Do You Follow A Recipe {Ask the Readers}

I was recently in the kitchen cooking with my daughter and we were discussing following a recipe and making it your own and it got me thinking about what others do. So, today for Ask the Readers I thought it would be fun to find out what you do.

Do you follow recipes exactly or do you make them your own? Or maybe you do a little of both? I would love to hear what you do.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. cassie-b says:

    I use a recipe as a guide – then branch out on my own. Works well for me.

  2. I do a little of both. If it is something I have never made before, I will try to follow the recipe just as it is. If I am making my own spin off another recipe, I rarely follow it, or even measure for that matter, haha!

  3. Kristal says:

    I usually start with searching the Internet for recipes involving the ingredients I have or want to use, and then do my own thing using them as a guide or inspiration…I love to cook but sometimes following a recipe takes some of the fun away:) I like to try things and get a little thrill out of seeing what happens. Yes, sometimes I end up with failures that my husband brings up for years but mostly new and delicious food. The problem though is that giving someone the recipe is impossible:/.

  4. Harriet Dodson says:

    I do a little of both. I mostly stick to the recipe if it is something new I am making.

  5. It depends. If I’m baking something for the first time then I follow the recipe to the letter. If I’m cooking something for the first time I generally follow the recipe more or less. After the first time it depends on what I feel like or what it tasted like and I tweak it or sometimes reinvent it completely.

  6. dgsandbjsmom says:

    I only use recipes if I am going to bake. Otherwise I will peruse recipes and then go make my own. I watch a lot of Food Network too. Tonight I walked into my kitchen and knew I had ground pork/ground beef that needed to be used I threw together some meatballs. A lot of cooking is in knowing how to season.

  7. It depends on the recipe. Some I know to follow to the letter, like creme brule’ for example, otherwise it won’t set. But so often you read a recipe for the first time and it almost talks to you, telling you what would make it so much better! And the rest of the time you have to make a recipe fit in with what you have on hand. It really does help to know what flavours go together and know some good base recipes and from there you can make just about anything work.

  8. I really need a recipe…no imagination I guess. :)

  9. I cook on the run …what I mean is I plan and plan meals and use anything and everything in my fridge and cupbaords.I seldom measure, seldom follow any recipes and it works for me. No one ever complaints.Today is daughter’s 22th birthday and we are bbqing steak, have veggies, devilled eggs and flourless doublke chocolate cake .That recipe you gave us I doubled and added extra to and it sure turned out chewy yummy.

  10. Most of the time I just cook – no recipe but when I see a recipe that looks good, I will follow it.

  11. If I am baking gluten free, I follow the recipe exactly. If I’m cooking, I take a lot of libertys depending on how much my family likes certain ingredients. For example, my husband reads “1 clove of garlic” as the whole head. Ok, not really but we usually end up adding a lot of additional garlic. Beans, on the other hand, are something we’re still working on being able to tolerate so I add way less than specified.

  12. The Ladies,have it covered.Recipies are ideas,and changing up,twisting are all in the game.I’ve cooked all my life,taught from a “Great Grandmother”,and enjoyed all my life,cooking for sick folks,I have kept.I also,was taught many things,from the food blogs,”Ladies”,which I am so thankful,for some better ways and ideas !! I have always heard,”the way to a mans heart,is through his stomach”,well its the same for women!! After taking care of a terminally ill wife(for 5 1/2 years,35 years),a new one,couldn’t resist that food!! Keep the good work up,Ladies it helps all,who really try!!

  13. I need a recipe to see what ingredients and amount, but mostly I wing it to cook for one or to have left-overs for the week. I also add or leave out as needed.

  14. A little of both.

    Here is what I do:
    Brand new recipe….I will follow it exactly. If it passed the family’s taste test we talk about any improvements or anything we need to add or take away from the recipe. About 95% we adjust the recipe to make it our own to fit our strong need for heat in ourmeals. There have been times where a recipe says to do such and such in order for ex: The chili recipe I use says to add green peppers last. The family says too crunchy for chili and overpowered the meat. So I put the green peppers in with onions in the beginning. :) This is an example of how I do it. Before going Gluten Free and Grain free there was a mac and cheese recipe I used but changed it totally to a different mac and cheese with a lot of heat to it. I change up the cheese to different kinds each time so it is different every time we make it. We do not eat this anymore but just another example of how we did it before GF and Grain free/Low carb days.


  15. I do a little bit of both.

    I like to add or subtract seasonings based on our personal taste preferences.

    If I make a new recipe, my husband and I discuss it. Is it a keeper? If so, what if we add/change/subtract this or that to make it better.

    When baking, I almost always stick to the printed recipe. Most other stuff, as mentioned, I’ll add or subtract to our tastes.

  16. I follow recipes the first time and almost always adapt to my own taste.

  17. Candace S. says:

    I try to follow a recipe the first time I make it and then make my notes as to how I would change it. That being said, if I thing that the recipe isn’t seasoned aggressively enough, I will add more.

  18. If it’s the first time I’m making it, I will usually follow the recipe if I have all the ingredients and like everything in it. :) Once I have made it, the skies the limit unless I really loved it when I followed the recipe and didn’t want to change a good thing. :) I guess it depends on my mood and creativity that day. lol

  19. I usually use a recipe as a guide, often substituting, adding or subtracting ingredients to use what I have or make it healthier. Rarely, I will follow a recipe exactly. Even after making the recipe, I still try to think of ways to improve in in the future.

  20. I usually do the recipe as written the first time then tweak it. Sometimes my tweaking makes it better. Sometimes (like with my corn bread recipe) it tastes better with the original recipe.

  21. chrissie says:

    I do a little bit of both too.
    Baking I use a recipe. If I change it up when baking, its mostly the spices. Or when we make baked oatmeal, we just follow the general baked oatmeal recipe and add peanut butter or chocolate to the original (leaving the cinnamon in the recipe). But I live overseas and a lot things are hard to find so I often end up improvising and using a recipe as my general guide.
    My hubby always says no two of my meals are ever alike.

  22. I always follow the recipe as written the first time I make something new. I rarely change it up much the next time if we liked it as it was prepared. My MIL does that all the time–changes things that were good the first time and tries to make it her own then it’s terrible (well, not always but plenty of times). Not meaning to talk about about her but why fix what’s not broken IMO, you know? Occasionally I will swap out similar ingredients if I don’t have something called for on hand. With baking I always follow it exactly–I was telling my kids recently that it’s like a chemistry experiment and everything needs to be there for it to do what you expect it to.

  23. If it’s the first time doing a completely new dish that I have no or little experience with, I will more than likely follow the recipe exactly the first time. Most of the time, however, I make it my o wn.

  24. I do both. With baking, I stay pretty close to the recipe, but may sub different flavorings, nuts, etc. With casserole and one dish type dishes, I usually add chopped veggies or more if it already call for some. I play around with layered desserts a lot and doing different things with canned biscuits and crescent rolls.

  25. Heather says:

    I follow baking recipes as written the first time and then I make changes according to family’s taste. If it was loved, then I don’t usually change it. I usually make slight differences the first time through only if there is an ingredient we don’t like or don’t have in house but mostly I adapt several recipes to make my own.

  26. I’m with a couple of others….the recipe is a guide. Unless it’s a first-time thing, and then I’m a little more particular. Still yet, I haven’t been cooking for 40 years to not have some experience! :-)

  27. Roberta says:

    If I have never made the food before, I will follow the recipe. Then I make notes on the recipe writing how I think it can be improved (less salt, more garlic, cooking longer/shorter, etc.) When I make my family’s favorite foods I never use a recipe. That is why they come out different every time!

  28. JERILEE says:


  29. Justine says:

    I definitely follow recipes. After almost 5 years of marriage/cooking, I’m getting a bit more experimental and will sometimes swap out veggies or something. Mexican meals and casseroles I can play with a bit more – add beans, corn, tomatoes, chilis – or different/extra meat in a casserole. Baking, which I don’t do often, I always follow recipes exactly because I feel like there’s a bit more of a science to that. The one time I played with it was when I had the Amish Friendship Bread starter for 6 weeks or so – I was making bread so often, I wasn’t terribly concerned if one of them turned out terribly and didn’t get eaten. Short answer – I follow recipes.

  30. Pagan O. says:

    I do a little of both. When it comes to the recipes passed down from mother/grandmother/great-grandmother I follow them exactly. Other recipes, whether they come from a book or online I tend to make my own. I eyeball amounts, add or subtract things that sound good, or just use an idea I find and make it my own. Even in my cook books you’ll find my notes written down on recipes I have tried/tweaked/changed.

  31. I generally follow a recipe the first time I make it and after that if we feel like it needs tweaking, we tweak away. Everyone deserves to have their recipe repeated 1 time!

  32. Merrilee says:

    I am pretty much a recipe follower. :)
    If I am out of something, I will substitute. I find I have better results when I follow the recipe.

  33. I always follow it exactly the first time. If we like it or it has good potential, then I makes changes how I want.

  34. Most times I do find myself following the recipe exactly, but if I do not have all the exact ingredients then I will add my own little flavor to it.

    My husband does most of the cooking in our home because he is more experienced with cooking than I am and he is not a recipe follower. Learning from my husband, I have found myself adding my own personal touches to recipes a little bit more often now that my confidence in cooking has grown.

  35. Sheila Shook says:

    I do a little of both – I find a recipe I like but usually tweek it a little for the family’s perference.

  36. I do both, When I am teaching one of my children how to cook something I have them follow the recipe. But once they have done it before then I encourage them to do there own thing with it. I never make the same thing the same way every time because I either forget something or add something. This makes the recipe different every time I make it.

  37. I have to use a recipe. I’m not that confident of a cook.

  38. Cindy J says:

    I use a recipe, normally, but if it has an herb or spice or ingredient we aren’t very fond of, I just take it out and add something we like :)

  39. Amanda M says:

    I follow a recipe for baked goods, the first time I make them…never for meals though. I just use them as a starting point :)

  40. My husband hates it when I don’t follow a recipe! If I try to “wing” something and it doesn’t turn out or he doesn’t care for it, he’ll say “Why don’t you use a recipe from a cookbook?” Today, however we were eating lasagne soup and he said to me “I bet green pepper would be really good in this.” I looked at him and said “But the recipe didn’t call for green pepper!” He just grinned.

    Some recipes I’ve used so much that I have them memorised (like my bread recipe or Fiesta Soup).

  41. Usually a recipe is more like a guide for me– it’s a jumping off place. I’ll read it over and make adjustments for our taste preferences (or for what I have on hand) as I go. (I frustrate the kids because they want me to give them my recipes and I don’t have them! LOL)

  42. Tamara Price says:

    I try to stay to the general recipe with baking except for occassional swaps with fruits, nuts, and flavoring. However, I hardly ever stick to the recipe while cooking. It drives my husband crazy. He is always telling me, “That’s really good. Did you write down what you did so you can do it again?” Unfortunately, I usually do not because I am caught up in the moment.

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