10 Tips on How to Write a Recipe
  • 4-minute read
  • 3rd May 2020

10 Tips on How to Write a Recipe

Whether you’re an avid cook with your own food blog or you simply love cooking for friends and family, writing recipes is a useful skill. In this post, we provide 10 tips for how to write a recipe that is clear and easy to follow.

1. Give Your Recipe a Good Title

It’s wise to give your recipe a descriptive title that doesn’t go into too much detail: focus on the type of dish and the key ingredients.

For example, “Sliced Carrot, Diced Sweet Potato, Onion, and Garlic Soup” is unnecessarily long. By comparison, “Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup” is simple and still gives the reader a strong sense of what the recipe is.

Carrot Soup (Recipe)
Soup of the day!
(Photo: Vegan Feast Catering/wikimedia)

2. Introduce Your Recipe

Adding a short introduction can draw the reader in and give them a clear idea of what they’ll be making. Briefly describe the flavors of the dish, why you like it, and any serving suggestions you have. You could also explain where you got the recipe (e.g., if it is adapted from another recipe).

3. Know Your Audience

Before you begin writing the recipe, think about who you are writing for. Is it a recipe for parents to do with their children? For an experienced cook? Or maybe for a student seeking something quick and simple? If you know your target audience, you can adapt the tone and language to match.

4. Give Timings and Servings

It’s important to state how long it will take to prepare and cook the dish. You should also say how many people the recipe serves. This will allow the reader to scale the quantities of ingredients up or down as required.

5. List Ingredients in Order

List the ingredients in the order the reader will need them. If the recipe has more than one part to it, such as a salad with a dressing, you can use subheadings to separate the ingredients for each.

If an ingredient needs to be prepared before it is used in the recipe, include this information in the ingredients list (e.g., “three large eggs, beaten” or “one medium onion, finely diced”). This will help your reader to prepare the ingredients in advance, and it will make the methods section clearer.

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Ingredients List
A list of ingredients.
(Photo: Melissa Wiese/flickr)

6. Be Specific

In the ingredients list, give amounts, measurements, and sizes of the ingredients. Tell your reader exactly what they will need, whether that’s two large onions or 5 oz of self-raising flour.  Likewise, give the sizes of dishes, pans, and other cookware the reader will need.

7. Make the Method Easy to Follow

In the method section of your recipe, number the steps and keep your sentences simple. Give explicit preparations for the ingredients: e.g., should the vegetables be chopped, diced, or finely sliced?

In addition, rather than vague instructions such as “cook until ready,” spell them out (e.g., “cook until golden brown and firm to the touch”).

8. Test Your Recipe

You should test your recipe at least twice before you share it with others so you can fine tune it. Check if it works and rewrite it as necessary. You could even ask a friend or family member to try your recipe out and see how easy they find it to follow, then make changes with their feedback.

9. Add Photos

High-quality photos showing each stage of the recipe and the final dish will help your reader achieve the desired results. This is especially important for dishes where presentation is key, such as a cake for a special occasion.

Cake Fail
Ummm… it didn’t look like this in the book.
(Photo: Dani Lurie/flickr)

10. Give Info on Storage

Finally, your reader will appreciate information on how to store the food. How long will it last for, and how should it be stored? Does it need to be kept in the fridge, or will an airtight container suffice? Let them know!

We hope that these tips help you to write recipes that are straightforward and provide the results they promise. If you’d like help to check your writing is clear, though, don’t forget to have it proofread.

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