This sections is intended for new food bloggers. It covers my advice for recipe instructions, recipe development, and recipe templates.
As this is a food blog, recipes are obviously the most important thing. When I first started this blog, I simply typed up what I did to make the recipe. However, I’ve learned that doesn’t always cut it. There are a wide range of cooking levels reading the recipes on the internet, and it’s important to keep that in mind when when sharing.
Here is a list of what I’ve learned regarding recipe instructions:
- Be specific with measurements. When possible, instead of saying ‘1 onion, chopped’, say something like ‘1 cup of chopped onion’, or instead of saying ‘juice of 1 lemon’ say something like ‘2 tbsp of lemon juice’. There are times when it appropriate to be less specific, but many people reading recipes want exact measurements. And although you might assume we all have the same size lemons or onions, there can be wide variability.
- Be specific with instructions. Newer cooks or bakers may not know things you take for granted. So describe textures, appearances or smells and time yourself. For example, instead of saying ‘heat the butter over medium heat until it turns amber’, say, ‘heat butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it turns light brown and has a nutty aroma, this will take about 7 minutes’.
- Read and re-read your recipes. If you list an ingredient but forget to type it out in the instructions, someone will likely not include it.
- When possible, give trouble shooting tips. For example, if it’s a soft cake, tell what to do if it starts to break or fall. If it’s a buttercream frosting, tell what to do if it’s not holding up well, or it’s becoming too stiff.
- If there are ways people can change the recipe, share. It’s great to include ideas about ways to customize the recipes so that people can enjoy them even more. For example, include notes such as: “instead of peppers, you could also use onions, zucchini or yellow squash”, “if you like sauce, think about doubling the sauce recipe”, or “if you prefer a more sweet sauce, add 2 more tablespoons of sugar, but if you prefer your sauce more tart, subtract 2 tablespoons of sugar.”
First, the idea. I go EVERYWHERE for ideas! I check out cookbooks from the library, look up popular restaurant menus online, go through family recipes, ask friends for recipes, look at Pinterest, watch cooking TV shows, and look at practically any place on the internet that recipes are available. I have a notebook where I keep lists of ideas.
Second, I list the ingredients. Once I decide to make a recipe from my idea list, I write the idea at the top of a notebook page and then list every ingredient I think might be good in the dish. Some ingredients I might find where I found the inspiration, and others are ones that I think make sense. I rarely write amounts as I want to ensure the recipe is my own, and I want to add and taste until it’s met my goal.
Finally, I share the food to my family and/or friends and ask for feedback. After I have received feedback, I make it again, or sometimes many more times, until it reaches the outcome I desire.
When starting this blog I free typed my recipes into posts. Don’t do that. There are a number of problems with posting recipes that way. First, recipes typed this way will not show up well in search engines. Second, Pinterest and other sites that display recipes will not be able to easily convert them over to their platform for sharing. Third, you will like forget things like quantity or time that a template will remind you to do.
I tried out a myriad of recipe templates. Each person will have different success with each template, so I’m not going to share the different ones I tried and didn’t stick with. You might have better luck with one than I did. However, I will share what I love and use now: WP Recipe Maker.
What I love about WP Recipe Maker:
- I was able to easily move from recipes from another recipe program
- Calculates nutrition facts
- Clean format that is easy to read
- Excellent and quick support
- Takes care of recipe SEO