Cooking Prep Checklist for Recipe Success


The simple solution to avoid unexpected hiccups in the kitchen.

Checklist to avoid common cooking hiccups when preparing a recipe.

Have you ever been mid-way through a recipe and noticed that you mistakenly missed an ingredient or skipped a step? 🤔

Checklists help us pack everything we need for a trip. And, pilots use a checklist to ensure there is less chance we have to scream in terror at any point during the flight.

A cooking prep checklist accomplishes the same goal: a zen-like journey towards delicious eats!

Things To Include On Your Cooking Prep Checklist

Clutter Check

Is the counter-top and stove-top clutter-free?  Attempting to cook around the clutter is like trying to navigate around spilled flour on the floor while moving heavy furniture – in socks.

Mindset Check

Are you starting with a “let’s see what happens” approach or aiming to create an exact replica of dish in the picture? Personally, I prefer the first option because real food can’t be photo-shopped.

What to Check Before Turning On The Heat

Have you read the recipe from beginning to end?

Are your cooking tools within reach or easy to access?

✅ Have you gathered all the ingredients you need – on a baking sheet?

✅ Did you decide what substitutes you’ll use – if missing a key ingredient?

Is your MISE in place? In other words, have you sliced, diced, chopped, measured and opened ingredients before cooking?

Double Check As You Cook

✅ ✅ Do you have a timer to know how long the food has been cooking?

✅ ✅ Are you sampling the food as you cook and adjusting the seasoning as necessary? The free guide below will help. 👇

✅ ✅ While waiting for the food to cook, are you washing utensils and returning ingredients to where you store them?

As you can see, there is nothing overly earth-shattering about this checklist. But when I hear someone curse at the Café – during a critical point in the cooking process – I wonder if they forgot to use their cooking checklist.


Get the inside scoop on how those people you know, know just what to add to make food taste extra delicious.

You also get a Free Cup Of Recipes! It’s our way of saying thanks for sampling our updates.

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Brent Garell testing the food at College Recipe Cafe

Hi I’m Brent. Thanks for visiting the Café! If you are ever short on easy recipe ideas (and cash flow) feel free to check out the Cafe’s e-cookbook 15-Minute Money Saving Meals for Students: – costs less than an avocado bagel and coffee combo!

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