How many times do you test your recipes?



We all have those little recipe fails – the cakes that sink in the middle and sauces that split, and I’m guessing most of us don’t blog about those little mishaps! But, how many times DO you test your recipes before you put them up on your blog and how many times SHOULD you test them?

I was recently chatting with someone who told me that they would never use a recipe from a blog as it is very unlikely to work out! After I’d picked up my jaw from the ground, I questioned her a little further. She feels that recipes from books will have been tested several times by several different people and tweaked until they are certain that they will work every time. She said bloggers will just make it once and write it up whether it works well or not. An interesting view!

I don’t know about you, but I have tried several recipes from books that haven’t worked out at all. In fact there is one rather well known baking book that I don’t rate at all because pretty much every recipe I have tried so far has been a flop!

But, perhaps she has a point. I have written a book myself and the recipes in there were tested several times by myself and others, and far more than some of the recipes on my personal blog. But on the flip side, I would never blog something that hadn’t worked for me and I didn’t feel would work out just as well for others. Recipe blogging can be a minefield because everyone’s oven is different, people use different ingredients, some people’s scales are more accurate than others, and so on…

There are many bloggers who have gone on to write books after their blogs have become very successful. Surely this is an indicator that the recipes UK food bloggers are coming up with are good quality and can be trusted?

So, how often do you test your recipes? Do you feel confident if someone follows your recipe that it will turn out well? And are recipes from books more likely to work than blog recipes?

Sally is the publisher of Foodies100, the UK's largest directory of brilliant UK food and drink blogs and bloggers. Every day of the week, we promote the UK's best and most exciting blogs about food and drink.

Discussion9 Comments

  1. This is really interesting. I put recipes on my blog and try to give an honest account of how they turned there a point in blogging the rubbish ones? I feel I ought to but then what is the point? Who wants to read a recipe that is awful?

    Blogs are not recipe books. They are people; cooking and writing about it. There are many recipe books put there that have been criticised about their recipes being far from accurate. Just read the Amazon reviews! I think blogging is a much more honest approach to cooking; yes these cookbook recipes might turn out beautifully in professional kitchens with skilled chefs and a top notch photographer, but what about the majority of us out here who love to cook and have a dodgy element in our cooker, severely limited worktop space and take the photos on an iPhone?

    Here endeth the rant.

  2. If I am posting a recipe developed by me then I have a rule that I will have made it at least three times previously. Not necessarily in exactly the same guise but with little tweaks and adaptations along the way. If I am putting my name to a recipe then I want to be as confident as I can be that people will enjoy it.

    However, If I am posting a recipe adapted from a book, magazine etc, I generally only make it once as I assume that it will have been pre-tested by the original author and if it works for me (a decent homecook with a run of the mill kitchen) then it is likely to work for others.

    I am more likely to blog about disasters than things that were just average as disasters can make entertaining reading! Personally I prefer blogs which are honest in their opinions rather than ones where everything is “nice.” I am much more likely to try a recipe on their recommendation if I know they aren’t afraid to be honest.

  3. There is no special rule or general approach I have in this regard. I do it at least once “live” shortly before I blog it and might have tried it the same way or slightly different before. Sometimes my blog is also about experimenting and encouraging my readers to do it just the way they feel to do it.
    When I manage to get a nice picture on my blog with the limited resources I have then I guess, it could be worthwhile to have a go at the recipe.
    I do my best to be honest in my writing and talk also about things that don’t work so well or when I created a mess again in the kitchen, although I try to be careful not to attempt to strange things … so far.
    I tried myself already quite a few recipe from blogs and they work as good as the ones from cookbooks (at least considering the cookbooks I have). The blogs, though, usually have more information or are more entertaining and mostly give a more honest picture of what the results will be like.
    Have I said everything? I don’t know, but it shall be enough … for now.

  4. If I’ve made something (from my own recipe) & I want to share it I won’t try it out over & over again before I post on my blog. I take photos & that shows how it has turned out – I wouldn’t post a recipe without photos and definitely not if it hadn’t turned out right – unless I was writing a post highlighting what ‘not’ to do.
    I’ve found some great recipes on blogs, & they’ve all turned out how they should when I’ve tried them.

  5. My blog is not a cook book, it’s about what I have been making. Some of those recipes turn out well, some don’t, but I write it up all the same. I don’t think it helps to just have beautiful pictures and pretend everything is always wonderful, because it isn’t. Often, supposed disasters can be turned around and more often than not, disaster still taste good. I am very honest in my write up and I would hope that others are the same. Certainly the ones I trust write about things that go wrong.

    Many recipe books have recipes that don’t work, but they don’t say that.

  6. If the person is honest and says the recipe didn’t work for them or says it was lacking, sometimes it can be really positive to do a post about it because you can get advice from fellow foodies who happen across your blog.

    I’ve posted some of the things I’ve tried creating myself. I don’t profess that they’re perfect because that’s not what my blog is about. Sometimes recipes are also down to personal taste and what might float my boat may not rock someone else’s world.

    I also find blogs more honest as photos aren’t always created by professional food stylists. I’ve been disappointed countless times by things I’ve made not looking like they do in the book.

  7. I have many disasters along the way to “perfecting” some of my niche recipes. It is not easy to adapt normal recipes to fit my needs, so I do try them until they are edible, but now I am more experienced at what works and what doesnt, I tend to make once, photograph, eat and blog.

    I cannot master scones, and have even stood in my friends house, using her ingredients and her oven at the same time as her and hers have been perfect and mine a disaster. Its all the personal touch. Funnily enough now 90% the new recipes I try are from other people blogs, feel its less disconcerting than cookery book recipes with beautiful photos.

  8. If I’m reviewing another recipe then I tend to only make it once as this is what everyone normally does! I wouldn’t be afraid to post about recipes I followed that turned out badly – it’s just my honest experience.

    When I’m putting up my own recipes more often than not they are tried and tested so I will have cooked them a good few times before I post about them.

  9. What a shame this person is missing out on all the amazing recipes on fabulous food blogs across the internet! And it sounds like she hasn’t actually tried any, she’s just made the decision not to try?

    Other than minor tweaks and adaptations, I only test recipes again if something major went wrong the first time, or if they was something I didn’t really like and I know there needs to be an adjustment (I have a few waiting to go up that I want to try again before actually posting). But I am fairly confident the recipe will work when I do post it.

    Like Sarah says above, “blogs are not recipe books. They are people; cooking and writing about it.” And I think the real-life and personal, interactive element makes trying recipes from blogs an absolute joy!

    And like you Amy – I too have tried recipes several times from a book in the past, for me to give up when it keeps on not working out!

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