The Best Paleo Cookbooks, According to a Dietitian

Fuel your diet needs with recipes from the dietitian-approved "Nom Nom Paleo"

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Whether you're new to the paleo lifestyle or a seasoned paleo devotee, a great cookbook can be incredibly helpful to keep your taste buds happy and your motivation on track. Even beyond the recipes they offer, cookbooks can be educational, providing an introduction to basic paleo philosophy and lifestyle or offering helpful tips and troubleshooting. The best paleo cookbooks will match your cooking level and tastes preferences.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick is "Nom Nom Paleo" because it's fun, informative, and full of easy-to-cook recipes. We also like "Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Meals Made Simple" because it comes with pre-made shopping lists.

Other helpful features to look for in paleo cookbooks are the author's credibility, ingredients, meal plans, shopping lists, and what equipment they require to make the recipes. We researched a variety of paleo cookbooks with these features in mind.

Here are the best paleo cookbooks, according to a dietitian.

Best Overall: Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans

Amazon

Who else recommends it? Men's Health also picked Nom Nom Paleo.

What do buyers say? 91% of 2,300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

If you're looking for a fun, informative paleo cookbook that's chock full of delicious and easy-to-understand recipes, "Nom Nom Paleo" is an excellent choice. Written by Michelle Tam of the popular blog Nom Nom Paleo, the inventive cookbook offers up over 100 recipes with tons of step-by-step photos and cartoon instructions. The mouth-watering images will inspire you to try new paleo foods, and the entertaining cartoons make the cookbook fun and approachable.

The book is perfect for newbies and experienced paleo followers alike. It dives into various categories including eggs, plants, seafood, poultry, and meat. Plus, there's a section for tempting treats that are 100 percent paleo-approved. There are tons of helpful tips, including how to perfectly boil an egg and how to check that a mussel is fresh. However, some reviewers do note that some of the ingredients used can be hard to find and the recipes are time-consuming.

"Author Michelle Tam was one of the original famous paleo food bloggers, and her breadth of experience is part of what's so special about this book. Though it's great for beginners, with plenty of basics and favorites, it's also a book that will carry you on through your paleo journey, with really unique and luscious recipes that you'll be proud to serve even to non-paleo guests. Along with beautiful photos, there are also fun cartoons and the overall design will put a smile on your face."—Beth Lipton, paleo recipe developer and chef

Best with Shopping Lists: Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple

Amazon

Cookbooks can help inspire weeknight meals, but it can be time-consuming to create grocery lists for multiple recipes. Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple makes it easy to stick to a paleo diet with an impressive eight weeks worth of shopping lists, tons of tips, and many delicious recipe ideas. Walker started as a blogger, sharing her story of going paleo as a result of her autoimmune disease. She’s now a best-selling author of several paleo cookbooks, including this collection of gluten-free, dairy-free recipes.

Every recipe is paleo-friendly and includes nutrition facts, which is helpful for those who are watching their macronutrient intake. True to its name, this cookbook does make meals simpler with a variety of helpful recipe categories, like make-ahead, slow cooker, one-pan, and 30-minute meals. Meals Made Simple is a must-have for every paleo kitchen thanks to its delicious recipes and helpful shopping guides.

Best for Slow Cooker: The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking

The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking

Is your slow cooker one of your most-used kitchen appliances? If so, you should invest in The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking by Natalie Perry. This paleo cookbook features 200 recipes that you can make in a slow cooker, helping you stick to the diet without using the stove and oven every day. This comprehensive cookbook has your meals covered. From breakfasts and snacks to lunch and dinner, The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking features recipes with mouthwatering photographs and simple step-by-step instructions that will please the whole family.

The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking: 200 Nourishing Recipes That Cook Carefree, for Everyday Dinners and Weekend Feasts contains a variety of recipes—everything from quick, easy weeknight meals to more complicated dishes to prepare on weekends or holidays. The creative meals incorporate international flavors, all while using common ingredients. There’s also a pantry stocking section that will help you stock up on paleo-approved ingredients.

Best for Families: The Paleo Kids Cookbook

The Paleo Kids Cookbook

Courtesy of Amazon.com

It can be a challenge to find fun, delicious recipes that the whole family will enjoy, especially if your children have sensitivities and intolerances that warrant a grain-free, dairy-free, or gluten-free diet. Luckily, The Paleo Kids Cookbook is here to save the day, thanks to its kid-friendly grain- and gluten-free meals.

The Paleo Kids Cookbook: Transition Your Family to Delicious Grain- and Gluten-free Food for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating by Jennifer Robins contains 100 paleo recipes specifically designed for kids’ tastes and nutritional needs. You’ll find recipes such as chicken nuggets, pizza pockets, animal crackers, sweet potato bacon tots, soft pretzels, and more.

Plus, there are helpful strategies for getting kids involved in the cooking process. Evidence shows that kids' cooking classes and food education may help to increase fruit and vegetable intake and improve food choices. Most recipes include a tip "for little hands," which recommends ways for kids to get involved in the process. Note that many recipes include potatoes, which is not typically considered a paleo ingredient.

Best for Beginners: Practical Paleo, 2nd Edition

Practical Paleo, 2nd Edition

Amazon

If you’re looking for a cookbook that contains lots of evidence-based information and starting tips for the paleo diet, your best bet may be Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. The first edition of this popular paleo cookbook sold more than half a million copies, and the new second edition contains even more helpful information. With more than 150 recipes that are free of gluten, grains, dairy, legumes, and refined sugar, you'll be off to a great start with your paleo diet. The guide also covers how to get started with the paleo lifestyle as well as tips on how to navigate social outings and holidays with a restricted diet.

Structuring a diet and organizing meals can be very tough, but Practical Paleo makes it super easy with multiple 30-day meal plans to support you. Sanfilippo includes lots of quick and easy guides to help you stock your pantry, choose the highest quality foods, and navigate food labels. Plus, if you're interested in the science behind the Paleo diet, there are various in-depth explanations of how food can impact your health.

"True to its name, this is a must-have for people new to the paleo diet. Along with a collection of delicious, versatile recipes, it has a chapter on how to get started on a paleo diet, tons of tips for how to deal with holidays and other social events, and so much more. Meals for any time of day, snacks, treats--all very approachable and tasty. "—Beth Lipton, paleo recipe developer

Best for Easy Weeknight Meals: Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less

Well Fed Weeknights

Amazon

While weekends may provide more time for lengthy and complicated recipes, weekdays require quick and easy meals, ideally resulting in dinner on the table in less than 45 minutes. In Well Fed Weeknights, Paleo chef Melissa Joulwan offers 125 delicious meals to fuel busy weeknights. The collection includes recipes inspired by takeout favorites such as pizza and burgers, but they're all free of grains, dairy, legumes, and soy.

Each meal uses affordable ingredients that are available at your local store. These include simple ideas such as Burger Night and Stir-Frys that use basic Paleo staples such as cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, and homemade mayo to create exciting, delicious, and nutritious meals. Joulwan offers tips on how to streamline meal preparation time, to eat out without abandoning good habits, and to stock your pantry to support quick weeknight prep. She emphasizes the idea of cooking quickly and eating slowly, all while aiming to be creative in the kitchen to satisfy your cravings.

"Need quick meals you can have on the table in 45 minutes or less? This book is for you. It's full of flavor-packed, family-pleasing recipes that are so easy and fuss-free, with ingredients you'll find in most grocery stores. Plus, I love Melissa's variations, which give you even more bang for your buck, and tips for streamlining the recipes for those nights when even 45 minutes is too long."—Beth Lipton, paleo recipe developer

Most Recipes: The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook: 900 Grain- and Gluten-Free Recipes to Meet Your Every Need

The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook

Amazon

Whether you're a paleo newbie or experienced paleo diet devotee, recipes can provide inspiration to keep you feeling great and interested. For the ultimate collection of paleo recipes, check out The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook: 900 Grain- and Gluten-Free Recipes to Meet Your Every Need. As promised in the title, this extensive cookbook contains almost a thousand paleo-friendly recipes that are sure to please just about everyone.

The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook has several authors, all of whom run well-regarded blogs about the paleo lifestyle. For this book, each blogger offered 50 to 80 of their all-time favorite recipes and created 10 to 20 original recipes to create an enormous collection of paleo-friendly meals. You’ll find everything from quick weeknight dinners to slow cooker dishes and budget-friendly options, as well as snacks, desserts, and more.

Final Verdict

For an excellent paleo cookbook that's perfect for novices and seasoned paleo fans alike, check out Nom Nom Paleo.

What to Look for in a Paleo Cookbook

Experience Level 

If you’re just starting out with the paleo diet, you’ll probably need more guidance and explanation about the diet, which some cookbooks offer. On the other hand, more experienced paleo devotees might prefer a cookbook that's light on guidance and heavy on recipes.

Meal Plans

Another helpful feature of paleo cookbooks is pre-made meal plans. It can be challenging to plan out a whole week of meals on a paleo diet, so some cookbooks include weekly meal plans and shopping lists to make your life a whole lot easier.

Equipment 

Many paleo cookbooks are focused on recipes that can be made in certain appliances, such as slow cookers and Instant Pots. These types of recipes can be incredibly convenient—but only if you have the equipment needed. Take a look at the kitchen equipment needed prior to investing in a cookbook.

Ingredients and Recipe Lists 

Before you purchase a paleo cookbook, take a look at the recipe list, which is usually located in the table of contents. Even if you are buying the book online, many online retailers give you the option to take a peek before buying. Review the recipe lists to ensure that the dishes appeal to your taste buds and that you enjoy the ingredients used.

What Experts Say

"When shopping for a paleo cookbook, look for one with recipes that sound appealing and use ingredients that are easy to get and fit within your budget. If going paleo is a lifestyle change for you, you definitely want to make it as simple for yourself as you can—that's what will bring you success. There are so many ways to modify favorite recipes to make them paleo; be sure any book you choose offers those favorites as well as new ones. A cookbook that has recipes you like and can put together easily will go a long way toward helping you reach your goals. If it's too difficult, or you're not excited about the food, you're less likely to stick to it."
Beth Lipton, paleo recipe developer

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the paleo diet?

    The paleo diet, or Paleolithic diet, is a popular diet that encourages you to eat like your Paleolithic ancestors, who lived more than 10,000 years ago. During the Paleolithic period, humans were hunters and gatherers; they didn’t farm or grow food. Instead, they moved around in search of food, eating a varied diet based on location and climate.

    According to proponents of the paleo diet, your genetic coding isn’t wired to eat farmed and processed foods, which is why so many people struggle with weight and health problems. Paleo adherents believe that eating like your ancestors improves health, lowers risk of disease, and promotes weight loss.

  • How do I know if the paleo diet is right for me?

    Talk to your primary care provider before making any major changes to your diet, whether for weight loss or health. Though the paleo diet includes many healthy foods, it eliminates nutritious foods and food groups, including whole grains, legumes, and dairy products. 

    The diet is also restrictive and requires a lot of meal planning and home cooking, which can make it difficult to stick with in the long term. When searching for the right diet for you, look for a plan you can follow for life.

  • What can you eat on the paleo diet?

    You can eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds when following the paleo diet. You can also use small amounts of olive oil, coconut oil, and honey. 

    However, you must cut out all grains (including whole grains), legumes, and dairy products from your diet. You also need to avoid all processed foods and added sugars, as well as salt, coffee, and alcohol.

  • What is the difference between paleo and keto?

    The paleo and keto diet are both popular weight-loss diets that have food restrictions and rules. However, their approach is a bit different. 

    Both diets exclude grains, legumes, and sugar, and encourage whole foods. But the paleo diet focuses more on the types of food you eat, while the keto diet places more emphasis on the macronutrient content of your diet; emphasizing fats and protein and severely restricting carbohydrates.

    There’s no calorie-counting or portion-size limits on the paleo diet. It's strictly a matter of eating compliant foods and avoiding noncompliant ones. However, for the keto diet you need to measure, count, and track the carbohydrate content in all the food you eat.

  • What are the benefits of the paleo diet?

    Current research indicates that the paleo diet may help promote weight loss, reduce waist circumference, lower blood pressure, and improve blood triglyceride levels. The diet may also provide some protection against chronic disease. However, more research is needed to better understand the potential health benefits of the paleo diet.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

A personal note on my recommendations: As a dietitian, I am careful about providing lifestyle and diet recommendations, even when it comes to cookbooks. It's important to find resources that are based on solid clinical research and offer constructive, health-promoting information rather than anecdotal, trendy fads.

In compiling these recommendations, I spent time reviewing research on the paleo diet and looking at many books. I also consulted with Beth Lipton, who is a chef and expert in developing paleo recipes. These books are, in my opinion, great resources for those who follow a paleo diet. 
Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. de Menezes EVA, Sampaio HAC, Carioca AAF, et al. Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr J. 2019;18(1):41. doi:10.1186/s12937-019-0457-z

  4. Wolfram T. Should we eat like our cavemen ancestors?. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Weight management: Choosing a safe and successful weight-loss program.

  6. Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Diet review: Paleo diet for weight loss.

  7. Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Diet review: The ketogenic diet for weight loss