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19 African Cookbooks That Everyone Should Own

Looking to expand your African cookbook library? From deep dives into regional cuisines to diaspora interpretations of continent classics, here are 19 African cookbooks every home cook should own.

an illustration of a tabletop spread of dishes from Africa and its diaspora, including fried plantains, cassava, fufu, puff puffs, meat skewers, prawn stews, egg stews, jollof rice, pickled fish, and meat pies

 

Cookbooks are a window into the past, present, and future; they connect us with our ancestors and teach future generations about our culinary traditions. We believe it is inherently human to practice recipe keeping, and cookbooks are the vehicle for consolidating, categorizing, and archiving these food cultures for global audiences to enjoy.


Our chosen books spotlight authors who truly know and understand African cuisine, from personal experiences, travel, and professional research. These cookbooks document their history and celebrate the foods of their families and communities, making them the perfect addition to any home cook’s library.


We believe visuals are essential to documenting African cuisine – connoting the widespread use of oral tradition within the continent – so all our selected cookbooks feature contemporary full-color photography.


Please note: All cookbooks in this article have been researched by our editors, and are in order of publication as we have no favorites! However, when you use a link to purchase a cookbook, we may earn an affiliate commission that goes towards our research and projects.


Last updated: Oct 16th 2023

 
Cookbook cover of My Everyday Lagos: Nigerian Cooking at Home and in the Diaspora by Yewande Komolafe

🇳🇬 My Everyday Lagos: Nigerian Cooking at Home and in the Diaspora by Yewande Komolafe


Perfect for… savoring the converging cuisines in Nigeria's biggest city, Lagos


Yewande Komolafe is an acclaimed Nigerian chef, food stylist, and recipe writer for The New York Times, The James Beard Foundation, and Bon Appétit, to name a few. Her first cookbook uncovers 75 mouth-watering Nigerian recipes, alongside stories from Komolafe's life and a portrait of her hometown, Lagos.


Not only is this the definitive book on Lagos cuisine, it is a glimpse into life in the African diaspora. This book showcases recipes both new and old, highlighting ingredients or dishes that may have been adapted and integrated into the cuisines of the places she has lived.



 
cookbook cover of Simply West African: Easy, Joyful Recipes for Every Kitchen by Pierre Thiam

🌍 Simply West African: Easy, Joyful Recipes for Every Kitchen by Pierre Thiam


Perfect for… learning about West African cuisine through the acclaimed cooking authority Pierre Thiam


As the leading chef of award-winning restaurants from Nigeria to New York City, as well as the entrepreneur behind the CPG company Yolélé, Pierre Thiam is a Senegalese-born chef and restauranteur who specializes in the food of West Africa.


His latest culinary literature takes its readers through 80 carefully curated recipes from across the western regions of Africa. Relish in the intersection between traditional and modern dishes, all crafted for global tables to enjoy.



Other books by Pierre Thiam:


 
cookbook cover of Sweet Salone: Recipes from the Heart of Sierra Leone by Maria Bradford

🇸🇱 Sweet Salone: Recipes from the Heart of Sierra Leone by Maria Bradford


Perfect for… tasting the ingredients that characterize Sierra Leone’s diverse culinary heritage


Experience unique traditional recipes and delightful Afro-fusion flavors by Sierra Leone-born and London-based caterer Maria Bradford. Her catering company, Shwen Shwen, brings African food experiences to the UK and showcases her culture through fine dining and bespoke menus.


Despite being one of the smaller countries on the west coast of Africa, Sierra Leone is home to 16 ethnic groups, each with its own language and cultural practices. Inspired by her grandmother’s cooking, Maria Bradford expertly navigates the diversity of the nation’s cuisine, all while introducing delicious Afro-fusion dishes and flavors.



 
cookbook cover of Tekebash and Saba: Recipes and Stories from an East African Kitchen by Saba Alemayoh

🇪🇹 Tekebash and Saba: Recipes and Stories from an East African Kitchen by Saba Alemayoh


Perfect for… enjoying rich Ethiopian flavors interwoven with personal experiences


Born in Sudan to Ethiopian parents, Saba Alemayoh is a restaurateur and food writer for National Geographic and the UK’s Olive Magazine (to name a few). For her first cookbook, she teamed up with her mother, Tekebash, to tell the stories of their homeland through a series of cherished recipes and family memories.


From Tekebash’s personal history of being born in a war-torn Tigray, to the opening of their Melbourne restaurant Saba’s Ethiopian, each story accompanies a recipe rich with spices, traditional cooking methods, and reminiscence.



 
cookbook cover of Africana: More than 100 Recipes and Flavors Inspired by a Rich Continent by Lerato Umah-Shaylor

🌍 Africana: More than 100 Recipes and Flavors Inspired by a Rich Continent by Lerato Umah-Shaylor


Perfect for… trying contemporary and traditional cuisines from across Africa and its diaspora


Lerato Umah-Shaylor is a Nigerian-born and UK-based food writer, entrepreneur of the multi-faceted food company Lerato Foods, and leading voice in African cuisine. Alongside writing for CondeNastTraveller, BBC Good Food, and many more publications, she is also a Gourmand World Awards Winner and one of The Guardian’s Observer Food Monthly Awards: Best Of 2023.


This cookbook is truly a feast for the senses, featuring some of the most iconic African dishes from Nigeria to Madagascar, and Morocco to South Africa. Africana has a diasporic charm, balancing traditional African dishes with the vibrant and varied flavors of her travels across the globe. With over 100 recipes to choose from, this isn’t a cookbook to miss.



 
cookbook cover of The Tunisia Cookbook: Healthy Red Cuisine from Carthage to Kairouan by Hafida Ben Rejeb Latta

🇹🇳 The Tunisia Cookbook: Healthy Red Cuisine from Carthage to Kairouan by Hafida Ben Rejeb Latta


Perfect for… grasping a comprehensive overview of Tunisian cuisine, the food of an ancient nation


Born in the Tunisian city of Kairouan, Hafida Ben Rejeb Latta is a writer for the UK’s Olive Magazine and a social justice activist. Dr. Simon Poole, a Cambridge-based medical doctor and internationally-renowned authority on the application of the Mediterranean diet, also includes a foreword about the olive tree’s role as a cornerstone ingredient to the nation.


This is a comprehensive guide to Tunisian food that stretches from the Sahara Desert to the northernmost point of Africa, Cape Angela. The book is not just for documentation; it is truly a festival of this ancient nation's remarkable heritage.



 
cookbook cover of An African Bite by Mbonani Daniel Mbombi

🌍 An African Bite by Mbonani Daniel Mbombi


Perfect for… experiencing the intersection between urban living, South African classics, and Xitsonga culture


Mbonani Daniel Mbombi, affectionately known as Chef Mbombi, is a celebrity chef and content creator from South Africa. He has over 150k followers on his Instagram, whom he woos on the regular with countless recipes in collaboration with Knorr, South Africa’s Food For Mzansi, Nestlé Recipes with Love, and more.


An African Bite is not just a collection of culinary traditions from his Xitsonga and Zulu ancestry; it also features contemporary recipes, including local street food, his take on the popular West African dish jollof rice, and even a section dedicated to his Gogo (grandmother), who taught him to cook authentically, and always with love.



 
cookbook cover of Simply Seven Colours by Zola Nene

🇿🇦 Simply Seven Colours by Zola Nene


Perfect for… creating family-style meals that touch each end of the rainbow


Zola Nene – the South African TV chef, the entrepreneur behind the unique spice brand Zola’s Feasts, and TV’s Best in the World winner for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards – is back with her third cookbook that celebrates the local food concept called seven colors, ukudla kwasekhaya, several colors, or sondag kos. It is the practice of creating multi-colored plates of food, bringing families and communities together to share in a delicious and nutritious food experience.


Each chapter adds a new color to adorn your plate with, from South African classics to modern sides and desserts. Bring colorful harmony to every meal, and indulge in Zola Nene’s kaleidoscope of healthy and simply delicious recipes.



Other books by Zola Nene:


 
cookbook cover of Saka Saka: South of the Sahara – Adventures in African Cooking by Anto Cocagne

🌍 Saka Saka: South of the Sahara – Adventures in African Cooking by Anto Cocagne


Perfect for… tasting the varying culinary heritages of select sub-Saharan countries


Anto Cocagne, the Gabonese TV show host and founder of the French festival We Eat Africa, takes Saka Saka readers on a flavor journey like no other. The book spotlights a handful of the countries south of the Sahara Desert – located in the northeast of the African continent – including Gabon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, and Ethiopia.


Saka Saka celebrates African cuisine through the voices of its daughters and sons, introducing its readers to African creatives who share their personal connections to the food and its role in their culture.



 
cookbook cover of Zoe's Ghana Kitchen: An Introduction to New African Cuisine – From Ghana With Love by Zoe Adjonyoh

🇬🇭 Zoe's Ghana Kitchen: An Introduction to New African Cuisine – From Ghana With Love by Zoe Adjonyoh


Perfect for… embarking on a flavor journey with Ghanaian ingredients


Featured in the New York Times Best Cookbooks of 2021, London-born cook and writer Zoe Adjonyoh shares the beauty of Ghana’s markets, culture, and cuisine through a plethora of recipes, ingredient-sourcing tips, and a glimpse into her story of using these food traditions to navigate her own diasporic culinary identity.


Bursting onto the scene with her pop-up supper club and restaurant in London, Zoe Adjonyoh believes that food is deeply personal, and her recipes are a way for her to share what she’s learned and loves with the world.



 
cookbook cover of Egyptian Flavors: 50 Recipes by Dyna Eldaief

🇪🇬 Egyptian Flavors: 50 Recipes by Dyna Eldaief


Perfect for… relishing in quintessential Middle Eastern recipes from Egypt


Australian-born to Egyptian parents, Dyna Eldaief is a cookbook author, culinary instructor for her masterclasses on Egyptian cuisine, and TV personality for the Middle East edition of America’s hit culinary show, The Taste. In all her work, she acts to spotlight one of the world's oldest and yet least-known food heritages: Egypt.


This pocket-sized collection of charming recipes is the perfect introduction to Egypt's well-loved meals, whether you are a curious home cook or an interested chef. The recipes and accompanying illustrations provide an ideal initiation into the cuisine of the sun-baked land of the Nile.



Other books by Dyna Eldaief:


 
cookbook cover of In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen

🌍 In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen


Perfect for… learning about the culinary diversity across Africa’s eastern coastline


With simple yet authentic dishes, Hawa Hassan – the James Beard-winning author, entrepreneur behind the Somali sauce Basbaas, and Food Network chef – joins forces with Julia Turshen – an IACP cookbook award winner who was named by Epicurious as one of the ‘100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time’ – for a cookbook like no other.


The authors transport the reader into the kitchens of bibis (or grandmothers) from eight African countries that “touch the Indian Ocean”: Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, and Comoros. Each page is a treasure trove of historical dishes with vibrant accompanying photography, brimming with spices and aromas that have been cemented into centuries of tradition and culture.



 
cookbook cover of Portugal Meets Mozambique: Cozinha MoÇambicana by Jeny Sulemange and Khalid Aziz

🇲🇿 Portugal Meets Mozambique: Cozinha MoÇambicana by Jeny Sulemange and Khalid Aziz


Perfect for… enjoying Mozambican delights at home from a quaint Lisbon restaurant


Don't let the name fool you; this cookbook serves up straight Mozambican delights from the restauranteur duo Jeny Sulemange and Khalid Aziz. Jeny Sulemange is the host of her Amazon Prime show, Chef Jeny, o meu Mundo, and her Afro-Portuguese cuisine has been featured in Food & Wine and Bon Appétit, to name a few. Her husband, Khalid Aziz, owns the restaurant Cantinho do Aziz in Lisbon, Portugal.


After Khalid Aziz took over the restaurant from his father, the first words the couple scrubbed from the fusion menu were the local Portuguese dishes. Focusing on amplifying the foods of their heritage, in tandem with excitingly new Afro-Portuguese dishes, both Portuguese and Mozambican clientele have flocked to the restaurant, eager to taste the delicate flavors only brought to them through personal celebrations of their diasporic culinary heritage.



 
cookbook cover of The Island Kitchen: Recipes from Mauritius and the Indian Ocean by Selina Periampillai

🌍 The Island Kitchen: Recipes from Mauritius and the Indian Ocean by Selina Periampillai


Perfect for… delighting in the heterogeneous cuisines along Africa's east coast islands


Selina Periampillai is a London-born recipe writer for her newsletter Taste Mauritius. Born to Mauritian parents, she also leads cooking classes, supper clubs, and catering services that introduce the cuisine to Western audiences. In her first cookbook, The Island Kitchen, the reader is taken on a leisure cruise around the Indian Ocean's islands, exploring 80 simple recipes packed with flavors from the Maldivian fishing coasts to the Seychellois spice gardens.


Shaped by their ancient history, coupled with influences from traders, migrators, and explorers, the blend of cultures across Africa’s east coast has cumulated in exciting culinary identities, and each island has its own unique dishes and flavors all worth touring.



 
cookbook cover of Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa by Yohanis Gebreyesus

🇪🇹 Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa by Yohanis Gebreyesus


Perfect for… appreciating Ethiopia’s vibrant foodways and ancient traditions


Yohanis Gebreyesus is an Ethiopian-born fine dining chef who is passionate about bringing the health benefits of Ethiopian food to a global audience. From his teff and Ethiopian spice-based products to his TV show and consultancy services, Yohanis Gebreyesus is the ultimate authority on Ethiopian food and its significant role in global food identities, supported by this book winning the 2020 James Beard Award for Best International Cookbook.


Ethiopia is Africa's oldest independent country, and aside from a five-year occupation by Mussolini's Italy, it has never been colonized. This book preserves its ancient traditions while proving that Ethiopian food is among the most distinctive and delectable cuisines in the world.



 
cookbook cover of Casablanca by Nargisse Benkabbou

🇲🇦 Casablanca by Nargisse Benkabbou


Perfect for… seeking out classic Moroccan flavors with modern and accessible ingredients


Nargisse Benkabbou, the Executive Chef at L'Mida Marrakech and author of the My Moroccan Food blog, uses Casablanca as a home for her recipes that celebrate heritage, simplicity, and modernity. Born in Brussels to a Moroccan family, Nargisse Benkabbou nurtures her connection with her roots through both traditional and contemporary Moroccan recipes.


Nigella Lawson described Casablanca as “a book that is infused with the flavors of Morocco and is as accessible as it is inspiring,” and we couldn’t agree more. This book shines a light on classic Moroccan flavors, blended seamlessly with Western dishes to create a harmony like no other.



 
cookbook cover of Hibiscus by Lopè Ariyo

🇳🇬 Hibiscus by Lopè Ariyo


Perfect for… creating reimagined classics with ingredients local to you


British Nigerian content creator, recipe writer for the UK’s grocery brand Waitrose, and founder of the fine dining supper club, ŌKĒLĒ, Lopè Ariyo is an Observer Rising Star of Food, and fuses the bold dishes of Nigeria with the flavors of her upbringing in London.


There’s something for every occasion in this book; whether it’s experimenting with new ingredients, reimagining old favorites, or finding alternatives to everyday staples, Lopè reveals all that modern Nigerian food has to offer.



 
cookbook cover of The Ghana Cookbook by Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

🇬🇭 The Ghana Cookbook by Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta


Perfect for… experiencing the flavors unique to one of Africa’s leading countries, Ghana


Winner of the 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best African Cuisine Cookbook, The Ghana Cookbook is the definitive book on traditional Ghanaian cuisine by Barbara Baëta (AKA Auntie Sika), one of the first professionally trained caterers in Ghana and the owner and founder of Flair Catering, Ltd. – a catering agency and cooking school – in collaboration with Fran Osseo-Asare, an internationally recognized expert on sub-Saharan African cuisine.


Over the course of 140 recipes that represent all regions of Ghana, the authors highlight flavor principles, seasoning techniques, basic stocks, and a plethora of traditionally gluten-free, lactose-free, and downright delicious dishes from one of the leading countries of Africa.



 
cookbook cover of Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl by Pierre Thiam

🇸🇳 Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl by Pierre Thiam


Perfect for… delving deep into Senegalese cuisine and the history of the “Gateway to Africa”


In his 2015 cookbook, Senegalese-born chef and restauranteur Pierre Thiam celebrates the multifaceted cuisine of Africa’s westernmost point of the mainland, Senegal. ​​


Pierre Thiam follows up his first book introducing Senegalese cuisine, Yolele!, with a deeper dive into ingredients and techniques integral to Senegalese cooking. Meet local farmers, fishermen, humble food producers, and home cooks each with stories to tell and recipes to share and savor.



Other books by Pierre Thiam:


 

We are Jikoni Recipe Archive, a non-profit with a mission to treasure the flavors of Africa and its diaspora.


If there’s a cookbook that you would love to see in a future list, let us know at hello@jikoniarchive.org and subscribe to our newsletter to get monthly cookbook recommendations!

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