How to Read A Recipe
Flexible Recipes
Precise Recipes
Place of Learning: 
20-30 Min
Grade Level: 

ESY Berkeley Teaching Staff
Edible Schoolyard Project
Berkeley, CA

In this lesson, students will watch a short Edible Schoolyard Project: How to Read a Recipe Video about reading recipes, read an Edible Schoolyard recipe for Sauteed Greens, rewatch the video while completing a worksheet, and summarize a recipe in their own words. Students will learn new techniques for reading recipes that will increase their comprehension and support them in cooking independently.
Student Learning Goals & Objectives: 
  • Students will gain confidence in cooking by developing their ability to read recipes.
  • Students will practice critical thinking skills by analyzing recipes.

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to...  

  • Locate key information and steps within a recipe.
  • Compare and contrast flexible and precise recipes.
  • Articulate and rewrite recipes in their own words.
Materials & Prep: 
Procedure Steps: 

Students will watch the following video. Also viewable on Vimeo.


Have students watch the same video a second time, pausing while watching the video and answer the following questions:

1. What is the difference between flexible and precise recipes?

2. Which ingredients in the recipe “Sauteed Greens” have hidden instructions? What are these “hidden” instructions?

3. Why might you need to cross-reference between the instructions and ingredient list? (hint: what information is not in the instructions?)

4. What is an example of sequence language? What does sequence language tell you? 

5. 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! 

  • 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.
Teaching Notes: 
  • Extension: This activity can be extended by practicing with another recipe that the student chooses. They can identify the recipe as either a flexible or precise recipe, note any hidden instructions in the ingredients list, note all sequence language, and finally, create their version of the recipe that includes all the information they need. 
  • Extension: Students can prepare the Sauteed Greens recipe. After cooking and eating the greens, students can consider if they would make any changes to the recipe based on their experience. Finally, students can revise their copy of the recipe to reflect their preferences e.g., reduce the amount of soy sauce and double the amount of sesame oil.