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The best Irish cookbooks: from Ballymaloe desserts to a TikTok sensation

It’s been a bumper year for great Irish cookbooks — but which ones to choose for a gift?

Ballymaloe Desserts by JR Ryall

This debut cookbook from the Ballymaloe House head pastry chef JR Ryall is stunning, featuring 140 seasonal Irish recipes from his kitchen and the famous dessert trolley at Ballymaloe. More than just recipes, it’s also full of Ryall’s gorgeous insights, seasonal observations and a homage to Ballymaloe founder and culinary icon Myrtle Allen, who trained him. Photography by the wonderful Cliodhna Prendergast elevates this beautifully designed book so it will sit just as well on a kitchen counter as a coffee table.

Perfect for: anyone with a sweet tooth or a love for beautiful books.

Mezze by Nicola Crowley & Dvir Nusery

“Everything can go in a sandwich” is one of the opening notes in this book — a very good sign that this is a book for people who love to cook and love to eat. It is written by Nicola Crowley and Dvir Nusery who run Mezze, a wonderful Middle Eastern-focused food business in Tramore, Co. Waterford. Their book is a collection of recipes and menus from Dvir’s native Israel and favourites from their deli, pop-up dinners and Middle Eastern feasts. Expect mouthwatering dips, herby salads, slow-cooked meats, colourful vegetable dishes and syrup-drenched desserts.

Perfect for: the ones that love to cook, and Ottolenghi fans.


Lili’s Family Favourites by Lili Forberg

Lili Forberg is a busy photographer turned Instagram foodie influencer who’s garnered a following thanks to her uncomplicated approach to family cooking. In her first book she shares some of her most popular recipes — brunch favourites, comforting classics, excellent fakeaways and moreish desserts. Expect lots of doable, delicious recipes that should appeal to all ages. And the best bit? Lili makes sure all the ingredients used are easily available and keeps her methods simple and straightforward. This really is fuss-free cooking.

Perfect for: the busy everyday cook.

Bake by Graham Herterich

Irish baking fans may know Graham Herterich better as The Cupcake Bloke. He’s been baking gorgeous cupcakes, bracks, buns and bread for years on Irish TV, at food festivals and in his Rialto bakery. Now he’s finally put all his recipes in one place with his first book, Bake: Traditional Irish Baking with Modern Twists. In it Graham celebrates favourite traditional Irish recipes, such as soda bread and mammy buns along with his take on modern classics like jambons, cheesecakes and fifteens. Baking novices and experts alike will find much to love in this book, which is bound to become a staple in homes all over Ireland.

Perfect for: anyone who loves both classic and more adventurous baking.

The Homemade Year by Lilly Higgins

A wonderful kitchen book with a difference. Food writer Lilly Higgins has put together a creative collection of seasonal crafts and family-friendly projects along with her handy foolproof recipes. Inspired by the Irish calendar, it contains fun crafts and recipes for St Patricks Day, Easter, summer holidays, Halloween, Christmas and lots more. It’s a joy to read about our sometimes forgotten Irish traditions. This book will appeal to any keen DIYers and crafters always looking for new ways to keep small hands busy.

Perfect for: creative crafters and parents.

Blasta Book Collection

Described as ‘little books with big voices’, Blasta Book released its first collection of books in 2022 made up of Tacos, Hot Fat, The United Nations of Cookies and Wok. They are gorgeously illustrated A5-sized books that provide a snapshot of Ireland’s modern and diverse food culture. Nigella Lawson has already featured two of them in her #CookbookCorner. Now is your chance to get ahead and pre-order the 2023 collection for that friend who really does have every book already. It includes Soup by Blanca Valencia, Dee Laffan and Mei Chin, Tapas by Anna Cabrera and Vanessa Murphy, Wasted by Conor Spacey, and Masarap by Richie Castillo and Alex O’Neill.

Perfect for: the cookbook collector.

Eat Up, The Next Level by Daniel Davey

Daniel Davey is a renowned performance nutritionist who has worked with some of Ireland’s top athletes, so he knows a thing or two about how to eat to help raise your sports game. His latest book, Eat Up, weaves great advice and insights along with over 100 doable, nutrition-packed recipes. It’s refreshing to read a book like this that doesn’t focus on restriction but more on understanding food’s role in nourishing, healing and energising your body.

Perfect for: anyone who spends as much time in the gym or on the pitch as they do in their kitchen.

Chop, Cook, Yum! By Deirdre Doyle

A book made for kids with recipes they will want to cook and eat — Chop Cook, Yum! is a collection of over fifty recipes from Deirdre Doyle’s Cool Food School. Doyle has taught thousands of children about food and cooking over the last few years and these are her tried and tested recipes that children can make themselves. It includes handy tips, safety in the kitchen and when to get an adult to help you, and recipes are graded to show the level of ease. Expect fun breakfasts, pizza bagels, snacks, desserts and lots more in between.

Perfect for: young chefs.

The GIY Diaries by Michael Kelly

This book will tick the boxes both for already keen gardeners and anyone who’s just starting out. It’s an excellent account of a year of growing in Ireland from GIY expert Michael Kelly, who you may know from RTÉ's Grow, Cook, Eat. In The GIY Diaries, Kelly takes us through each month, what you should be doing, sowing and harvesting, along with essential troubleshooting and advice for unpredictable weather. And then, of course, there are delicious recipes to go with your expected bounty. It’s accessible and encouraging and hopefully a way to discover things you didn’t know you were capable of!

Perfect for: gardeners, growers and anyone into sustainable living.

Lush by Daniel Lambert

If you know someone who’s glued to TikTok recipes, then believe it or not, there’s a book for that! Irish Chef Daniel Lambert shot to social media stardom by sharing quick, snappy recipe videos and this book takes his dishes off the screen and into your kitchen. It’s a moreish collection of comforting, playful recipes that vary from traditional bacon and cabbage and soda bread to chicken fillet Rolls, home-made pasta, cheeseburger tacos and a mug cake, of course. A great way to get off the screens and into the kitchen.

Perfect for: TikTok addicts and fakeaway fans.