10 Best Thai Cookbooks For Learning How To Cook Authentic Thai Food

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Many people have a love affair with Thai food and the country itself.

In fact, Thai food is one of the most popular cuisines in the United States and around the world.

Cooking Thai food at home allows you to relish in the country’s flavors while feeling creative in the kitchen. 

For those looking for a little more than the basics when it comes to cooking Thai food, we’ve got you covered.

This list of the 10 best Thai cookbooks will teach you how to make delicious authentic and flavorful Thai cuisine.

Some dishes are complex, while most are quick-to-make and simple enough for anyone who wants to whip up something new. 

From sweet treats like mango sticky rice or Thai food classics like pad thai or tom yum soup. 

These Thai recipes will help make each dish better than the last.

Whether you are new to cooking Thai food, or are a seasoned cook, you’ll discover new tips, techniques and learn the cultural nuances.

Bring Thai dishes with fresh aromatic herbs and savory broths to your table with recipes from any of these exceptional Thai cookbooks.

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1 – Thai Food

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David Thompson is a world-renowned chef with Thai restaurants in Bangkok, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. 

This Thai cookbook was a 10-project in the making.  A hefty cookbook, Thompson takes an in-depth look at the ingredients used in Thai food and how they originated and evolved.

A view on Thailand’s history, culture, and geography are offered as it pertains to regional dishes.  

Thai Food features classic and well-loved Thai recipes and lesser known regional Thai dishes. 

We love his discussion about Thai staple products like rice and its important role in Thailand’s history and culture. 

Stunning photography captures the dishes perfectly including scenes from all over Thailand.  

The detailed instructions and vivid imagery will make you want to start cooking Thai food immediately.

+ Who is It For? Those looking for a comprehensive view of Thai cooking including historic and cultural information will love the depth offered in this cookbook. Experienced home cooks looking to recreate authentic Thai recipes will enjoy the diversity offered.

– Not For?  This encyclopedic Thai cookbook may intimidate novice cooks. Some ingredients are hard to find although a variety of possible substitutions are offered. 

2 – Thai Street Food: Authentic Recipes, Vibrant Traditions Cookbook

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Thai Street Food takes you straight to the bustling and colorful street food stalls and markets in Thailand. 

As one of our favorite countries for street food, these recipes have us salivating about the delicious Thai food we enjoyed on the streets.

Written with a strong attention to detail, the more than 100 recipes are sensibly broken out into the street foods eaten morning, noon and night. 

Clear notes and tips on how to replicate the dishes at home are offered. And, while some Thai street food recipes are time consuming to make, others like grilled pork skewers, pad thai, require less effort.

Known for his strong attention to detail, Thompson expertly pairs mouthwatering recipes with stories. 

You’ll read about the complex history of street food in Thailand in an engaged manner that will have you eager to start cooking.

+ Who is It For? Street food lovers who want to enjoy authentic Thai street food from the comfort of their own homes.

– Not For? Home cooks that are not willing to put the effort to find some ingredients. Some recipes require hard-to-find ingredients, so effort must be made to visit local Asian and ethnic markets to find the products or substitutes.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Having a good cookbook holder makes a difference when following recipes in your kitchen. See our review of The 10 Best Cookbook Holders To Have in Your Kitchen

3 – Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand – A Cookbook

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Winner of multiple James Beard awards, Andy Ricker is considered one of the leading voices on Thai cooking in America.

The recipes in Pok Pok are from Andy Ricker’s travels throughout Thailand where he learned authentic Thai recipes from locals.

Until recently, due to the pandemic, he closed his flagship restaurants in Portland. However, the recipes in Pok Pok allow you to recreate the flavors of Thailand and savor them at home.

Featuring easy to find ingredients, clear directions and only 70 recipes, this is an accessible Thai cookbook for homecooks of all levels.

The book is written with an American audience in mind, with tips on places to find ingredients locally.  

+ Who is It For? Aimed at home cooks looking for step-by-step instructions with vivid language for how to easily recreate popular Thai dishes at home.

– Not For? While the vast majority of recipes are Thai, there are a few from other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam. Pok Pok may disappoint those looking for strictly Thai recipes. Some recipes also take time to prepare, making “patience” a key part of the cooking experience.

4 – The Food of Northern Thailand: A Cookbook

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The food in northern Thailand is one of the regional foods in the country we fell in love during our visits to the region.

The food in the northern region draws from Burma, Laos and China. And, the flavors are different from the food in Bangkok or Thai curry soups you find at most Thai restaurants in the U.S.

What we like most about this Food of Northern Thailand cookbook is the depth, authentic recipes, and stunning photography.

As an American who lives in Thailand, Austin Bush has developed a unique perspective on the cuisine. 

Bush traveled through the country, asking both home chefs and professionals to teach him how to make their favorite dishes. 

The result is this beautifully photographed Thai cookbook that features recipes that are truly unique. 

Each chapter focuses on a single province with a focus on the dishes, traditional ingredients and cooking techniques.

From mild curries to incredibly spicy laap, this cookbook has a variety of recipes that will appeal to every palate.

+ Who is It For? Those looking for a go-to reference for northern Thai food. This Thai cookbook’s pages are filled with breathtaking photographs of the region and people. The northern Thai recipes are described in ways that will get any home cook excited to try them. 

– Not For? People who want a book with a large variety of Thai recipes. This book is regionally focused and best for those who want to understand northern Thai cuisine.

READ RELATED: 15 of The Best Chiang Mai Food and Where To Eat Them

5 – Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes From The Thai Home Kitchen

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Recognized in 2017 by Epicurious as one of the world’s best home cooks, Leela Punyaratabandhu has homes in both Chicago and Bangkok. 

In this cookbook, Leela’s simple Thai recipes are adapted for the busy American home cooks. 

Each of the recipes offer shortcuts, plenty of tricks to make the spicy dishes and substitutions for hard to find ingredients.

You’ll find base recipes, one plate meals and even simple Thai desserts you can easily recreate at home.

Best known for her cooking blog, the collection of 100 Simple Thai Food recipes will make it easy for the busiest of home chefs to try new Thai foods.

+ Who is It For? Best for home cooks of all levels who want to expand their horizons with Thai cooking. Also, Punyaratabandhu’s experience as a food blogger highlights the simplicity and clarity in the instructions found in the recipes.

– Not For? Those unwilling to seek out specific Thai ingredients. While the recipes are simple and plenty of substitutions are offered, there may be a couple of ingredients that require visiting an Asian store.

6 – Bangkok: Recipes and Stories From the Heart of Thailand – A Cookbook

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Having fallen under Bangkok’s spell after spending over two months in the City of Angels, we are really excited about this cookbook.

This Bangkok cookbook by Leela, brings together 120 recipes of the variety of foods eaten in the country’s capital. 

Her love for Bangkok shines through right from the start. In some ways this is not just a cookbook, but a love letter to the city of her birth.

All the recipes are organized in the way locals eat in Bangkok. For instance, chapters are titled “Savory Bites”, “Rice Accompaniments” and “Sweets”. 

The carefully chosen recipes are paired with beautiful photographs that bring the soul of Bangkok to life. 

+ Who is It For? For those seeking to dive into the treasures of Bangkok food, ingredients, cooking techniques and more.

– Not For?  Not for beginners. This cookbook is better suited to those who have some experience already making Thai dishes at home. Also, some of the featured ingredients can be hard to track down.

7 – Cooking With Poo by Saiyuud Diwong

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We first heard about “Cooking with Poo” when we arrived in Bangkok and only later discovered her magnificent recipe book.

Nicknamed “Poo”, which is a Thai reference for ‘rose apples’, Saiyuud Diwong is a story of poverty to success with a strong community focus.

Diwong got her start running cooking classes from her home in Klong Toey, Bangkok’s biggest slum. 

Today, she runs a busy cooking school in the same neighborhood and has cooked with celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver.  

In Cooking With Poo, Diwong draws on her experience as a cooking instructor. She makes it easy for anyone to learn how to make simple and authentic Thai dishes.

Proceeds from her cooking classes and cookbook go back to the community. She helps teach children in the slums of Thailand to learn to cook and later help them find jobs.

+ Who is It For? Thanks to Diwong’s clear instructions, the recipes in this Thai cookbook are accessible for those just starting out with Thai cuisine. 

– Not For? Only available in paperback, this Thai cookbook will disappoint those who are looking for a recipe book that can double as a coffee table decoration.

8 – Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine With Authentic Recipes to Make at Home

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Formally trained by Le Cordon Bleu, Pailin Chongchitnan, a chef, developed a love of cooking at an early age. 

Well known for her cooking channel on YouTube, Chongchitnant uses this cookbook to give her followers a better look at her homeland and popular family recipes. 

Hot Thai Kitchen has easy to follow Thai recipes. Pailin explains the key ingredients, cooking equipment, and techniques needed to master authentic Thai food.  

Her recipes include Thai curries, soups, salads, stir-fries and more. She also has dedicated chapters on vegetarian and vegan Thai dishes including sumptuous Thai desserts.

+ Who is It For?  New to Thai home cooks as video tutorials accessible with QR codes make it easy to follow along while cooking.

– Not For? Those who are unfamiliar with Palin and her YouTube channel might not connect to this particular Thai cookbook.

9 – Thailand: The Cookbook

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Comprehensive and accessible this Thai cookbook with more than 500 recipes is one of the leading Thai cookbooks. 

Jean-Pierre Gabriel, a celebrated French photographer and author spent three years traveling throughout Thailand to bring this book to life.

Gabriel makes an effort to ensure the featured recipes are truly authentic, going so far as to prominently include Thai language throughout. 

The introductory chapters in Thailand – The Cookbook start with a fascinating history of Thai cuisine and the regional differences. 

The instructions are simple and you can learn to recreate classic Thai dishes like beef massaman curry and green papaya salad using authentic techniques.

Breathtaking imagery of the landscape, palaces, people, market and food bring to life Thailand’s rich culinary history.

+ Who is It For? Beautiful and comprehensive, this is for cooks of all skill levels who want to experience the real Thailand in their kitchen.

– Not For? Not for those looking for detailed recipe instructions. Many names of the ingredients are translated into English without the original Thai reference making it hard to find some Thai products.

10 – The Principles of Thai Cookery 

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A member of Thailand’s royal family, Chef McDang is the author of multiple best-selling Thai cookbooks. 

He is Thailand’s most famous celebrity chef and authority on Thai food.

He describes The Principles of Thai Cookery as a cookbook written: “to accurately define and illustrate Thai eating culture to the outside world.” 

This cookbook is well structured and is organized around the most important Thai cooking techniques. 

Find detailed explanations on boiling, grilling, stir-frying, steaming, curries, desserts and more. Amongst all of the recipes is a wonderful guide to the “Thai flavor profiles.”

Unlike other Thai cookbooks, McDang features only 57 recipes that cover the essentials of Thai cuisine.

This Thai cookbook is intricate and written with attention to detail. If you are looking for an inspiring and comprehensive cookbook this is one of the best Thai cookery books.

+ Who is It For? Though not exhaustive, Principles of Thai Cookery has a lot to offer both beginners and experienced Thai cooks.

– Not For?  Best for those looking to perfect their Thai cooking skills, rather than beginner cooks getting started with Thai cuisine.

Do you have any favorite Thai cookbooks? Please let us know in the comments below!

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8 Comments on “10 Best Thai Cookbooks For Learning How To Cook Authentic Thai Food”

  1. While this is not a comprehensive cookbook, It Rains Fishes by Kasma Loha-Unchit, is one of my favorite Thai cookbooks. In search of a recipe for pad thai that tastes the way it’s supposed to taste instead of like oil and sugar, I bought this book ages ago and cooked the pad thai recipe in it. The flavors are on point and I was delighted I could have Thai-tasting pad thai in my own home. This is the only pad thai recipe I’ve cooked and it always transports me back to Thailand. This cookbook is full of helpful information, charming stories and great accessible recipes with true flavors. Loha-Unchit used to teach thai cooking classes in the Bay Area and she led excursions in Thailand. Sadly, she no longer does but her culinary legacy is worth discovering through her cookbooks.

    • Great to hear from you, Tida!! And, thank you for the tip about “It Rains Fishes.” We’re not familiar with it, but we will certainly check it out. True, there is nothing like recreating a dish at home with the guidance of a great cookbook. Thanks for the introduction to Kasma Loha-Unchit. Cheers.


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