How to Read a Recipe - My Eclectic Bites (2024)

Once you select a recipe, there is a correct way to read a recipe. You should be reading the recipe multiple times to perform specific tasks. This post will address how to read a recipe before you start cooking.

How to Read a Recipe - My Eclectic Bites (1)

In the last post, we talked about what recipe is and how to choose them. Once you select an appropriate recipe for beginner cooks, it's important to know how to read a recipe. The recipe not only provides you with the ingredient list and cooking instructions, but it also provides valuable information like how to prepare the ingredients prior to cooking and other helpful tips.

So how should you read a recipe? Here is my general guide in reading a recipe:

  1. Always read the recipe from beginning to end including the ingredient list.
  2. Read the recipe to perform Mise en place
  3. Once you are ready to cook, read the recipe again to familiarize yourself with each step.
  4. Have your recipe available and follow the instruction while cooking.

This may sound like a broken record of repeating "read the recipe." But when you are reading the recipe, you are reading to perform a specific task at each step.

How to read a recipe

1. Always read the recipe from beginning to end.

It is very important that you understand exactly what the recipe says. If there is any confusion, make sure you address the confusion BEFORE cooking. I would also note any substitutions or tips that are provided on the recipe card. Visualizing the cooking steps is very helpful and if the recipe provides you with a process shot, pay attention to those as well.

So when you are reading the recipe, check for:

  • Is this a good recipe? (This step should be done in selecting a recipe)
  • Do I understand the recipe? Is there any confusion?
  • Do I have all the ingredients and tools/equipment to make the dish?
  • Are there any substitutions and cooking tips?

2. Read the recipe to perform mise en place.

Mise en place is a French term for "Everything in its place." This means all the ingredients are prepared, pre-measured, and all the tools/equipments are gathered prior to cooking. Such practice is performed in every single professional kitchen but not so much in home cooking. The practice of performing mise en place deserves its own section and it will be covered next. But note that you need to read the recipe specifically to prepare the ingredients prior to cooking.

For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of diced potato, you need to peel, dice, and measure one cup of potato before you use the potato for cooking. Although it was listed as an ingredient, this information tells you how to prepare the potato for the dish.

When reading a recipe for mise en place, pay close attention to the preparation of the ingredients and equipment needed for the dish. This may seem redundant and take a longer time to do so, this step is not only crucial but will help you follow along with the recipe so much more efficiently. Find out more about how to perform mise en place here.

3. Read the cooking instruction again before you start cooking.

Think of this step as a review session right before an open book exam. Even though you know you can use your book, you still need to know where to find the answer to the question, right?!

Reading it right before you start will help you understand the flow of cooking and mentally prepare for what's coming up.

4. Have your recipe available and follow the instruction while cooking.

At this point, you should have read the recipe at least 5 - 8 times before you even turn on your stove. The redundancy of the reading recipe will finally pay off when you are following the instruction. Make sure to have your recipe available so that you can refer to it any time during the cooking process.

In addition to the general advice provided above, marking the ingredient for any substitution and adjustment on the portion size is an excellent thing to do while reading a recipe.

At this point, you have all the tools and ingredients, picked out a recipe to try, and read it multiple times to really start cooking. But there is one more crucial step before you turn on your stovetop - that is: how to perform mise en place! We will discuss how to perform mise en place properly so that we can efficiently and successfully follow along with the recipe!

How to Read a Recipe - My Eclectic Bites (2)
How to Read a Recipe - My Eclectic Bites (2024)


What is the correct way to read a recipe? ›

Read the Recipe, Start to Finish

You'll see how many servings the recipe should make. Next come the ingredients, which should be listed in the same order that you're going to use them in the recipe. The ingredients will be presented a little differently depending whether you should prepare them before they're measured.

What are 5 suggestions when reading a recipe? ›

Let's go over some tips of how to read a recipe:
  1. 1) Read through the recipe twice to ensure you understand. ...
  2. 2) Determine the yield amount of the recipe. ...
  3. 3) Make a Checklist of all your ingredients needed. ...
  4. 4) Determine whether you need to preheat the oven. ...
  5. 5) Take note of the time it is going to make the recipe.
May 14, 2014

Why should you read all of the directions before starting your recipe? ›

It is important to read the whole recipe before you begin cooking. This helps you know how the dish is made. All recipes start with the name of the dish. Next will come the ingredients needed.

Is there an app for recipe cards? ›

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.

How to calculate recipe conversion factor? ›

That is, conversion factor = (required yield)/(recipe yield) or conversion factor = what you NEED ÷ what you HAVE.

How do you fill a standard recipe card? ›

Your standardised recipe should include:
  1. Menu item title.
  2. Yield – (this is the usable amount obtained for the recipe)
  3. Portion size.
  4. Serving instructions and presentation.
  5. Ingredient list.
  6. Quantity (QTY) of each ingredient.
  7. Cooking time and temperature.
  8. Special equipment needed to produce and serve it.
Nov 4, 2019

What are three things to look for when evaluating a new recipe? ›

Food is delicious because of three main things: flavor, salt, and heat. If you know what to look for regarding these three components, you'll have a decent idea if a new recipe is worth a go.

What is the most important rule in baking? ›

#1 Read through the recipe

Make sure to quickly skim the recipe before you start baking to understand the general flow and key steps. You can even make notes on the recipe or highlight key points to help you along.

What is the most accurate way of portioning items for a recipe? ›

Weight is the most accurate way to measure ingredients or portions. When proportions of ingredients are critical, their measurements are always given in weights.

What is the most critical part of a recipe? ›

Ingredient List - The ingredient list is one of the most critical parts of a recipe. The ingredients should be listed in chronological order, with the ingredient used first at the very top of the list (Palmer, 2020).

What are the first steps in the reading process? ›

The first stage is "pre-reading," when a reader will overview a text and make predictions about its contents. The second stage is "during reading," when readers verify or adapt their predictions. The final stage is "after reading," when readers review, discuss, and analyze what they read.

How many times should you at least read a recipe before you begin? ›

Read through the recipe at least twice to make sure that you understand the directions. Make sure that you can perform all the techniques. Look at the recipe yield and decide if the number of servings is what you need. If not, consider whether you should cut the ingredient amounts in half or double them.


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