15 Mouthwatering Cookbook Covers to Inspire You

POSTED ON Nov 30, 2023

Shannon Clark

Written by Shannon Clark

Home > Blog > Cover Design > 15 Mouthwatering Cookbook Covers to Inspire You

What makes cookbook covers appealing?

Great-looking food, of course! 

You can have the best-tasting food in the world, but without quality food photography and staging, the food might as well be grayscale on a white background. When it comes to cookbook covers, the proper lighting, composition, camera angles, props, and other small details make a difference.

This article is a celebration of all the mouthwatering cookbook covers that made us want to dust off our crockpots and try a new dish or even better, inspired us to write our own cookbooks.

Surprisingly, cookbook covers aren’t always about the food. Just take a look at the following cover trends:

  1. Partial views. Obscuring the food so parts of the dish are covered. 

  1. About the author. Making the author the focal point with the food shot secondary or almost nonexistent.
  1. Minimal. Abstract. Artistic. Eliminating real food from the cover altogether. 

When designing cookbook covers, creativity is key if you want to stand out in a crowded book market. Designers will continue to stretch the boundaries of book cover design as they try to figure out ways to gain market share; however, when it comes to cookbooks, I believe the eyes are the windows to the stomach. Show me a great-looking dish, and I’m off to the grocery store to buy the ingredients.

Below you’ll find a cross-section of cookbooks for all lifestyles and food preferences. I attempted to provide a variety of options to please most palettes, but to save space I focused on broad categories.

A note: As a fan of book cover design and a writer, I often compare the book’s description to the cover design to see if the two complement each other. I’ve included a snippet of each book description with the images. What do you think? Does the cover convey the book’s promise? (All of these cookbooks can be found on Amazon.)

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Mouthwatering Cookbook Covers

1. One-Pan Cookbook for Men: 100 Easy Single-Skillet Recipes to Step Up Your Cooking Game

cookbook covers - One-Pan Cookbook for Men by Jon Bailey

Author: Jon Bailey

Description (snippet): One-Pan Cookbook for Men, one of the most helpful cookbooks for men, is here to prove that eating well for the wallet, waistline, and taste buds requires little more than a single skillet.”

2. The Well Plated Cookbook: Fast, Healthy Recipes You’ll Want to Eat  

cookbook covers - book cover for well plated by Erin Clarke

Author: Erin Clarke

Description (snippet): “In this essential cookbook for everyday cooking, Clarke shares more than 130 brand-new rapid-fire recipes, along with secrets to lightening up classic comfort favorites inspired by her midwestern roots, and clever recipe hacks that will enable you to put a healthy meal on the table any night of the week.”

3. Complete Wild Game Cookbook: 190+ Recipes for Hunters and Anglers 

cookbook covers - book cover for Complete Wild Game Cookbook by Bri Van Scotter

Author: Bri Van Scotter

Description (snippet): “Hunting is the perfect way to source healthy, high-quality meat. The Complete Wild Game Cookbook will show you how to transform your harvest into flavorful feasts that your whole family will love.”

4. The Brain Health Cookbook: MIND Diet Recipes to Prevent Disease and Enhance Cognitive Power

cookbook covers - The Brain Health Cookbook cover by Julie Andrews

Author: Julie Andrews

Description (snippet): “The Brain Health Cookbook is a comprehensive and practical guide to the science behind the MIND diet, including 75 delicious recipes like Wild Berry Cashew Smoothie and Fish Taco Bowls with Mango Salsa for optimal brain health and function”

5. Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals: A Cookbook

cookbook covers - Dinner in One by Melissa Clark book cover

Author: Melissa Clark

Description (snippet): “Melissa Clark brings her home cook’s expertise and no-fuss approach to the world of one-pot/pan cooking. With nearly all of the recipes being made in under one hour, the streamlined steps ensure you are in and out of the kitchen without dirtying a multitude of pans or spending more time than you need to on dinner.”

6. Skinnytaste Air Fryer Dinners: 75 Healthy Recipes for Easy Weeknight Meals

cookbook covers - Skinny Taste Air Fryer Dinners by Gina Homolka cover

Author: Gina Homolka

Description (snippet): “True to Gina’s signature “light on calories, big on flavor” promise, the recipes allow you to indulge in creative and crave-worthy dishes, including crispy fried fish with hush puppies, juicy chicken breasts stuffed with brie cheese, California-style burritos made with steak and fried potatoes, and a perfectly cooked salmon topped with mustard and dill.”

7. Simply Korean: Easy Recipes for Korean Favorites That Anyone Can Make

cookbook covers - Simply Korean by Aaron Huh cover

Author: Aaron Huh

Description (snippet): “If you’ve always wanted to make your favorite Korean dishes at home, Simply Korean is for you. With streamlined techniques, minimal ingredients, and clear instructions, you’ll learn the easiest methods to make fried rice, bulgogi, kimchi, and more without sacrificing taste.”

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8. Everyday Italian Cookbook: 90+ Favorite Recipes for La Cucina Italiana (Italian Recipes, Italian Cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Cookbook)

cookbook covers - Everyday Italian Cookbook

Author: Domenica Marchetti 

Description (snippet): “Take a culinary journey through l’Italia with more than 90 recipes for fresh, authentic Italian cooking. The dishes in this mouthwatering collection emphasize carefree Italian cuisine perfect for elevating everyday dining.”

9. The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook: 60 Sweet and Savory Recipes for Your Oven and Mini Donut Maker

cookbook covers  - The Easy Baked Donut Cookbook by Sara Mellas cover

Author: Sara Mellas

Description (snippet): “The deliciously easy donut cookbook for heavenly homemade baked donuts this holiday season!”

10. Pie is Messy: Recipes from The Pie Hole

cookbook covers - Pie is Messy by Rebecca Grasley

Author: Rebecca Grasly,  Willy Blackmore

Description (snippet): “Learn how to make 100 perfectly imperfect pies with time-honored techniques to maximize taste from the founder of Los Angeles’ beloved Pie Hole bakery.”

11. Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains 

cookbook covers - Half Baked Harvest by Tiechan Gerard

Author: Tieghan Gerard

Description (snippet): “125 of your new favorite recipes, featuring maximum flavor, minimum fuss, and the farm to table style that turned Half Baked Harvest from a beloved blog into the megahit cookbook series”

12. The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook: 500 Inspired, Flexible Recipes for Eating Well Without Meat 

cookbook covers - The Complete Plant Based Cookbook

Author: America’s Test Kitchen

Description (snippet): “ATK’s [America’s Test Kitchen] diverse, modern guide offers foolproof recipes for every occasion that you can tailor to suit your own needs, choosing whether to make any dish vegan or vegetarian. From building a plant-centric plate to cooking with plant-based meat and dairy, you’ll find everything you need here to create varied, satisfying meals.

13. The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope

cookbook covers - The Word Central Kitchen Cookbook

Author: José Andrés 

Description (snippet): “In their first cookbook, WCK shares recipes inspired by the many places they’ve cooked following disasters as well as inspiring narratives from the chefs and volunteers on the front lines. Photographs captured throughout the world highlight community and hope while stunning food photography showcases the mouthwatering recipes.”

14. Skinnytaste Simple: Easy, Healthy Recipes with 7 Ingredients or Fewer

cookbook covers - Skinny Taste Simple by Gina Homolka

Author: Gina Homolka 

Description (snippet): “ A delectable collection of 120 healthy dishes that use seven ingredients or fewer to deliver big flavor without the fuss—the easiest, simplest recipes yet from #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Skinnytaste Cookbook”

15. The Essential Cookbook for Men: 85 Healthy Recipes to Get Started in the Kitchen 

cookbook covers - The Essential Cookbook for Men by Manuel Villacorta

Author: Manuel Villacorta

Description (snippet): “If your experience in the kitchen is limited, cooking can seem like a daunting task. Tackle it head on with The Essential Cookbook for Men. Discover just how easy and satisfying it can be to create healthy, flavorful meals for less than the cost of takeout.”

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Final Thoughts on Cookbook Covers

If ever a category of cover designs could make or break a book’s potential to sell, it’s cookbook covers. Food is not only about pleasing the palette but on a basic-needs level it’s about sustenance, and consumers take their stomachs and what goes into them seriously.

When it comes to how cookbook covers are designed, only one thing really matters—your audience. When potential buyers see something amazing on the cover, they imagine themselves recreating it in their kitchen and then eating and enjoying it with friends, family, or alone in their own cozy corner.

When cookbook covers are amateurish—poor photos, composition, colors, and typography (or any combination of the three)—readers won’t give the book a second glance. Even the most beautiful artistic cookbook covers can flop if an author is not already well-known with a strong following.

If you are a new author who’s considering cookbook cover design, appealing to the stomach through the eyes, is a great place to start. The 15 covers shared in this article are a small sample of the many amazing covers available online for inspiration but don’t stop there.

Visit your local bookstore and pick up your favorite cookbooks. Feel the covers and the weight of the paper. Compare cookbook covers to see what makes one stand out over another. In the end, when your published book is opened to page 24 on someone’s kitchen counter, the extra care you put into their reading enjoyment will matter.

Shannon Clark

Written by
Shannon Clark

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