How to convert a recipe to change yield and size.
Learn how to organize your recipe calculations for a group of any size.
Cooking for 12? But stuck with a recipe that yields 4 servings? Preparing a meal is enough work already — figuring out how to make the amounts work for the crowd you’re catering to shouldn’t be. Skip the hassle by calculating your ingredient proportions ahead of time. Especially if you’re making a favorite recipe, it doesn’t hurt to have a few different versions depending on the size of the group you’re feeding.
Calculate now, feast later.
Using spreadsheet software like Excel, learn how to set up formulas to convert your recipe ingredients.
- Create a spreadsheet. Start by setting up your spreadsheet based on the original recipe. List each ingredient. Then, list the measurements for each ingredient, according to the original serving size. Label this column as “original.”
- List your preferred servings. Create columns for each preferred serving size, labeled accordingly. If you typically like downsizing the recipes to cook for 1 or 2, add columns for smaller servings. If you cook for larger groups, add columns for doubling or tripling the recipe. It’s better to be comprehensive so that you have flexibility when you’re cooking.
- Calculate away. Always based on the “original” column, apply multiplication formulas to calculate different serving size quantities. For example, in a column where you’re halving or quartering the recipe, use a formula that multiplies the original recipe quantities by 0.5 or 0.25. If you’re doubling or tripling, use a formula that multiplies the original recipe quantities by 2 or 3.
- Lock your work. Once you have a full list of quantity variations based on serving size, export your spreadsheet to a PDF to lock the formulas. (This also makes it easier to share with others who might not have the same spreadsheet software.)