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I’m cheating on Cook’s Illustrated. With Cook’s Country.

Cook's Illustrated vs. Cook's Country

I’ve been a member of the Cook’s Illustrated website for years, and in 2015, I finally bought a magazine subscription in addition to my website subscription.

Because sometimes getting a physical magazine helps to make recipe-choosing a little less overwhelming.

The website is great when you want to look something specific up, or when you want to research kitchen equipment, but I do love getting a small bi-monthly dose of recipes and in-depth articles.


I got a sample issue of Cook’s Country when I subscribed to the print version of Cook’s Illustrated, and I really liked it! So I put it on my Christmas list, and my kids bought me a subscription this year.

cooks country

I still like the Cook’s Illustrated magazine, of course, but I’m starting to think that I like the Cook’s Country just slightly better!


There are lots of color photos.

This is one thing that bums me out about Cook’s Illustrated. They do have a color photo spread at the end of each magazine, but the individual recipe pages are just black and white photos and illustrations.


Cook’s Country is all color, and that makes me happy.

The quick recipe cards are great.

Inside each issue, there are 8 little recipe cards with 30 minute supper meals on them.   Not all of them appeal to me, but in each issue so far, there have been one or two recipes to add to our evening meal rotation.

cooks country recipe cards

The recipes are a little simpler.

Cook’s Illustrated does have some easy recipes, certainly, but I’d say the average complication level of Cook’s Country recipes is lower than Cook’s Illustrated recipes.

So, if Cook’s Illustrated has felt off-putting because the meals are too exotic or complicated, I think Cook’s Country would be a good option for you.

cooks country sandwiches

The 5 Easy Recipes feature is awesome.

In each issue, there’s a page with 5 easy recipes, which are variations on a theme.   For instance, you might get 5 tuna salad variations, or 5 oatmeal variations.

5 easy recipes

There are no ads. None at all.

I got a complimentary subscription to Better Homes and Gardens recently and oh my gosh, the ad to article ratio was terrible.   Both Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated are 100% content, which is most excellent.


So.   Why would you subscribe to this when there are lots of recipes available for free on the internet?

Well, I find that the recipes put out by the ATK/CI/CC people are far more reliable and consistent than what I’ve found anywhere else.

I hate it when I go to the work of trying a new recipe only to discover that it doesn’t work properly, so I use ATK-family recipes probably 99% of the time.

The ATK recipes are thoroughly tested, clearly written, and easy to use.   As long as you follow the directions and use the ingredients they specify, you should have no problem turning out a great meal.

And that is very, very worth $25.   You can drop $25 on one night of takeout, right?   So if this magazine saves you from even two nights of takeout over the course of a year, you’ll be money ahead.

There are two ways to subscribe to Cook’s Country:

Print Magazine Subscription

If you find that printed recipes work better for you than online recipes, and you find it helpful to get a small number of them in front of you each month, the print magazine is for you!


A subscription costs $24.95 and gets you a year’s worth of issues, delivered every other month.

I like a hard copy better for cooking, but if you’d like, you can get the Cook’s Country Kindle Edition for $20.

(I find that every other month is perfect, because that gives me time to work through one issue before another hits my mailbox.)

Online Cook’s Country Subscription

This is definitely the way to get the most bang for your buck, as you’ll get access to all of the recipes that Cook’s Country has ever published.

So, if you are the sort of person who will remember to go look at recipes on the site, the online version of Cook’s Country is perfect for you.

Cook's Country - Recipes That Work, Kitchen Equipment Reviews, Taste Tests, How to Cook, TV Show Episodes and Cooking Videos - Mozilla Firefox 4192016 102530 PM

You also get access to all of their taste tests, which are pretty handy (did you know Argo baking powder outperforms other brands??) and all the equipment reviews, which can save you so much money and headache when you go to buy kitchen equipment.

If you want to give it a test drive, try Cook’s Country online with a free trial period.

(Just cancel before the trial period is over if you decide it’s not helpful for you.)


I’m curious.   Do you find that hard copy recipes work better for you (cookbooks, magazines), or do you use electronic recipes more (Kindle, websites)?

(Me? Even when I find my recipes online, I print them out.   So, yeah…I’m on Team Hard Copy.)

Cook’s Country did not ask me to write this post, and my family paid for my subscription when they bought it as a gift for me.   This post does contain affiliate links, which means that if you sign up for Cook’s Country through these links, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.   I only use affiliate links for products I love, and as you know, I’ve written about ATK-family products for years and years.   My enthusiasm, it is authentic. And I really, really think you’ll love Cook’s Country.   😉  

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Thursday 21st of January 2021

I, too, used to get Cook’s Illustrated. Ok reading but never really found the recipes to my liking or ones I’d make. Got my first issue of Cook’s Country a week ago, and am already on my second recipe with plans to make more on the next few weeks. A great magazine and I highly recommend it!!

Joi Pryor

Monday 11th of January 2021

Have you found a book that holds the odd sized Cook’s Country recipe cards? Thank you so much!


Monday 11th of January 2021

I haven't! I have an online membership to their site, so I usually just go on and print the ones I like on letter size paper, and I file them in a three-ring binder.

Chris Parks

Monday 6th of July 2020

I am thoroughly confused. I watch on TV: America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, and sent in a card which came in the mail for a year to Cook's Illustrated. The last of May I ordered the 20-Year Cookbook for America's Test Kitchen TV episodes. When watching tonight, saw the Hawaiian fried chicken and Macaroni salad. When I looked in the new book I just received, They were not in it. Both ATK & CC offer 14 weeks free trial cooking lessons. I haven't taken them yet for my ATK NEW book. I don't want to duplicate. I don't know whether I am coming or going!

Nicole H.

Friday 16th of February 2018

Have you found a good magazine holder for Cook's Countrys? Their large format make them difficult to store and I don't want my husband tossing them out!


Friday 16th of February 2018

I haven't...I just keep them in the cabinet with my cookbooks, on a shelf.


Wednesday 25th of May 2016

Cookbooks all the way.

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