How to Cost a Recipe

Three Methods:SpreadsheetOnline calculatorsSample Cost Calculator

Whether you are starting a food service business or creating a family budget, it is important to know how much a meal costs. But with so many ingredients in a recipe, it can be difficult to determine the true cost of a recipe per serving. This article will tell you how to determine the cost per serving of a recipe in ten easy steps.

Method 1

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    Assemble your food receipts and the recipe.
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    Draw a column. List the items you need for your recipe in a vertical column on a piece of paper or spreadsheet.
    • Create a spreadsheet if you plan to cost a number of recipes. This can be saved as a template and used for future costing.
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    Create three new columns. Place these to the right of your "Ingredients" column. They should read "Quantity", "Ingredient Cost" and "Recipe Cost".
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    Use your recipe to determine the quantity of each ingredient on your list. For example, if you need 4 eggs in your recipe, write 4 under "quantity".
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    Break down the cost of a product for each individual item, (ounces, milliliters or grams), using the purchase price. Usually the amount purchased is not the amount used, so you must break the cost down further to arrive at an accurate recipe cost.
    • Restaurants use the term As Purchased (AP) to determine the purchase price of the amount of the item purchased, such as a carton of eggs or milk.
    • Restaurants use the term As Served (AS) to determine the price of a single serving of that item.
    • For example, if you buy a 12 eggs for 3 dollars, then the AP is 3 dollars. By dividing 3 dollars by 12, you find that the AS of an egg is 25 cents. If you plan to use 4 eggs, then that single ingredient will cost $1 for your recipe.
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    Write your AS amount under the column entitled "Ingredient Cost". Using the previous example, you would write 25 cents in this column.
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    Multiply the quantity by the ingredient cost in each row to find the "Recipe Cost" of that item.
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    Fill out the recipe cost for each of your ingredients.
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    Add the numbers in the recipe cost column together to find the total recipe cost. Write that number at the bottom of the "Recipe Cost" column, after the ingredients.
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    Calculate the cost of the recipe per serving by dividing the total recipe cost by the number of servings yielded. This is sometimes called the "Portion Cost". Done!

Method 2
Online calculators

This is a basic overview of sites and apps that might be useful; you'll need to follow the more precise instructions of the particular account.

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    Make an account with a website or app that does all this for you. For example, you could try Cookkeepbook at (a free service) or Recipe Cost Calculator. Do a search for similar sites or apps if neither of these meets your needs.
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    Add the ingredients where directed on the site or app.
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    Set up the conversions. For example, 1 teaspoon weighs how much.
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    Add the purchase.
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    Add the recipe and the price will show up.

Sample Cost Calculator

Recipe Cost Calculator Template


  • Sometimes the AP (As Purchased) and AS (As Served) will be equal. For instance, if you're using a bunch of basil in your recipe, then you do not need to split the basil into specific servings.
  • You may need to estimate the purchase price of some ingredients if you do not have the receipt. This may be the case with essentials like salt and pepper, which may add only a cent or two to your final figure.

Things You'll Need

  • Spreadsheet or paper
  • Calculator
  • Pencil
  • Recipe
  • Receipts

Article Info

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Categories: Featured Articles | Meal Planning