's Big Book of Korean Cooking

If you ask us, Maangchi is the undisputed queen of Korean cooking. Her Youtube channel and website are treasures troves explaining the fundamentals of Korean food for beginners. This massive brick of a cookbook (500+ pages!) brings together Maangchi's most beloved recipes all in one place.

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With over 100 Korean dishes covering staples like:

  • Kimchi
  • Banchan
  • Soups and stews
  • Meats
  • Seafood
  • Rice and noodles
  • Desserts
  • Drinks

You'll have an endless list of exciting new dishes to cook your way through. Recipes come with step-by-step photos, substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients, recipe notes and serving suggestions. Consider this your Korean cooking bible!

"Maangchi's easy-to-follow directions, mouthwatering photos, and little Korean cultural tidbits ensure fantastic results." – Booklist

Koreatown by Deuki Hong & Matt Rodbard

For cooks looking to dip their toes into the wide world of Korean cuisine, Koreatown is a fabulous starting point. Chefs Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard created this cookbook as a homage to their restaurant in NYC and celebration of Korean cooking.

What makes this cookbook so beginner-friendly? A few things:

  • Picture-perfect guides - Step-by-step photos of Korean cooking techniques (like making kimchi!)
  • Convenient substitutions - Ingredient swaps for hard-to-source items
  • Essential info - Cultural and historical context behind dishes
  • Key ingredients - Spotlights on Korean pantry staples

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Beyond the usual bibimbap and bulgogi, recipes explore modern Korean-American fusion like spicy chicken wings, Korean fried chicken, and gochujang salmon. Bring some serious Korean flavor to your dinner table!

"Koreatown is a super fun, refreshing, and inviting cookbook that offers something for everyone." – Food52

Best Regional Cuisine: Korean Home Cooking by Sohui Kim

For cooks who want to go beyond Korea's greatest hits and explore its regional cuisine - Korean Home Cooking by chef Sohui Kim is the ultimate guide. Sohui Kim grew up in Seoul before moving to NYC to open her own Korean restaurant. Her cookbook shares over 90 recipes celebrating Korea's diverse culinary landscape.

Dive into Gangwon-do's cold weather soups, Jeolla-do's salty and bright flavors, Gyeonsang-do's seafood feasts, and Seoul's quick city bites. With recipes like:

  • Spicy Pork Bone Stew
  • Potato Pajeon
  • Stir-Fried Skate with Kimchi
  • Stuffed Squid Ssam

You'll find homemade flavors you won't easily taste in restaurants. Kim also includes quick weeknight recipes like Gochujang Noodles with Vegetables and more modern riffs blending Korean and Western techniques. Her headnotes are a delicious way to tour Korea by region, while cooking unforgettable dishes.

"An erudite and intimate look at Korean food with grace, nuance, tact, and a whole lot of delicious recipes." – Eater

Hopefully these top picks have ignited inspiration for filling your bookshelves and kitchen with delicious Korean cuisine! Whether you're a novice or seasoned chef, these Korean cookbooks all deliver excellent recipes rooted in tradition, while offering fresh twists perfect for modern home cooking. Let us know your favorite recipes as you start cooking through these books!