Cookery Culture Food

21 Black-Authored Cookbooks to Add to Your Shelf

21 Black-Authored Cookbooks to Add to Your Shelf
Written by Ujamaa Team

Like the rest of the food industry, food media has a long way to go when it comes to equal representation. We’re here to self-examine—to learn and to unlearn how our company and coverage are part of this problem. Today, we’re celebrating Black-authored cookbooks (keep an eye out for future articles on black-authored food books and black-created blogs). We understand this is a small start. And we’re committed to continuing this conversation, both on the website and internally as a team, and finding ways to use our platform to further amplify Black voices and stories.

First, we recommend that you check out this list of Black-owned bookstores to purchase these titles from them. And below, we’ve linked directly to the authors’ websites, which have purchasing information for their books; for the rest, we’ve linked to IndieBound, which helps you locate your nearest independent bookstore.


1.The Africa Cookbook by Jessica B. Harris

Written by award-winning culinary historian Jessica B. Harris in 1998, The Africa Cookbook includes over 200 recipes from across the continent—like spicy fried oysters with peanut sauce and potatoes with mint leaves and garlic. To learn more about Harris’ life, read her memoir,My Soul Looks Back.

2.The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day

Based in Savannah, Georgia and run by husband-and-wife team Cheryl Day and Griffith Day, Back in the Day Bakery is the spot for gooey cheddar biscuits and lattice-crust blackberry pie. If you don’t live in Savannah, this book is the next best thing, full of buttermilk-cornmeal pancakes and cinnamon-sugar doughnut muffins. Also check out: Back in the Day Bakery Made With Love.

3.Black Girl Baking by Jerrelle Guy

Nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Best Baking & Dessert Cookbook Category,Black Girl Bakingis the debut cookbook from food blogger and stylist Jerrelle Guy. She was named an Eater Young Gun in 2019, in which she shared: “I’m excited to push convention if it means allowing hope for someone who wants to follow their passion but also makes money doing it.”

4.Brown Sugar Kitchen by Tanya Holland

Brown Sugar Kitchen shares recipes from the acclaimed California restaurant of the same name, where Tanya Holland is the owner and executive chef. There’s black pea salad, andouille gougères, herbed mushroom spoon bread, and more. “I like to think when people come to Brown Sugar Kitchen for the first time they see beyond the stereotype of West Oakland as a dangerous, dirty place,” Holland writes. “That they see what I see when I come to work—a dynamic, diverse community brought together by a shared appetite of fried chicken and for the kind of connections food can forge.”

5.Carla Hall’s Soul Food by Carla Hall

Top Chef competitor and Chewco-host Carla Hall published her first cookbook, Cooking With Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You, in 2012. Since then, she’s publishedCarla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes From Around the World and, most recently, Carla Hall’s Soul Food, in which she shares soul food’s history from Africa and Caribbean nations to the American South.

6.Cooking Solo: The Fun of Cooking for Yourself by Klancy Miller

Writer and pastry chef Klancy Miller earned a Diplôme de Pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, then kept living there to work in the Michelin-starred Taillevent restaurant. Her cookbook Cooking Solo is for her “fellow singletons” (over 100 million in the U.S. alone). Picture a: ginger biscuit scone, pork burger with coconut, and lemony white bean soup.

7.Cooking With My Motherby Elsy Dinvil

Chef, author, and Haiti native Elsy Dinvil caters events, teaches cooking classes, and makes from-scratch pikliz for the Beaverton Farmers’ market in Oregon. Her book, Cooking With My Mother, is a guide to Haitian home cooking through stories and recipes. She also authored Spice Up Simple Dishes With a Haitian Twist.

8.The Dooky Chase Cookbook by Leah Chase

Founded in 1941 by Emily and Dooky Chase, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant is a New Orleans landmark. Years later, it was “through the vision of Leah Chase [that] the barroom and sandwich shop grew into a sit-down restaurant wrapped within a cultural environment of African-American art and Creole cooking.” In addition the Dooky Chase Cookbook, Chase authored And I Still Cook.

9.In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan & Julia Turshen

Hawa Hassan is the founder and CEO of Basbaas Sauce, a line of condiments, such as tamarind date sauce and coconut cilantro chutney sauce, inspired by her home country, Somalia. Her forthcoming book, co-authored with Julia Turshen, comes out in October and is now available for preorder. In Bibi’s Kitchen is a collection of stories and recipes from bibis (grandmothers) in eight African countries. On her Instagram, Hassan says, “This is a book about connections: multi-generational, cross-cultural, and most of all human.”

10.Jubilee by Toni Tipton-Martin

Jubilee, as our Kristen Miglore describes it in her column, is “the groundbreaking cookbook that journalist Toni Tipton-Martin developed from her collection of nearly 400 African-American cookbooks from the past two centuries.” Besides those Genius Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp, you can also count on sweet potato biscuits with ham and wilted mixed greens with bacon.

11.Living Lively by Haile Thomas

Haile Thomas is the youngest Certified Integrative Health Coach in America, as well as an international speaker, wellness activist, and vegan content creator. Her journey began over a decade ago, when she was eight years old, once her father developed Type 2 diabetes. Next month, her cookbook Living Lively: 80 Plant-Based Recipes to Activate Your Power and Feed Your Potentialpublishes (you can preorder now), full of dishes like turmeric berry chia pudding and potato nachos with green chile cheese sauce.

12.The New Way to Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi

With modern, minimalist styling and photography, this collection—from Great British Bake Off star and London-based baker, food stylist, and recipe developer Ebuehi—is as at-home on a coffee table as it is in the kitchen. Look forward to: apple cake with sage caramel, nutmeg custard cake doughnuts, and plum–black pepper cake.

13.Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook by Pamela Strobel

Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook was originally published in 1969. “It’s a compendium of pork spoonbread and peanut butter biscuits, ham hocks and oxtail ragus, catfish stews and giblet gravies, pickled pig’s feet and roast opossum,” writes Mayukh Sen in his James Beard Foundation Award-winning profile of Strobel. “For decades, though, the only prints of Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook were pumiced paperbacks that would dissolve in your hands. It has taken nearly half a century for this to be rectified.”

14.Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats by Rachel Ama

Rachel Ama launched her YouTube channel in 2017 and has since garnered almost half a million followers (to start, watch: “Meat Lovers Try Vegan Fried Chicken” and “Changes Since Vegan”). Last year, she published Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats, with recipes like plantain burgers and African peanut stew.

15.Sweet Potato Soulby Jenné Claiborne

Jenné Claiborne started her blog, Sweet Potato Soul, in 2010, a year before she became vegan—a lifestyle change that, she writes in the intro, has “the power to transform the world.”Sweet Potato Soulis full of Southern food, inspired by Claiborne’s Georgia upbringing, just without any animal products. Think coconut collard salad, fried cauliflower chicken, and peach–date BBQ jackfruit sliders.

16.The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis

“Though Lewis is well known in the food world…she doesn’t have the widespread name recognition she should,” writes Mayukh Sen, “especially given her impact as a black woman cooking in a time when the odds were stacked against her.” InThe Taste of Country Cooking(1976), Lewis celebrates simple, honest, Southern food, like pan-fried chicken and corn pudding. To learn more about her life, start here.

17.A Taste of Heritage: The New African-American Cuisine by Joe Randall & Toni Tipton-Martin

An inductee to the African American Chefs Hall of Fame, Joe Randall is “known by many as the Dean of Southern Cuisine.” This collection—co-authored with award-winning journalist Toni Tipton-Martin—has 300 recipes, like catfish stew with cornmeal dumplings. In the introduction, the authors write, “It became crystal clear that African-American cuisine was quietly experiencing a renaissance. This book was born out of that revelation.”

18.Soulby Todd Richards

“From the minute I opened this book, flavours were wafting up out of the pages as I turned them,” Piglet judge Kyle MacLachlan wrote about Soul last year. Richards is a James Beard Award-nominated chef, who describes this book—organized by ingredients like collards, melons, bean and rice—as “my homage to the cuisine of my family and ancestors.”

19.The Up South Cookbook by Nicole A. Taylor

Nicole A. Taylor hosts Hot Grease, a food culture podcast, and is the founder of NAT Media. In an interview with Good Food Jobs, she shared “FinishingThe Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchensolidified years of home cooking and being my family/friends’ go-to culinary person.” The collection is inspired by growing up in Georgia and includes recipes like no-mayo pimento cheese (crème fraîche instead) and pasta with collard green pesto.

20.Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant Terry

“For Terry, being vegan doesn’t come from the approach of recreating the taste of meat with substitutes, but of the celebration and abundance of affordable—not just Instagrammable—nutritious food,” writes Vonnie Williams. “He’s debunking the misconception that veganism is purely aspirational for food-insecure Black and brown communities.”

21.Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh

“‘Oh! I’ve never tried that before.’ This is the usual response when I mention Ghanaian food and tell people what I do for a living. This is has inspired me to write this cookbook,” writes chef Zoe Adjonyoh in Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, her 2017 cookbook full of plantain peanut curry and fried fish with shaved papaya. Since COVID-19 led to months of cancelled events, Adjonyoh started a campaign to feed hundreds in need in her local community and employ those who lost jobs—you can donate here.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. We hope our community will share their favourite cookbooks by Black authors in the comment section so we can all grow our collection.

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