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Korean cuisine presents an exquisite tapestry of flavors, aromas, colors, and culinary tradition. Savor the mouthwatering symphony of bulgogi, tenderly marinated and seared to perfection, releasing a melody of sweet and savory notes. Immerse yourself in the rich umami of kimchi, its tangy crunch awakening the senses with each bite. Experience the delicate balance of banchan, an array of side dishes bursting with vibrant hues and diverse textures, like a culinary kaleidoscope. The best way to explore Korean food is with the help of a good book. We’ve put together a wrap-up of the very best Korean cookbooks available to help cooks of all skill levels perfect elevate their meals.
- Those looking for the broadest selection of recipes alone will be wowed by Brinal L. Whippller’s The Ultimate Korean Vegan Cookbook, with over five-hundred recipes. Otherwise, for omnivorous meal options covering all aspects of Korean cuisine, Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen by Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall will certainly not disappoint.
- Maangchi’s Big Book Of Korean Cooking and Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook by Maanchi are two of the ultimate options for those new to Korean cuisine, with Simply Korean: Easy Recipes for Korean Favorites That Anyone Can Make by Aaron Huh making for another great pick.
Top 16 Best Korean Cookbooks
From traditional classics to modern delights, these top 16 best Korean cookbooks offer a wealth of authentic recipes and cultural insights, providing a delightful journey into the rich and flavorful world of Korea’s cuisine.
- Key Takeaways
- Top 16 Best Korean Cookbooks
- Maangchi’s Big Book Of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine by Maangchi and Martha Rose Shulman
- Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook by Maangchi
- Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes [A Cookbook] by Robin Ha
- Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces [A Cookbook] by Bill Kim and Chandra Ram
- Seoul Food Korean Cookbook: Korean Cooking from Kimchi and Bibimbap to Fried Chicken and Bingsoo by Naomi Imatome-Yun
- Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home by Eric Kim
- Simply Korean: Easy Recipes for Korean Favorites That Anyone Can Make by Aaron Huh
- Koreatown: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard
- Korean Home Cooking: Classic and Modern Recipes by Sohui Kim and Rachel Wharton
- My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes by Hooni Kim
- Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo
- Wookwan’s Korean Temple Food: The Road to the Taste of Enlightenment by Wookwan
- Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food: Authentic dishes and modern twists by Judy Joo
- Korean Paleo: 80 Bold-Flavored, Gluten- and Grain-Free Recipes by Jean Choi
- Korean Instant Pot Cookbook: Classic and Modern Korean Recipe-r Everyday Home Cooking by Nancy Cho and Selina Lee
- My Rice Bowl: Korean Cooking Outside the Lines by Rachel Yang and Jess Thomson
- Best Kimchi Cookbooks
- Best Vegetarian & Vegan Korean Cookbooks
- Best Print Only Korean Cookbooks
- Frequently Asked Questions – Best Korean Cookbooks
Maangchi’s Big Book Of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine by Maangchi and Martha Rose Shulman
Maangchi’s Big Book Of Korean Cooking is a cookbook that over-delivers in every way. The publication quality is second to none, with a layout that makes you crave to read (and try) more. It’s longer than most cookbooks as well. A complete spread of Korean food is presented, leaving nothing out. This wonderful cookbook is chaptered into grains and one-bowl meals, soups and stews, kimchi, sauces and garnishes, meaty meals covered chicken, duck, beef and pork, seafood, vegetables, banchan & mitbanchan, dosirak (Korean lunchbox meals), drinks & party food, vegan Korean Buddhist temple food, sweets, and a section for street food & modern Korean dishes.
Each and every recipe delivers foolproof instructions backed by winning food photography. Furthermore, all of Korea’s traditional cooking techniques are gloriously detailed with imagery that clearly clarifies every last step. Every recipe has its name listed in Korean and English. While approachable and free from difficult-to-source exotic ingredients, there’s absolutely no authenticity lacking. Korean cuisine doesn’t get better than the recipes detailed in Maangchi’s Big Big of Korean Cooking. You’ll learn exactly how to cook Korean as well, without any gaps in the introduction of classical cooking methodology.
About The Author: Maangchi, the cherished host of a popular YouTube cooking channel, has enchanted audiences worldwide with her delightful approach to Korean cuisine. Born and raised in South Korea, she embarked on a culinary journey that has led her to become one of the most influential voices in the field. Co-author Martha Rose Shulman, a highly respected cookbook author, and food writer, lends her considerable culinary experience, further enriching this essential guide to Korean cooking.
Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking is yet another bestseller from the world’s leading authority on Korean cooking that’s well worthy of consideration by home cooks and professional chefs alike. This, Maangchi’s earlier publication, could be one of the most detailed discourses on ethnic cuisine out of any type seen. Korean food and cooking procedures are covered in extreme detail, with no less than 800 photographs in total clearly depicting everything from complex cooking to recipes and ingredients. Even though all the recipes are authentic beyond reproach, meal composition is made accessible, and the reader is offered substitutions for ingredients that may not be common to a Western kitchen.
It’s not only the wealth of information offered that draws one in when looking through Maangchi’s real Korean cooking but the huge number of recipes covering each type of food as well. There are tons of fermentations, lots of barbecue options, ample sauces, and everything in between. While packed with essential know-how for all skill levels, this cookbook is easily one of the best primers to Korean cooking available in print. Between the glossary, detailed instructions, and sample shopping lists to stock a pantry with Korea’s favorite ingredients, there is nothing that this book does not teach you well.
With Cook Korean! At your side, there’s no chance of going wrong. Sure, some books do offer a greater variety of recipes, but none manage to make cooking so easy. This is not to criticize the meal selection, for all the classics and covered with multiple incarnations of all the best dishes there. After an introduction to Korean cooking which includes pantry management, bap (cooked rice), and regional differences between cuisine, this clever cookbook covers kimchi & pickles, vegetable sides, meat & poultry, seafood, soups & stews, porridges, noodles & rice cakes, snacks & street food, Korean cocktails & Anju, and finally Korean fusion food.No matter your age or skill, you’re sure to fall in love as you find yourself glued to each page.
About The Author: Robin Ha is an acclaimed author, illustrator, and cook, best known for her unique approach to presenting recipes in the form of a comic book. With Korean roots and currently residing in Washington, D.C., Ha brings a culturally rich perspective to her work.
The art of Korean barbecuing is superbly demystified by Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces. While not completely traditional, it strikes a balance between authentic and accessible. Readers are taught how to barbecue on the basis of seven distinct flavor profiles built from nothing more than a few core pantry staples. Most of the recipes call for Korean ingredients, which are made using other recipes in the book. The author uses an approach that combines sauces with dry rubs and, in turn, achieves restaurant-quality food of superlative quality and flavor.
Finding recipes suited to your taste and pantry is easy thanks to the way that every sauce or rub lists the recipes it is used in combined with the handy index. Korean BBQ starts off by detailing ten master sauces and seasonings before supplying recipes for snacks and drinks, meats, poultry, fish & shellfish, vegetables & tofu, a selection of sides, sweets, and a wonderful range of ways to reuse leftovers. The author explains flavor profiles concisely but clearly while explaining cooking concepts and techniques better than most other books out there. It’s a great guide for anyone who enjoys barbecuing.
About The Author: Bill Kim is a renowned chef based in Chicago, Illinois, where he runs the popular urban belly and belly Q restaurants. Born in Korea and trained in culinary arts in the United States, Kim is celebrated for his innovative fusion of Asian and American flavors. His co-author, Chandra Ram, is a notable culinary author and editor of Plate magazine.
Seoul Food Korean Cookbook: Korean Cooking from Kimchi and Bibimbap to Fried Chicken and Bingsoo by Naomi Imatome-Yun
Seoul Food Korean Cookbook will guide even the most inexperienced cooks through how to both understand and cook Korean cuisine. There’s a diverse range of Seoul-style fusion food, Korean-American cuisine, and traditional Korean classics. Seoul is renowned for its street food culture that often has a modern twist, featuring fusion flavors and innovative fillings. In terms of flavors, Seoul cuisine embraces bold and diverse taste profiles, and there’s a distinct emphasis on a delightful contrast between crispy and tender elements. Seoul’s food scene also introduces an array of fusion dishes that blend Korean ingredients with international influences.
Although a few staples are called for, most of the amazing recipes are easy to put together without an expansive array of exotic ingredients. The instructions are extremely thorough, and the quality of each dish cannot be faulted. With variations for each meal, a glorious narrative granting context into Korean food culture from the author’s own life, and some of the best ingredient tips and flavorful recipes around, Seoul Food Korean Cookbook is a must-see for Koreans and non-Koreans alike. It’s the type of cookbook that even busy cooks will thrive on, thanks to the simplicity of the meals in their overall majority.
About The Author: Naomi Imatome-Yun, the author of Seoul Food Korean Cookbook, is a food writer and editor with Korean heritage, specializing in making Korean cuisine accessible to the home cook. A Stanford University graduate, she has served as the Food Editor for About.com and worked extensively in online food journalism. Currently based in California, Imatome-Yun is the Founding Editor of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander-focused website, AsianFusionGirl.
Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home is the quintessential guide to Korean-American cuisine. Anyone who’s fallen in love with street food, Korean BBQ, and Korean fusion food will have found gold by happening upon this cookbook. With this being said, if you’re looking for a traditional focus, this may not be the best book for you. However, anyone looking for fresh flavors and classic recipes infused with all-new flair will want to try out every last meal detailed.
To start with, there are T.V. dinners followed by kimchi-orientated meals, then stew, rice cuisine, fish & seafood, vegetables, large feast, and finally, Korean baked goods. Each recipe is highly concise, but one can’t fault the easy instructions or the quality of the results. The food is amazing and remains supremely simple to make, even for beginners and those new to Korean cuisine. With numerous awards to its name and some of the best modern fusion food recipes seen, this is one Korean cookbook that comes highly recommended for all.
About The Author: New York Times staff writer and senior editor at Food 52, Eric Kim, has wowed the world with his fresh take on Korean classics and Korean fusion food. Through his work, he shares his love for cooking and his personal experiences growing up in a Korean American household with a unique perspective.
The first thing readers will notice when paging through Simply Korean is the clean layout and mouthwatering food photography. All of Korea’s most popular food is detailed through concise recipes sporting brief introductions and accessible ingredients. Every last creation can be considered to be as close to as good as it gets. Readers are given recipes for the Korean mother sauces before this brilliant cookbook moves onto banchan (Korean side sides), chicken, beef, pork, tofu, seafood, rice, noodles, soups & stews, kimchi, Korean pancakes, and then finally street food.
A handy index makes navigation easy, while the functional, intuitive structuring and info-packed recipes make reading Simply Korean a pleasure. It’s the ideal cookbook for anyone who wants to cook exceptional Korean food in a minimalistic manner without any chance of failure or mediocre results. Many of the recipes aren’t as complex as some similar creations, but after sampling the results, it’s hard to fault the author’s ingredients and general meal composition. Refreshingly original, innovative, and authentically tasty, it’s a great copy to own.
About The Author: Aaron Huh is a professional chef, cookbook author, and culinary educator specializing in Korean cuisine. With a career spanning decades, Huh is the head chef at his restaurant in New York City, where he serves a wide array of Korean favorites.
- Total Pages: 272
- Total Recipes: 100+
- Recipes Preview: Hamachi Crudo With Kalbi Vinaigrette, Sweet Soy-Braised Chicken With Wok-Fried Glass Noodles With Crispy Shiitakes, Doenjang-Braised Pork Belly With Tteokbokki Rice Cakes
- The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Spicy Army Base Stew For Hotdogs
- Affordability: Low
As a book written by a non-Korean who had fallen in love with Korean food, Koreatown is filled with all the best fusion food around. While these innovative, modern creations still do rely on traditional staples, almost every meal features new additions that bring an enlivening spin to old classic Korean street food. It’s recipes that you’ll find in overseas Korean restaurants around the world, with step-by-step guidance that ensures every last dish comes out perfect. Don’t be mistaken. The authenticity is amazing, and there are traditional meals featured, but the majority of food is what you’ll find in any large U.S. city’s Koreatown rather than a Korean home itself.
Between the in-depth explanations of Korea’s food culture, the excellent detail on Korean ingredients, and the couldn’t-be-simpler instructions throughout, it’s hard not to fall in love with Koreatown. Even the cooking techniques are a step above what one commonly finds in most good cookbooks. Traditional methods are wonderfully adapted for the modern kitchen, and some are so good that you’ll be using them to prepare and/or cook all forms of food, not just Korean fare.
About The Author: Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard are an exceptional culinary duo known for their expertise in Korean cuisine. Hong, a celebrated chef, previously served at the critically acclaimed Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong in Manhattan’s Koreatown. Currently, he helms the kitchen at Sunday Bird, a beloved Korean fried chicken joint in San Francisco. His co-author, Rodbard, is a renowned culinary writer and editor, having contributed to numerous prestigious publications.
Although a broad selection of Korean and Korean-American food is featured, it’s Korean barbecue and sauces that particularly stand out. There’s a seemingly endless selection of marinades waiting, with ample variations of the most popular meals also offered. The balance between simplistic, impossible-to-fail recipes and complex, advanced Korean cuisine is fantastic. There are intricate meals that’ll have devoted chefs busy in the kitchen for hours, with results that’d make anyone do it over and over again, while the easy food is just as tasty.
What sets Korean Home Cooking apart is the quality of the recipes themselves. Absolutely no corners are cut in its approach to producing some of the finest Korean food you’ll ever taste. Every recipe comes with a gorgeous full-color photo that shows you exactly what to expect and aim for. Expect to hunt down a few ingredients at an Asian specialty store, but the effort is well worth it over and over again.
About The Author: Sohui Kim, an acclaimed chef and restaurateur has played a pivotal role in bringing Korean cuisine to New York City’s culinary scene. She’s the driving force behind Good Fork and Insa, well-regarded for their innovative yet authentic Korean fare. Alongside her, Rachel Wharton, an esteemed food writer, and editor, has contributed to numerous publications and has been recognized with prestigious awards for her food journalism.
My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes is a must-have for those seeking to immerse themselves in Korean cooking, offering a gateway to a realm of flavors and a resourceful culinary guide. With a focus on insight of value to experienced cooks, the instruction and recipes offered are truly a step above. After explaining the core Korean culinary trinity of ingredients and their place in cooking, namely doenjang, ganjang, and gochujang (fermented soybean paste, soy sauce, and fermented red chili paste), the author moves onto a selection of recipes spanning the complete range of Korea’s cuisine including condiments, Anju, snacks, cocktails, and desserts.
My Korea is a captivating coffee table cookbook that not only looks great but also delivers on practicality. The book’s initial section provides a helpful breakdown of essential Korean ingredients, aiding readers in navigating Korean grocery stores. The recipes may seem daunting at first glance, but once the basics are grasped, they become accessible and satisfying. With the freedom to make ingredient substitutions, the dishes retain their authentic flavors and deliver delightful experiences. The cookbook’s value lies not only in the delicious recipes but also in the practical cooking insights that can be applied to various cuisines.
About The Author: Hooni Kim is a celebrated Korean-American chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants. He is the owner of the acclaimed New York City restaurants Danji and Hanjan. Born in Seoul, Korea, he spent his adolescence in England and later moved to New York City. His restaurant Danji is the first Korean restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star.
Anyone looking for a Korean cookbook that emphasizes simplicity within a European or Western kitchen is sure to find immense value in Our Korean Kitchen. Traditional techniques and recipes have been reinvented without losing any of the authenticity of flavor. Stocking a Korean pantry is given particular attention with advice as to where the best ingredients can be sourced from for U.K., U.S., and Australian citizens. Every recipe is extremely concise, but the clarity of instruction is ideal for beginners and busy cooks. Complex cooking techniques are explained with the help of multiple photographs that leave no room for doubt or error.
There is tons of background info granting context into the origins and composition of Korean cuisine. Recipes are well-introduced through brief, personal narratives that help one understand the flavors and traditions infused. The cultural detail alone will draw many readers in, while the well-presented recipes keep you coming back to try more. It’s one of the best books for those completely new to classical Korean food and cooking procedures, with enough variety to inspire even the most seasoned chefs.
About The Author: Jordan Bourke is an Irish chef and food stylist known for his focus on healthy, flavorful recipes. He’s worked in both Michelin-starred kitchens and the world of food television. Rejina Pyo, Bourke’s wife, is a highly regarded fashion designer born in Seoul, South Korea. Though not formally trained as a chef, her passion for food is deeply ingrained in her Korean roots.
- Total Pages: 164
- Total Recipes: 41
- Recipes Preview:
- Recipes Preview: Korean Soybean Paste Soup With Napa Cabbage, Braised Eggplant With Seasoned Soy Sauce, Green Tea Sujebi Soup (Hand-Torn Noodles)
- The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try:
- The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Korean Green Chili Pepper Pancake With Red Chili Paste
- Affordability: Very Low
Korean temple food, known as “sura” or “surya” in Korean, is a remarkable culinary tradition rooted in Buddhist philosophy and mindfulness. It embodies a pure and harmonious approach to nourishment, focusing on natural ingredients, seasonal produce, and a balanced combination of flavors. Temple food reflects the belief in the interconnectedness of all living beings and aims to cultivate gratitude, mindfulness, and compassion through the act of eating. With its emphasis on simplicity, vibrant plant-based dishes, and meticulous preparation techniques, Wookwan’s Korean Temple Food: The Road to the Taste of Enlightenment is a guide to a form of cuisine that’ll open up a whole new world of flavors and food to those unfamiliar with its traditions and tastes.
If you love Korean food or are looking to expand your plant-based repertoire, Wookwan’s Korean Temple Food over-delivers. Some of the meals are extremely complex and do call for exotic ingredients, but those who hunt them down will reward themselves with an explosion of flavor and texture second to none. After the basics, history, characteristics, and three principles of cooking temple food, recipes detailing rice meals, porridges, soups & noodles, salads, kimchi & pickle-based dishes, stir-fries, braised & steamed food, grilled dishes & pancakes, and snacks & jelly are presented. Next up is harmonious food that offers exceptionally balanced nutrition, then finally, teas, potato meals, tofu, and tomato-infused creations wrap up this one-of-a-kind book. We strongly suggest giving it a look.
About The Author: Wookwan is a respected Korean Buddhist nun and temple food master, well-known for her efforts in promoting Korean temple food to the world. She has been teaching the art of temple food for many years and has her own YouTube channel showcasing her recipes.
Where many Korean cookbooks deliver winning recipes for all the same types of favorite food, Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food offers up recipes for all the amazing meals not commonly covered. You’ll find lesser-known gems common and favored by those living in Korea, detailed with foolproof instructions. Fortunately, the author has managed to keep the recipe composition approachable for those new to Korean cuisine. Just like with most of the country’s food, certain staples are essential, but there’s not one recipe in this cookbook that you won’t be able to pull off to near-perfection using one or two simple substitutes.
Classics, street food, and Korean fusion cuisine are presented in a straightforward manner with recipes so easy that you’ll muse at the amazing results. Despite the simplicity, all the recipes are elevated, modernized, and adapted with innovative twists that truly improve each meal without breaking authenticity. The fusion food is also easily the best you’ll find anywhere, incorporating so many Western favorites while staying true to Korean flavors and techniques. It’s a fresh cookbook with new ideas that build on time-tried concepts and a great read for all cooks.
About The Author: Judy Joo, a Korean-American chef, is renowned for her culinary expertise, particularly in the realm of Korean cuisine. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, she has honed her craft in several Michelin-starred restaurants. Joo is a veteran television personality with her own show, “Korean Food Made Simple,” and has appeared on various food and cooking-related television programs.
From Paleo tofu to grain-free versions of everything from Bibimbap to Korean BBQ, Korean Paleo: 80 Bold-Flavored, Gluten- and Grain-Free Recipes is as close to a must-buy as you get for anyone who loves Korean food but wants to eat healthier. The variety alone will blow you away, but the lack of nutritional info may leave some disappointed. Still, rest assured, every last recipe is among the healthiest, most nutritious versions of the type of food that you’ll find. The meals are all as delicious as the stunning accompanying food photography leads one to believe.
Korean Paleo is a cookbook that assumes a basic degree of experience cooking Paleo, but with this said, the recipes are still well-suited to cooks of all skill levels. Even those who have been living Paleo for a while will find inspiration thanks to the way that the author both adapts and elevates each meal without any unnecessarily complicated steps. Cooking techniques are also explained in such a way that you’ll understand how meals are made in traditional Korean kitchens, which adds immensely to the context while staying concise throughout. Overall, there’s no better book that details gluten-free Paleo better.
About The Author: Jean Choi is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and the mastermind behind the popular food blog “What Great Grandma Ate.” A firm believer in the healing power of food, Choi provides delectable yet healthy recipes that cater to different dietary needs.
Korean Instant Pot Cookbook: Classic and Modern Korean Recipe-r Everyday Home Cooking by Nancy Cho and Selina Lee
If you live a busy life and don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen but are also in love with Korean food, the Korean Instant Pot Cookbook will change your world. Classic Korean recipes are perfectly adapted for the Instant Pot, which effectively cuts away the complexities that will often intimidate inexperienced cooks. Not only is each recipe sure to satisfy even the most discerning foodies, but the tips scattered throughout present insight that you’ll use for many meals to come effectively, teaching one how to use your time-saving electric pressure cooker in all-new, wonderful ways.
Korean Paleo has recipes for banchan (side dishes), rice & noodles, soups & stews, snacks & sweets, and sauces. Between the functional layout, handy recipe index, cooking tables, and glossary, finding exactly what you’re looking for is made easy. The Michelin-star restaurant-quality recipes are so good that few will believe they were made in an Instant Pot. It’s a time-saving, hassle-free cookbook that you can’t go wrong with.
About The Author: Nancy Cho and Selina Lee are a powerhouse duo known for their fusion of classic and contemporary Korean dishes. Nancy Cho, a seasoned food writer with a deep love for Korean cuisine, is passionate about making Korean recipes accessible to everyone. Selina Lee, a nutritionist and cooking instructor, brings a unique perspective to traditional Korean recipes with her emphasis on health and wellness.
- Total Pages: 320
- Total Recipes: 75
- Recipes Preview: Seaweed Noodles With Crab And Crème Fraîche, Tahini-Garlic Grilled Pork Belly, Fried Cauliflower With Miso Bagna Cauda, Chipotle-Spiked Pad Thai, Korean-Taco Pickles
- The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Korean Fried Chicken (With Peanut Brittle Shards)
- Affordability: Very Low
If you’re a cook on the hunt for a Korean cookbook filled with adventurous, elevated meals, My Rice Bowl is one publication that you can’t overlook. It’s modern Korean fusion food at its very best. Not one of the recipes can be considered standard fare, which is a refreshing change for those already familiar with the wonderful dishes Korea has to offer. Those who have had the privilege to sample food from any of the author’s world-renowned restaurants will immediately snap up this gem, while anyone else is highly recommended to give it a look.
Not one aspect of My Rice Bowl disappoints. From the publication quality to layout, recipes to recipe construction, everything carries an element of polish and quality above what one would expect. This is a book that describes its food as outside-the-box Korean cooking, and it sure does deliver. Not one meal can be considered standard but rather an amalgamation of the best Korea and the West has to offer. There’s no learning curve to speak of, thanks to the clear-cut instructions, and you’ll be wowed time and time again by the way that food comes out.
About The Author: Rachel Yang, a James Beard-nominated chef, is celebrated for her unconventional approach to Korean cuisine. Originally from Seoul, Korea, she moved to the U.S. and trained at the esteemed Culinary Institute of America. Jess Thomson, an award-winning food writer, partners with Yang, bringing the exciting and boundary-pushing recipes of Yang’s renowned restaurants to home cooks.
Best Kimchi Cookbooks
Kimchi, a beloved staple in Korean cuisine, is a vibrant and pungent fermented side dish that holds a special place in Korean hearts. From its humble beginnings as a preservation method to its revered status as a source of probiotics and bold flavors, kimchi offers diverse variations and far-reaching versatility in complementing everything from rice to soups and stews. There are few forms of pickling that refresh the palate as satisfyingly as kimchi and here are the best kimchi cookbooks in circulation to help you get the most from this beloved form of fermentation.
The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Traditional and Modern Ways to Make and Eat Kimchi by Lauryn Chun and Olga Massov
The Kimchi Cookbook is one of the best guides to Korean fermentation in circulation. To many non-Koreans, there is only one type of kimchi, but nothing could be further from the truth, and this book proves it. Essentially, as it explains, there are roughly 160 or more foundational recipes, and all the best aspects of these blends and pickling techniques are detailed within. The refreshingly innovative recipes for fermented kimchi itself are chaptered in spring/summer and fall/winter kimchi.
Cooking with kimchi follows, detailing almost thirty elaborate recipes that incorporate kimchi as the primary flavor base or ingredient. The tips alone are worth their weight in gold, and that’s not even to begin praising the diversity and taste of the kimchi and kimchi-based creations themselves. If you value concise, to-the-point recipes free from elaborate narratives but at the same time sacrificing lengthy ultra-information lectures on context or procedure, The Kimchi Cookbook is for you.
About The Author: Lauryn Chun, the founder of Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi, a line of artisanal kimchi, draws upon her Korean heritage and culinary prowess to showcase the versatility of kimchi through sixty delectable recipes. Olga Massov, the assistant recipes editor for The Washington Post, collaborates, bringing her distinctive flair to fusion food.
The Korean Kimchi Cookbook: 78 Fiery Recipes for Korea’s Legendary Pickled and Fermented Vegetables by Lee O-Young & Lee Kyou-Tae
With beautiful publishing, some of the best pictures of Korean food out of any books in print and recipes that are as flavorful as they are clear-to-the-point, The Korean Kimchi Cookbook is sure to satisfy in terms of ease-of-reading and superlative results. Every recipe is faultless, but there aren’t as many clear-cut tips and ingredient substitutions as some may hope for, but this isn’t to say that the recipes aren’t accessible. Quite the contrary. Most pantries will be able to pull them off with the help of a handful of Korean staples.
The variations on kimchi are amazing, and each recipe is sure to inspire countless more. As one page through The Korean Kimchi cookbook, a clear concept of the cuisine and fusion of flavors common to Korea becomes clear. This makes the beauty of this book an attractive drawcard for those seeking inspiration as well as those seeking out stellar cookie-cutter recipes themselves.
About The Author: Lee O-Young, a renowned South Korean author and former Minister of Culture, teams up with fellow Korean, Lee Kyou-Tae, a popular chef and culinary expert, to share their love and deep knowledge of Korea’s culinary jewel – Kimchi.
Best Vegetarian & Vegan Korean Cookbooks
Those looking for plant-based Korean cuisine are sure to turn to the recipes found in these excellent vegetarian & vegan Korean cookbooks over and over again. For a meal you’ll want to enjoy over and over again, don’t miss our easy recipe for homemade Korean Vegan Bibimbap. With tofu instead of beef and egg, it’s a sure-fire winner.
If you think the quality of publishing is supreme and the food photographs make you crave Korean food insatiably, or that any other Korean cookbook is anything near amazing, wait until you try but one of any of the many recipes featured in The Korean Vegan Cookbook. This is a cookbook that takes Korean Vegan food to all new heights while at the same time leading readers through a journey into the country’s food culture as an art form at the same time. It’s a book that shows you how to elevate vegan food beyond expectations while at the same time pulling through on Korean flavor, texture, and meal composition traditions.
Whether bought as a quick-access reference guide to Korea’s most famous food or snapped up as an engrossing journey through Korean cuisine, The Korean Vegan Cookbook is almost a must-buy for all, regardless of your diet preferences. There are simply so many refreshingly creative recipes to inspire and lead that no one should overlook the chance to give it a good look.
About The Author: Author Joanne Lee Molinaro is a lawyer by day and a vegan culinary expert and storyteller by night. Originally from Chicago, Molinaro has used her Korean heritage and plant-based lifestyle to create a popular blog and social media presence under the name ‘The Korean Vegan.’
THE ULTIMATE KOREAN VEGAN COOKBOOK: 500+ Korean Vegan Cuisine for a Gourmet Adventure and Caring Life (Authentic and Plant-Based Korean Vegan Recipes) by Brinal L. Whippller
At the time of writing, no other Korean cookbook can compare to the sheer number of different recipes featured in The Ultimate Korean Vegan Cookbook. The almost overwhelming selection of dishes features appetizers & small bites, soups & stews, rice & noodles, main entrees, modern sides & traditional banchan, desserts & sweet treats, and drinks and beverages. Expect condensed recipes throughout, listed with nothing other than ingredients and step-by-step instructions.
There are no introductions, descriptions, cultural context offered, or detailed discourses on Korean cooking techniques, but despite this lack of detail, after detailed scrutiny, every last recipe is one that one will clearly try again. One would commonly expect recipes this short to omit details, but they are all beginner friendly as well. All in all, it’s the ultimate bumper collection of Korean recipes around, and the fact that they’re all plant-based is nothing short of amazing.
About The Author: Brinal L. Whippller is a renowned culinary author with a distinct focus on vegan cuisine. Known for her inventive approach to plant-based cooking, she has transformed traditional Korean dishes into vegan-friendly delights.
Best Print Only Korean Cookbooks
Immerse yourself in the pages of these beautifully crafted print-only Korean cookbooks, savoring the tactile experience and the joy of flipping through vibrant recipes and captivating stories, making your culinary adventures even more memorable.
K-Food is a truly massive book to behold in print and a cookbook with just as much weight in practical value as it has in one’s hand. As one would hope for an all-encompassing in-print cookbook, the spread of recipes leaves nothing lacking. There’s a good balance between classic, traditional food common to homes and restaurants in Korea, fusion food, and street food. It’s also one of the most authentic books on Korean food around. A few of the recipes don’t even have an English translation of their name listed. However, this is the only omission. All the steps needed to pull off perfection every time are listed, and techniques/procedures are explained clearly.
Owning K-Food awards the owner one of the most comprehensive Korean recipe books around. Instead of a minimalistic design featuring plain pages, a highly stylized layout ensures that it’s a beauty to behold while making navigation intuitive and fun. The vivid, highly detailed photographic coverage of ingredients and techniques also makes grasping the art of cooking Korean food a much quicker, smoother process. This is one book that comes with a hefty price tag, a factor that will inadvertently deter many buyers, but for those who want an amazing book to hold in hand and/or put on display, every last cent will pay for itself over and over again.
About The Author: Dae-Hae West, originally from Seoul, South Korea, shares her extensive knowledge of Korean cuisine and culture. Currently residing in Los Angeles, California, she continues to promote the rich culinary heritage of Korea through her writing and cooking demonstrations. Gareth West, a skilled food writer, and researcher, collaborates with Dae-Hae to offer readers an authentic and comprehensive understanding of Korean cuisine.
Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen is a cookbook presented as a partial memoir that presents a plethora of recipes and intricate traditional cooking insight. This is a refreshing change from most memoirs which are history, context, and journey heavy. Instead, this voyage through the author’s life resorts to elaborate descriptions of the ingredients, recipes, traditions, utensils, and processes involved in making Korean cuisine of the highest quality. Even the most complex approaches to things like pickling and producing what would be considered royal cuisine in Korea are detailed in such a way that no questions are left unanswered.
Reading Growing up in a Korean Kitchen instills one with a deep understanding of Korea’s food culture while at the same time teaching skills that are essential to cooking the Korean way. The sheer number of recipes featured alone is a key indication that this is no regular food memoir. Whether you’re into storytelling or not, this is one cookbook that’s almost a must-have for book collectors who value Korean cuisine.
About The Author: With a deep-rooted connection to Korean cuisine, Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall shares her childhood experiences and family recipes in this heartwarming cookbook. Currently residing in New York City, she continues to share her passion for Korean food through her writing, cooking classes, and food-related projects.
- Total Pages: 216
- Total Recipes: 100+
- Recipes Preview: MulNaengmyeon (Cold Noodle Soup), Hobak Bokkeum (Stir-Fried Zucchini), Gaji Namul (Steamed Eggplant)
- The Best Recipe We Wanted To Try: Baechu Doenjang Guk (Cabbage Soup With Soybean Paste)
- Affordability: Moderate
Korean Cookbook: 100+ Authentic Korean Dishes to Cook at Home is a no-frills cookbook with gorgeous publishing quality and a selection of recipes presenting a full span of the country’s most popular cuisine. The coverage of each technique is brief but accurate, and there’s a great variety of Korean cooking styles featured. Even brewing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is given devoted attention.
As a relatively new release, the recipe composition and general approach is well-suited to modern, Western households. It’s a book geared toward beginners with enough substance in terms of diversity and meal creativity to serve as a source of inspiration for experienced cooks as well. One can see the Korean Cookbook as the ultimate introduction to Korean cuisine, but at the same time, a read that states everything so clearly and concisely that nothing is hard to grasp.
About The Author: Jiu Chung is a passionate advocate for Korean cuisine. With a wealth of culinary knowledge and experience, Jiu Chung shares a collection of traditional Korean recipes that can be easily prepared in any home kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions – Best Korean Cookbooks
Have you been left with any lingering questions concerning Korea’s cuisine or matters concerning the best Korean cookbooks? We may have the answers you’re looking for here.
Korean cuisine is renowned for its diverse array of flavors and textures, making it challenging to limit to just five dishes. Some of the most popular and widely loved Korean delicacies include bulgogi, a marinated grilled beef dish known for its savory and slightly sweet profile (our no-fail recipe for easy bulgogi Korean pork chops is a must-try). Another favorite is bibimbap, a vibrant mixed rice bowl topped with an assortment of vegetables, meat, and a spicy gochujang sauce. For a hearty and tangy option, kimchi jjigae, a flavorful stew made with kimchi, pork, and tofu, is a top choice. If you’re craving pork, samgyeop-sal offers thick slices of grilled pork belly to be enjoyed with lettuce wraps and condiments. Lastly, jjajangmyeon, a comforting noodle dish featuring thick black bean sauce, stir-fried vegetables, and meat, is a classic Korean favorite.
Korean food is renowned for its bold and vibrant flavors that balance elements of spiciness, sweetness, saltiness, and umami. The cuisine embraces a harmonious combination of ingredients and seasonings to create a distinct taste profile. Expect dishes with layers of complex flavors, often featuring fermented ingredients like kimchi or gochujang (red chili paste), that provide a tangy and pungent kick. Korean cuisine also showcases a balance between hearty and refreshing flavors, with dishes ranging from rich and savory stews to light and crisp vegetable-based side dishes. Overall, Korean food offers a diverse sensory experience, satisfying both adventurous palates and those seeking comfort in familiar flavors.
One of the oldest known Korean cookbooks is “Eumsik Dimibang” (음식디미방) which roughly translates to ‘Understanding The Taste Of Food,’ written during the Joseon Dynasty in the 17th century. Composed by Lady Jang Gye-Hyang and the first book written in the Korean alphabet, it serves as a valuable historical record and guide to traditional Korean cuisine. The cookbook covers a wide range of recipes, including royal court dishes, temple food, and everyday meals enjoyed by the noble class. “Eumsik Dimibang” offers a glimpse into the culinary practices and cultural traditions of the time, providing a fascinating insight into the evolution of Korean cuisine throughout history.
In Korean cuisine, the “holy trinity” refers to the three essential seasonings that form the backbone of many Korean dishes: soy sauce (ganjang), sesame oil (cham gireum), and red pepper paste (gochujang). These three ingredients are considered fundamental in creating the distinct flavors that define Korean food. In addition to this traditional holy trinity, there is another widely recognized holy trinity of Korean cuisine, particularly outside of Korea and in the United States, which consists of ganjang (soy sauce), doenjang (soybean paste), and gochujang (chili paste). This trio of fermented flavors adds depth and complexity to almost every Korean meal, showcasing the importance of fermentation in Korean culinary tradition. Together, these combinations of seasonings and fermentation techniques create the signature taste profiles that make Korean cuisine so beloved and sought after around the world.