5 Tips for Estimating How Long It Will Really Take to Make a Recipe

published Feb 27, 2014
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Whether you’re trying to get dinner on the table by 7pm or planning a blow-out banquet, one important part of the cooking process is figuring out how long it will take you to make all the recipes on the menu. Forget the estimate stated in the recipe — as cookbook reviewer T. Susan Chang points out, these times are rarely correct. Instead, she offers five helpful tips for figuring out how long a given recipe will actually take to prepare.

One potential pitfall to watch out for is ingredients that already have prep included, such as “carrots, peeled and chopped.” If you just read the instructions, you might forget to include this additional prep time in your estimate.

Another common mistake is missing words like chill, rest, and overnight when reading the recipe, which inevitably leads to the unpleasant discovery that your dish won’t be ready until the day after the party.

Here is a brief list of her tips, but I recommend checking out the full post; she includes a lot of very helpful information for more accurate planning.

5 Tips for Accurately Estimating Recipe Times

  1. Read the ingredients list.
  2. Skim the instructions, looking for time indications.
  3. Always always add an additional 15 minutes or more to new recipes.
  4. Write down your estimate on the recipe or a sticky note.
  5. Figure out how many new recipes you are cooking simultaneously and adjust the time accordingly.

Read the full post: How long will it take? Accurately estimating recipe times at Cookbooks for Dinner

Do you have any tips for estimating the amount of time it will take to make a recipe?