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Great News: Our Recipe Search is New & Improved

November 13, 2015

You may have already noticed that, this week, it's been a lot easier to find the recipes you're looking for.

And that's not a Thanksgiving miracle. It's the result of a lot of hard work and wrangling of computer codes and many, many things I do not understand (like something called "lemmatization") by our Product team (and Alp Aker, specifically).

A beautiful recipe you may have never found before! Now just search "chicken." Photo by James Ransom

You'll notice the biggest improvements when searching for:
1. Very common ingredients (like eggs, rice, or chicken) or
2. Longer, more complex terms and phrases that involve an adjective and a noun (vanilla ice cream or black pepper, for example)

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Now that titles, ingredients, and categories (like dish type and main ingredient) are all weighted appropriately, a search for "eggs" brings up fried eggs before chocolate soufflé (which may have been marked as having "eggs" as the main ingredient); when you search for "vanilla ice cream," you'll find ice cream recipes before you find pie recipes that call for vanilla ice cream as a garnish.

Take "rice" as an example a search for a very common ingredient. Here's what the search looked like before the change:

Now that the search has been improved, you'll find rice-centric (like fried rice, rice pudding, and Rice Krispies Treats) before recipes (like cakes and rolls) that are marked as having "Rice & Grains" as the main ingredient.

These results are more likely to match what you're looking for:

It's a fun game to play this game with "olive oil," too. While this search once yielded many recipes that included this extremely common ingredient somewhere in the ingredient list...'s now much more focused. By giving the presence of "olive oil" in the recipe title more value than its existence in the ingredient list, we find recipes where olive oil is a central ingredient:

We hope that you enjoy the new search function as much as we already have. Now that you can find chicken when you want chicken, you can get to the cooking faster.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • Robin J
    Robin J
  • Ryan Hamilton
    Ryan Hamilton
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


AntoniaJames November 13, 2015
Thank you. I've been waiting for this for six long years. In the meantime, I have perfected my workaround on Google, using their superb filtering tools. It will be fun to compare which is better. ;o)
Robin J. November 13, 2015
Please can you add one more feature, one I've been needing for a long time. Could you make it possible to restrict results to my saved recipes? Sometimes I am looking for something I know I have saved, but I can't seem to find it. If one of the filters on the left could be "in my collections" or something like that, it would save me a lot of time.
Ryan H. November 13, 2015
That's a really great idea Robin. I can't make any promises, but we'll definitely keep that in mind as we iterate further.