Cookbooks How To

Make a DIY Cookbook with Your Group’s Recipes

group collections cookbook create featured image

Want to make a PTA or a church fundraiser cookbook?  Or are you searching for a way to celebrate your potluck group? Looking for a unique bridal shower gift? Create a cookbook with everyone’s recipes!

Food tastes better when shared with friends… so if you want to create a great gift or fundraiser item, why not work together and create something that you’ll use and love for years?

If the idea seems daunting, don’t be nervous. It just takes a little organization and imagination to get your project off the ground. We’ll guide you through the process of collecting recipes from your friends, in three simple steps.

pick your cookbook theme cookbook create

Step 1: Pick Your Cookbook Theme

Giving your cookbook a theme will make it not only a collection of recipes but also a sort of culinary scrapbook that tells a story through food.

Start by setting the theme of your cookbook so that when you request recipes from your group, they’ll know to pick one that will go well with others. There are a lot of fun ways to theme your cookbook.

Here are a few cookbook theme ideas to whet your appetite.

Childhood memories: Ask contributors to your group cookbook to send you their favorite recipes from growing up… or the dessert they always asked for on their birthdays… or the dish that reminds them of their favorite relative. We love Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness.

Local celebrities: Stars…they’re just like us! People love a glimpse inside the lives of stars and celebrities, especially if it means peeking inside their pantries. Make your group members famous by treating their food and stories like the VIPs they are. Our favorite example these days? Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat.

Easy weeknight dinners: Creating a PTA cookbook or making a church fundraiser cookbook? This catch-all category is a perfect theme for busy families. The Best Simple Recipes from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen is a great example in this category!

Healthy eating: Sometimes it’s easy to forget it can be fun and delicious to eat our veggies — why not help readers remember how yummy healthy can be? We like Thug Kitchen’s edgy take on healthy eating in Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook.

Trip of a lifetime: Vacation, honeymoon and travel-inspired cookbooks are an around-the-world journey for your tastebuds or to celebrate a destination-related moment. Check out food blogger David Lebovitz’s My Paris Cookbook — a Francophile who moved to Paris permanently more than a decade ago — and you’ll be instantly whisked away to the City of Lights for a culinary tour of French flavors.

Learn how to build your cookbook story now!

Step 2: Make the Ask

Now that you know the who and the what, it’s time to invite your group members to be part of the cookbook creation process by contributing their own recipes. Here are some guidelines for making the ask.

Send them clear instructions for submitting their recipes: ingredients, measurements, cooking time and temperature. (Need more guidelines? Check out our free How to Make a Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide.) (Pro-tip: If you use Cookbook Create, all you need to do is invite the group to your collection and they will be guided to the recipe entry form where their recipes will automatically be formatted!)

Ask them to share a short story to go with the recipe: Why did they choose it? Why will others love it? This’ll go in the headnote of the recipe.

Request photos to accompany each recipe. You don’t have to be a professional food photographer to make a beautiful cookbook — check back in the coming weeks to read our blog post for some non-food photo inspiration.

collect recipes from cookbook create

Step 3: Collect Recipes from Your Group

Cookbook Create’s Group Collection feature is the easiest way to make your cookbook dreams a reality. Add contributors to your group collection by using their email address on the collections settings page.

  • Start by going to your collection page. Click the settings wheel located in the upper right-hand corner of the collections page.
  • Make sure you set “Who can view this collection?” to Community — only community collections can invite contributors.
  • In the section titled “Invite contributors,” type the email address of the person you’re inviting and click the Invite button. You’ll see a notification that your invitation has been sent, and their name will display in the “Manage Contributors” section. When they accept your invitation, they will be able to add and remove their own recipes.

Your friends will get an invitation to contribute, and they’ll be able to add their recipes using the recipe entry form on Cookbook Create’s website.

One last Pro-tip: you can resend or un-invite a contributor by clicking the Resend or Un-invite buttons in the “Manage Contributors” menu.

Any recipe saved in a Cookbook Create collection can be used in a cookbook — whether it’s in your Group Collection or saved elsewhere on the site.

Ready to get started? Create your Group Collection now.

Paige Worthy is a Chicago-based digital marketing strategist, writer, yoga instructor, and avid home chef. Visit her at

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