Write your own cookbook

Write a cookbook yourself - With 6 tips from a cookbook to a palate pleaser

Using professional photos to whet the reader's appetite and clear instructions to make them smell the dish as they read - that's what writing your own cookbook is all about. 2,000 recipe books are published every year. How do you make your cookbook stand out from the rest and what tips do you have on design and structure?

What types of cookbooks are there?

There are all kinds of cookbooks on the book market. For every age group, every need and every country's cuisine there seems to be a corresponding work. They range from "Grandma's Recipes" to "Fusion Cooking" and "Low Carb for Working People" to "Baking with Kids".

Some cookbooks contain only recipes, others also tell a story or are at the same time a guidebook. For example, the book "Oriental Cuisine" provides an insight into the tradition, culture and special features of oriental cuisine. In "33 Recipes for Children's Birthdays", you get not only cooking instructions but also suggestions for table decorations or entertaining party games. There are minimalist recipe books that focus on the cooking and baking instructions and offer hardly any photos but a large number of recipes. Others manage with fewer recipes, but are elaborately designed and illustrated.

Imagine already before the writing the question: what are you about when you want to write your cookbook? Do you want to give instructions, present a culinary topic or inform the reader? What do you value in content and style? And does what you have in mind perhaps already exist? Answers to these questions are also important for your future writing. Book marketing valuable. It doesn't hurt to take a look at the competition before you get started. Ideally, your recipe book will have a unique selling point that you can use to score points. Before you get started, jot down a few bullet points about what needs you're trying to meet and use them to create your cookbook's selling points. In this way, you will arrive step by step at the individual recipe book that will attract attention among the many titles on the book market.

How to write a cookbook

Once you know why and in what way you want to write your cookbook, you're ready to go. The writing process is very different from other genres, such as the classic cookbook. Nonfiction. It is important to be consistent in the structure and writing.

Select recipes: Find a motto

Get an overview of your recipes and think about the theme you want to combine them under. Do you want to write a recipe book about "Vegetarian Pasta Dishes" or "Summer Desserts"? The cookbook and its recipes should not be interchangeable. That's the only way to convince cooking fans to buy it. Books that are linked to current trends, such as "Vegan Pies" or "Gluten-Free Party Food," sell especially well. Create something new to excite your readers. Spaghetti Bolognese is a tried and true recipe, but you can reimagine it, add an unusual ingredient, or tell a personal story about what you associate with the dish.

Writing a cookbook yourself: How is a recipe structured?

If you want to write a cookbook yourself, you should think about what information belongs in a recipe. It is important to pay attention to uniformity in the design. The following elements should be present in every recipe:

  • An Photo.
  • A concise and precise titleso that the reader knows right away what to expect.
  • An Introduction, in which it becomes clear what is special about the dish and why the reader should cook it.
  • The number of peoplefor which the recipe is designed.
  • An List of ingredients in the order in which they are used. Subcategories can also be divided and, for example, the ingredients for the sauce can be listed separately.
  • An exact Recipe instructions without filler words or further information. You can separate the individual steps by paragraphs, numbering or subheadings.

Depending on how complicated the recipe is or how your recipe book is themed, you can add a statement of nutritional values or the origin of the dish.

How to formulate recipes?

A cookbook is first and foremost a workbook. Of course, design and further information are important, but the instructions should be clear and easy to understand. Avoid general phrases like "season the sauce", but instead describe more precisely "season the sauce with salt and pepper, then refine with Italian herbs". If terms occur that not every amateur chef knows, explain them in a short sentence or in the appendix.

Ideally, you should get friends or acquaintances to be test readers and test cooks. This way you can find out whether the instructions are understandable and the quantities and recipes lead to a good result. Only include in your cookbook what works and is approved by you and your test cooks. You should also try out the dishes on different cookers, i.e. on an electric cooker, with induction or gas, and write the differences in your recipe book.

Structuring a cookbook

A logical and clear outline depends on the topic of your cookbook. There are different possibilities here. You can structure your recipe book according to ...

  • .... Ingredients, e.g. muffins with fruit, hearty muffins, muffins with chocolate
  • .... Meals, e.g. a division into starter, main course and dessert
  • .... Topics, e.g. low carb for the office, for the party, to go

A good structure helps your audience find their way within the book and makes it reader-friendly.

How do you design a cookbook?

A cookbook lives not only from precisely formulated recipes, but also from a professional design that brings the recipes to life. The reader should already have the smell of the finished dish in his nose. Therefore, a beautiful composition of text and image is important.

Depending on the size and subject matter of the cookbook, a recipe can be one or two pages long. As a rule, the photo is on the left and the text on the right. Photos should not go over two pages if this distorts the motif. Also, the text should not be spread over several pages, it makes it harder to read. Also, choose a font size and font so that the instructions can be grasped with a quick glance.

Professional photos for your cookbook

If you want to print photos with your recipes, you should pay attention to the quality. They should not be blurred or distorted. A guideline for the resolution is 300 dpi. Perspective and lighting are also important, and you should get help from a photographer. This way you can concentrate on the motifs. Further tips for good pictures for recipe books are available here here.

Important: The photos should be created in CMYK (four-colour mode), as colour deviations can occur in RGB mode.

Help with the design of your cookbook

When it comes to the design, you should not save on the budget, especially for a cookbook. If you want to design your book yourself, we recommend either Microsoft Word or one of the popular authoring software programs. In Microsoft Word, you can create the recipes in table form or use existing Word templates. Some authoring software has features that are specifically designed for cookbooks, for example in ibooks Author for Apple hardware or Scrivener.

You can also hire a graphic designer to take care of the professional design of your cookbook. Make sure that he has experience with recipe books and be as precise in your briefing as in the formulation of the recipes.

Legal particularities

Besides your own photos you can use stock photos from popular stock agencies like Adobe Stock or Getty Images use. Most platforms also offer royalty-free images. But be careful: Do not copy and use unsolicited images from the Internet. They are subject to copyright. This also applies to recipes - although it is difficult to prove copyright infringement with common recipes. Nevertheless, we recommend that you obtain a written declaration of consent if you want to use recipes and photos of third parties. You should also make it clear in the book that it is not your own recipe and name the author or photographer.

Writing the book sentence after the cookbook

Unlike a novel, a cookbook has little body text, but numerous photos, tables and other illustrations that need to be typeset. Book typesetting also involves adding page numbers and creating an imprint. Here, too, a graphic designer can support you, or you can try out our Text Designer and let us guide you through the individual steps in an uncomplicated way.

Special features of printing

Unlike a fiction book, a cookbook contains many color pages and photos. Most self-publishing service providers work according to the print-on-demand process - that is, a book is printed only after it has been purchased - and in digital printing. The digital printing process is more expensive than offset printing, so you have to factor in extra costs for the color pages. The more colour pages, the higher the selling price, as this has to cover the printing costs. It is best to calculate in advance with the Price calculator From tredition.

Self-publishing or publishing a cookbook?

Before writing your cookbook, it's best to consider whether you want to publish it through a publisher or self-publish. A publisher offers professional help, especially in the areas of layout and marketing. Here you should research in advance which one would best suit your cookbook. However, most publishers get countless Manuscripts sent to you.

Alternatively, you can take the publishing process into your own hands and get support from a self-publishing provider. This way you are guaranteed to publish promptly and avoid the long waiting times of up to a year at publishing houses. The layout, book typesetting and marketing are then up to you, but most service providers offer assistance here. For example, the Cover Designer for the layout and you can easily and quickly create an automatic book typesetting.


Writing a cookbook yourself involves a lot of forethought and planning. You should know which reader needs your book should fulfill and which motto makes your work unique. When writing a cookbook, pay attention to precise wording and a clear and consistent structure. Besides the recipes, professional pictures are the heart of your cookbook. And don't forget the copyright when using third-party photos.


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