• Heather

How To Teach: Following a Recipe

Importance of Following a Recipe

Cooking is just following a set of steps to create an end product. While the concept is simple, it can create a lot of opportunities for students to get off track and experience a cooking failure rather than a cooking success.


Learning how to approach a recipe so they are successful no matter what they cook or reheat is truly a lifelong skill. When students can follow the recipe they will be able to approach any meal with confidence!



Focus Skills


-Review a recipe

-How to interpret times on a recipe

-Following steps in order

-Checking if food is warm/hot enough safely

-When to get ingredients and kitchen tools



Why Focus On These Skills

We eat 3 times a day, and even if a student doesn’t need to cook to prepare a meal (there is little to no cooking involved in preparing a bowl of cereal), they still need to understand and execute the basics of following a recipe (get the bowl out before pouring the cereal in it).


Since cooking is a daily occurrence, there is value and importance in learning how to approach any meal they want to prepare.



When To Teach

Ideally, you would teach students how to follow a recipe AFTER kitchen safety and BEFORE doing the dishes, as that would make logical sense in the order of daily activities.


I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (5 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!


Lesson Objective

Students will gather ingredients and cookware, review the recipe, and cook the recipe.

Students will safely reheat food in the microwave.


Lesson Vocabulary

Cookware, flip, gather, half, ingredients, kitchen tools, reheat, open, slit, stir



Resource Perks

  • Pre and Post assessment

  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)

  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills

  • Game for students to practice their skills (because learning is fun)

  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment

  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)

  • Encouraging on-topic quotes (use as a classroom poster or starter for each class period)

  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)

  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics

  • Skill mastery certificate for positive recognition and reinforcement

  • Data collection sheet on specific focus skills

  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting

  • Word search of key vocabulary terms

  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics



Ultimate Goal

The number 1 priority for this lesson is to stress the importance of following the steps in ORDER! It is common to watch students who are capable of each individual step, but experience a cooking failure or frustration because they didn’t follow the steps in order. Teach them to approach every recipe by going 1 by 1 through each step! Slow and steady will always win the race.



Links to Curriculum

Following a Recipe Lesson Unit


5 Food Groups Lesson Unit


Food Storage and Expiration Dates Lesson Unit


Cooking & Kitchen Lesson Unit Bundle


Life Skills Curriculum Bundle





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