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Great News: Our Recipe Search is New & Improved

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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).

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A beautiful recipe you may have never found before! Now just search "chicken."
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)

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:

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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...

...it'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.

Tags: search, update, tech, product