July 14, 2024


Than a Food Fitter

The 12 Best Cooking Channels on YouTube for Beginners, Pros and Everyone in Between

7 min read

Of the endless food influencers and cooking videos that have graced our feeds over the years, there are only a handful that continually (1) teach us something, (2) make us feel good and (3) inspire us to get our hands dirty and actually cook (even on a Monday night). In fact, they’re too good not to share with you. Presenting the 12 best cooking channels on YouTube, no matter your skill level.

RELATED: The 12 Best Online Cooking Classes to Make You a Kitchen Whiz

Most uplifting

If you use TikTok, odds are this vegan cook has graced your feed with her creative plant-based recipes, humor and positive vibes. She makes vegan food look and sound appetizing—even to meat-eating skeptics. Some of our favorite recipes are her “hot dogs” with pecan chili, chocolate-banana cinnamon toast and her mind-blowing carrot bacon tutorial (seriously, you need to watch it). But we also love Tab’s videos for their sound life advice and encouragement. Treat yourself to a meatless Monday sometime soon, ‘cause that’s your business.

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Best for learning a new cuisine

You love bulgogi, kimchi, galbi and everything in between. But have you ever tried making them yourself? Maangchi, referred to as “YouTube’s Korean Julia Child” by The New York Times, is here to guide you. She makes both traditional and modified Korean recipes feel accessible and totally within reach. We’ll definitely be making her vegetable pancakes and potato dumpling soup through the winter (and her popular cinnamon rolls…). And if you never stopped dreaming about the “ram-don” from Parasite (aka jjapaguri with steak), she’s got a video for that too. Be still our horror movie-loving hearts. P.S., she’s super charming, wears the cutest outfits and makes you feel like you’re talking to an old friend.

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Best for nature (and ASMR) lovers

Sure, you’ve cooked your fair share of burgers and dogs in the woods while camping. But have you ever cooked spaghetti carbonara over an open fire? How about pizza? Or a whole chicken? Alex Almazan has. He uses old-school equipment, an roaring flame and the biggest chef’s knife you’ve ever seen (you can buy your own online…just sayin’) to make his dishes, which are a 50/50 cross between food porn and ASMR. Hear aged steak crackling in a tiny portable skillet, churros frying in the yard and chicken roasting over an open river on a—wait for it—homemade watermill made of tree branches and shells.

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Best for bakers who are ready for a challenge

When Disney Eats launched in 2018, we had no idea how much time we’d end up spending drooling over Frozen latte art and The Lion King bento boxes two years later in quarantine. Scan the video library with your kids until they spot one of their favorite characters. Then tackle the recipe together—with their enthusiasm and your baking chops, you can’t go wrong. Some of the recipes are aspirational and require a skilled hand in the decorating department, but we’re willing to take our chances, especially on The Nightmare Before Christmas doughnuts and Monsters, Inc. macarons. If you’re not a baker, try your hand at one of the savory recipes instead, like Up pasta balloons, Winnie the Pooh’s honey-roasted carrots or the Swedish Chef’s meatball pies. And before you ask, yes, it’s totally acceptable to turn your 30th birthday into an Alice in Wonderland tea party.

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Best for beginners (and pop culture buffs)

There’s something for everyone on this channel. Hosted by self-taught chef Andrew Rea, “Binging with Babish” is dedicated to recreating iconic foods from beloved movies and TV shows, like Pollos Hermanos chicken from Breaking Bad, the Paunch Burger from Parks and Recreation or even SpongeBob’s bad breath sundae (yup, peanut plant and all). Videos labeled Basics with Babish will teach you how to make essential dishes that everyone should have a recipe for in their back pocket (think mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and all the pie). He also has a ton of ideas for all those Thanksgiving leftovers that’ll be taking over your fridge in the near future.

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Favorite farm-to-table cook

Sorry, but your local cantina doesn’t even come close to Doña Ángela. This Michoacána grows her own produce, raises her own animals and makes everything from scratch (yup, tortillas too, of course) on her Mexican ranch. She uses rustic equipment and ingredients, measures with her eyes and hands and shows the rest of the world a thing or two about dishes like pozole de elote, caldo de res and chiles rellenos. Oh, and we’d give anything to taste her enchiladas verdes. If you’re Latinx, her videos will make you warm and fuzzy thinking about your own abuelita. If you aren’t, don’t fret: She’s been quoted saying she’s everyone’s abuelita.

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Best for families

This British chef and restauranteur has a whole slew of cookbooks and TV shows under his belt. But we’re most grateful for his simple, gorgeous dishes that everyone at our table can get behind. The educational recipes feature pre-shredded veggies, multipurpose marinades and other shortcuts and ingredients that make them a breeze to whip up. British Bolognese, seven-way scrambled eggs and simple lamb stew are all on our list. If your kids like to cook, direct them to Buddy Oliver’s recipes, made by Jamie’s son especially for budding Inas and Emerils. Think easy meatballs, mini pizzas and BBQ burgers.

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Most educational

It’s no surprise this PBS show has been around for nearly 20 years. America’s Test Kitchen is a household name, thanks to its expert recipes (Brussels sprout gratin, anyone?) and super scientific product tests (if you’ve ever wondered which toaster makes the best toast or which plastic wrap is the best you can buy…you’ve come to the right place). Our minds were blown by their flaky biscuit recipe (hint: freeze your butter!) and we’ll definitely be making food-processor coffee cake with pecan-cinnamon streusel for Thanksgiving.

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Most heartwarming

There’s something almost folkloric about homegrown Southern cuisine. But the mother-and-son team behind “Sunday Cooking with Mom and Me” is ready to share the secrets to its magic. The no-frills videos fall right in line with their no-frills recipes: We’re talking succulent crab cakes, Southern peach cobbler and smoked ribs, but with recipes easy enough to memorize. Their most popular video will teach you how to cook a crab boil in a bag, complete with shrimp, corn and potatoes. Just a warning: One video alone might make you want to hop in the car and drive straight to your mom’s house for a hug and homemade cookies.

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Best for lazy cooks

OK, full disclosure: We have a pretty massive crush on Tway. She’s beautiful, fashionable, funny and her food looks *ridiculous*. The Vietnamese influencer makes authentic recipes like bánh cuôn, bò lúc lac and fish sauce chicken wings, but also experiments with fusion dishes like instant ramen spring rolls. So, we definitely don’t mean she is a lazy cook; we’re just saying her vids have a lot to offer, even if you secretly have no intention of cooking any of the recipes you watch. On that note, Tway also uploads a *ton* of mukbang videos (aka the South Korea-born trend of a cooking show host eating a lot of food on camera), where she tries everything from sushi to tacos to Vietnamese snails. Also, if you like fast food reviews and want to know if that new Cheez-It pizza is worth the hype, she’s your girl.

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Best for basics and hacks

Tender sushi rice. Homemade tomato sauce. The perfect grilled steak. These are staples that every home cook wants in their arsenal—and Stephen Cusato can help. If you’re aiming to bring out the best in seemingly mundane dishes or ingredients, these videos can give you the tools to do just that. Learn to turn stale bread into fresh breadcrumbs, or how to make fettuccine alfredo with only three ingredients. Want to make flawless pico de gallo on Taco Tuesday? It’s all about your knife skills. And the best corn on the cob really comes down to buying the right produce. Heck, he can even teach you how to build your own vegetable garden.

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Best for junk food junkies

There’s no doubt this guy can cook. We love his four-ingredient gnocchi tutorial, his guide to cooking consistently juicy chicken breast and holy crap, does his focaccia look off the charts. But the devil on our shoulder is always making us click on his fast food copycat recipes. Imagine if you could make a McDonald’s McGriddle at home. Or Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. How about Olive Garden breadsticks? Weissman’s “But Better” series features iconic menu items from fast food, fast casual and chain restaurants, along with his attempts at recreating them to a tee. He even made Doritos, guys. He’s smart, funny and a lil’ nerdy in the best way.

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