Have you ever been in the process of baking a recipe and suddenly get overwhelmed halfway through because there were overlapping steps, or you were missing an ingredient and had to run to the store?
Learning how to read a recipe can help you understand what you are about to bake, prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed, and have fun while you’re baking. Here are my tips to teach you how to read a recipe and ensure that you end up with delicious treats.
Learn how to Read a Recipe
Step one, read the recipe all the way through. Take time to thoroughly digest everything that you’re reading. Don’t bother taking notes, just read it through so that you can comprehend all the steps that are required to complete the recipe.
Step two, read the recipe a second time. This time you are going to be looking at all of the steps that are needed to to make whatever it is that you’re making.
I created a free worksheet in my resource library for you to use when you are reviewing recipes. Go ahead and print it out now so you can fill it out as you read through the recipe. Fill out the form below for your FREE password to the resource library to be emailed to you.
Ask yourself and make note of the following:
How much does this recipe make? Will you need to double it or cut it in half? Not all recipes make the same quantity, and you don’t want to be in a bind when you are expected to bring enough treats for everyone.
Check out my conversion page for help cutting your recipe in half, or if you want it doubled or tripled. I made it easy to understand, and pretty so that you can also download it to display inside your cabinet for quick access when you are baking.
Are there any steps that need to be done ahead of time? Does the butter need to be softened? Is there a sauce that needs to be made first?
Are there any steps that need to be done quickly or while doing another step? I like to measure supplies for those steps so I don’t get overwhelmed when working on those steps.
Confirm that you have all of the ingredients.
Recipes list ingredients in the order that is as needed while making the recipe. If an ingredient is used more than once, it may be listed a second time further down the list of ingredients. Make sure you catch that when you’re checking your ingredients supplies.
Another thing to know while you are looking at the ingredients list is the comma listed after an ingredient. For example, “1 cups nuts, chopped” means that you are going to measure out a cup of nuts, chop them and then add it to the recipe, but a listing of “1 cup chopped nuts” without a comma means that you are measuring a cup of nuts that have already been chopped. While this seems really minor, it could make a big difference in the quantity of ingredients being added.
Decide whether you need to run to the store to get missing ingredients, or if you can substitute something?
It isn’t ideal to substitute ingredients because your recipe won’t turn out the way in was intended. But, I get it, sometimes you just don’t want to run to the store if you are in a time crunch or feeling lazy in your pajamas.
There aren’t substitutions for everything, and you could really end up with a disaster if you swapped out certain things! Check out my substitution page for help swapping out ingredients.
Tools & Equipment
Make a list of the tools or equipment you need. For example, do you need a special pan or a sifter? Do you need to purchase it or can you adapt something? For example, I don’t have a sifter, but use a fine strainer to sift my ingredients together.
Look at the amount of time needed throughout the recipe. Occasionally, you will find that there are additional time requirements hidden within the instructions for proofing or chilling the dough that hasn’t been included in the overall time listed for the recipe. All of these little time additions can really add up. If you are in a time crunch, you won’t have time to get your treats out of the oven before you have to leave the house.
Now that you know how to read your recipe, and have thoroughly taken the time to understand it, you should be ready to get baking!