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Cuts in the Kitchen: Adapting a Recipe for Two


While many of us love cooking for friends and family, there are a lot of people out there who ask for recipes for two or for one. Of course, while we can always eat what we want and freeze the rest for later, sometimes we want to just make exactly how much we want. After all, not everything is delicious in its leftover form! So today, we’re giving some tips for scaling down recipes. Keep in mind that savory recipes are much easier to adapt than sweet ones—baking is more of an exact science. Because of that, we’re going to focus on those savory recipes today.

First of all, before you start reducing the recipe, read it in its entirety. You don’t want to be caught by surprise by anything! You’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for the number of servings the recipe makes, as this will help you determine how much to scale it down by. If the recipe serves six and you want enough for two, divide all the ingredients by three. If it serves four and you want enough for two, divide all the ingredients by two. For the sake of this blog, we’ll be giving examples in dividing recipes in half.

If you can, write down the conversions in pencil next to the original ingredient list. A tablespoon becomes ½ tablespoon; a cup becomes ½ cup. You’ll find some ingredients harder to divide, like eggs. Sure, two eggs can become one, but how do you divide one egg, right? Easy. Still use the full egg, but decrease the other liquids by 2 tablespoons for each half an egg you’re rounding up.

With the exception of the ingredient amounts, prepare the recipe according to the instructions up until the cook time. When cooking savory recipes in an oven, the cooking time will often take less time. If you’ve halved the recipe, it will likely take half the cooking time.  Of course, be sure to check frequently to ensure you’re not overcooking anything. You may have to adjust the time with each recipe—some may take more than half the time, some less.

It’s not an easy feat to find recipes for just one or two people, so we hope this makes your life a little simpler! What recipes are you looking forward to trying these tips with? We can’t wait to hear! Let us know in the comments below.

How many of you remember this episode of Paula’s Home Cooking called Table for Two? It’s a gorgeous dinner for just Michael and Paula, and you can watch it here!