Have you ever prepared a recipe and it turned out completely different from what you’d expected? I remember getting really excited about a vegan chocolate pudding pie once. I spent so much on the ingredients, as vegan baking ingredients often cost more than typical baking ingredients. And I’d followed the directions exactly. But when I went to serve myself a slice, I got a big scoop of mush instead, how disappointing! It was this experience though that made me realize the value of a good recipe.
Tips for writing a better recipe
Tip #1. Start with a detailed first draft using pencil and paper.
Make your first draft as detailed as you can imagine, for example: define cooking times, quantities of oil needed to sauté something, or even measurements of salt and pepper. The less time you spend adding notes during a recipe, the more time you’ll have to take notes(tip #2) on what is happening.
Tip #2. Take notes during the entire process, then decide if the notes should be included or not.
For example is it enough to say “Simmer until thickened.” or does the reader need to more detail? If so, you could add more details, “Simmer until it’s a thick, jam-like consistency.” It’s up to you to decide if small details are necessary or not, but at least you’ll have those details ready in case you do decide to use them.
Tip #3. Record every change.
By having a detailed first draft, you’ll be able to anticipate the flow of the recipe and be ready to record every change. For example, you originally expected the garbanzo beans to cook in 45 minutes, but they ended up taking much longer. Or the cookies were ready in five minutes, not 8-10 minutes. This is also why pencil and paper is the best way to record a recipe. Erasing is a neat, convenient way to make changes.
Tip #4. Keep steps short.
Remember your viewers are most likely viewing your recipe using their mobile device, so they’re probably not trying to scroll to the next step when their hands are covered in dough.
Tip #5. Break complex recipes into sub-categories.
When a recipe is complex, like a cookie bar with three different layers, try breaking the ingredients into three sub-categories: for layer one, for layer two…etc. Sub-categories are also easier to read on screens versus reading a long list.
I hope this has inspired you to create recipes that you’re proud of! Do you have any advice for fellow food bloggers on recipe writing? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.