Recipe Writing: Standard Components


Why all recipes are very different when they’re wrote out they should all entail the same standard components, all good recipes do so. The standard components of a recipe are the headnote, name, the ingredient list, directions, yield and notes.

This is the introduction to your recipe and what intrigues the reader from the get go. This should give your recipe personality. Sometimes I come across a blog that writes a huge story to go with every recipe. Every once in a while a beautiful story that matches your recipe is nice, but not everytime. Plus, not every cook is a writer or a great story teller. The best writers and cooks know that a short and sweet headnote is the way to go.
A great headnote tells readers something they learned along the way while cooking this dish or can tell about the recipes history or background.

Every recipe should have ne named something that is descriptive as well as intriguing. The name should draw the reader in and let them know what the recipe is. Stay away from using brand names, anything cute or names that are not very descriptive of your dish.
Remember using a name that is straight to the point makes it easy for people to search for.

You should be very clear about the ingredients that you use. Make sure you spell out every word such as a teaspoon. Break up the ingredients list to make it more user friendly such as “Cake” or “Frosting” to help your readers.
List each ingredient separately and not together, for example.
1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon or cardamom and brown sugar
You all need to make sure to list the sizes of the products that you use, such as.
1 (16 ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 cup of milk
Some ingredients will need directions. How should the nuts be in the recipe? Will they be whole or ground? Be sure to tell the readers by writing it.
1/2 cup ground almonds
The placement of the description is also very important. If you add ground before the ingredient, it’s very different then adding it afterwards.
1/2 cup ground almonds tell the reader that the almonds should be ground before measuring, while 1/2 cup almonds, ground tells them to measure then grind.
What type of chicken did you use? Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless tells them the exact type as it should. Did you use any garnishes? If so, let the readers know and list them as optional. Does an item need to be cooked or thawed beforehand? 1 cup cooked white rice says it all.

Keep your readers in mind when you write directions. Although, you have done something several times, this may be new to them. Be very clear with each step, outlining any difficulties. Should the dough be soft or firm? How long and on what heat should something cook? What are the pan sizes that you used? Tell them why you waited until the end to add the milk. Should they remove the cardamom pods at the end? Be specific with every detail.

No recipe should ever not include the yield. The yield is very important and helps your readers determine if a dish is the size they need. If not, they can rework on making it smaller or larger, they depend on you. Is the bread that you made 1 loaf? Does the chicken soup recipe serve 4? Be clear!

A great recipe writer always includes notes. Are you cooking a meal that is traditional in your region and has specific ingredients that other countries may not have? Is it okay to use milk in place of cream? Your notes should be kept to a minimal, but trust me they will be greatly appreciated.

1 Comment
  • Joanne T Ferguson

    05.08.2015 at 6:46 am

    Always good to know and read! I am always curious how many different ways I’ve viewed the way people write recipes! Some include such things as 1g sugar vs 1 gram sugar, or 1 tsp this or that vs 1 teaspoon…think you get what I am trying to say!