Made in America

Writing a Cookbook: Five Essential Ingredients

Writing inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes from sources you would never have imagined!

When it comes to writing a cookbook, perhaps your inspiration came from that collection of family recipes that has been sitting on your bookshelf for years. Or maybe you were simply driven by your love of cooking. Whatever your inspiration may be, you have already taken the first step toward making your cookbook writing dreams a reality.

Since we’re technically still in the midst of the “giving season,” we wanted to give you some tips on how to turn that inspiration into the writing of your first cookbook! So here is the Dorrance Publishing recipe!

Ingredient 1: Chapters

Before you even begin to record your recipes, focus on what chapters will be incorporated in your cookbook. Will there be “Appetizer,” “Entrée” and “Dessert” sections? Or, will your book have one focus—perhaps your cookbook includes only soup and stew recipes? Whatever type of food you choose as your cookbook’s focus, make sure that you organize what chapter each recipe will fall under. This will allow you to arrange your recipes in an appropriate order.

Ingredient 2: Lists

For some people, their recipes live in their heads and they incorporate their ingredients by adding a “pinch of this” or a “pinch of that.” When writing a cookbook, however, you’ll need to record the exact measurements of each ingredient. To that end, you will also want to note how to handle the ingredients – whether they are minced, melted, separated or chopped. All of these steps will have to be documented in order for your readers to follow. When writing out your recipes, try to be as descriptive as possible. The more details that you include, the less likely your readers will be confused when recreating your recipes.

Ingredient 3: Portion Control

Not only is portion control important in everyday life, it’s also important to remember when writing your cookbook. As a tip, try and keep your recipe portions as consistent as possible. What this means is that for one recipe you wouldn’t want it to feed 8-10 while another recipe in your book only feeds two people. Ideally, each recipe should generally serve between four and six people to make it applicable to the largest audience possible.

Ingredient 4: Passion

If you have a passion for cooking, let your readers feel that passion through your recipes. Cookbooks aren’t all about the recipes, though. In fact, some of the most successful cookbooks include added insights about the recipe and why the ingredients work so well together, for instance. When writing a cookbook, you’ll want to add personal stories, helpful tips and descriptive narratives to help your reader understand the background of the recipe.

Ingredient 5: Pictures

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” This sentiment couldn’t be more accurate when talking about the importance of images in a cookbook. Good design and art help readers fall in love with cookbooks. As a tip, when adding accompanying pictures, make sure that the images reflect the steps and ingredients of the specific recipe. What this means is that if a recipe requires a piece of meat to be broiled, the associated picture should not have grill marks. Consistency is important when adding pictures to recipes!

Although we’ve offered you our recipe ideas for writing a cookbook, feel free to add or omit any ingredients to make your writing experience a delectable treat for all to read! And don’t forget, you can always find plenty of cookbook inspiration in the Dorrance Bookstore!

Ready to Get Started?

Publication via the Dorrance imprint is a perfect choice for the author looking for a complete, high quality, personal publishing program that leverages the expertise of publishing professionals. Find out for yourself today!

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