the complete recipe writing guide

the complete recipe writing guide

The Complete Recipe Writing Guide

1. Introduction to Recipe Writing

Writing down a recipe should be clear enough for a rookie cook while also giving the experienced one enough room to shine with creation and improvisation. There’s art in telling someone how to properly chop an onion and in incorporating advice for when to trust your senses over the given time on a stove. With our guide, we’ll demystify this and make it easy to share your favorite recipes with people all over the world. We’ll do this while strictly guiding the quality so everyone can read it. Shall we begin?

Cooking is a beautiful craft to enjoy. With a fast-growing set of recipes available thanks to us and our fellow recipe writers, we want to compile a set of best practices and guidelines to maintain a high quality. Not sure what we mean by recipe writing? We are talking about writing down instructions for a set of steps a reader can take to create a dish, typically listing the tools, ingredients, and extra useful info they’ll need. In other words, encoding a set of instructions a cook has refined or created into a standard format so others can follow along without any missteps!

2. Key Components of a Recipe

e. Preparation Instructions: Step-by-step instructions for getting the recipe from raw ingredients to finished product. Amount of sliced nuts or chopped vegetables, phrases such as “milk, divided” and any other detailed directions should be included.

d. Ingredients: Offering ingredients in the order they are used is a format that works well, but it’s not a necessity. It is also a good idea to list any specific type of equipment needed for a recipe in this section, such as a stand mixer or bread machine.

c. Serving size: While not all recipes provide this information, it can be helpful, especially if you are dealing with dietary needs.

b. Yield: How many cookies, loaves of bread, or chops of meat the recipe will make. It’s good to note if the yield can be affected by how the batch is divided or served.

a. Recipe title: This should be eye-catching. You want someone to know what the recipe will be for, after all.

A good recipe should be complete. You don’t want to have to guess at some aspect of the recipe when you are actually cooking or baking, especially if the result wasn’t what you were expecting. By laying out every step or baking temperature or pan size, you help your readers have a better experience in the kitchen, which will lengthen your readership. The main components of a recipe are as follows:

3. Formatting and Style Guidelines

When using a personal voice, a good recipe offers some form of conversational instruction and pointers toward what to anticipate at certain points. Writing your recipe in the first person is acceptable and may indeed help exhibit your culinary aptitude. Light banter can lead you and your readers to a deeper understanding of the overall job at hand, accomplishing food composition; or at the very least, light humor or puns may motivate them to continue cooking. Keep variety the task of one person in the kitchen working on writing. Using colons and bullet points, choose the listing step. This helps the preparer to find details, as well as having the recipe to stick out at each different stage. The spacing should verify that the direction of the recipe is readable and not confusing. Be sure to split them into two separate instructions if two typical spoonfuls of coconut oil are to be used throughout your recipe, for instance.

4. Tips for Clear and Concise Instructions

When tapping into pots and pans, use more descriptive wording. Instead of “bring to a boil,” “cook the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly for several minutes until it is a caramel color.” Like the process of making ethnic dishes or tricky-to-make recipes, step-by-step instructions are a must to ensure the success of the dish you are describing! Always use lowercase when making references to the step in the recipe. Instead of step 1, step 2, it is step 1, step 2. Always use present tense on verbs. Do not use past or future tense. What the ingredients and cooking process are, are “now”.

Use simple sentences, avoid compound and complex structures. Avoid dependent clauses and infinitive phrases. Instead of “you will need to remove the chicken from the refrigerator thirty minutes before grilling,” write “take the chicken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.” Begin every instruction with an active verb. Instead of “If you have an apple, remove the core from the apple,” write “remove the core from the apple.” Always state the obvious: “Heat the oven to 325 degrees before placing in the cake.” It will not help someone who does not know how to prepare a cake to say, “prepare box mix like directed.”

5. Common Mistakes to Avoid

Stay in the present tense for the active steps of the method. For pre-planned recipe steps (like instructions for marinating or preheating the oven), it can make more sense to explain the step in the past tense, but the words in the recipe must still imply the order in which they should be completed. In other words, start at the beginning and finish with the end.

Wordy directions complicate the cook and muddy up the methods. Instead, use clear, concise language. The number-one bad habit amongst less successful food bloggers is being too descriptive in recipe introductions. Slang terms and regional or international lingo can also complicate things. Keep regional language to a minimum and explain it when used. Do not assume your reader knows the same terminology.

In the individual steps, don’t include two simultaneous instructions that one cook with two hands has to complete at the same time (for example, add the eggs to the batter and whisk in the flour at the same time), because it’s impossible to whisk flour into batter with one hand while you add eggs with the other. If there are two separate tasks that can be done simultaneously, write those tasks as their own separate steps.

Don’t get too complicated. One of the major pitfalls new recipe writers fall into is using overly complicated language and jargon that makes the recipe hard to understand. Remember that many home cooks are novices and might need a little hand-holding.

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