Focus on the food.
Food videos tend to fall into two main categories: recipes and promo videos. A good food recipe video shows you how to make certain dishes. NYT Cooking and Buzzfeed’s Tasty YouTube channels both feature these types of “hands and pans” videos.
The food commercial or promotional spot is all about showing off the product, enticing the viewer, and inspiring them to go out and get it. (Picture the fast food commercial staple of a steaming, golden french fry lovingly dusted with salt.) As long as these videos sell the product, they can get wildly creative.
Whether they’re recipe videos from the Food Network, inspirational dessert videos from So Yummy, mouthwatering commercials, or just satisfying food video compilations, food-centered content is popular around the world. According to Engadget, food videos generate twice as many interactions on Facebook as fashion videos, the second most popular category. Social media analytics blog Fanpage Karma found that on Instagram, food videos are second only to fashion.
Teach people how to make delicious food.
Recipe videos used to be long and detailed, but in the age of TikTok and Instagram Reels, short-form recipe content has become standard. To give your video the best chance of picking up views and likes, start with a specific idea. Focus on a single dish, appliance, or kitchen hack that you want to feature. Then, rehearse.
Do a few test runs.
It’s important to try out your recipes before you make them on camera. That way, you know you’ve included everything a viewer needs, and you know it will taste good. “Nothing ruins your credibility faster than people trying to cook your recipe and having something not work or finding out an ingredient is missing,” says chef Caroline Chambers. “Make sure that every single recipe you publish is really well tested and written as simply and clearly as possible.”
The allure of food in a video depends on vivid colors, so good lighting is crucial. “If your kitchen isn’t naturally lit, make sure that you have proper lighting to make everything pop,” says Chambers. “I use several ring lights to bounce light around the kitchen.”
Chambers, who posts her videos on Instagram Reels, shoots on her iPhone. She says recording adds 20 to 30 minutes to her cooking time. “The more shareable videos don’t focus too much on the details,” Chambers says. “They give a brief overview, and people can read the actual recipe in the caption if they need more details.
“Don’t let the desire to get a perfect video up stop you from just getting a video up,” she says. “It feels a little embarrassing when you start putting yourself out there, but there’s no time like the present. Just get your first video up there. It does not have to be perfect.”
Edit for personality.
If you’re new to video editing, be patient and know that you’ll get better with each video. Also, the practice of editing will help you develop your style. “I started with ‘hands and pans’ style videos, and they just aren’t as engaging,” Chambers says. “I found that inserting a bit of my personality, actually being in them, is what has made my videos start to click.”