The Food Lab

by J. Kenji López-Alt

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Original Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
Date of publication

Recommended by

Matt Goulding

Co-founder of Roads & Kingdoms and author of Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture

A classic before it even hit the shelves. This book takes everything Kenji's excelled at during his reign at Serious Eats—sharp, compelling writing, impeccable technique, a penchant for destroying deeply-embedded kitchen myths—and turns it up a dozen notches. It's rare that I cook a meal without his voice whispering some reminder about heat distribution or Maillard reactions or seasoning strategy into my ear, and this book has only made that voice all the louder.

Olivia Potts

Food writer

Kenji Lopez Alt is just so bloody clever. His writing is funny and wise and pragmatic, but his recipes and research is superlative. I don't come from a science background, but I want to understand why things do and don't work in the kitchen. Lopez Alt takes me through all of this step by step, and has made my cooking a hundred times better for it.

Nicola Twilley


I'm a fan of Kenji's Serious Eats column of the same name, but this book is amazing: it is a bible, filled with tips and tricks and things you didn't even know you had been doing wrong. I am cooking my way through all 800 pages, and becoming a much better cook in the process.

Maggie Hoffman

Food & drink writer

This tome from my colleague at Serious Eats is a TON to read, but it works wonderfully as a reference, especially if you're curious about common kitchen myths and rules. For science nerds and anyone who has doubted common cooking wisdom.

Anna Francese Gass

Chef, recipe tester and author

I love Kenji’s scientific approach to food. As a recipe tester, I love the nitty gritty of what makes a recipe work and why it tastes good. The stove top mac and cheese is a family favorite!

Yasuko Fukuoka

Food writer

Hannah Kaminsky

Food photographer and cookbook author

Aaron Franklin

Owner and Chef, Franklin Barbecue

Robert Stephens

Founder, The Geek Squad

Prerna Singh

Co-Founder Indian Simmer

Candy Argondizza

ICC's Vice President of Culinary and Pastry Arts

Maggie Green

Registered dietitian, chef and cookbook author

Angela Duckworth

Psychologist and best-selling author

George Kao

Director of Sales, Sun Noodle

Erik Murnighan

President, International Culinary Center

Reem Kassis

Cookbook author