Does anyone else not like sharing certain recipes?

I’m not a great cook, but every once in awhile I come across a recipe that is a great hit. Then everyone wants it. But these are the recipes I want to serve repeat guests, because it’s loved and then a no brainer for me to make. I start giving them out, then it’s nothing special.

If you feel like this, how do you decline without seeming selfish?


I have a very simple “secret” recipe that I gladly share with anyone who wants it. The trick is that not many have the hardware to recreate it - I use my steam oven. :sunglasses: That said, in situations where I am asked about a particular dish with the recipe I don’t like to disclose, I simply tell folks that I use pinches and cups of this and that and don’t have a written recipe. :slight_smile:

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My D was on a travel athletic team and we hosted a home tournament every year and parents donated food for the concession stand fundraiser. I made homemade chicken noodle soup once and it sold out in minutes. Folks asked me all day what the recipe was and I wouldn’t say - just that it was a secret family recipe. The next year, I was told by the board of directors that I was required to make the soup, which I gladly did that day and for every other one that my D was on the team. It really wasn’t anything special, just from an old Betty Crocker cookbook but using boxed stock and a rotisserie chicken…


I can’t imagine not being willing to share a recipe unless it was something I was making money off!

I also feel like people ask for recipes all the time - but probably only a small % actually make the recipe.

Now I’m dying to know what your recipe is (or what the dish is called) that you don’t want to give out!!! :wink:


DH and I always stayed in a B&B for our anniversary and the innkeeper made this killer banana bread that was like none other. Her secret was that she steamed it!


If someone asks me for a recipe, I consider it a huge compliment and I share it.


I share as well but I have a friend who admitted to leaving out details when she gave a certain recipe to someone she didn’t care for-

I was left a recipe in a will from my grandmother who received it the same way. The “rule” was that I could make it for guests or gifts and I could sell it for charity. I was once asked by a friend to make it for a wedding, which I was compelled to do - for over 100 guests! My grandmother gave me other recipes that involved “adding a pinch” or “for as much time as it takes to go to the bathroom” or that must have been missing some critical ingredient. Highly annoying thatxI couldn’t replicate them!

Other than that, I happily share recipes. And I love when people share with me - I have one that was given to me by a college friend’s mom and I think of them both every time I make it.


I truly don’t cook from a recipe unless it’s cake or some other baked good that relies on chemical leavening. I’m happy to tell anyone how I made something, but I didn’t measure or record as I was doing it. And next time I make it, that dish will probably not taste exactly the same. Which to me is why home cooked meals are better.


I get the idea of recipes as intellectual property and a source of pride, but I’m so sunk in the culture of sharing recipes as a bonding thing that I am flattered if someone wants a recipe I’ve made. I also usually alter recipes I get from others just so slightly to taste anyway. One of the nicest wedding shower ideas is a recipe book where the invitees share their favorite, treasured recipe with the bride and give an ingredient or piece of equipment to make it. I also believe there is no such thing as originality in the arts (cooking is an art and like every other art form there are appropriations and borrowings and reinterpretations) so I’m not troubled by “trade secrets.”


I agree completely @NJSue !

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You guys are no help.

@conmama, I believe @BunsenBurner gave you the best answer. If you say you don’t have a written recipe, you can’t share it.


You’re right! Thanks @BunsenBurner!

I love to cook and rarely use a recipe; I cook by taste, so they’re difficult to share. It’s even hard for me to recreate them each time. If anyone wants to learn though, I happily show them. If I come across recipes I like and am not emotionally attached to, I happily share them as well. I get the feeling though; there’s always the risk of recipe fatigue.

We do have a couple multi-generational family recipes; we don’t share those with anyone outside of the family, BUT this is because family members have occasionally produced and sold the products over the years as individual adventures or in restaurants.

Is that what you tell people? It’s a family recipe.

My brisket recipe is MINE. Only because I do it differently each time. Like to cook by taste and experiment a bit. Add a little this, try a little that. All about the gravy!

If it actually is one of our family recipes, yes. People are usually very understanding, but most we know have family recipe secrets of their own.

I love to make salsa verde with tomatillos. I don’t use a recipe. A good friend loved it and has now started making it, based on the recipe I gave her. The recipe is not written anywhere. I am secretly happy to say that I’ve tasted her salsa verde a couple of times now and it isn’t quite as good as mine, though it’s certainly respectable. I’m guessing that she will keep tweaking it to her own tastes and end up with a delicious new version of “my” salsa verde.

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I have two friends who each have a recipe they won’t share. One is for a sherry cake that this friend always gives as Christmas gifts, and the other is a punch recipe that is a family recipe. I don’t know if the sherry cake recipe is a family recipe or not. It kinda bugged me initially (I told the one friend that I would never make her sherry cake for anyone but myself, but she would not relent). Sometimes I think people are reluctant to share because the recipes are super easy, and they are kind of embarrassed at that? Maybe? I’m pretty sure her recipe has a butter golden cake mix in it. I’ve had other sherry cakes that also did but none are as good as hers. So, there is definitely “something” to hers. I think for both of these recipe, they each consider them to be their, “signature,” thing.

But, even though their not sharing bugged me, I got over it. I think the risk of the, “It’s not written down,” reply is that someone will say, “Oh - well, will you please write it down the next time you make it?”

There are certain cooking skills which truly cannot be written down (these are on the opposite end of the spectrum of the super simple ones). They require a skill, a technique, a “feel,” that can’t be captured in the written word. One family friend makes divinity. It is her thing. She happily shares her recipe, but her daughter has observed her making it and helped her make it a gazillion times and still can’t replicate it. So, if the “unwritten” recipe involves something like that, and the other person asks you to please write it down, then you run the risk of sounding like a superior cook. “Well, I can write it down, but you won’t be able to make it as well as I do.” :joy:

I always share recipes, but I certainly understand if people don’t want to. I might not always like it, but I get it.

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