Features & Stories

ckbk’s greatest hits of 2021

We’ve dug deep into the stats and crunched the numbers to determine which were the most popular cookbooks and recipes on ckbk over the past 12 months. Read on to discover the ‘greatest hits’ of 2021.

Gunpowder Chicken

Gunpowder Chicken from Mowgli Street Food by Nisha Katona, ckbk’s most popular recipe of 2021


The most popular cookbooks on ckbk in 2021

Cookbooks vary a great deal in size, so to create a level playing field, we’ve ranked this Top 20 based on which cookbooks received the most ‘downloads per recipe.’

  1. Mowgli Street Food
    Outrageously popular, with more than twice as many accesses as its nearest challenger. Chicken recipes from Nisha Katona’s cookbook have ruled the roost at ckbk this year, and we’re excited to see that Nisha’s followup, 30 Minute Mowgli, published just last month, is proving equally popular.
    Top recipes: Gunpowder Chicken, Mother Butter Chicken, Treacle Tamarind Fries

  2. Bourke Street Bakery
    Proving that sourdough bread-making has lasting popularity beyond lockdown, this Australian bakery’s cookbook has proven popular the world over.
    Top recipes: Sourdough Bread, Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls

  3. 100 Desserts to Die For
    Trish Deseine’s book includes versions of just about every classic dessert you can think of, and some more unusual ones too.
    Top recipes: Raspberry Roulade, Peanut Butter Cookies

  4. The Real Greek
    The cookbook from this popular London restaurant mini-chain, from TV presenter and food writer Tonia Buxton, includes authentic versions of popular Greek classics.
    Top recipes: Beef Stifado, Chicken Gyros

  5. Prue: My All-time Favourite Recipes
    ‘The Great British Bake Off’ has been a smash hit in the US (as ‘The Great British Baking Show’), bringing Prue Leith (and her colourful dresses) to an international audience. Her career in food goes back five decades, as founder of the Leiths catering group and Leiths School of Food and Wine in London, making her one of the most trusted names in food. Recipes strike the perfect balance of interest without needless complication.
    Top recipes: Bi-colour soups: Bicolour soup: Pea and watercress / Spice roasted parsnip, Leith’s roast duck

  6. The Secret Recipes
    Dominique Ansel’s patisserie achieved worldwide fame with its Cronut, but there are plenty more takes on classic French pastries, often with an unsual twist, to be found in this insiders’ guide.
    Top recipes: The At-Home Cronut™ Pastry, Cannelé de Bordeaux

  7. Caribbean Food Made Easy
    Levi Root’s hot sauces are bestsellers in the UK and his Caribbean recipes have proven to be longterm favorites of ckbk users.
    Top recipes: Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice, Curry Goat

  8. New York Cult Recipes
    New Yorker Marc Grossman now runs several successful bakeries and cafés in Paris, but his nostalgia for his home city is clear in this cookbook, which includes bombproof and delicious versions of the dishes that make the Big Apple a place of gastronomic pilgrimage for many.
    Top recipes: Buttermilk Pancakes, New York Cheesecake

  9. The Vegetarian Kitchen

    Co-written by pastry chef Peta Leith and her aunt Prue, this cookbook offers tasty modern vegetarian dishes that appeal equally to omnivores as to strict vegetarians.
    Top recipes: Big Roasted Vegetable Lasagne, Chickpea and Cauliflower Tagine

  10. Quay
    Quay is a landmark restaurant in Sydney, and its Eight Texture Chocolate Cake provides ont of the most breathtaking culinary challenges on ckbk. Perhaps take it one step at a time, starting with the chocolate mousse!
    Top recipes: Eight-Texture Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse

  11. Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico
    Since opening 25+ years ago, LA restaurant Guelaguetza has put the cooking of Oaxaca firmly on the map, and in this cookbook, chef Bricia Lopez tells the story and family history behind many of the dishes of the region.
    Top recipes: Picadillo de Pollo, Pasta de Frijol Negro

  12. My Street Food Kitchen
    Jennifer Joyce’s global travels inform this collection of great tasting street food dishes from dozens of countries around the world.
    Top recipes: Korean Fried Chicken Wings with Spicy Chilli Glaze, Perfect Pad Thai

  13. Parwana
    Durkhanai Ayubi’s 2020 cookbook includes recipes from the namesake Afghan restaurant she runs in Perth, Australia, and combines personal history with an introduction to the dishes of a war-torn but fascinating country, with a long tradition of generosity and hospitality.
    Top recipes: Afghan Breakfast Eggs, Stuffed Flatbread

  14. Bake
    For those with a sweet tooth, Lorraine Pascale’s cookbook offers a matchless range of eye-catching cakes, cookies and other treats.
    Top recipes: Salted Caramel Custard Tart, Sticky Jamaican Ginger Cake

  15. Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread
    No messing about here! Brooklyn-based baker Zachary Golper knows his sourdough, and offers home bakers the tips and techniques they need for pro-level results. Just don’t rush it!
    Top recipes: 60-Hour Sourdough Loaf, 30-Hour Sourdough Loaf

  16. Solo

    Proving that cooking for small numbers needn’t be an obstacle to great food, Signe Johansen’s cookbook offers plenty of ideas for cooking for just one or two, with the salads proving especially popular.
    Top recipes: Crispy Halloumi with Watermelon, Mint and Cucumber, Crab, Avocado, Broad Bean and Grilled Gem Lettuce Salad

  17. I Can Cook Vegan
    Isa Chandra Moscowitz’s vegan cookbooks are mega-bestsellers, and I Can Cook Vegan delivers on its promise to make vegan cooking accessible to everyone.
    Top recipes: Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes with Lemon Glaze, Lemon Yuba and Rice

  18. Easy Vegan
    Another author helping to make vegan cooking less intimidating for newbies, Sue Quinn offers tips and advice along with practical weeknight recipes.
    Top recipes: Wild Mushroom Galettes Pastry, Radish Ceviche

  19. Vegan(ish)
    Another of our most popular vegan titles. Food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe’s cookbook avoids preachiness and offers encouragement to anyone interested to give plant-based cooking a try.
    Top recipes: Aubergine Stroganoff, Beetroot and Lentil Lasagne

  20. French Countryside Cooking
    Published in May 2021, the latest cookbook from Daniel Galmiche was an instant hit on ckbk. It takes inspiration from the French countryside of the region of Comté, where he grew up, and also from his explorations of the fields and streams around his current home in rural Oxfordshire.
    Top recipes: Tomato Confit, Chilli & Lemon Thyme Tarts, Red Onion Tarte Tatin with Goats’ Cheese

The top cookbooks on ckbk in 2021 (by total usage)

This bonus Top 10 showcases the best reference works, which bring together large numbers of recipes and techniques in a single volume (plus two super-popular restaurant books!).

  1. Mowgli Street Food
    One of only two cookbooks to appear on both lists, Nisha Katona’s book is a phenomenon. The recently opening of Mowgli’s first London restaurant has given these fabulous street food dishes even more visibility, and this cookbook lets you make them at home!

  2. Professional Cooking
    Wayne Gisslen’s standard reference covers the fundamentals of classic cuisine for those who cook for a living, and is also a great resource for any keen amateur looking to build a solid foundation for their skills.

  3. The Professional Pastry Chef
    Bo Friberg’s pastry volume offers the precise formulae and step-by-step techniques needed for the precise art of the pastry chef.

  4. The Cook’s Book of Everything
    Lulu Grimes encyclopaedic work is perfect for the home cook looking for a solid grounding in the basics.

  5. Professional Baking
    Covering almost every kind of bread and baked good, this is Wayne Gisslen’s companion work to Professional Cooking, and tabulates the key information you need to ensure reliable results every time, whether baking at home, or at scale in a professional kitchen.

  6. The New Basics Cookbook

  7. The Silver Palate Cookbook
    Trusted by millions of Americans, these cookbooks by Julee Rosso and the late Sheila Lukins are always popular, but they see a particular surge in usage every year as the festive season comes around, with classic recipes for Corn-bread stuffing and Holiday Cookies.

  8. Le Guide Culinaire
    Escoffier’s classic is the definitive work of classic French cuisine, and includes details of almost 5,000 preparations. The recipes are extremely brief, as a familiarity with basic techniques is assumed, but as a reference it is indispensable.

  9. The Italian Regional Cookbook
    The regionality of Italian cuisine is a key part of what makes it so endlessly fascinating, with each region having a proud tradition of local speciality dishes and DoP products (Denominazione d' Origine Protetta). Valentina Harris’s all-encompassing work will guide you through the gastronomy of the whole country, from the olives of Tuscany to the truffles of Piemont.

  10. Quay
    Like Mowgli Street Food, this book appears on both lists, proving that Australian chef Peter Gilmore’s restaurant cookbook has much to offer, above and beyond its justly famous impressive Eight-texture Chocolate Cake. For fans of sous vide, the Wagyu Beef Fillet with Morels and Bone Marrow is another seriously impressive dish, and this beautifully photographed book provides inspiration to chefs and home cooks all over the world.

Five stand-out recipes

Sometimes, there’s a particular iconic recipe in a book that really stands out and becomes a popular hit with users. Here are five that made it into our top recipes of 2021.

  1. Pizza from Falling Cloudberries by Tess Kiros

  2. Pâte de Fruit from The Art of the Chocolatier by Ewald Notter

  3. Woody’s Lemon Luxury Layer Cake from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum

  4. Ispahan from My Best: Pierre Hermé by Pierre Hermé

  5. Salt Beef from Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum