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Convert Food Recipe to Spreadsheet

DanAyo's picture

Convert Food Recipe to Spreadsheet

Looking for ideas to convert a typical food recipe to a spreadsheet. I would like to use the sheet to size the recipe up and down and want to portion out in grams.

My first thought is to use the main ingredient (in the case below, crab meat) as 100% and everything else as a percentage of that ingredient. I am prepared to weight each ingredient to describe it in a grams instead of cups.



To make the Crab Cakes, you will need:

- 1 pound fresh blue crab meat, preferably all lump (a mix of lump and claw also works well, and is almost as wonderful. It's just different).

- 1/4 Cup good bread crumbs

- 1/4 Cup crushed saltines (about 10 crackers)

- 1/4 Cup mayonnaise

- 1 egg, beaten

- Salt to taste.  We use 1/2 tsp./lb. of crab.

- Permissible additions: 1/4 tsp of Old Bay seasoning, cayenne pepper, Dijon mustard or Worcestershire sauce (pick no more than two)

- Butter (please, please cook them in butter)

GaryBishop's picture

Sounds like a reasonable plan to me. I then might add another cell for servings and have the amount of crab meat based off that. 

DanAyo's picture

Yes, I thought it would be beneficial to note something like this. “122g = 1/2 cup bread crumbs”. This should help to know the approximate amount in cups, teaspoons, etc. for estimating the needed ingredients.

GaryBishop's picture

My scale isn't super accurate for fractions of a gram so I have formulas to go back to teaspoons. They round to the nearest 1/16th teaspoon. 

For example =DIVIDE(round(C26/F26 * 16), 16) where C26 is grams, and F26 is grams/teaspoon. For the format of the cell I use ?/?? which gives me nice looking fractions. 

You could do the same thing with cups.


gavinc's picture

Dan, I've been using Pepperplate for years and it is terrific. I've got 565 recipes in it. Each recipe has the number of servings and can be scaled up or down.  It includes a shopping list, menus and a planner. Worth a look for ideas at the least. Scaling is not based on the main ingredient.




Gadjowheaty's picture

I've always written out recipes as word docs and just scaled up or down manually - not efficient.  Used to use pro software but never liked it much.  This Pepperplate looks like a ringer - thanks, Gavin, downloaded!

Good luck Dan.  Sounds delicious.  Butter, is there anything else?  The great French iconic chef Fernand Point of La Pyramide -


"Du beurre ! Donnez-moi du beurre ! Toujours du beurre !" ("Butter!  Give me butter!  Always [more] butter!")

FWIW, from the archives, a different crab.  Setup for 20 folks, but scalable.

Crispy Soft-Shell Crab with Roasted Corn Cake, Sherry-Bacon Butter Sauce



Rice flour, seasoned with salt, pepper and minced parsley

Roast Corn Cake

8 ears of corn
3 quarts milk
½ cup butter, cubed
2 large onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp fennel seeds
3 cups cornmeal
2 tsp salt

Cut the kernels off the corn ears. Break the cobs into large pieces and place in a stock pot. Cover with milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and continue cooking for an hour. Separately, in small rondeau, melt the butter. Add the onions and the corn and stirring frequently, brown over medium heat until barely caramelized.

While the onions and corn are cooking, toast the fennel seed. To a dry pan over a medium high heat add the fennel seeds. Shake the pan until the seeds begin to brown slightly and give off a distinct aroma, happens quite quickly. Grind the seeds and add the (sifted) powder with the garlic to the corn and onions. Saute briefly. Add the corn-infused milk and bring to simmer. Add the salt. Add the cornmeal in a slow and steady stream stirring it constantly with a whisk as it is added. As soon as all the cornmeal is added switch to a wooden spoon and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan, pat it down evenly and place it in the refrigerator to firm up. Once the pudding is firm, cut it into small (2”) circles using a small biscuit cutter. Sauté in butter at service.

Sherry-Bacon Butter Sauce

3 tbsp butter

6 tbsp sliced shallots

3 cups carrots, ¼ mirepoix

3 cups leeks, white part only, 1/4” mirepoix

3 cups white mushrooms, bottom of stem trimmed, ¼” mirepoix

3 cups lobster stock* (note: low sodium chicken or vegetable stock, with a touch of clam juice, would also work - just mind finishing salt seasoning and adjust accordingly.  If you have access to shells of any crustacean, the stock is incomparable.  See below).

6 tbsp sherry vinegar


black pepper

1 ½# bacon, brunoise, cooked until just crisp; drained


Melt 3 tbsp of the butter in rondeau. Sweat shallots, leeks, carrots and mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Boil gently over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Strain through chinois. Discard vegetables. Combine strained stock with sherry vinegar and reduce to about 1 ½ cup. At service, mount remaining 9 tbsp butter as with Beurre monté and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in bacon and reserve.

At Service

Crabs - freshly killed and trimmed.

Pure olive oil



“Confetti” of red pepper and green-part-of-leek brunoise

Dredge crab(s) in milk, then flour, shaking off excess. Heat oil in black steel pans over medium-high heat to hot. Slide crabs in, shell side down; shake pan a bit to loosen crabs, and cook - about 3 minutes per side. Check to ensure flour is cooking brown and crispy, but not burnt, and adjust heat accordingly. Transfer to plate covered with paper towels and pat gently. Meanwhile, sauté cakes in butter. Place cake in center of plate, place crab on top, sauce and dress with confetti. Place a few kernels of sel gris and serve.

(lobster stock.  Sub any crustacean - for instance, a cod with potato "feuilles",  tomato confit and roast tomato-saffron sauce with shrimp stock as base:


Lobster Stock


12 Lobster Bodies, Claws and Tails, split and cut into 1” sections; roe reserved from female lobsters for coral butter

6 tbsp EVOO

1 ½ lb. onion, diced ¼”

1 lb carrot, diced ¼”

1 fennel bulb, sliced ¼”

10 oz. leeks, white and light green part only, diced ¼”

3 sprigs thyme

4 ½ quarts water


Heat EVOO over medium low. Add vegetables and cook gently, about 20 minutes, or until light golden in color – do not caramelize to brown. Add lobster bodies, claws and tails and thyme, and cook gently, stirring frequently, until shells are well-roasted but not burnt. The roast character is important for the final taste of the stock. Add water to cover, 4 ½ quarts. Simmer, skim as per normal s.o.p. for 1 hour. Strain as per normal s.o.p.






Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb


I do this all the time when seeking the essence, via a consensus recipe, of a dish, pastry or flavor mix I’m preparing for the first time. I alway fix the ‘main’ ingredient (typically the most abundant by weight in one or most recipe versions) and tabulate, then examine different versions’ proportional levels of other ingredients. I’ve done it with pastries, desserts, spice mixes (e.g., curries), marinades. It’s also an informative exercise to illustrate to oneself what makes a cake versus a muffin versus a cookie versus a ‘bar’ for example, helping one to nudge formulas around in multidimensional ingredient space. 


DanAyo's picture

I like your idea of using the spreadsheet to get a proportional concept of the recipe. So, if sugar is 20% I could work down or up from there.

BTW - have you tried MonkFruit sweetener in baked goods? Tried a couple of brands, but like this one the best. No calories to speak of and I can’t tell the difference between it and real sugar.

I decided to drop a few pounds and have been enjoying bran muffins.Here is the recipe. When you are on a strick diet these things taste like world class cheese cake. LOL

James's picture
James (not verified)


I have a spreadsheet that I use for bread making. 

Calculates percentages from main Ingredient weight and vice versa.

Flour, water, salt, yeast, etc. Along with seeds,fruit, herbs and spices as needed. 

I use it as a check against posted recipes, to check hydration and "whats in a cup"

Recently added a quick hit conversion with adjustable "whats  in a cup"

Has scaleable quantities and best fit to pan size guideline.

It doesn't give the method, but includes web link and top tips from web sites. (User added)

Techie parts

Formulas obviously, validation dropdowns, matched lists, auto replace and feedback. Update on restart. Macro free.Arrays, pivot tables, tables, hyperlinking and a lot of colour!

US gov research report matched with King Arthur for weight per cup. But all adjustable, with auto update.

User requirements 

Insert recipe weight in grams. 

Check guidelines

Adjust quantity to suit


Update recipe based on 😃 achieved.

Have added screenshot for info, best I could do from my  phone