The Food LabBetter Home Cooking Through Science

A grand tour of the science of cooking explored through popular American dishes, illustrated in full color.

Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that’s perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)—and use a foolproof method that works every time?

As Serious Eats’s culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new—but simple—techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.

J. Kenji López-Alt is the managing culinary director of, author of the James Beard Award–nominated column The Food Lab, and a columnist for Cooking Light. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Adriana.

“An authoritative, instant-classic reference book that’s also an engaging read. Lopez-Alt, managing culinary director of Serious Eats, is the Science Guy of the kitchen, offering thorough investigations of the best recipes and cooking methods for everything from crispy French fries to a mind-blowing Bolognese sauce.” — Rebekah Denn, Seattle Times

“Chemistry and physics underlie all cooking. In this book, home cooks will learn techniques to make new recipes, and, more importantly, they will understand why these techniques are successful.” — Nathan Myhrvold, coauthor of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home, author of The Photography of Modernist Cuisine

“Kenji has created an incredible resource to support you as you explore the possibilities of amazing food in your kitchen.” — Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot of Ideas in Food

“Kenji is the most important recipe developer to come along in a generation.” — Ed Levine, founder of

“Rare is the work that combines extraordinary passion with such obsessive scientific rigor. The Food Lab is an uncommon and invaluable contribution to our food literature.” — Michael Ruhlman, James Beard Award–winning author of Ruhlman’s Twenty

The Food Lab is a monumental achievement. This is sure to become a must-read for anyone who cares about cooking better food.”          — Dave Arnold, co-owner of Booker & Dax, author of Liquid Intelligence

“The cookbook I am looking forward to the most.” — Nom Nom Paleo’s Michelle Tam, Publishers Weekl

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