Writing A Better Recipe


Good morning! First of all, I loved the discussion/comments on yesterday’s blog post about blog negativity. I am so glad so many of you haven’t had to deal with negative comments yet, but, it’s always good to be prepared, and know in your head ahead of time HOW you will deal with them if the time comes!

Last night I went to the gym even though I very much so didn’t feel like it, and I am so glad I did! Funny how that works? All it takes is a little will power! Bobby and I lifted weights, it was my off day from running. Back at it today though!


Anyway, one of the HLS sessions I went to (and learned a lot from) was the writing a better recipe session. I will be honest, I was a little skeptical because 1.) I don’t write a lot of recipes on RWS, and 2.) I thought really, how can you mess up a recipe? just write out the directions and there you have it!


bake cobbler.


eat cobbler. No? I need to be more specific?

hhhmm….apparently I am a major FAIL at recipe writing! I am so ashamed! Here are some of the things I learned. The basic steps for recipe writing are:

1. Title- Pretty self explanatory, make sure to put the title in the body of the post and not just as your post title, wow that sounds more confusing than I actually meant it to be, but you got it, right?

2. Headnote and tips for the recipe- one to two sentences after the title where you should offer tips, give credits, or offer substitutions for certain ingredients.

3. yield/serving size- well, that one is easy enough.

4. prep AND cook time- most people (myself included) leave out the prep time and just include the cook/bake time, but prep time is just as important so readers can plan accordingly!

5. ingredient list- use the whole name of items in ingredient list, and write out words like “tablespoon” for clarity.  Also, be sure to put the ingredients in the order in which they will be used in the recipe. Also, don’t sue brand names like “Campbell’s cream of chicken soup” if at all possible.

6. instructions-be descriptive, start with a verb when describing how wonderful your recipe is! Also, it’s ok to use articles, a lot of people put thinks like “melt butter” instead of “melt THE butter”.” Also, BE SPECIFIC! Don’t assume your readers know what you are talking about, don’t leave anything out!

I guess I had just never really thought about some of these things before and I do a lot of assuming in my recipes. As I get time, I will go in and correct mine!….A few other tips I got were: don’t post pictures in between steps, it makes it too easy to miss something. Also, choose your words wisely, and don’t use random capitalization’s of words. example: Chicken Breast is not a proper noun!


Use all 5 senses when describing a food….This cupcake is fluffy, decadent, rich….etc. etc. (ok ya I can’t think of anything else right now…)

Now I challenge you, to go take a look at your recipes and see if you make any of these common errors!

QOTD: Do you make any of these common errors? (Come on, you know it was coming!)

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  1. Thanks for the tips! I need to start putting down how long it takes to cook!

  2. I don’t write my own recipes (thank God for that!), but it drives me CRAZY when people aren’t specific with prep instructions. Just last weekend I was making a dessert that required a glaze. The directions said to bring glaze to a boil and then let it sit for 10 minutes. Well clearly, you don’t let it sit while boiling or it would burn. I removed the glaze from the heat and let it sit, and it came out fine. But that very important step was missing!

  3. er…well, since I’m not much of a blogger, I don’t have this issue…BUT, I’m thinking of starting a food blog so I will definitely keep these tips in mind!

  4. Heather!!! You can’t post a picture of that cobbler and then not post the recipe!!! It looks so yummy! And I have 3 blueberry bushes in my yard ready to go!!

    It can be your practice lesson for writing recipes. :o) And we’ll make it with your instructions and post back how it comes out.

    Love your blog. Read it every day!

    • it is in my recipes! but its blackberry cobbler. I actually am probably going to make a blueberry one this weekend though!

      • Oooops! Sorry Heather. I thought you meant you were going to write a “daily” post with a recipe in it!

        I just checked out your recipe, looks so easy!! Thank you for sharing!

        Now I am off to read the rest of your recipes!
        Have a nice weekend!

  5. Thanks for the tips…
    I’m guilty of a lot of those ‘mistakes’
    I hardly ever write out teaspoons/etc
    and prep time is usually forgotten
    and I’m infamous for saying “a little of this, a handful of that’, etc.
    I cook and just throw stuff together
    baking I am more precise but still usually don’t do recipes as I should and I even have a recipe site..(secondary site of mine) hmmmmm guess I’d better take note of all these points and follow them!

  6. These are great tips. I have actually never written a recipe before. Never really thought about the process of it. I have definitely thrown together a meal though..

  7. Great job going to the gym! Sometimes i come home after work and just have no energy to go to the gym (I work a 6-5 job) But i always end up going anyway. That cobbler looks AMAZING by the way!

  8. Good tips! I think I’ve made most of those mistakes on the few recipes I’ve posted.