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Cheat Sheet to Winning Recipe Contests

    If you’re a cook inside and out, as well as appreciate how people around you mark out for your meals and their recipes, then recipe contests may just be your thing. It’s more than just a grand prize that you may or may not end up winning, it’s about letting the world know about your culinary sensations. 


    However, if you are indeed looking to win it too, then we’ve got the just the rundown of how you can do just that. Now we’re not gonna lie to you by saying the following tips are 100% foolproof, but your chances of winning are going to be enormous:


    • Find Some Recipe Contests Online


    Searching online through popular search engines is a good place to start looking for great recipe contests. There are some recurring contests for which you should set dates for on your calendar, as well as the little one-off ones if you’re in it just for the experience or exposure. 


    • Go Through the Rules


    Some contests can get you disqualified for not following the rules properly. This can happen if you use an ingredient that has been forbidden for consumption in most places around the world or use more than the limited number of ingredients during the contest. 


    Following the rules will not only prevent you from being disqualified, but it can help streamline your chances of winning. 


    Just know that every contest has a different set of “official rules” that you must read to the very last detail, no matter how long or boring it may seem. Learn what it takes to be eligible for the contest, the number of entries you can submit and the restrictions on the number or types of ingredients or recipes. The more you know, the better it will be for you.


    • Do Your Research


    Many recipe and cooking contests are made by a company to showcase its products, so you have to be sure to make them the star of your dish. To do that, you must learn about their recipe style or find a way to incorporate their product so you can enter the contest.


    If you’re entering contests not sponsored by a certain product, look into the history of past winners and see what “kind” of a recipe they used to win. Are those recipes more on the gourmet side, or family-friendly? 


    • Read the Rules Again


    Yes, rules are THAT important! There is no point in wasting time and money if you’re just going to lose a contest on a technicality. For instance, the larger print may say “Enter by August 22” but the fine print reads “enter by 11:59 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on August 22.” There won’t be any need for adding the finishing touches on your masterpiece midnight on the West Coast knowing the contest ended 15 hours ago. If the recipe contest involves 5 ingredients except for salt, pepper, and oil, you should know that and use it to your advantage. 


    • Be Original


    The idea about entering recipe contests is that a contestant’s recipe must be their own original work. This means that no recipe that already exists, especially one’s that won previous contests, can be used in the event. It also applies to photography. If you use an image that’s from an established cook’s brand, website or magazine, you will be disqualified.


    You can, however, be creative in that you can add a new spin to a classic recipe. In fact, many winning recipes are updated versions of ones that have been known and used for years. 


    • Bonus


    If you entered and didn’t win but wanted something other than experience, food surveys are the next best thing. Most restaurants and shops offer gifts and giveaways to anyone who participates in their surveys. Some of the finest online survey sites and apps that do so include:


    • SurveyMonkey
    • SurveyPlanet
    • SurveyH
    • LimeSurvey
    • QuickTapSurvey