Texas Living

10 of the Best Texas Cookbooks

By Peter Simek 9.7.21

Lisa Fain felt like many Texans whose lives take them away from their home state. Living in New York, the writer and blogger missed so many things about her home — most of all the food. She started the Homesick Texan blog and began sharing the recipes she made that helped remind her of home. The blog caught on, becoming popular among expat Texans and nonnatives who were interested in exploring the wonderful and diverse world of Lone Star cooking.

Fain eventually gathered her recipes into one of the best Texas cookbooks out there, and her “Homesick Texan” joins our list of culinary guides that help Texans and non-Texans alike capture the unique appeal of Texas cooking. From Tex-Mex and barbecue to Southern comfort classics and Gulf seafood, explore some of the best Texas cookbooks.

best Texas tex mex cookbooks

“Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen” by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock

Centeno is a San Antonio native and one of the most highly acclaimed chefs in the U.S. In this groundbreaking cookbook, he turns his creative culinary mind to the cuisine of his home state. Centeno breaks Tex-Mex out of the box and offers new takes on traditional dishes that will change the way you think about the cuisine.

best Texas cookbooks

“The Homesick Texan Cookbook” by Lisa Fain

Inspired by her nostalgia for homecooked Texas food, Fain presents a dazzling array of state classics, from cheese enchiladas and chicken-fried steak to chile con queso and spicy chili. It’s a trusty handbook for any home chef who wants to whip up the taste of home.

best Texas bbq cookbooks

“Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay

Franklin is one of the most famous and sought-after pitmasters in the world, and his barbecue cookbook reveals how he artfully blends smoke and meat. (Discover the secret to Franklin’s barbecue rub here.) More than a collection of recipes, Franklin delves into the core elements of perfect barbecue, from choosing the smoker and wood to managing the fire and taking a patient, precise approach to the process. 

best Texas cookbooks

“The Texas Cookbook” by Mary Faulk Koock

If you are looking for a Texas meal to transport you back in time, Mary Faulk Koock’s classic tome is filled with the kinds of dishes that fueled 1960s dinner parties — quail pie, venison roast, black-eyed peas with okra, and Lady Bird Johnson’s personal recipe for peach ice cream.

best Texas mexican cookbooks

“Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes” by Adán Medrano

Medrano digs deep into the roots of Tex-Mex to explore the ways in which Native American cooking techniques have filtered down through Mexican culture to inform Mexican cooking in Texas today. Medrano’s 100 recipes draw out this heritage and offer new perspectives on classics like enchiladas and tamales.

best Texas pastry cookbooks

“The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Café” by Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman

Rather collects recipes that have been satisfying Texas sweet tooths for decades. In her book, you’ll learn the secrets to her beloved Fredericksburg peach cream cheese tart, Texas pralines, and Texas Big Hairs lemon-lime meringue tarts.

best Texas seafood cookbooks

“Texas Seafood: A Cookbook and Comprehensive Guide” by PJ Stoops and Benchalak Srimart Stoops

With all the attention Texas receives for Tex-Mex and barbecue, it’s easy to forget that, with thousands of miles of coastline, Texas is also a seafood lover’s paradise. The Gulf of Mexico serves up a diverse bounty of delights, and the Stoops are fishmongers and chefs who dive into how to find and prepare seafood that’s distinctly Texan.

best Texas cookbooks

“Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking” by Toni Tipton-Martin

A James Beard Award winner and a founding member and president of Foodways Texas, Tipton-Martin delves into the evolution of African American history, highlighting the long-neglected story of how African American cooks have helped shape American and Texan cuisine. Her recipes are drawn from a rich collection of more than 400 Black cookbooks, some of which date back to 1827.

best Texas vegan cookbooks

“Bam’s Vegan — Summertime Vegan Cookbook” by Brandon Waller

Texas is famous for meat, but a burgeoning vegan scene is providing new approaches to cooking that may change the way you think about Texas food. Waller made a splash on the Dallas food scene when he started serving buffalo cauliflower mac bowls and barbecue jackfruit sandwiches at the Dallas Farmers Market. Now he shows how to make some of these ingenious dishes at home.

best Texas cookbooks

“Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook with More Than 200 Recipes” by Robb Walsh

Walsh’s “Texas Eats” is as much a cultural history of Texas as it is a fantastic cookbook. With chapters that highlight the regional styles and histories of different Texas cuisines, Walsh takes readers to the German community cookouts that helped give birth to Texas barbecue and to the streets of San Antonio to meet the Chili Queens who paved the way for modern Tex-Mex.

Explore different corners of Texas cuisine by reading about our taco renaissance and ice cream empire.

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