Best Iranian Cookbooks

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Iranian or Persian food conjures up the fragrances of saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, and sumac. The delicate rice dishes or polow with sweet slivers of fruit and the rich meaty kebabs are delicious – and may seem beyond the ordinary home cook.

Traditional Iranian cuisine is time-consuming, beginning with the purchase of authentic ingredients, the patient preparation of these elements (like seeding a pomegranate), and unique cooking styles.

However, creating a Persian feast at home is made accessible by the variety of cookbooks available. Whether you’re a novice who has never tried Iranian food, a seasoned cook, or a hungry traveler recreating a dish, there is an Iranian cookbook for everyone.

The first Persian recipe books date back to the sixteenth century, giving you an idea of how ancient and influential this cuisine is. Luckily there are more modern books with gorgeous illustrations to guide you.  

The Best Iranian Cookbooks

Iranian cooking is deeply intertwined with the Persian culture of family, story-telling, and history. Each of these books is infused with the author’s experience of cooking at home. Many of them hold onto these traditions in exile.

The following recipe books explore different but overlapping aspects of Iranian and broader Persian cuisine, from the ingredients’ history to folk stories about eating, from street food in Teheran to Middle Eastern fusion cuisine.

Let’s explore the best Iranian cookbooks available.

Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies

  • Total Recipes: 330
  • Total Pages: 640
  • Recipes Preview: Pistachio and Pomegranate Meatballs (Kufteh-ye pesteh-o anar); Fish with Fresh Herb and Barberry Stuffing (Mahi-ye tu por ba sabzi); Fava Bean and Dill Khoresh(Khoresh-e gol dar Chaman)
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Herb and Tamarind Shrimp (Ghalieh Maygu)

The classic of Persian cookbooks, Food of Life, is now in its 25th edition, updated, revised, and redesigned in a user-friendly format. Not simply an award-winning cookbook, this treasure trove of recipes offers an in-depth education for those who want to explore this ancient cuisine and immerse themselves in Iranian culture, art, and history.

The stunningly illustrated text includes literary extracts, descriptions of ceremonies, anecdotes, travelogues, cooking terminology, and a deep dive into authentic ingredients. The comprehensive recipes have been thoroughly tested over 30 years and will guide you step-by-step to create beloved dishes that speak to the heart of the Persian community.

From basic instructions on cooking rice to modern Iranian street food, this must-have cookbook is a reference work that will appeal to master chefs and novices alike.

About the author: Written in exile after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Food of Life began as Najmieh Batmanglij sought to preserve her Persian heritage for her children. This critically acclaimed food writer and doyenne of Iranian cooking has spent several decades researching, adapting, and cooking traditional, regional, and modern Persian food. Batmanglij is the author of several renowned Persian cookbooks. 

Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories

  • Total Recipes: 100+
  • Total Pages: 384
  • Recipes Preview: Summer Squash Yogurt Dip (Borani-yeh Kadoo); Vegetarian Mint and Parsley Stew (Khoresh Na’na Jafari); Stuffed Branzino (Mahi Shekampor)Khoresh(Khoresh-e gol dar Chaman)
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Quince and Labneh Tart

In Bottom of the Pot, passionate home cook and Iranian-American author, Naz Deravian, brings a fresh look to her native cuisine. Speaking from the Iranian diaspora, this beautiful cookbook offers recipes exploring the vibrant soul of Persian cooking. Although each recipe is adapted for modern, Western kitchens, the gorgeous tapestry of Iranian homelife and culture bursts forth through memories, stories, and family history. 

Under the author’s gentle and charming guiding hands, the reader feels confident handling the somewhat exotic and evocative ingredients. Your kitchen will be aromatic with spices and bring forth such gems as “Music and Poetry,” Deravian’s unique name for her selection of appetizers, or “Heart,” the long-simmered stew known as koresh. Draw your family around the dinner table and delight them with authentic heritage food.

About the author: Naz Deravain was born in Iran but has lived in Italy, Canada, and now the US, where she is an award-winning writer and food blogger. Writing about her native cuisine but focusing on celebrating diversity through food, Deravain’s recipes are the culmination of her global identity.

The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen

  • Total Recipes: 80
  • Total Pages: 240
  • Recipes Preview: Onion and Fenugreek Soup; Spiced Beef with Eggs and Spring Onions; Cardomom, and Rose Water Jam; Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Cookies
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Red Cabbage, Beetroot, and Date Salad

This exquisite collection of recipes tells the story of a young British-Iranian woman who traveled across Iran in search of her history, culture, and native food. 

Through visiting the kitchens of ordinary Iranians and every region of the country, from her family’s farm in Gilan, to the orchards of Isfahan and the mountains of Tabriz, the author weaves together a Persian carpet of recipes, new and old.

Khan’s multi-award-winning cookbook presents both traditional and contemporary Iranian recipes, all infused with the sensory delights that the country has to offer. The magnificent photography and outstanding writing make The Saffron Tales as much a book on food as one on travel and history.

About the author: Human rights campaigner, broadcaster, and writer Yasmin Khan is a British-Iranian whose love affair with food began on her grandparents’ farm in northern Iran. Her work covers food, travel, culture, and politics. Khan’s latest work is a collection of Palestinian recipes.

Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond

  • Total Recipes: 100
  • Total Pages: 240
  • Recipes Preview: Bejewelled Rice Saffron and Lemon Chicken Kebab (Joojeh Kabab); Shirazi Salad; Zoolbia
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Cinnamon and Citrus Almond Pastry Cigars

This fascinating and fabulously designed cookbook explores the broader tradition of Persian food and how the Persian empire spread its traditional cuisine across much of the Middle East. Recipes originate from the author’s native Iran, but adaptations from Turkish, Armenian, and Arab food also appear.

Persiana, unlike many other Iranian cookbooks, focuses on food rather than history. You dive right into the recipes with images that delight any Ottolenghi fan. Having won several awards, Persiana makes the unfamiliar look effortless and accessible to the modern, busy cook. 

Ghayour works from a traditionally Iranian palette of flavors but is happy to be innovative and draw on various ingredients. The result is beautifully spiced, fragrant food explained practically and concisely, demystifying much of the complexity of Middle Eastern cuisine.

About the author: Sabrina Ghayour is a British-Iranian chef and author of several best-selling cookbooks. Initially known for her Supper Club concept, Ghayour also teaches Persian and Middle Eastern cooking lessons and is generous with her knowledge of food and culture.

The Enchantingly Easy Persian Cookbook: 100 Simple Recipes for Beloved Persian Food Favorites

  • Total Recipes: 100
  • Total Pages: 234
  • Recipes Preview: Smoky Eggplant and Eggs; Lamb and Chickpea Stew; Savory Saffron Rice Cake; Soft Rosewater Candy
  • The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Pomegranate and Walnut Stew

Despite being written for novices, The Enchantingly Easy Persian Cookbook contains a wealth of information on Persian cooking. The engaging, readable cookbook provides a brief history of Persian food, an introduction to Persian cuisine, and a comprehensive list of the staple ingredients you’ll need to embark on this cooking adventure.

Apart from recipes covering typical appetizers and snacks, there are sections on kookoos, stews, rice, drinks, and desserts. Interspersed with the simply explained recipes, you’ll find the author’s charming memories of cooking with her family, Iranian customs, and tips and tricks to make your cooking journey easier.

About the author: Shadi HasanzadeNemati is an Iranian recipe developer, photographer, and writer who grew up speaking both Farsi and Azeri. Her gorgeous recipes, pictures, and writing became popular via her blog, Unicorns in the Kitchen, where she explores the creativity of cooking. Shadi shares her heirloom recipes, giving them a personal twist.

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