How to Read a Recipe


Have you ever read a recipe only to still not know where to start? Have you ever gotten halfway through cooking something and realized you missed a key step? These are common setbacks in the kitchen that can be avoided with purposeful recipe reading. This activity will help you learn how to read a recipe like a professional chef!

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Before You Get Started

Print out the worksheet and recipe.

If you are not able to print out the worksheet, you can either fill it in on your computer or copy the questions into a notebook.


Computer or phone to view video.

  • Cross-reference: to go back and forth between two parts of a text.
  • Precise: exact, not easily changed.
  • Flexible: adaptable, easily changed.
  • Sequence language: Language that describes the order in which events should occur.

View the Edible Schoolyard video “How to Read a Recipe” below. 


Watch the video again, review the sauteed greens recipe, and answer the following questions as you come across the answers. 

  • What is the difference between flexible and precise recipes? 
  • Is Sauteed Greens a flexible or precise recipe? 
  • Which ingredients in the recipe “Sauteed Greens” have hidden instructions? 
  • What are these “hidden” instructions? 
  • Why might you need to cross-reference between the instructions and ingredient list? (hint: what information is not in the instructions?) 
  • What is an example of sequence language? What does sequence language tell you? 

It can be helpful to rewrite a recipe in your own words. Try to describe all the steps of the Sauteed Greens recipe.


Now that you know how to read recipes like a chef, find another recipe you want to cook and remember to use these tips!