Skip to main content

What is the copyright law for posting recipes on a personal blog?

Gresham, OR |
Filed under: Internet law

I'm in the process of starting a cooking blog and there are a few recipes I have altered from cookbooks, how do I go about posting them and not breaking any copyright laws. And what do I do if I want to post the actually recipe?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


A recipe as such cannot be copyright. That is, the list of ingredients and steps is not protectable. But the expression in words is. So you need to make sure what you post i not "substantially simialr" to the expression words in some cookbook.

Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.


Under the law, recipes, as in a list of ingredients or formulas and instructions for mixing them, constitutes a procedure and therefore not copyrightable subject matter. Copyright protection may, however, extend to other elements of the cookbooks you use as inspiration for your blog, such as a description, explanation, or illustration that accompanies the recipes, or to a compilation of recipes that are arranged in an original way.

Also important to keep in mind, just like other people's recipes are not protected by copyright law, your recipes, once published, are in the public domain. If your recipes contains an ingredient that you don't want to reveal, keep it a secret.

As with any publisher, a blogger is wise to clear all content used in the blog with entertainment counsel, whether or not the blog is making money.

This content is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content does not create an attorney-client relationship.


While there may be little or no legal action the original author of a recipe may take against you for posting a modified version on your blog, etiquette dictates that you acknowledge the original source. This helps to protect your reputation and good will in both the blogging and the cooking author communities.

Internet law topics

Recommended articles about Internet law

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer