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How To Write A Recipe, Updated With Helpful Tips

Archive Article By Roger Keyserling

· recipes,Tips,DIY

Writing a recipe is as exacting as writing a set of instructions for constructing a building or installing a piece of equipment. It is “How To” writing, which is a specific, disciplined form of writing.

There are two main parts of almost all recipes, the Ingredient List and the Preparation Method. Below are the basic guidelines for writing both parts.

Before we get into it first comes the title, number of servings and serving size if appropriate.

The introduction can include a bit of the history of your recipe, information about special features such as low-fat or sugar-free, and anything else you believe will entice your reader to make your recipe

Add an image here too, You should photograph your dish however Pixabay has images that are safe to use.


There is no doubt that food photography is an art and a profession as well, don’t hesitate to include your own photos or drawings of ingredients, equipment, and the finished dish. Your readers will appreciate your efforts.

NEVER use other recipes images or google images.

Key Template Elements for Writing Recipes
  • Title
  • Image
  • Introduction
  • Equipment
  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • Serving Suggestions
  • Footer: Repeat Title and add Date and Page Number

The ingredient list and the preparation method, often I call my Directions. If the recipes are adapted from another recipe, a credit is included always.

spellcheck it, and re-read it many times. Get a fresh view from eyes that are not exhausted by the process you’ve just been through writing this all up. With these fresh eyes, it is easy to find errors that you missed, you may also gain valuable insights that will improve your written recipe. Even advice to consider.

Ingredient List:

  • List all ingredients in order of use, as described in step-by-step instructions.
  • List the most important ingredients first, if it can be consistent with the order of use.
  • Spell out everything: tablespoons, ounces, etc.
  • If the recipe has different elements (a pie, for example, has a crust, a filling), break up the ingredient list with headings such as “Crust” and “Filling.”
  • When several ingredients are used at the same time (in the case of baking, often all the dry ingredients are sifted or mixed together at once), list them in descending order according to volume. If there is an issue over preparation, list in order, so for example if you need the zest and juice of a lemon, list the zest first and then the juice since that is the order you will do the preparation.
  • Do not use two numerals together. You need to set off the second number in parenthesis. This comes up with sizes of packages. For example, “1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese.”
  • If an ingredient begins with a letter instead of a number, freshly ground black pepper, for example, capitalize the first letter, as in “Freshly ground black pepper.”
  • If the preparation of an ingredient is simple, place that technique in the ingredient list, as in “2 eggs, beaten” or “1 stick butter, softened.”
  • If an ingredient is used more than once in a recipe, list the total amount at the place in the ingredient list where it is first used, then add “divided.” In the method part of the recipe, indicate the amount used at each step. For example “1 cup all-purpose flour, divided” then in the method “Sift 3/4 cup of the flour with the…” and later “Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of flour on top of…”
  • Use generic names of ingredients (semi-sweet chocolate chips, not “Nestle chips”

Preparation Method, (Directions)

  • Where helpful, indicate the size of bowls and cookware. For example, “In a small mixing bowl….”
  • You do not have to write complete sentences. Be as short and concise as possible.
  • With instructions for the stove-top, indicate the level of heat. For example, “Simmer over low heat.”
  • State exact or approximate cooking times, with descriptive hints for doneness, if appropriate. For example, “Sear 2 minutes on each side,” and “Bake 18-22 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown.”
  • As in the ingredient list, if there are different elements to the recipe, as with the crust and filling of a pie, separate out each element in the method. Begin with the crust and write a header “For the Crust” and give the method. Then do “For the Filling” and give filling instructions.
  • Separate each step into a different paragraph. If you are mixing dry ingredients in a bowl, for example, use one paragraph for all the instructions for that step.
  • Finish with serving instructions including how to plate, what temperature to serve, how to garnish. 
  • The last instruction should be regarding storage, if applicable. For a cake recipe, for example, “Cake will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days.”

More helpful tips:

Using a commercial restaurant scale for portion control, renowned video blogger for and chef extraordinaire Danny Dangoor teaches us how to write and record recipes. Many chefs like to create their dishes on the fly, continually tweaking the recipe until it is just right, using their finely honed taste buds as their guide. Only once the final concoction is perfect are they ready to present their dish. So how do they keep track of the recipe? Watch this instructional chef video and find out.

Learn how to make and use all the culinary bases from around the world. Learning this technique will help you create your own recipe based on a specific cuisine. This shows you how to make a French mirepoix, Italian soffrito, Spanish sofrito, the Cajun holy trinity, and Chinese GGS.

To Review:

The Recipe Title:

This is the name of your recipe using words that accurately describe the dish. Feel free to have a little fun and make it fun! You want to keep people reading and be ready to make the recipe themselves.

A Description:

Now is your chance to make the readers hungry! Give a brief background on the recipe or share a bit of history behind the dish and why it's good.

The Source:

If you are putting your name on a recipe, it should be your own work. You should never copy a recipe from a blog or website or anyplace. This goes for recipe photos as well. Never use images without the owner's consent.

Anytime you are sharing a recipe from an outside source, make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Info, Time and Servings:

Preparation time includes all the measuring, chopping and other preparation of ingredients.

Cooking time refers to the total time the food takes to cook, including any preliminary cooking needed.

Include the number of servings based on reasonable portions.

All Ingredients:

List ingredients in the logical order of use in the recipe to make them easy to follow.

Whenever possible, list items as you would buy them in the supermarket, such as “1 package (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms,” instead of “4 cups mushrooms.”

When listing ingredients, watch how they are modified. For example, when listing sifted flour in baked goods, “1 cup flour, sifted” implies the flour needs to be measured first, then sifted. If you write “1 cup sifted flour” it implies flour that has been sifted then measured. “1 cup whipping cream, whipped” or “1 cup rice, cooked” implies the ingredient is measured first.

Specify exact measurements and/or package sizes of all ingredients. For example, 1 cup sugar, or 1 teaspoon salt. Using terms like “handful” or “pinch” can vary the outcome of the recipe. This is especially helpful when you are writing down family recipes that have been enjoyed for generations. You want to make sure a favorite dish can be recreated and enjoyed for years to come!

If your recipe calls for an ingredient that many cooks may not be able to attain easily, suggest an alternative

The Directions:

Recipe directions should be numbered in logical steps.

Write preparation directions in complete sentences.

Make sure all ingredients listed above are included in the preparation directions.

Include exact sizes of pots, pans, and casseroles. For example, a large sauté pan or a 2-quart casserole dish.

Indicate exact cooking temperatures and times.

Add a tip on how you know when the food is done the cooking.

Any Notes:

Use this area to communicate anything additional information someone would need to know to recreate your recipe at home.

You can also offer ideas for alternate ingredients, tips, or serving suggestions.

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