20 Vintage Cookbooks That’ll Take You Back
Looking for the best vintage cookbooks? Expand your collection with these new titles that have old-fashioned flair and retro charm.
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by Jessie Sheehan
Author Jessie Sheehan curated recipes from the 1920s to the 1960s to create the gem that is The Vintage Baker. This beautiful book makes use of all kinds of fun kitchenware—vintage Pyrex anyone?—to show off gorgeous recipes like a devil’s food cake with seafoam frosting and molasses doughnuts.
by Parrish Ritchie
Nothing is quite as comforting as old-fashioned church cooking. And The Vintage Church Cookbook from blogger Parrish Ritchie gathers all of your favorite recipes in one place. Enjoy whipping up classics like pimento cheese deviled eggs and Amish macaroni salad—just like grandma used to make in her kitchen. Find more church cookbook recipes here.
by Betty Crocker
Go back in time with Betty Crocker Lost Recipes. This collection contains some of our favorite vintage dishes like chicken a la king, Waldorf salad and pretty chiffon cake. This book also treats you to retro entertaining tips, like how to host a tiki party. Sign us up for that one!
by Frank Caiafa
The Waldorf Astoria opened way back in 1893. Besides being the originator of the classic Waldorf Salad, this establishment was known for its legendary cocktails. In The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, former bar manager Frank Caiafa lets us live in the golden age of cocktails. He writes about classic cocktails (the Manhattan is a must), famous guests and some of his own creations like the Cole Porter—a next-level whiskey sour.
by Anna Francese Gass
In Heirloom Kitchen, it’s hard to decide what’s more inspiring: the recipes or the stories behind them. Anna Francese Gass beautifully details the recollections and recipes of women who immigrated to America—including her own mother. Inside this stunning collection, you’ll find 100 dishes originating from all across the globe and a new appreciation for the unifying power of food. One of our favorites comes from Anna herself: Polpette di Mamma, a hearty meatball recipe right from Anna’s mother.
by Betty Crocker
Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book has been the go-to for many a Christmas cookie for decades. This reprint of the 1963 vintage cookbook contains recipes for so many cookie classics, from chocolate chippers to chocolate crinkles, snickerdoodles and spritz (you can check out our favorite types here).
by Linda Hansson, Louise Lemming and Emma Sundh
Love vintage style and entertaining? Vintage Parties is just the book for you. Inside you’ll find tips on how to host themed parties including a Gatsby-era soiree, a turn-of-the-century-meets-cottagecore picnic and ’60s cocktail party. Each theme comes with suggestions for decor and favors as well as era-perfect dishes like tea sandwiches, moonshine and much more.
by Tanya Holland
New-style, down-home recipes. That’s what awaits you inside Brown Sugar Kitchen, a tome of recipes originating from Tanya Holland’s restaurant in West Oakland, California with the same name. Indulge in shrimp gumbo, macaroni and cheese and caramel layer cake with brown butter-caramel frosting—just to name a few. For more local flavors, check out these regional cookbooks or cookbooks for authentic global cuisine.
by Sue J. Hendricks and Christopher E. Hendricks
In Old Southern Cookery Sue and Christopher Hendricks take a deep dive into what’s thought to be the first American cookbook: Mary Randolph’s The Virginia House-Wife or Methodical Cook, originally published in 1824. Inside this book, Sue and Christopher have helped translate Mary’s original recipes to suit today’s home cook—for example translating firewood cooking techniques into cooking over the stove. This book also explores the origins of many favorite American dishes that came to the US via Africa and Europe.
by Julie Richardson
Sure, we love dazzling, over-the-top cakes like this crazy confetti cake and unicorn cake, but there’s something charming about an old-fashioned buttermilk cake or simple birthday cake. Vintage Cakes can show you how to make darling retro cakes—from layer cakes to icebox versions.
by Edna Lewis
50 years ago, Edna Lewis, the queen of Southern cooking, published The Taste of Country Cooking. Since then, this book has been reprinted over and over to meet the demands of home cooks hungry for a taste of real American flavor. Edna believed in eating locally and seasonally and you’ll find recipes that make the most of each season’s harvest, like rhubarb pie, wild strawberry preserves and corn pone.
by Addie Gundry
Embrace the Mad Men era with Retro Recipes from the ’50s and ’60s. Try some new-to-you recipes destined for a backyard cookout or a fondue party or a swell cocktail party. A favorite here: grasshopper pie—try these recipes!
A favorite of Taste of Home editors, The New Inglenook Cookbook contains many classic recipes from the original 1901 printing. It’s a great resource for excellent and reliable recipes like baked beans, chocolate pie and gingersnaps.
by Betty Crocker
Originally published in 1954—and reprinted over and over again—Betty Crocker’s Good and Easy Cookbook contains dozens of time-saving recipes that are great for experienced and novice home cooks alike. We love how many recipes make use of an old-school pressure cooker. Don’t worry—you can use your Instant Pot.
by Barbara M. Walker
Little House fans young and old will enjoy paging through this book of more than 100 pioneer-era recipes. Alongside gorgeous illustrations and photos, you’ll find recipes for blueberry pudding, mincemeat pie, molasses candy and other old-fashioned classics from the prairie. Next, check out the most popular cookbook from every decade.
by Jean Sagendorph and Jessie Sheehan
One of our favorite treats to come out of years gone by is the icebox cake. Many vintage cookbooks have a recipe or two for these no-bake classics, but we love that Icebox Cakes compiles dozens of tasty recipes—perfect for when it’s too warm to bake or you want an impressive but low maintenance dessert to share.
by Fannie Merritt Farmer
Believe it or not, The Original Fannie Farmer 1896 Cook Book, first written for the Boston Cooking School, serves as a model for the cookbooks of today. This volume was the first of its kind, taking a more scientific approach to cooking with careful instructions and accurate measurements. And you’ll find that over 100 years later some recipes are just as delicious like flaky biscuits and homemade ice cream.
by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day
Savannah-based Back in the Day Bakery has made a name for itself making treats inspired by decades past. In The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, you can find the recipes that made this landmark famous, like rustic cheddar pecan rounds, Pinkie’s chocolate lunch box treats and—if you’re feeling daring—drunk blondies. All these recipes rely on old-school techniques and scratch cooking, so you know they’re good!
by Meg Favreau
Little Old Lady Recipes is a joy to page through. While it looks a bit cheeky, this little cookbook is full of some seriously good recipes for Bundt cakes, fried chicken and refrigerator pickles. You’ll find a few pearls of wisdom sprinkled throughout as well: “Butter comes from a cow. Tell me where the heck margarine comes from, and then maybe I’ll eat it!” Try more of grandma’s best recipes.
by Tamar Adler
Author Tamar Adler revives old favorites in Something Old, Something New. She strips away any fussy garnishes and outdated techniques (there’s no shame in using a stand mixer in lieu of your wooden spoon) to make outstanding retro dishes that have a place in the kitchen today. One worth trying now: steak Diane. Need more inspiration? Discover these cookbooks for anyone who, well, loves book.
If you’re looking for something sweet, check out how to make these lemon-frosted fruit bars from the 1940s.