How to Develop Original Recipes (2024)

Want to develop your own recipes from scratch? Here are some of my best tips to get started.

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I'm going to be honest with you here—a few years ago, I had absolutely no idea how to write a recipe from scratch. I remember searching far and wide online for tips but struggled to decide where to start.

But, honestly, when it comes down to it, developing recipes really isn't that hard! I'm going to focus more on writing baking recipes here just because, y'know, that's what my specialty is. However, you can definitely apply these concepts to writing savory recipes as well. Here are a few of my best tips to get started.

Research, Research, Research

The best part about researching food is that you get to eat all. the. food! When eating out at restaurants or bakeries, start to think a bit more about the foods you are eating and analyze their components. Why does that chocolate lava cake pair so well with matcha ice cream? What is it about lemon juice that brings out the flavor in that broccoli?

Another way I love to get inspiration is by combing through cookbooks and magazines. See what kinds of recipes people are making and analyze the flavors they are using. Learn what fruit is in season at different times of the year. As you start to recognize patterns in dishes, you find ways to incorporate these ideas into your own recipes. It's also important to know what flavors pair well together and incorporate these combinations in your baking.

Finally, when it comes to baking, understanding the science behind it all is unbelievably important. Why do you use baking soda in a recipe instead of baking powder? Does it matter if you use all-purpose flour or cake flour? The more you learn about baking science, the easier it will be to know which ingredients to pair together in your own recipes. If you are interested in learning more about the science of baking, I highly recommend checking out Paula Figoni's bookHow Baking Works.

How to Develop Original Recipes (2)

Perfect for summertime, this Coconut Matcha Chia Pudding incorporates two of my favorites: matcha and strawberries.

Give a Recipe a Unique Twist

When it comes to recipes, one of my favorite ways to develop new ones is to shake up an old one. Take snickerdoodle cookies and turn them into scones or change a sweet potato casserole into a cheesecake.

When making changes like this, you don't have to go too crazy! Just think of ways that you can modify an existing recipe and improve it in some way. Try adding a new flavor such as basil or coriander, or experiment by changing the cooking method. Honestly, this is the fun part about creating your own recipes: you get to be creative and think outside the box.

As I'm writing my recipes, I like to use pre-existing ones for inspiration. However, I always make sure I change at least three components in a recipe and rewrite the instructions in my own words before calling it my own. I'm going to share a post soon about specific steps for writing recipes, so stay tuned for that.

Move over snickerdoodles—these Snickerdoodle Scones are here to stay.

Test as Many Times as Necessary

Chances are your recipe isn't going to be amazing the first time around. It might take two or three (or five... or six...) times to really get a recipe to the place you want it, and that's okay.

When I'm working on a recipe, I like to make one change at a time. If you change too many elements at once, it can become hard to tell what's working and what's not. Take it slow, and enjoy the process!

It's also important to keep in mind that recipes may fluctuate depending on your oven and your environment. When possible, I like to try out my recipes in a different kitchen to make sure they turn out as intended.

How to Develop Original Recipes (4)

It took me several weeks to get the recipe for these Homemade Peppermint Patties down.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Just like everything else in life, developing recipes is always going to have its fair share of failures. Your idea might take several tries to come to fruition, or it just might not work out at all. And that's okay! The most important lesson is to enjoy the process and keep trying. The more recipes you work on, the better you will become at this process.

Over time, I have made many mistakes in the kitchen. From sunken-in cakes to raw cream puffs, I have wanted to throw in the towel at various points over the past few years. But, the best thing you can do is to pick yourself back up and keep trying. Learn from every experience and enjoy the process.

How to Develop Original Recipes (5)

On my first attempt at these Maple Pecan Cream Puffs, I messed up the ratios for the choux pastry. It was a little bit embarrassing tossing all those cream puffs in the trash. You live and you learn, right?

Keep Track of New Ideas

When it comes to thinking of new recipes, I keep a long-running list of all my ideas (good and bad). To manage my blog content, I do this on a board in Asana. I have a column called "Idea Backlog" filled with hundreds of recipe ideas, and when I plan out my editorial calendar, I pull from these recipes and give them a try.

Even if you don't have a blog, you can keep track of all your recipe ideas in a similar way! Whether it's in a small notebook or in the notes section of your phone, write down ideas as they pop into your head. Browse through the farmers' market and see which fruits are in season, then jot down flavor combinations that sound enticing. Even if you don't try to bring these recipes to life for months, it's great to have the idea written down for later.

How to Develop Original Recipes (6)

Inspired by my favorite cookie, these Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms taste just as good as the original.

How to Develop Original Recipes (2024)


How do you create an original recipe? ›

Tips for recipe writing
  1. Write ingredients in the order in which they'll be used! ...
  2. Write the directions in an order that makes sense. ...
  3. If your recipe has multiple "recipes" within it, separate the ingredients and step for each. ...
  4. Offer additional methods or substitutions. ...
  5. Share when to know a recipe is ready.
May 4, 2022

How do people come up with their own recipe? ›

Many recipe developers find ideas:
  1. In cookbooks or magazines.
  2. Through recipes on other food blogs.
  3. From family recipes.
  4. At local restaurants or bakeries.
  5. While traveling.
  6. From new ingredients or seasonal produce at a farmers market.
  7. On Pinterest.
  8. While watching cooking shows.
Jun 9, 2022

How do chefs develop recipes? ›

At a high level, recipe development requires two distinct processes:
  1. Exploration: The process wherein a chef explores varying techniques, food genres, ingredients, and influences. ...
  2. Exploitation: The process wherein a chef hones the particular techniques, ingredients, and flavor profiles that define a final dish.
Feb 18, 2021

Can you legally own a recipe? ›

Similar to ideas, facts and history, there isn't copyright protection in recipes as mere lists of ingredients. This is clearly stated by the U.S. Copyright Office. Most recipes, however, include content beyond the ingredient list.

What makes a recipe authentic? ›

In the culinary context, it's used the same way. Authentic food has an undisputed origin, and is made of real ingredients that come from designated places. So, when dishes or recipes are described as “authentic,” it means that they are close to what is unanimously accepted as “traditional” in their country of origin.

What should I charge for recipe development? ›

For recipe development without a photo, half the people charge at least $250 per recipe and a great majority charge at least $200. The maximum most developers have made per recipe is between $300 and $400 but a significant number have made over $700 per recipe.

At what point does a recipe become your own? ›

A general rule of thumb is: if you change three or more ingredients in the recipe, and rewrite the recipe instructions in your own voice, you can consider it your own. Even so, stating that the recipe was “adapted from” or “inspired by” the original recipe is a good idea.

How much do you have to change a recipe to make it your own? ›

Here in the food writing world, many of us follow an informal standard that you need to make at least three changes before you can claim credit for a recipe. Those changes need to be more substantial than changing 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1/4 teaspoon, although the changes don't have to just be in the ingredients.

Is there an app to write your own recipes? ›

Recipe Keeper is the easy to use, all-in-one recipe organizer, shopping list and meal planner available across all of your devices. Enter your recipes with as much or as little information as you like. Copy and paste recipes from your existing documents or apps. Categorize your recipes by course and category.

What is recipe development process? ›

Recipe development means creating new dishes for different uses, such as a restaurant menu, cookbook, or food product. Companies typically hire a professional recipe developer to create good food by: Coming up with ideas. Selecting and sourcing ingredients. Testing and adjusting the recipe.

How to sell your own recipes? ›

You can do this by registering your recipe with the U.S. Copyright Office or by obtaining a patent or trademark. Develop a business plan: Once you've protected your recipe, you'll need to develop a business plan that outlines your target market, pricing strategy, distribution channels, and marketing plan.

How did Gordon Ramsay learn to cook? ›

After earning a vocational diploma in hotel management from North Oxon Technical College in 1987, he moved to London and began honing his culinary skills under chef Marco Pierre White at the restaurant Harvey's and under chef Albert Roux at La Gavroche.

How did Gordon Ramsay become a cook? ›

Ramsay's interest in cooking began in his teenage years; rather than be known as "the football player with the gammy knee", he decided to pay more serious attention to his culinary education at age 19. Ramsay enrolled at North Oxfordshire Technical College, sponsored by the Rotarians, to study hotel management.

How do chefs work so fast? ›

Chefs must be able to find equipment quickly especially when working in new kitchens. Also being well organised themselves at their workstations. Clear systems in place are essential for speed. Storing, labelling ingredients, equipment and keeping surfaces clean throughout the day.

Do cookbook recipes have to be original? ›

And the truth is, while many authors use a cookbook recipe that is their own, many books feature recipes that have been adapted from or inspired by other cooks and bakers as well as some recipes that are a reimagined take on a previously created recipe.

What does it mean to make a recipe from scratch? ›

In cooking, to make something from scratch means to use only the most basic ingredients, with nothing premade: Brad and Rachel Cottle will run the Orlando bakery and cafe, which will feature breads milled and baked from scratch daily using wheat from Montana's Golden Triangle.

How do you digitize old recipes? ›

Download a mobile scanning app. With an app like Adobe Scan, all you need to do is take a photo of your recipe and the app will scan it into a PDF right from your phone. Convert your handwriting. You can convert any handwritten scans into more legible documents through the scanning app, too.

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