Choosing a WordPress Recipe Plugin

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Part of food blogging is sharing and showcasing your recipes in a way that makes it convenient for the reader to view them, with simple formatting and the ease of accessing them at home. Step by step pictures are nice, but when you are ready to print a recipe, clearly written directions in a clean area that is easy to select and print is a great thing to offer your readers.

Another important reason for having your recipes properly formatted is the ever evolving need for good SEO. With Google offering a “recipe” search, and hundreds of thousands of sites competing for the same key words, any advantage you can have over the competition and to drive people to your site is welcome.

The good news is, you no longer have to be a website engineer or hire a SEO consultant to figure out things that may help your site grow. Many WordPress developers are already out there doing the work for you and making it easier than ever to get your site and its recipes up to date.

Below is a list of available free WordPress recipe plugins. I tested each of them on one of my sites, took screenshots and notes about each, and these are my findings. To prevent a huge post, I grouped the images from each plugin into one screenshot. Feel free to click on the image to enlarge, or email me if you have any questions about any of the plugins.

 hRecipe

hRecipe gives you fast, efficient recipe formatting… with an SEO advantage. Your recipes look good, and people searching for recipes are attracted to Google Rich Snippet recipe display, which can mean better clickthrough to your blog.

hRecipe includes the option for a reference URL which I think is great for all of the copyright conflict and sharing of recipes around the internet. There are also option tabs at the top of the pop up box that appears when you click to add a recipe that allow you to include any additional notes or nutritional information. The default styling is a little bland, but with a little CSS savvy this plugin could be customized to fit your site. hrecipe did not offer a print feature, which I feel is an important option to offer.

Easy Recipe

 The most fully featured recipe plugin that doesn’t require a degree in geek!

EasyRecipe makes recipe entry a breeze, with features like cut and paste, auto conversion of your plain text recipe posts, live custom formatting, Google Recipe View formatting and preview button, automatic ratings, conversion from other recipe plugins like ZipList and RecipeSEO, and more.

Easy Recipe had a lot of features that really caught my attention. It includes an area for prep time, cook time, serving size, notes and ‘other’ for anything else you may want to include as well as a line for the original source. Once entered, the recipe is ‘captured’ in it’s own table within your post. What is nice about Easy Recipe that when previewing a post, along the top dashboard (as long as you are logged in to your WordPress account), there is an Easy Recipe button that pops open a box that allows you to edit the formatting of your recipe. If you like some fonts large then others, want to highlight the title, or change the print format, it all can be adjusted.

ZipList

 Make your recipes SEO-friendly and more likely to appear in Google’s Recipe View search. No need to hand-code your recipes into a sophisticated recipe structure when the ZipList Recipe Plugin will do all the heavy lifting for you, enhancing the findability of your recipe website.

Of the plugins I tested, ZipList was probably my favorite. It stared with the formatting. An image can be included in the recipe box, a print button is clearly visible, the ingredient list and instructions are clean and easily read. What struck me, is that it is just the hRecipe plugin with some additional add-on features, but I liked it a lot more than the hRecipe plugin itself. Should your reader decide to print the recipe, the image is removed so that no additional ink is wasted, a feature I loved.

RecipePress 

Turn your WordPress 3.0 site into a full fledged recipe sharing system. Allow users to submit recipes, organize recipes in hierarchal categories, make comments, and embed recipes in posts and pages.

RecipePress appears under the main text area of your new posts, prompting you to add a recipe. Once selected a whole menu of options opens up. The ingredients have to be added line by line, something I can’t see myself making the time for, but the options for meal type, cuisines, skill levels and more are all great features. You can even manage these items as if they were their own categories. It did lack a print button, which is a deal breaker for me.

Kitchenbug

The newest kid to the party, KitchenBug is still operating in beta mode and an only be downloaded once you have been accepted to test the plugin. I had high hopes for kitchenbug, with its easy looking recipe box, but when I tried hitting continue for the first time, I was told there were errors in my recipe and that I couldn’t proceed. I had to go back and assign a pre-designated quantity to every item in my list. Now, this is only something that bugs me because on my table, not everything is measured out. I put out a small bowl of sour cream if people choose to dollop some on, I have never once measured the quantity. But moving on. Kitchenbug does allow you to add an image and tag a recipe right within the Kitchenbug screen.

Kitchenbug had a few features I could see as both pro and cons when I went and published my post. First, it included a link to every item on the list. Does one really need to hover over the word potatoes for a pop up? It automatically calculated nutritional value and assigned ‘tags’ to my post that I did not select myself. Now, I’m not a nutritionist and I don’t count calories  so I have never included this sort of information on my posts, mainly because I have no working knowledge of it, so I would never know if Kitchenbug was accurate or not. When hitting the print button next to the recipe, the entire post goes to print. Lastly, after hitting the print option, an ad appeared on my page that I did not install myself. Now, perhaps this is just a function of the beta, and that any ad revenue generated would defer to me, if I were to install and use Kitchenbug, but the idea of an outside company making money off of ads I didn’t manually place on my site just kind of irked me.

Recipe SEO

With the introduction of Google’s Recipe View, suddenly microformats became incredibly important to food bloggers. If you don’t use microformats for your recipes (or microdata, for those using HTML5), then your blog most likely won’t show up in Recipe View searches.

But most people don’t want to spend the time and effort to hand-code microformats into their recipes every single time they publish a blog post. It’s a lot of work, and quite frankly a pain in the rear, especially if you’re not familiar with HTML.

That’s where this plugin comes in.

RecipeSEO operated in a very similar way to hRecipe or Ziplist, in that it prompted a small pop up box where you would put the ingredients in line by line and instructions. In also included options for nutritional information if you wanted to include it. The styling was simple, but as a whole it made no impression on me. It did not include a print feature and for some reason, the directions and interesting all formatted as a link to an image within the post.

WP Recipe

Adds recipe post type, alowing you to add and manage recipes on your website. Supports archives and comments and has easy recipe ingredients and instructions management. Create, manage and publish your best recipes on your own website of blog. WP-Recipe is built out of custom post type (recipe) with multiple taxonomy support, ratings and interchangable formats. This is not another “add recipe to post” plgin, this is a “recipy post type” plugin, with custom template files included!

Well, not to end this on a downer, but I simply can’t recommend WP Recipe. At first, it looks like a good idea. Instead of adding “posts,” a new option called “Recipes” is added to your dashboard. Once you add a new recipe, there are options for formats, tags, types, and other “category’ based filing systems that would be fantastic for a site – if the plugin worked. After hitting publish, I couldn’t find my newly added recipe. So I went and checked the developers installation instructions and changed my permalink structure to reflect what they needed. Still nothing. I went back to the post and hit view, and got nothing but a blank screen.  So, as for where my recipe went, how to view it, or how to share it with my readers, I have no idea. Thumbs down.

Overall, I was most impressed with the ZipList plugin. I could customize it to my colors and layout, and be happy with the formatting. With plugins, it is easy to install and test out the options. Give them a go and see which works for you. However, know that if you are going to install and test plugins, it is important to make sure that they are compatible with your theme and version of WordPress. Consult your designer (or kids!) if you don’t have a working knowledge of FTP. Also, keep in mind that if you are testing out plugins, delete the ones you are no longer using. Extra plugins can slow down a site, so go minimal. Now, get to sprucing up those recipes!

[Photo: pirate johnny]

54 comments

  1. Thanks for this! I am in the process of adding a recipe plug-in to my website and I wasn’t sure which one was suitable. This is going to help me make the decision now.

  2. This is a great lineup of plugins and thanks for including EasyRecipe. When I started OrgasmicChef there were only a couple of plugins and they were clunky and needed css and taxonomies, etc, so I asked my husband to write something easy.

    EasyRecipe is also customizable in background color, font, border, sizes, spacing, bullets, etc so you can match your theme colors. OR you can leave it very simple and look like you just typed it in and still get the Google formatting and a print button.

    Thanks again!

  3. Paul (GetMeCooking) 4 years ago

    Hi Kita,

    Great round-up.

    Please could you also include the GetMeCookng recipe plugin either in this post, or a future post? http://www.getmecooking.com/wordpress-recipe-plugin

    It has free and premium versions. Even the free version includes many features that the others don’t have. It has had almost 9,500 downloads since it was released in September 2011.

    I will be presenting again at this years Food Blogger Connect (Europe’s largest food blogging conference) in London, discussing the advantages of using a recipe plugin and I will be using the GetMeCooking plugin as an example. If you’re around, please say hi.

  4. Tauni 4 years ago

    Thank you for this thorough review. I really appreciate it! xoxo

  5. Tammy Hart 4 years ago

    You mention “RecipePress”, link to that plugin, and use that plugin’s description, but the screenshots and features you describe are actually from my plugin, ReciPress: http://www.recipress.com

    RecipePress is no longer supported nor being developed, whereas mine is less than a year old and still in active development with pro features on the way such as the ability to print just the recipe by itself.

    Ingredients are added line by line because they are also added in like a category, allowing you to view all recipes that include that ingredient. It also allows the formatted output to be very specific and easy to read and will make it easy for future add-ons to do things like add just the ingredients to a shopping list, increase the amounts so that you can increase the servings, and more. It may be a little tedious, but the payoff is worth it.

    Just thought I’d clear that up. Thanks!

    • Anand Lathigara 3 years ago

      You have developed a recipe WordPress plugin in real smart way, I really liked it and I’m using it on my Recipe site http://www.recipedev.com.

      I’m going to give a 5 star review once you add “Print recipe” and “user recipe” features in free version ;)

  6. rhonda hurwitz 4 years ago

    Are there any plugins that allow your visitors to come back and leave a review?

    • Susan Branch Smith 3 years ago

      Yes. I was just going to post a note about the WordPress plug-in (Recipe Card) I recently found. It has several elegant features, one of which is the ability to add stars and to write a review. However, the review takes you to the web site of Yumprint the plug-in’s creator. You have to set up an account either through Facebook (which I don’t recommend, because you have to give up your friend list to them) or your email address. When someone comes along and sees the # of stars given to a dish, he or she may click on them (not completely intuitive, but fairly) to read the review.

      These are tiny downsides to a really beautiful and customizable plug-in. Your plug-in goes automagically into the Yumprint database (which provides a link, of course, to your web site). The Yumprint interface itself is pretty cool … a Pinterest-like approach to recipes. You can even drag and drop recipes to a grocery button to add ingredients to your shopping list, create your own cookbook. I would imagine that one day you’ll have the chance to create an e-Cookbook or a printed cookbook this way.

      • mike 3 years ago

        Well that about answers my question. I really want people to be able to leave reviews as well, but I would rather make it as easy as possible for them :(

  7. Scarlet 4 years ago

    What an incredibly helpful post. This makes trying to find the right plugin for me so much easier. Thanks!

  8. Brooklyn 4 years ago

    Thank you for your review. This has really helped me figure out what plugin will work for me.

  9. sieghart 4 years ago

    Very nice post! But I agree with Paul from GetMeCooking.com, this plugin should be included in your review! The free version is feature packed, works like a charm and is very easy to use. After trying several others, I chose this one!

  10. Rhonda Hurwitz 4 years ago

    Does anyone know of any plugins that let you toggle between imperial measurements and metric measurements, for blogs/websites that have audiences in multiple countries?

  11. Culinary Cory 3 years ago

    Nice lineup of plugins. I’ve been using EasyRecipe with some success. I like the easy copy and paste feature. The UI for formatting the recipe itself could be better, but loving everything else about it.

  12. Smoky Dave 3 years ago

    Great post, it’s really helpful to see what plugins are available and to get a feel for how they look and work. I test drove a couple before settling on EasyRecipe because it’s so simple and easy to use and was the closest match to what I need. Thanks for a great post!

  13. Karen 3 years ago

    Thank you for this!!

  14. Carlos 3 years ago

    Nice and useful opinions. I am developping a recipes sites and I hace to reading all plugins features to make a decission

  15. Mike 3 years ago

    In process of building a WordPress website and I would like to have a dedicated recipe page. What I’m looking for is the ability to use one of these WP Recipe plugins to create formatted recipe but instead of posting the entire recipe on the page I would just like a link. This will eliminate an endless page of 200+ recipes. I would also like to make this page searchable so for example if someone types in an ingredient the search selects only those recipes. Any suggestions on which plugin can accomplish these tasks is greatly appreciated. Thanks

  16. bodynsoil 3 years ago

    Thank you for making my research to organize my many blog recipes easier. Your clearly outlined breakout of your trial of various plugins saves me hours of work..

  17. nikki 3 years ago

    Great post, Im so new to all this and im still working on creating my first online business. Which is these plugins would be the most suitable for a members only website where i just need a drop down box with options that they can choose form eg lactose free, gluten free, vegetarian, breakfast , lunch ,dinner and dessert? so they could pick vegetarian lunch options from the drop down list. Any ideas? Ive tried reading into them but it’s all so confusing. thank you

  18. Sheryl 3 years ago

    Thank you for your tips.

  19. BrechtVds 3 years ago

    Thanks for the overview!

    I tried all of these and some of them were pretty nice, but unfortunately everyone of them missed some feature I really needed. Therefore I went ahead and created my own WordPress recipe plugin and just released the first version.

    You can find it at http://www.wpultimaterecipeplugin.com

    Please let me know what you guys think and do tell me what I can improve!

  20. czalet 3 years ago

    Many thanks for your tip. It helped me decide which one to try.

  21. Denise F 3 years ago

    Just to mention because I spent an hour looking for plugins and to save frustration of others, these plugins are only available for wordpress.org sites, not wordpress.com sites.

    That being said – Great review of them!! Thank you for this info, I just wish I could use them :)

  22. Neena 3 years ago

    Thank you for such a concise yet in depth analysis of recipe plugins. Based on your article I am going to give ziplist a try.

  23. The Red Bistro 3 years ago

    I couldn’t find a single plug-in that did all I wanted, nor looked right. For now, I’ve opted to place recipes in Google Drive. I simply manually add a ‘Print Recipe’ icon to the recipe in each post. What SEO do I lose out on doing this? Or is this quick-fix worth sticking to? Any advice gratefully welcomed.

  24. Andy 3 years ago

    Hi, great post, thanks! So if you had to pick just one, what would it be? I got which one’s you weren’t so happy with, but couldn’t tell which one you would recommend over the others.

    Thanks!

    • SunWorks 3 years ago

      The author twice said ZipList was her favorite, plain as day. “Of the plugins I tested, ZipList was probably my favorite” and also “Overall, I was most impressed with the ZipList plugin“.

      Her preference was quite clear.

  25. Jessica 3 years ago

    Wow! This blog post was incredibly helpful to me! Thank you for taking the time to test out each recipe plugin. Now, us newbies can learn from your experience. I’m definitely going to look into the Ziplist plugin.
    Thanks again!
    Jess

  26. Andy 3 years ago

    Thanks for this big help. This is what i need for my recipe blog about fondue.
    Great work.
    Best regards from germany

  27. JenCooksKorean 3 years ago

    Thanks for writing this post. I recently switched from EasyRecipe, which you have to pay $25 to upgrade to be able to add a photo to your recipe, to ZipList which lets you embed a photo for free.

  28. Thoughtful Cooking 3 years ago

    Thanks so much for doing all of the homework for me, this is a great resource for anyone, like myself, who is thinking of playing around with a food blog of some sort!

  29. Adam 3 years ago

    Just a small note to anyone else out there looking for a recipe plugin… I noticed that the Ziplist WordPress plugin has not been updated for about 1.5 years. For this reason, I think EasyRecipe is a better bet.

    Cheers,

    Adam

  30. Roger James 2 years ago

    The Getmecooking plugin looks terrific visually and I’ll be trying that one out. For simplicity of use the Ultimate Recipe plugin is hard to beat. The only thing missing from it is nutritional information.
    Thanks
    Roger

  31. Vicki 2 years ago

    What a great post! Thank you so much for doing all that research! So so helpful. I set about looking at all the different plugins and hadn’t got a clue which to chose! Now I have a far better idea and I really thank you for that!

  32. JM 2 years ago

    A year and a half later, I know of at least one formerly promising plug-in that’s gone dormant, but not sure of what are the newer, better ones out now. So… any newer takes on the crop of available plug-ins?

  33. Georgios Pyrgiotakis 2 years ago

    I should have read this long before I start looking for one for myself. It turns out though that the one that fits better my needs is the Kitchenbug. Some of the issues you are reporting are not there anymore. Ads do not show and there is an option of you want to calculate the nutrition data and the show the link of the ingredient entry in wikipedia.

    Overall I like ti better than zip list because it also give you the ability to make your own themes.

  34. Barry smith 2 years ago

    … Or … If anyone knows of a good Multicms plugin for future portability that would be great as well

  35. The Dude Kitchen 2 years ago

    Thank you! This was very helpful!

  36. All Cooked Up 2 years ago

    Great list and it looks like many of these are still being supported. It would be nice to see an updated review as many of these plugins have had new features added and ease of use improved.

    Each have their strengths and weakness and none have all the features I’d like together. I’ve narrowed it down to trying easyrecipe, ziplist, and getmecooking. Just have to install and try them all.

    • Kathleen 2 years ago

      Let us know what you find out! Thanks.

  37. Xuan Ling 2 years ago

    Hi All,

    Have you try any great plugin which can allow my reader to post their own recipe in my food blogging page and also allow me to approve before it publish? Thank you

  38. Fran Tunno 2 years ago

    After spending a couple hours, and getting my son involved, I discovered what one other person did, that these do not work unless you have a wordpress.org site. In other words, it has to be your own website, which you pay for because wordpress.com doesn’t support this. I wish you would have mentioned that earlier in the article. Otherwise, it’s good information.

  39. Cristina 2 years ago

    Awesome post! Needed to find a good plugin to add to my website and this makes my decision so much easier :)

  40. Yaznas 2 years ago

    Thanks for this!
    i am gonna start my recipe blog soon so it helps.

  41. Rose 2 years ago

    Thanks for the list! I currently use Recipe Card (https://wordpress.org/plugins/recipe-card/) and love it. Its free, has tons of great customizing options, easy to use, looks great, but the only downer is that to “Save” a recipe, you have to join YumPrint. (Printing works just fine though, so just print to PDF and save that way.)

  42. Gina 2 years ago

    Thanks for this list! It’s very helpful.

  43. Chad 2 years ago

    I am looking for a recipe plugin for WP site for my wife. She want to have a picture for each stage of the cooking process instructions. Have you seen anything like that?

  44. Cynthia 2 years ago

    You also have to join ZipList to be able to save recipes – either by registering or by signing in via Facebook. With that in mind I’d love to hear of a comparison between ZipList and Recipe Card. I think I will install them both and try them both out to decide what works best for me. But if anyone has any pros and cons for each to share that would be great.

  45. Pingback: Reading and Plugging - My great Wordpress blog

  46. Jersey 2 years ago

    I am starting to use a wp plugin for recipes and it is good timing that I get to read your reviews. Thanks for the recommendation.

  47. Libby Webb 2 years ago

    Great blog post! I’ve been using Ziplist for a little over a year now. Totally bummed to have received an email stating its no longer being supported and all online recipe boxes go away as of Dec 10. I’m looking hard for a replacement that did most of what Ziplist did. Playing with RecipeCard today. Anyone else using Ziplist? What are you transitioning to? Thanks!

  48. Bryce 2 years ago

    Hey Kita! :) I was hoping you’d consider adding a plugin I’ve been working hard on for the past 6 months to your list – Recipe Hero.

    It’s completely free, the data is yours forever, looks awesome in Google / Pinterest and is really really easy to use! :) Thanks