How to Sell Grandma’s Recipes for Extra Cash

Grandma's gourmet spice cakes

Meet Denise Vivaldo. She calls herself a “culinary consultant” and has ghostwritten more than 50 cookbooks for stars like Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. Denise is paid per recipe contributed and earns a whopping $100-$400 per recipe! Holy smokes.

If you’re stepping into the culinary waters for the first time, you probably aren’t going to earn $400 a recipe, but it does’t mean you can’t earn a little pocket cash for your recipes.

To be clear – if you’re going to sell grandma’s recipes, you had better have her permission or you’ll not only risk your invite to the next family reunion, but you might find yourself in some hot water with the plagiarism police.

Selling Your Recipes

One of the best ways to make money with your recipes is through contests that are held regularly and award a winner every month with a cash prize. There’s a great list of ongoing contests at However, if you’re looking for a more guaranteed payment, there are a few websites that will pay you to contribute recipes to their database.

Article databases like,, and are always looking for new recipes and will pay you a percentage of the revenue your recipe brings in. Here’s how it works:

Once you’ve signed up and submitted your first recipe, it will need to be approved by an editor before being placed on their site. They will also plop a few ads around your recipe, which is where the revenue part comes in. You’ll earn anywhere from 50-80% of the revenue generated every time a visitor clicks on an ad.

Obviously, the more people that read your article, the more revenue it will generate. Visitors will most likely find your recipe via a search engine and because these are well established sites, your recipe has a good chance of ranking in the first page of results as opposed to slapping it onto a brand new blog where it will no doubt end up on the 10th page of Google. Eventually, if your recipe is proved to be delicious enough, it might even be linked to on other food blogs/magazines, thus improving your exposure and increasing your earnings.

It’s not likely that your articles will start earning tons of money right off the bat. I’ve know other bloggers who make as little as .05 and as much as $40 a month per recipe contributed. It will take a lot of recipes to make real money, but the cool thing is that the earnings can continue to accrue forever.

Moving Up the Ladder

If you dream of earning $400 per recipe like Denise Vivaldo, you’re going to need to take your recipe writing to the next level.

The article directories I mentioned above let you include a short bio and a link to your website at the bottom of each recipe. You don’t need to create a very fancy website, but something that tells the visitor a little about culinary skills and has some contact information in case the reader is interested in hiring you to create recipes for them. Check out Denise’s site to get a sense of what I mean.

Having your own website will allow you to start building a reputation and may eventually lead to a more lucrative deal with a publishing company or a celebrity chef. Good luck Penny Hoarders!


Your Turn:  Would you sell your family recipes?