cookbook creation

Professional Cookbook Creation

Ann O'Brien

April 6, 2022

Instead of passing along treasured recipes one by one or storing them in a binder where they could easily become lost or damaged, consider creating a professional cookbook instead. Whatever the reason, professional cookbook creation is within reach for everyone with a few simple steps.

Making a bound cookbook is a perfect way to memorialize prized family meals served up with family stories or meaningful trivia. Some cooks like to pass down recipes as a gift to friends or family or collect recipes for a reunion or other event. Photographers look to cookbook printing to showcase their stunning food photos while groups and organizations look to professional cookbook creation to represent their members through the collection of recipes.

Of course, many want to create cookbook memories of their own recipes to enjoy themselves. Creating a beautiful book doesn’t have to be difficult, so we have put together some simple steps for cookbook creation that you can start right now to show off your meaningful recipes, stories and pictures in a cookbook you will love for years to come.

1. Collect Recipes

Usually, cookbook creation starts with a collection of treasured recipes. Locating any and all recipes that you may want to include in your cookbook is the first step to developing the basis for a professional cookbook. You may want to gather recipes that all fall into one theme, like an all dessert cookbook, or you may choose to include recipes from all food categories.

The most important aspect of collecting recipes is to make sure that you have every detail of each recipe. Be sure to include where each recipe came from, if known, as well as specific ingredient lists and detailed directions.

While exact measurements and quantities of ingredients are vital for an accurate outcome, you can also include fun and surprising entries that list “a pinch of” this or directions to “measure with your heart” to reflect the character and personality of the contributor when appropriate.

Once you have collected your recipes, sort them by category, type or any order that makes sense for your cookbook. Popular categories of recipes to choose from can be:

  • appetizers or snacks
  • bread or muffins
  • soups, stews, salads and sauces
  • main courses
  • grilling or barbequing
  • crock-pot, air fryer or instant-pots
  • desserts or pastries
  • beverages

2. Photograph Your Recipes

Many cookbooks contain pictures of the food, ingredients, pictures of people enjoying the food or even the cooks themselves. While it is not necessary to have pictures, include them when you can add to the feel of a professional cookbook.

If you do want to include a photograph for some or all of the foods, testing out each recipe provides the perfect opportunity to check the accuracy of the recipe as well as stage the picture in an appetizing way.

Be sure to include only high-resolution photos in the cookbook, however. Pictures should be 300 dpi resolution when ready to print and remember that enlarging a photo reduces the resolution and can result in a blurry photo if the dpi sinks below 300.

3. The Cover Story

Choosing how to present your cookbook creation is the next step. Professional cookbooks sometimes feature the chef, a sample recipe, a picture representative of the theme or overall concept of the cookbook or even a graphic of some sort.

Once you have settled on a concept for your cookbook, you have three options:

  • Take a Photo of the food, person or idea that represents your cookbook.
  • Use a Graphic that represents the cookbook concept or the group or organization making the cookbook.
  • Get Expert Help from the designers at Publishing Xpress to create a beautiful cover.

Top Tips:

  • Design the front and back of the book with complimentary or matching color schemes
  • Keep critical text away from the edges
  • Use the highest-quality pictures (300 dpi)
  • Save graphics in CMYK format for best color outcomes

4. Decide on Format for Cookbook Creation

Now that you know what you want your cookbook to look like, it’s time to choose the format for your book as well as determine the organizational portions of the cookbook, like a Table of Contents (the order of the recipes they appear in the book) or an Index (an alphabetical listing of all recipes at the back of the cookbook.)

Each recipe page needs to be typed up uniformly using the same structure and format to make the cookbook easy to follow. In addition, consider leaving plenty of white space around each recipe to allow cooks to make their own notations while using the recipes.

Using a basic template can help with formatting each recipe the same. Consistency is key, though, so make sure that all abbreviations are identical throughout the book and each ingredient is correct when transferred to your master file.

If you are going to include photos with your recipes, be sure to consider where each picture will be located in relation to the recipe (above the recipe, on the adjacent page, on a “picture page,” or after the recipe.)

Recipes with a Side of Storytelling

Many cookbooks include an anecdote, personal story or other detail about some or all of the recipes to personalize each entry. Aspiring chefs love to read about what makes a recipe meaningful to the family, who created it or when the food was served. Any details you can provide beyond how many the recipe serves adds to the charm of cookbook printing.

5. Choose a Binding

Once you have decided on the format and size of your cookbook creation, choosing a binding will determine how the rest of the formatting is styled. The binding choice for a cookbook should be determined by how the book will be used.

Most cooks love for their cookbooks to lay flat, so choosing a binding that allows for that convenience means cooks will be able to easily access your recipes without having to prop open the page.

  • Perfect Bound – Typically used for books that will be read multiple times, a Perfect Bound book will not lay flat and so may not be a good fit for cookbook printing. Perfect bound books can be printed in multiple sizes as well in the landscape format.
  • Saddle Stitched – This stapled binding is only available for books up to 80 pages, and it does not lay flat. Most cookbooks do not use the saddle stitch bound format but it is an excellent choice for booklets and catalogs.
  • Wire-o Bound – A classic style that utilizes metal wire-o threaded through square holes to create the binding. Wire-o bound books can lay flat, making this ideal for professional cookbook creation. Standard sizes are 5½ x 8½, 6 x 9, 8½ x 11, 9 x 12 and 11 x 17, and can be either portrait or landscape style. You can also order custom sizes.
  • Plastic Coil Bound – Just right for cookbook creation, plastic coil bindings lay flat and require a larger margin on the coil side than perfect bound or saddle-stitched. Plastic coil-bound books come in the following standard sizes: 5½ x 8½, 6 x 9, 8½ x 11, or 9 x 12, but you can order non-standard sizes.

6. Prepare Pages for Printing Your Cookbook Creation

Now it is time to assemble your cookbook to prepare it for printing.

First, carefully review each recipe one last time for correctness, spelling and formatting. Make sure that all ingredient quantities are listed consistently and correctly – nothing is worse than making a recipe with 1 Tablespoon of salt when the recipe should have noted 1 Teaspoon! Finalize each in accordance with the size of cookbook you are making, carefully following requirements for size, margins and other size-specific constraints.

Next, finalize typing up and proofing all content organization pages you have included like the Table of Contents or any special sections included like story pages or photo groupings.

Lastly, align pages, photos and cover in the order they will appear in the cookbook, double-checking that page numbers match up with the recipe listing within the Table of Contents and Index sections before submitting your final file to be printed and assembled by the bookmaker.

Enjoy Your Cookbook!

Soon you will have your finished cookbook in your hands, ready to use, distribute or present to others as a treasure to keep for years to come. This relatively simple cookbook creation process is a fantastic way to produce a kitchen keepsake that can be enjoyed for generations of friends and family. If you’d like help with your cookbook project, please contact us! For more tips on cookbook printing, check out our cookbook page.

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