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Wondering if you can become the next Emily Mariko, the American TikTok star famous for her viral salmon bowl recipe?
Well, according to Statista, that may not be such a far-fetched dream—recipes sell and an entire 43% of internet users worldwide get meal inspiration from recipe websites.
That’s a huge percentage!
So, if you’ve got great cooking skills or a passion for food, why not take advantage of the potential and make money selling recipes online?
In this article, I’ll show you how to get started, and also give you some product ideas to inspire your own.
Can you sell recipes online?
The short answer is—yes, you can! And, you absolutely should if you enjoy cooking and already have some followers.
Thousands of food bloggers are making a living by selling recipes online. Some rely on Instagram, while others promote their recipes on TikTok. Plus, more and more content creators are setting up online stores to sell their own recipes.
Even Instagram’s data suggests that 58% of users have a strong interest in food and cooking, and 36% feel inspired to try new things related to food.
So, if the market demand is clearly there, why not go ahead and monetize it?
You could start selling recipes online to:
- Health-conscious consumers
- Diet-conscious consumers
- Chefs & cooks
- Food businesses
Selling recipes to a food business (pros & cons)
You might be wondering:
Should I sell recipes to food businesses like supermarkets, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.? Let’s find out!
If you want to submit recipes to a food business, then there are a couple of things you need to evaluate before you approach a food company.
One of the first things you will need to determine is what food category your recipes fall in (salads, soups, desserts, etc.).
You will also need to evaluate whether your recipes are ethnic dishes or meant for a specific diet (keto, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.).
You will even need to check whether your recipes fall into sub-categories such as hot dishes, cold dishes, and so on.
What’s more, you’ll have to be mentally prepared for the tough competition—your recipes must stand out in order to be selected or featured. And, in the food business, there are thousands of competitors.
Next, you’ll have to be on the lookout for a buyer (a restaurant, cafe, grocery store, bakery, etc.) that sells the types of recipes that you have.
This can be a challenging task because, again, there’s lots of competition, it’s time-consuming, and the pay may not be sustainable enough for a recipe business owner.
For instance, some food blogs will let you earn via pay-per-click royalties or revenue shares. While this may sound like a good deal, the truth is that you won’t be 100% in control of the profit you earn.
You’ll also have no control over the marketing as you’ll be dependent on a third party’s way of doing things. In other words, the food companies will be the ones to decide on the final pricing of your recipes.
If you’re cool with that, then you could give it a try. But, if you’d rather set your own prices and have flexibility, then selling recipes online through your own store may be more worth it in the long run.
Think about it:
With a store of your own, you’ll be able to reach a global audience online as well as have control over everything: the pricing, the sales, and the marketing.
Should you even bother with online marketplaces (eBay, Etsy, etc.)?
Another question that naturally pop ups when you think about selling recipes online is:
Should I sell on marketplaces like eBay or an Etsy shop?
As always, I think it’s a good idea to look at the pros and cons—there are several factors that you should take into consideration. Let’s start with the pros.
The pros of selling recipes on an online marketplace:
- An already established market
- Large customer base
- An international reach
- No restrictions on what types of files you can sell
And, now, let’s look at the cons.
The cons of selling recipes on an online marketplace:
- The list of built-in marketing tools is poor
- Product pages are barely customizable
- Almost impossible to integrate external services or apps
- The pricing is quite steep
- Over-saturated & hard to stand out against competitors
- No actual control over your own store
- Delayed payouts
- Restrictive marketplace rules
It’s also important to keep in mind that a lot of these marketplaces come with hidden fees—Etsy will charge a hefty percentage of your online sales, and so will eBay. And, if you’re only just starting out, you will want to optimize your expenses as much as possible.
So, I’d say that selling recipes on a marketplace is only worth it as long as you don’t have an audience and you’re starting from scratch. If you do have an existing audience, then it’s better to open an online store or recipe website so that you can have full control over your own site.
The best way to get sales? Create content around your recipes!
One of the best ways to sell recipes online is to first create engaging content around them on social media. And, of course, the better your content—the more followers you’ll attract.
Of course, if you were selling recipes on a marketplace like Etsy, you wouldn’t need to do that because they already have an existing customer base.
But, let’s be honest:
As easy as it sounds, that would take the fun out of being a content creator, wouldn’t it?
Also, there’s no guarantee that your product will ever end up on the first or second search page. It’s just safer to first build an audience on your own platform or social media profile, and then later create an online store and start selling recipes.
So, if you’re looking for ideas on how to create content around your recipes online, then let’s start with a couple of inspirational examples from successful Sellfy food bloggers.
Take Sellfy creator Ashley Renee. She’s a successful food blogger whose recipes are in high demand. Also known as the Messy Eats Blog on Instagram, Ashley has 522K+ followers on this platform and she actively uses it to sell her keto diet cookbooks.
How did she manage to reach such a wide audience? Well, first, she started off with TikTok where she currently has 611,6K followers. In Ashley’s own words, this is the exact formula she used:
“I noticed something unique about TikTok—creators were blowing up overnight. So, I started learning about viral sounds and how many times you’re supposed to post. Then, I created my first keto TikTok. It went viral and I got 15K followers. It was crazy how fast I blew up.”
So, as you can see, adding trending songs to every new recipe video on TikTok helped her go viral. Aside from that, she also made sure that her food videos were as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
According to Ashley, a viral food video will have three important components:
- Cool music (a viral sound)
- Great food
- Great video quality
She also says that good quality photos will go a long way. So, pay attention to photo quality when you shoot pictures!
Then there’s Sellfy creator Victoria (Kulinary Effect). Victoria has really taken advantage of the power of social media—she has diversified creating content by showing behind-the-scenes footage, sharing cooking tips and free recipes, doing great recipe reviews, and even hosting a podcast.
By doing all of this, she lets her followers see the many sides of her food business and what it takes to be a food blogger. I think we can all agree that creating a personal experience for your audience is a great way to build a following!
For example, in addition to posting food videos, she also uses Instagram Stories to gamify her content (e.g. “This or that?” games) and increase engagement. She makes it fun for people to learn about cooking—even her Instagram bio says, “Inspiring others to find joy and confidence through cooking.”
How to sell recipes online
We’ve talked about selling recipes on a marketplace vs an online store. So, what is the best website for recipes?
Well, let me make it simple for you and introduce you to Sellfy!
Sellfy is an easy-to-use eCommerce platform for creators looking to start an online business. You can sell anything with Sellfy (not just recipes!)—digital downloads, subscriptions, physical goods, and even print-on-demand merchandise.
Sellfy also has powerful sales and marketing tools, beautiful pre-made store themes, built-in analytics, and so much more.
Here’s a full list of the pros of selling recipes with Sellfy:
- Fully customizable storefront
- Built-in marketing features & SEO
- Effortless & quick setup
- Mobile-first design
- No hidden monthly fees
- Instant access to earnings
- Advanced VAT & tax settings
- Multiple payment options
- 24/7 customer support
- Complete control over your own store
- App integrations
So, if Sellfy sounds like a good fit for you, then let’s move on to preparing your recipes for selling online!
1. Create & prepare your recipes for selling
Another great thing about Sellfy is that you can prepare as many as 50 files per product—you don’t have to upload your recipes one by one.
Or, if you’d prefer to offer your product as single or multiple recipes, you can create compressed .zip or .rar folders.
Sellfy also supports all static file formats, and your file size can be up to 10 GB per product. Plus, we have unlimited bandwidth and storage!
2. Open a Sellfy store to start selling recipes online
Now, the next step is to open a Sellfy store so that you can sell your recipes online. I’ll show you how to build and customize your store in less than 5 minutes.
Here’s how to start selling recipes online with the easiest eCommerce platform ever:
- Sign up for one of Sellfy’s paid plans, or start a 14-day free trial—all you need is a valid and verified email address. If you need access to more features, you can always upgrade to a paid plan later.
- Choose one of our premade store themes, or use Sellfy’s Store Customizer tool to create your store design from scratch.
3. Finally, upload your recipes!
Now that you’ve set up your own website, you can start uploading your recipes! Locate the option to add digital products under your dashboard’s PRODUCTS section. Then, click Add new product and start uploading your product files.
Creating mockups with Sellfy is super easy—we provide product images that you can preview and download on the Edit product page.
Pricing: how much is a recipe worth?
So, how much can you sell recipes for? I’d say it’s entirely up to you since prices tend to vary wildly from one creator or food blogger to another.
But, overall, a value-based pricing strategy tends to work best for recipes or just about any type of digital product in general.
According to a study conducted by ResearchGate, value-based pricing is the most suitable approach for a business aiming to make money and optimize profitability.
With value-based pricing, you emphasize quality over quantity. So, instead of pricing your recipes according to the cost of production and distribution, you price them according to their actual worth or value.
Value-based pricing allows you to price your recipes above the market average, which will help you earn more profit in less amount of time. And, that’s because, for a lot of people, higher pricing implies higher quality.
But, to really make this strategy work for you, you will need to first convince your customers, and ensure that they have a clear understanding of what value you are offering.
You can do that by highlighting what’s different about your recipes.
What’s special about my recipes? Am I able to offer unique recipes? Why should people buy my recipes instead of somebody else’s?
3 product ideas for your recipes
Now, last but not least, if you want to expand your product line beyond plain old recipes, then I have at least three different product ideas that you can use. Let’s check them out!
What comes to your mind first when you think about selling recipes online? Probably recipe books.
This is the most common way for food bloggers to make money from their recipes, and for a good reason: original recipes are in huge demand! And, that’s because delicious food plays such a significant role in our lives that many of us will check out a cookbook for recipe ideas at least once.
If you’ve signed up for Sellfy, then you can easily sell your own cookbooks as eBooks.
For example, Sellfy store Kulinary Effect sells cookbooks in two categories: standard-priced cookbooks ($10) and then “$1 recipes”. This way, her followers can pick according to their budget—a great marketing tactic!
It’s worth mentioning that, as of 2023, online videos make up more than 83% of all consumer internet traffic. Moreover, US residents spend an average of 5+ hours per week consuming video content—on mobile phones alone!
People love to watch videos, so why not sell cooking videos with Sellfy and offer subscriptions for on-demand video content? This is a great product idea for someone who has already gone viral on a video platform like TikTok or a YouTube channel and wants to monetize their videos.
For instance, Sellfy store LL Kitchen Meals sells instructional recipe videos to their audience of 33K.
Did you know that, aside from recipes with cooking measurements, a lot of people also need help with shopping lists? There’s a surprisingly big market demand for shopping lists, so this is definitely something that you could turn into a product!
Better yet—why not sell your recipe book and include shopping list as a bonus?
For example, Sellfy store The Expat Kitchen sells a special cookbook with individual recipes from all over the world, including a shopping list, wine pairings, and even a playlist. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a super fun cookbook to me!
Ready to create recipes & make money selling recipes online?
As you can see, starting an online recipe business is just a matter of a few simple steps:
- Sign up for a Sellfy plan that best fits your needs
- Write recipes & upload them
- Promote & sell recipes online!
FAQ: selling recipes
How do I sell my recipes?
Sellfy is a great platform to sell your recipes online. It is a user-friendly platform that allows you to create an online store and sell your digital products, including recipes, with ease. You can upload your recipes as a PDF or other digital formats, set a price, and start selling.
Sellfy also provides you with marketing tools to promote your products and increase sales. With its secure payment system, you can receive payments instantly. Plus, Sellfy takes care of the delivery process, ensuring that your customers receive their purchases immediately.
How to write recipes to earn money?
Canva is a great tool for creating visually appealing recipe books that can help you earn money. Start by selecting the right template and adding high-quality images of your dishes. Use clear and concise language to describe your recipes and add any tips or variations to make them stand out.
Make sure to proofread your content before publishing and consider offering your recipe book as a digital download on Sellfy. With Canva, you can easily create a professional-looking recipe book that can help you turn your passion for cooking into profit.
Are recipe books profitable?
Yes, recipe books can be profitable if marketed and sold effectively. With the rise of food blogs and cooking shows, there is a growing demand for curated recipes in digital form. Successful recipe books often have a unique theme or focus, beautiful food photography, and clear and easy-to-follow instructions.
It is possible to make a few hundred dollars to thousands per month selling recipes. Some Sellfy creators have reported earning upwards of $10,000 per month selling recipes online.