Are you a big fan of dishes with a lot of crawfish, andouille sausage, and shrimp? Do you love filé gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish pie, or boudin sausage? Then you’re a fan of Cajun cuisine, whether you knew it or not.
If you are unfamiliar with Cajun cuisine, then there is a whole new world for you to explore and this article will be your guide until you can get your hands on the perfect Cajun cookbook.
But what should you look for in a Cajun cookbook? There are a few things to consider when purchasing a Cajun cookbook, including your skill level, which specific recipes you’d like to have, whether or not it includes pictures, and how many recipes are included.
Keep reading to explore our top picks for the best Cajun recipe books on the market!
Cajun cuisine is a mix of many cooking styles, including French, Spanish, and West African styles.
There are a lot of ingredients that integral parts of Cajun cuisine. The recipes are based on the ingredients that can be found in the Louisiana area.
Here are some of the most common ingredients in Cajun cuisine:
- Saltwater Seafood – Perch, grouper, redfish, trout, pompano, snapper, etc.
- Freshwater Seafood – Catfish, white and yellow perch, bass, etc.
- Shellfish – Shrimp, oysters, crawfish, blue crab, etc.
- Meat – Turkey, chicken, duck, goose, dove, pork (andouille sausage, boudin sausage, chorizo sausage, ponce, hot link sausage, salt pork, brawn, hog cracklings, ham hocks, tasso ham, etc.), beef, alligator, snake, rabbit, frog, etc.
- Fruits and Vegetables – Bell peppers, celery, onions, scallions, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, collard greens, cayenne peppers, tabasco peppers, parsley, blackberries, strawberries, limes, lemons, oranges, muscadines, etc.
- Grains – Rice, corn, wheat, etc.
- Seasonings – Oregano, black pepper, chili pepper, garlic, onion, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, cloves, basil, leek, marjoram, curry, sassafras leaf, chives, green mint, parsnip, etc.
Fun fact: When it comes to ingredients used in Cajun cuisine, the term “holy trinity” refers to three ingredients – onions, bell peppers, and celery.
Cajun cookbooks contain a lot of different cooking methods as well. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Baking – in an oven or a furnace
- Boiling – mostly when it comes to seafood like shrimp, crawfish, crabs, etc.
- Deep frying
- Barbecuing and grilling
- Braising – combining wet and dry heats (sautéing or searing at high temperatures and then in added liquid in the covered pot at low temperature)
- Smothering – in the small amount of liquid, in the covered pan at low temperature
This probably goes without saying, but be sure that you have the equipment necessary to cook whichever recipe you decide to try before you get all the ingredients.
5 Best Cajun Cookbooks
Now that you’re more familiar with cajun cuisine and what to expect from a cajun cookbook, we’ve listed our favorite cajun cookbooks available to purchase online.
|Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen
|Crawfish étouffée, sweet potato pecan pie
|Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa M. Martin
|Lump crab cakes, oyster bisque, fried okra
|Chasing the Gator by Isaac Toups
|Double-cut pork chops, gumbo, ditch chicken
|Real Cajun by Donald Link
|Baked oysters, smothered pork roast
|Cajun Cookbook by BookSumo Press
|Gumbo, crab cakes, jambalaya
We’re sure you’ll find the perfect recipe book to fill your kitchen with delicious new Cajun meals all year long.
1. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen
Chef Paul Prudhomme, one of the most popular and well-known chefs in America, is the author of many cookbooks, including Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen.
He lives in New Orleans and is the owner of K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and Magic Seasoning Blend.
You can be sure that this chef knows exactly what he is writing about because it’s his specialty.
This book is the one that made Cajun cuisine popular across the country because it introduced famous meals like jambalaya and gumbo to the whole nation.
This is largely considered to be the best Louisiana kitchen cookbook in existence since it has all the traditional Cajun (and Creole) dishes.
The author shared his precious knowledge of the original recipes while also adding his own personal touch.
You will learn how to make gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, sweet potato pecan pie, oyster crepes, red beans and rice, and many, many more.
If you want to learn how to cook Southern American cuisine, this book is the essential one and any cook or wannabe-cook should have it on their shelves.
Author: Chef Paul Prudhomme
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks, 1984
2. Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou
If you are looking for an illustrated way of learning how to cook Cajun recipes, look no further.
This book will guide you through each meal prep as if you have a professional chef by your side.
The author, Melissa M. Martin, is a self-taught professional cook who was a literacy teacher and then started working in various restaurants, slowly gaining her skills.
It all ended up with her opening the Mosquito Supper Club in 2014.
The book contains recipes, step-by-step guides on how to prepare meals, has beautiful photos, stories, and practical advice.
There is no better way of becoming a self-taught cook than to learn from someone who went the same path.
Melissa will make your path easier by teaching you all the things that she wishes she had known back then when she was just starting out.
She grew up on the Louisiana coast and lived in New Orleans for two decades, so Cajun food is a part of daily life for her. If you choose this book, you will be more than pleasantly surprised.
Author: Melissa M. Martin
Publisher: Artisan, 2020
3. Chasing the Gator: Isaac Toups and the New Cajun Cooking
Isaac Toups is the chef of Toups’ Meatery and Toups South in New Orleans.
He grew up in the Atchafalaya Basin of Louisiana, so he knows all about hunting, fishing, and gathering the ingredients.
He also knows to mix and cook them for a fantastic backyard cookout.
The book contains over 100 recipes, from gumbo, double-cut pork chops, dirty rice, and boudin sausages, to Louisiana ditch chicken, hopper stew, and many, many more.
Some of the recipes are so easy to make that you can prepare a meal in less than 15 minutes.
Full of stories and tales that will help you understand the connection between these recipes and the Cajun traditions, this book is definitely worth buying and exploring.
Authors: Isaac Toups and Jennifer V. Cole
Publisher: Voracious, 2018
4. Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana
James Beard Award-winning chef Donald Link is an owner of two New Orleans restaurants, Cochon and Herbsaint.
He grew up in Louisiana, so he knows exactly how important is to use the local ingredients and most importantly, how to make them taste great.
He has a passion for Cajun food, especially bacon, sausages, and pork. Besides that, he uses a lot of crawfish, vegetables, and rice.
But he also has vegetarian recipes that taste just as good as the rest of the recipes he learned and tasted at various family gatherings.
You will learn how to prepare seafood gumbo, baked oysters with Herbsaint hollandaise, smothered pork roast over rice, and many more.
But also, you will get a colorful insight into what it’s like to live and prepare food in this part of Louisiana.
Author: Donald Link
Publisher: Clarkson Potter, 2009
5. Cajun Cookbook: Discover the Heart of Southern Cooking
Simply put, this cookbook is an introduction to Louisiana cooking.
It emphasizes the easy and simple preparation of the most popular Cajun dishes.
It contains a Cajun 101 lesson about culinary techniques and practices as well.
We recommend this cookbook because the recipes are easy to master. If you are a beginner and just starting to learn about Cajun cuisine, this book is perfect for you.
On the other hand, it can provide some useful advice for those who have already been in touch with this cuisine by helping them to simplify their meal preparation.
Here you will find a lot of great recipes like quick Cajun gumbo, Cajun cakes, Cajun chicken cutlets, jambalaya, mayo salad, clam chowder, baton rouge cabbage stew, Creole frittatas, and many more.
Author: BookSumo Press
Publisher: BookSumo Press, 2018