If you're challenging yourself to cook more in the coming year , you've got to get your hands dirty making (and possibly washing) more than a few dishes. But where to start cookbook-wise? With so many wonderful titles available, it can be hard to determine which most deserve a place on your bookshelf. To help you out, we've curated a list of the 10 most essential volumes. Many of these have had a profound impact on home cooking for decades, while others are the classic cookbooks of tomorrow.
— Additional reporting by Nicole Perry
How to Cook Everything
When we asked for opinions on essential cookbooks around the office, this was first on the list of many editors. Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything  ($35) really is comprehensive — it features 2,000 recipes — and will expand your culinary knowledge while providing you with amazing home-cooked meals of all shapes and sizes.
The Joy of Cooking
Arguably one of the most important books in American cuisine, Irma Rombauer's Joy of Cooking  ($35) holds a special place in many households. This book changed the way many women approached cooking at home, as it emphasized freshness, convenience, and simple recipes, like beef Wellington and homemade ice cream. Techniques like knife skills are emphasized, and the most recent version includes a section on 30-minute meals. Chances are your mom and grandmother had copies of it on their bookshelves, so why shouldn't you?
Baking: From My Home to Yours
Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours  ($40) is our baking reference of choice. Not only does it include tried-and-true recipes for virtually every classic sweet you could want, but it also includes plenty of unexpected delights like parmesan sablés and dimply plum cake. Moreover, Dorie is one of the best recipe writers we know. This is a joy to read, thanks to the conversational style; her instructions are easy to follow and the results are consistently superlative.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Julia Child 's classic cookbook brought French cuisine into the homes of Americans. Not only are staple French dishes like boeuf bourguignon and cassoulet broken down and made accessible, but readers are also instructed on how to buy and prepare raw ingredients. Mastering the Art of French Cooking  ($40) has been described as one of the most instructive cookbooks of all time.
The New Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone
Deborah Madison is often thought of as the Julia Child  or Marcella Hazan of vegetarian cooking. Her book The New Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone  ($40) is considered one of the most comprehensive cookbooks ever published on the subject. This book is an essential for any kitchen, because, let's face it, it's helpful and economical to know how to cook great food that doesn't involve meat.
The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes For a New Century
The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century  ($40) by Amanda Hesser is equal parts well-curated recipe collection and culinary time capsule. Spanning 150 years of the newspaper's publication, it includes the best content from The New York Times cooking section, as well as historical background on many of the recipes and reader letters. While it doesn't boast glossy color photos, it's as much a fascinating read as it is a practical volume for your kitchen.
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
If you're interested in learning not only how to cook a dish, but also why certain steps are taken, you'll do no better than The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science  ($50) by J. Kenji López-Alt. A 960-page book filled with more than 300 recipes and 1,000 photos, it is as much a reference material as a cookbook thanks to López-Alt's meticulously tested recipes and scientific breakdowns of what exactly is going on during the cooking processes involved.
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
What Julia Child  did for French cooking Marcella Hazan did for Italian. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking  ($30) combines her previous two publications in one large volume. Important Italian ingredients are explained in great detail, and authentic dishes like fresh pastas and risottos are made accessible for the home cook. For anybody who loves cooking with fresh ingredients and real Italian cuisine, this book is a must have.
Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust
Ina Garten has won over the hearts of many with her perfectly appointed kitchen in her elegant Hamptons home. But what her fans really love about the Barefoot Contessa are the classic, approachable-yet-elevated recipes that she brings to the table. She has many fantastic books available, but Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust  ($35) is our top pick as the foolproof descriptor is well earned.
One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals From Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More
When it comes to weeknight cooking, the fewer dishes dirtied the better, which is why One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals From Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More  ($26) by the editors of Martha Stewart Living earns a place on this list. Recipes range from hearty braised slow-cooker dishes to fast and easy sheet pan meals, like salmon with crispy cabbage and kale , and include everything in between.