What It Really Means to Be Test Kitchen-Approved

At Taste of Home, all of our recipes come from home cooks—and we get around 10,000 submissions every year. But before a recipe is published on our website or in one of our magazines or books, it must be approved by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen. Here's a look at what it takes!

At Taste of Home, we believe in the power of a good recipe. It can make a family meal extra special, inspire fellow cooks at a potluck, cheer a sick friend or welcome a new neighbor.

That’s why we strive to make sure every Taste of Home recipe is first-rate.

Before reaching the pages of our website, cookbooks or magazines, each recipe must receive the Taste of Home Test Kitchen stamp of approval. This rigorous process ensures we’re sharing the best recipes from home cooks-recipes that work every time.

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Here’s how a recipe gets from a home kitchen to readers’ kitchens all across the country:

1. Home Cooks Share Their Recipes

We believe the best recipes come from real home cooks because their favorite dishes have already passed two important tests: They can be made successfully at home, and family and friends request them over and over again.

And every year, home cooks and our trusty squad of Volunteer Field Editors share thousands of recipes with us.

2. Food Editors Sort Out the Best

Our team of knowledgeable food editors reviews each recipe we receive. They look for fresh ideas, new spins on old favorites and dishes that just plain sound irresistible. They also consider practical factors, like whether a recipe uses readily available ingredients and is simple enough to make at home.

Recipes that make the first cut move along to the Taste of Home Test Kitchen.

3. Expert Cooks Test the Recipe

Our on-site Test Kitchen is an impressive sight, with gleaming stainless counters, 22 ovens, 10 stovetop ranges, 20 stand mixers and over 5,000 small appliances and prep tools. (Take a tour of the Test Kitchen here!) But the heart of the kitchen is our culinary team, which includes test cook and prep cooks who keep the machine running. Every member of the team comes to Taste of Home with a professional food background, with specialties ranging from pastry to food science.

The cooks in the Test Kitchen meticulously prepare each recipe the food editors send their way. Testing every step, they ensure the amounts, equipment, temperature and method are accurate. If something doesn’t work or could work better, they make adjustments until the recipe is right.

Josh Rink in the Taste of Home Test KitchenTaste of Home

4. Taste Testers Weigh In

Twice a day, the Test Kitchen hosts a tasting panel. Cooks bring between six and 10 prepared recipes, and a group of hungry taste testers evaluates them. Our goal, always, is to make the recipes the best they can be.

The tasters consider flavor (obviously). They also review the dish’s texture, balance and presentation. Finally, they consider the intangibles. Is this a dish that will make readers bookmark the page or add the recipe to their collection? Will it be a hit at the family supper table or a potluck? Find out what it takes to become a Taste of Home taste tester.

5. The Recipe is Reviewed for Accuracy and Ease

We’re almost there! The recipe has now sufficiently impressed our food editors, worked well in the Test Kitchen and won the approval of our taste testers. The next step is a careful edit and revision of the recipe itself.

We understand how important it is for recipes to be easy to follow. When hungry kids are calling for dinner and to-do lists override free time, nobody needs the hassle of a confusing recipe. Our editors inspect every recipe to make sure the directions are clear and concise.

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6. Time for a Close-Up!

The last step, photographing the recipe, might be the most fun and in the age of social media and selfies, it’s also very important. Perhaps now more than ever, people eat with their eyes first.

Taste of Home photography teams include a photographer, an art director, a set/prop stylist and a food stylist; together, they select color palettes and lighting, backdrops, dishes, linens and more, bringing each dish to its picture-perfect conclusion-and ensuring the recipes you share look as delicious as they taste. Head this way to peek inside our photo studio (and get tips on food photography from our professional photos!).

That’s It! The recipe is Test Kitchen-approved!

Once a recipe has cleared all five steps, it’s ready to be printed, posted and shared across all of our platforms. Want to find recipes that are Test Kitchen-approved? Check out our website, Instagram and Facebook, our books and (of course!) Simple and Delicious and Taste of Home magazines.

We’d love for your recipe to be next!

Click here to submit a recipe or enter one of our contests.

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