The 16 Best Date Night Cookbooks For A Memorable Dinner In of 2023

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Cooking together adds a new element to date night. It's a fun way to connect and bond before you even sit down to eat dinner. Plus, your options are endless. Keep it casual with comfort food or whip up an elaborate three-course meal. Experiment with a new dish or make a different version of a tried-and-true favorite.

While we love a date night out at a nice restaurant, there’s something extra special and intimate about mixing things up and staying in. When browsing for your next cookbook full of date-worthy recipes, consider the genre of food, the number of recipes, the experience level needed to cook the recipes, as well as the author's authority and experience.

To help add flavor to your next date night in, we've researched and selected the best options with these features in mind. Are you a couple who loves to indulge in carbs? We recommend "Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto." Want to brush up on the basics together? You'll appreciate the recipes in "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking" and "Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over."

Read on for the best date night cookbooks.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Amazon

Based on the idea that you really only need these four elements for a delicious dish, Nosrat’s award-winning book offers an overarching cooking philosophy and it's a great pick for people who prefer to wing it in the kitchen.

There are plenty of comforting classics—think buttermilk roast chicken, garlicky green beans, and Cacio e Pepe. But with a conversational tone and plenty of whimsical illustrations, this is a nice change from the “classic” cookbook. Stay on theme for date night and cap off dinner with an episode of "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat", Nosrat’s Netflix docu-series inspired by the book.

Price at time of publish: $38

The Newlywed Cookbook

The Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking With and for Each Other

 Courtesy of Amazon

Consider registering for this cookbook, filled with over 130 special recipes to cook together and for one another, plus heartwarming stories and relationship anecdotes from the author. The basic concept: Food is is a way to show love and is a key element in a happy and healthy relationship.

There’s even an entire chapter devoted to date night ideas, with lots of innovative and romantic recipes. And per the point of registering, there’s also a helpful section at the beginning detailing which kitchen tools and supplies are most important and worth having.

Price at time of publish: $35

In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean

In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean

Amazon

This new cookbook is a gorgeous glimpse into the world of East African cuisine, told through the eyes (and cherished recipes) of eight different grandmothers. Somali chef Hawa Hawa Hassan, along with notable food writer Julia Turshen, curates these fascinating stories and adds her own memories. The recipes are steeped in flavors and spices of the regions and include everything from savory stews to sweet desserts and bread.

Price at time of publish: $35

Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship

Amazon Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship

 Courtesy of Amazon

Ashley Rodriguez created this book after she and her husband instituted at-home date nights to rekindle their marriage. In fact, each chapter starts with an intimate story of a moment in their relationship. Split up by season, each section boasts plenty of seasonal recipes, from simple to more complex. And don’t miss the cocktail recipes…rhubarb sour anyone?

Price at time of publish: $28

The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes

The Defined Dish by Alex Snodgrass

 Courtesy of Amazon

Food blogger-turned-cookbook author Alex Snodgrass has an easy, effortless approach to food, which comes across in all of these crowd-pleasing recipes. Ideal for couples with dietary restrictions, the majority of her recipes are or can easily be made Whole30, paleo, gluten-free, you name it.

There’s a great date night section filled with meals that rival anything you’d find in a restaurant, plus a wide array of global-inspired choices—think fun takes on tacos, pad thai, stir fry, and more.

Price at time of publish: $30

Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over

Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman

 Courtesy of Amazon

The forward of this book by the renowned New York Times columnist clearly states, “this is not a book about entertaining.” Instead, Roman says it’s all about using food and feeding people as the ultimate expression of love, an ethos we think works perfectly for date night. Her recipes are simple yet interesting, the kind that quickly becomes a social media phenomenon. (Google ‘The Cookie’ and you’ll see what we mean.)

Many of the recipes do feed more than two, but we say that you should go ahead and make them as written rather than scaling them down—you’ll want to have leftovers.

Price at time of publish: $33

Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes

Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes

Amazon

If you and your S.O. are vegan, vegetarian, or just love vegetables, this book is a must-have. Chef Bryant Terry is a master of flavor and takes favorite ingredients like collards and sweet potatoes to another level. Try the Panko-Crusted Cauliflower and Coconut Curry or the Jerk Tofu Wrapped in Collard Leaves—and don't forget to listen to the curated tracks of music that Terry adds to each recipe.

Price at time of publish: $30

A Girl and Her Greens: Hearty Meals from the Garden

A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield

 Courtesy of Amazon

While chef and restaurateur April Bloomfield is known for nose-to-tail food, this book is all about veggies. Great for anyone looking to eat a more plant-based diet or the couple that loves going to the farmer’s market together, it features all kinds of ways to take veggies from a side dish to a starring role.

There’s also a host of out-of-the-box salads, soups, and more. While a handful of recipes do use meat, vegetables are always the focus.

Price at time of publish: $35

Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto

To really step up your at-home date night game, why not make homemade pasta? (Oh, and gnocchi and risotto, too.) It’s not as intimidating as it may sound, particularly when you have this book, which features tons of tips and tricks the author amassed during his time in Italy.

There are over 30 different recipes for pasta dough alone, and 100 recipes in total, so it's sure to satisfy all your carb cravings.

Price at time of publish: $30

The Date Night Cookbook

The Date Night Cookbook by Rebecca Warbis

 Courtesy of Target

Consider this your complete guide to an at-home date night. Not only is it packed with recipes, but there are also fun themes and ideas to transform a simple meal into an entire experience.

It's not just about dinner–the book is also rife with delicious recipes for breakfast in bed (Under-the-Cover Pancakes!), picnic lunches, and more, all of which can be made in less than an hour.

Price at time of publish: $14

Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing

black girl baking

Courtesy of Amazon

Calling all bakers! This inviting cookbook features fresh takes on favorite comfort foods. Although many of the recipes are a "healthier" version of the original, famed author Jerrelle Guy doesn't skimp on flavor. Start your date night with the Everything Chickpea Tumeric Crackers and finish with the delectable Sea Salt Butterscotch Tart.

Price at time of publish: $22

Clean + Dirty Drinking: 100+ Recipes for Making Delicious Elixirs, With or Without Booze

Clean + Dirty Drinking

 Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

Sure, you could open a bottle of wine along with your homemade dinner. But if you’re ready to shake things up, pick up this book and channel your inner mixologist (or, have a cocktail hour at home and then go out to dinner).

There’s a wide range of homemade cocktail ideas that can easily be enjoyed with or without booze—hence the clean and dirty—plus recipes for the different components that make for delicious cocktails, think flavored syrups and infusions.

Price at time of publish: $14

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

 Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

It’s an irrefutable fact that everyone loves Ina Garten and her iconic recipes. If you’re going to choose just one of her 11 cookbooks (mark your calendars because number 12 comes out soon), pick up this one, her first.

It’s chock full of the classics that everyone wants to eat—meatloaf, pan-fried onion dip, tomato soup. It’s an equally great pick for date night ideas and for the first dinner party you and your S.O. decide to throw together. 

Price at time of publish: $35

Dessert for Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies, Pies, and Cakes

Dessert for Two by Christina Lane

 Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

No date night would be complete without a sweet ending. Here, you’ll find all of your favorite desserts: brownies, pies, cookies, and more. (Honestly, the gorgeous photos alone are enough to get you drooling.)

The best part? The recipes are all scaled down so that you have just enough for two people, and no tempting leftovers sitting in the kitchen for weeks on end.

Price at time of publish: $30

One Pan, Two Plates: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two

One Pan Two Plates by Carla Snyder

Courtesy of Amazon

Equally as good for special date night as it as for easy and yummy weeknight meals, there are over 70 mouth-watering recipes in this book. But perhaps the best part is that they’re all made for two people, take less than an hour, and can be cooked in one pot. A delicious dinner with no arguing over who has to do the dishes after? Now that’s a major relationship win.

Price at time of publish: $27

Cravings: Hungry For More

Cravings Hungry For More by Chrissy Teigen

Courtesy of Amazon

It’s tough to find someone who hasn’t drooled over the insanely yummy-looking meals Crissy Teigen creates and shares on social media (not to mention that Teigan and her husband John Legend truly embody #CoupleGoals.) Her second book is rife with unbelievably delicious recipes that you'll love, whether you want to keep your meal casual or go a little more upscale.

Price at time of publish: $30

What To Look for in a Date Night Cookbook

Genre and Recipe Options

The first thing to consider is the kinds of food you want to make. Are you a couple who loves to try unique and traditional flavors from around the world? Opt for a cookbook that teaches recipes from a specific country on your bucket list. Or perhaps you want to learn how to make more nutritious and healthy meals together. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for that—we especially love "The Defined Dish: Healthy and Wholesome Weeknight Recipes."

Author and Experience Level

Next, it's a good idea to research the author of a cookbook to determine if their specific expertise is a fit for you as a couple. Are they an Italian American with years and years worth of family recipes? Then their pasta-centric book is probably a safe bet! For instance, Italian-trained chef Marc Vetri breaks down his best pasta dishes in "Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto."

FAQ
  • What is the best way to pick a new recipe together?

    Picking a recipe to make is sometimes just as fun as the cooking itself. When choosing a recipe, look for something that reflects both of your tastes and favorite ingredients. Consider the dietary needs and restrictions of your partner by reading through the potential date night recipes beforehand.

    It's also fun to consider any upcoming trips—such as an anniversary vacation or holiday weekend getaway. Pick a dish from that destination to get you excited for your trip!

  • What cooking tools do we need for a date night in?

    That all depends on the recipe! Pick a recipe ahead of time in order to make sure you have everything you'll need. In general, it's good to have a saucepan, baking sheet, utensils (such as a spatula or tongs), and various-sized pots. Fortunately, these are all things you can put on your registry!

Why Trust Brides

Brides contributor Melanie Rud has nearly 15 years of journalism experience covering the beauty and lifestyle space for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. And guess what? She’s also a recent newlywed!

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