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How to Make Your Recipe's Ingredients List Helpful and Informative

What is an ingredients list? Consider the ingredients list of your recipe as the shopping list for your reader. What do you want them to know before they begin making your meal? There are many different ways of writing them – they can be listed by quantity, preparation, weight, or when to use them.

The way an ingredient list is written comes down to each person’s different style of recipe keeping and traditions. The Jikoni team has broken them down into four main methods for writing your ingredients list.


The ratio method of writing an ingredients list is most typically used as a formula for foundational recipes, such as the ratio of oil to vinegar in a salad dressing, or water to rice. Ratio-based recipes can easily be scaled up to the desired quantity. Most commonly, you will see ratios used in bread recipes, like Bread Magazine’s sourdough recipe.


Often referred to as “no-scroll recipes,” this ingredients list is designed to limit scrolling back to the top of your webpage to re-read the preparation of your ingredients. For instance, a no-scroll recipe would have the amount of onions in the ingredients list, and in the instructions it might say: “finely dice onions before you begin”. Without preparation included in your ingredients list, we recommend always adding the preparation of an ingredient within the recipe's instructions instead.


A visual ingredients list can be helpful for recipes with smaller or hard-to-measure ingredients. A great example of this would be a pinch of salt or a handful of herbs. Another form of this is when you measure with household objects like a mug, which is more authentic to people who don’t typically measure when they cook. For example, you can use the lines of your finger knuckle to measure water for rice.


Favored by many recipe publishers, Quantity With Prep includes all the ingredients, their measured quantities (by weight or volume), and how to prepare them before you start cooking (example: 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced). However, not all home cooks prep their ingredients before cooking, so it is important to list your ingredients in a helpful order. The Quantity With Prep method lists in the order of appearance in the recipe, and then in order of quantity, the largest first. Our Egusi Soup recipe is a prime example of using the Quantity With Prep method when writing your ingredient list.


  • Provide your reader with as much detail as possible for a better cooking experience.

  • Don’t forget to specify ingredients if varieties will cook at different times (like brown rice vs. white rice)!

  • No matter what form of measurements you use, always be consistent to not confuse your reader – stick to metric or imperial.

  • If you think your ingredients list is too long, you can always divide it into sections based on the separate components of the dish, as Kiano Moju does in her recipe for Berbere-spiced Pork Tacos.

Do you have any other tips for how to write a recipe? Share them with us on our socials, and tag us with #MyJikoni to join our growing community of recipe creators!


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