Food blogs have unique needs in that they need to display their recipes in an eye-catching, user friendly, and search-engine optimized way. In the past few years a number of different plugins have come on the market, but choosing which one is best for you might be confusing.
In the ‘olden days’ of food blogging, there were very few recipe plugins out there, and those that were available were limited and buggy. As a result, early on we developed our own custom recipe setup utilizing WordPress’ built in custom field functionality, combined with custom code and a few free plugins to create a beautiful and streamlined custom recipe functionality perfect for food blogs.
While you can certainly use other recipe plugins within a custom Purr site design, we’ll really only be able to customize the overall colors/fonts to match your site.
Purr Custom Recipes:
Our custom setup is only available to Purr clients, it’s not something we install or sell for anyone else. It is built using a combination of plugins (Advanced Custom Fields and WP Print) and custom functionality coded just for us. The recipe information is stored in custom fields attached to each post, which means that information can be pulled and used elsewhere throughout the design (examples: Gimme Some Oven, Kitchen Treaty, Skinnytaste).
The recipe box design is completely customized to your site. Want to add an extra field for recipe tips? We can do it. How about a special tag for dietary restrictions? Easy. How about an extra nutrition field for Weight Watchers points? Done. Want to display your recipes in a more cookbook-like layout, a special ‘follow me on instagram’ message, or maybe extra large images? The sky’s the limit.
Our custom setup is it is very future friendly, should recipe standards change or if you want to make changes to your recipe format, we are able to update the output of the recipe information and, assuming they are properly formatted, all past recipes will update automatically. For example, last year Google started recommending JSON markup for recipes. We were able to update the code and recipe output to include this new format. Do note that updates of this nature are not automatic, but just get in touch with us and we’ll work with you to make any necessary updates.
(For existing clients: get in touch with us if you’d like to update your recipe plugin to include JSON support, and/or add features like nutrition info or ratings!)
Ratings functionality is an optional add-on. Google loves recipes with ratings, and it’ll make your rich snippet stand out with pretty little yellow stars. Our ratings setup utilizes the Comment Rating Fields Pro plugin, which adds a star rating field to your comment form (so users can only leave ratings along with a comment, we find this reduces superfluous ratings.)
We can also include a complete nutrition tab if you want to display nutrition data along with your recipes. Note this is not a nutrition calculator, rather it just presents the appropriate fields for you to input your data, and then outputs them in a pleasing visual and SEO-friendly way.
Making the Switch
Unfortunately we do not have any importer/auto-conversion tool for this setup at the moment, so if you have a lot of recipes please take into account the time it will take to convert them. Recipes will need to be copied/pasted manually, one at a time, from your current recipe setup into ours (we will send instructions when it is time to do so). Of course, you can continue to keep your current recipe plugin active while you do this (there’s no need to rush and do it all at once).
Our custom recipe setup is included in the base project cost. Nutrition fields/recipe ratings/advanced customizations may be extra. Future updates are completed manually as needed and billed hourly.
Pros: ultimate customization and truly integrated design. Recipe information stored in custom fields and can be called throughout the design.
Cons: no automatic import, manual conversion required. Manual updates as desired/required.
3rd Party Plugins
The past few years have brought a number of recipe plugins to the market. All of these are premium, meaning they are not free, but we wholly believe that you get what you pay for. All of these plugins are SEO friendly, outputting JSON and Schema formatting (for Google and Pinterest).
Simple Recipe Pro:
If we didn’t have our own custom setup, this is probably the plugin we’d choose. The features are extremely well thought through and the plugin developers offer customized support to make sure the plugin fits your exact needs.
Pros: nutrition calculations and customized/automatic import from existing setup.
Cons: monthly/annual fee, limited design options.
The premium add-ons are the best features of this plugin, in our opinion. Like the nutrition calculator (if you want to display nutrition data but don’t want the hassle of calculating it yourself every time) and unit converter (to allow for easy conversions from standard to metric).
Pros: free version available, nutrition calculations (premium add-on) and unit converter (premium add-on). Fallback system will still show recipes even if plugin is deactivated. Optional jump to recipe button.
Cons: annual fee for premium add-ons, limited design options, ingredients/instructions entered one at a time instead of as a single block of text (though the text importer can make converting old recipes easier).
Brought to you by the folks at Pinch of Yum/Food Blogger Pro, so you know it’s got the latest google-friendly features. Clean and simple recipe box designs will inherit the styles from your site (fonts, colors, etc) to make for a more cohesive look and feel. We like the simple nutrition formatting of Tasty better than the nutrition label style design (which is often blocky and distracting).
Pros: built in ratings, nutrition fields (not calculation) with optional nutrifox integration. One at a time conversion tool lets you convert recipes one at a time or all at once.
Cons: annual fee, limited design options.
A collaboration between WPSiteCare and Feast, this plugin is another solid option. It’s pretty similar to Tasty in terms of recipe input and features, with a label-style nutrition box design (if you like that style).
Pros: optional ratings, nutrition fields (not calculation) with label-like display.
Cons: annual fee, limited design options.
There are a number of older, outdated recipe plugins that might have been good options a few years ago, but have since gone by the wayside. Ziplist and EasyRecipe, for example, are free plugins that, unfortunately, just haven’t kept up with current standards. For that reason we do not recommend them. If you are currently using one of these plugins we recommend switching to one of the options above (many offer conversion tools that will automatically convert existing recipes) or the Purr custom recipes setup.
Which Recipe Plugin is Right for Me?
Which recipe plugin you choose is completely up to you and your unique needs. If you choose to go with a 3rd party plugin, we’ll be able to match simple styles like fonts/colors to your new site design, but that is the extent of the customization. If you want something truly unique, then our customized recipe setup is the way to go.
… want a totally unique and custom design
… want to add extra fields to your recipes, for example ‘recipe tips’ or ‘weight watchers points’
… want to add a custom message automatically to your recipes, for example ‘share on Instagram’
… want to include recipe information outside of the recipe box, for example an ‘at a glance’ area on your homepage or cook times below the post title
→ Our custom recipe setup is ideal.
… have a ton of recipes currently in an old, outdated plugin and can’t bear the thought of converting them manually
… want a plugin with automatic updates as web standards and features improve
… want automatically calculated nutrition facts
→ Then a 3rd party plugin might be your best bet.