Amelia Bodner
Food Editor and Proofreader

Writing Tips

Let your culinary wisdom shine

Parts of a Cookbook


Wondering what the most important aspects of a cookbook are? Or is the layout not quite clear?

Of course, you can be as creative as you want to be when it comes to developing your recipes, and your book is completely unique – but still, there are certain conventions you can stick to for it to be easy to follow and a joy to read and use.

For instance, many recipe books include a general introduction, and some even have further short introductions for each chapter. Books on unusual or very specific topics might have a glossary explaining uncommon words and presenting tips and tricks in a useful reference list is also very popular.

This overview provides a rough guide for what is commonly found in a cookbook. It’s not compulsory – feel free to change the order however you see fit – and there may be further, less common aspects that aren’t included here, such as a foreword or preface.




Use high-quality pictures of your meals, or illustrations fitting to your chosen topic.  Bright colours are helpful to grab people’s attention. 

Half-title page

This first page hosts only your book’s title. (It’s generally a good idea to keep this short, by the way.) The back of the page is kept blank, but you could add an image or illustration.

Title page

Here, your title is followed by your name (and any others if it was written by several people), other important contributors (such as a translator) and the publisher, if applicable.

Copyright page

The copyright page presents information on who is responsible for the various content aspects, such as photographers, typesetters and graphic designers (layout/design). The author’s assertion of the moral right to be identified as the author can be found here too. The copyright page can also be placed right at the end of the book. 


Many authors like to dedicate their books to spouses, other family members or people who have supported them on their journey.


This includes the introduction (if there is one), the recipes and further chapters on useful information, if applicable. Recipes are usually categorised and listed in a simple and logical order, such as:

  • starters
  • main meals
  • desserts


This is a great opportunity to talk about the initial idea or inspiration for the book, and experiences that influenced your writing. It’s your chance to get personal and capture the reader’s attention.

Useful information

This could be lists of equipment, measurements and conversions, tips and tricks or a glossary if you use many uncommon terms in your writing. It could also be placed just before the index.


The structure and style of a recipe possibly deserve their own blog post, but a couple of common aspects are an introductory paragraph, the number of servings, the ingredients, the method and additional notes at the end, if relevant.

Resources/references/further reading

This is the place for any sources of information you used while developing your recipes and for recommendations on further reading.


The index is a useful way for readers to quickly find what they are looking for. It usually lists the most common ingredients alphabetically with the according recipes underneath. Recipes can be mentioned twice or more in the index if they fit into several categories.


Here, you can thank anyone you consider influential or important for your journey as an author. Apart from friends and family, it is also common to refer to your publisher, editor and anybody else who significantly contributed to the book.

Author information

A short author bio is great to give readers more details about your life if you are happy to do so. This section could also include a list of your past work.




I hope this is helpful to everyone planning their own cookbook – if there’s anything I missed or you have other thoughts, do let me know in the comments!


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Your Target Audience

Amelia BodnerFood Editor and Proofreader Writing Tips Let your culinary wisdom shine Your Target Audience and Purpose   When it comes to writing a recipe

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Your Target Audience

Amelia BodnerFood Editor and Proofreader Writing Tips Let your culinary wisdom shine Your Target Audience and Purpose   When it comes to writing a recipe

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