The 8 Best Portuguese Cookbooks Available in English

I love food, and I love cooking. A third love of mine is a great cookbook! Whether large and glossy, or old fashioned and full of notes, I love finding good cookbooks. Over the last couple of years I’ve been growing my own personal collection of Portuguese cookbooks in both English and Portuguese. It’s something I’m always on the lookout for at any of the vintage or flea markets in Portugal. 

Cookbooks also make an excellent souvenir if you’re looking for a gift to bring back from Portugal. You can help someone get inspired and try cooking just a few of the meals you might have experienced first hand on your trip to Portugal!

The 8 Best Portuguese Cookbooks to Help you Master Portuguese Food!

Here’s 8 excellent Portuguese cookbooks that are on my shelf and I personally use!

Cozinha Tradicional Portuguesa — by Maria de Lourdes Modesto (1982)

Maria de Lourdes Modesto was a celebrated TV chef that began her career on Portuguese TV in 1958. She began to be affectionately known as the ‘Diva da Gastronomia Portuguesa’ and was the presenter of the most popular Portuguese cooking program – Culinaria – in the 1960s for over 12 years. If you’re curious, you can find archival episodes on RTP today. The New York Time’s even referred to her as Portugal’s very own Julia Child way back in 1987.

In 1982, following a monumental crowd sourcing effort she would publish Cozinha Tradicional Portuguesa. Which would become an absolute classic of traditional Portuguese cuisine and supposedly on the shelf of nearly every Portuguese home. It was originally published in 1982 and is sadly out of print, so to find it you’ll need to find a second-hand seller or look carefully at flea markets – where I find my very own Portuguese copy. In 1999, an English version was released titled Traditional Portuguese Cooking, its also out of print but there’s a few copies on eBay and other second-hand sites!

The Taste of Portugal – by Edite Vieira (1988, 2000, 2013, 2018)

First published in 1988, this bible of Portuguese food has had several versions over the last few decades. The most recent English version being published in 2018. That means it’s easy to find brand new and widely available. Or if you’re a savvy shopper you can find a second-hand copy for a very good price! The tag line of the book is “A Voyage of Gastronomic Discovery combined with Recipes, History and Folklore” and through everything including medieval recipes, to the salt cod recipes of the Salazar era, Vieira educates and delights!

Uma Casa Portuguesa : Portuguese Home Cooking – by Carla Azevedo (1990)

Another classic from a bygone era of giant cookbooks, the first edition was published in 1990. Books from this era do lack the glossy photography of modern books, but they have their charms. One slight criticism of this book is that it really expects you to know your way around the kitchen and various techniques. Sadly, also out of print but there’s lots of copies out there on second hand or reselling websites.

Portuguese Cookbooks in English

Modern and Widely Available Portuguese Cookbooks in English

Moving away from the classic tomes, here’s a few more modern books that are well worth picking up. The great part is many are widely available from good bookshops. No need to scour flea markets for these ones!

Portugal The Cookbook – by Leandro Carreira (2022)

Leandro Carreira a celebrated Portuguese chef based in London has brought together over 550 recipes celebrating Portuguese gastronomy. This is a modern and worthy addition to anyone’s cookbook collection. Across numerous recipes this cookbook transports you to every corner of Portugal across a massive range of dishes. It’s one of the books I recommend to almost everyone! It’s easy to follow, and has stunning photography, no doubt this will become a staple Portuguese cookbook.

The New Portuguese Table – by David Leite (2009)

David Leite is a self-described Portuguese-American offering a unique and modern lens on traditional Portuguese cuisine. Leite often references his own travels to Portugal, Portuguese history, and of course incredible photography across 130 recipes chosen. Well worth picking up if you’re interested on more modern takes on traditional Portuguese gastronomy. 

Lisboeta: Recipes from Portugal’s City of Light – by Nuno Mendes (2017)

A love letter to both Nuno Mendes’ home city Lisbon, and all the wonderful Portuguese food being made in it. Lisboeta features famous recipes with ingredients that are usually available internationally. So, this is an amazing book for those who want to be able to recreate popular Portuguese recipes no matter what country they live. Not to mention the stunning minimalist photography!

My Portugal: Recipes and Stories – by George Mendes and Genevieve Ko

Michelin-starred chef and New York based restaurateur George Mendes’ private collection of 125 recipes featuring both classic and modern twists on Portuguese cuisine. Many are lifted straight from his restaurant; several are experiments and updates to traditional Portuguese recipes. All mixed in with his own personal stories and deep love of Portugal.

The Portuguese Travel Cookbook – by Nelson Carvalheiro (2016)

Food and travel, two of my greatest passions and a big reason I started GastroPortugal. To really go deeper and understand all corners of Portugal, the food, and the traditions that make it tick. Nelson Carvalheiro, an award-winning filmmaker based in Ericeira wrote this part cookbook, part travel guide as a journey through Portugal! The book’s mission from the get-go was to celebrate and publish the stories of the people behind the food and ingredients that make up Portuguese food today.

Portuguese Cookery Books

Well, there’s 8 incredible cookbooks celebrating Portuguese gastronomy. All personally chosen and recommended by me.

Any others to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

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