Food News

Will You Pay for NYT Cooking Recipes?

by:
June 29, 2017

The New York Times has added a paywall to NYT Cooking, its online recipe database and companion app. As of Wednesday, June 28, new subscribers to the paper will be asked to pay $5 a month for access to the 18,000 or so recipes on Cooking, not to mention videos, how-tos, and seasonal content. If you're a subscriber to the full paper, there is no additional charge for access.

The decision, which editor Sam Sifton acknowledged many would find “annoying,” isn’t hard to understand—as print journalism loses steam and advertisers bail, the Gray Lady needs other avenues of income to line its coffers. “The work we do is expensive, and we want to do more of it,” Sifton writes.

Some cooking content will still be available even if you don’t pay, like the recipes in the Cooking newsletter, brand new recipes, and some rotating collections—and you’ll get a 28-day grace period before you have to pay up. So far, the Times has not incorporated Chef’d, the meal kit service that designs subscription boxes around Times recipes, into the app.

The question is, will people actually pay up, given how many recipes and kitchen guides are, you know, free? Not to mention, it takes only a little Google-fu to find recipes that are “adapted from” or “inspired by” whatever recipe you’re looking to find. It’s hard to imagine the subscription service taking off when so much competing content is readily available. It could also be that this is a sign of more paywalls to come in the world of digital food content, but I hope to avoid that issue until I move up a tax bracket.

It’s also worth noting that the Cooking app was launched by the Times in 2014, along with NYT Opinion and NYT Now. Both of the latter standalone apps were eventually shuttered despite positive reception due to a lack of subscribers.

Speaking to Nieman Lab, the Times’ Cooking Product Direct, Amanda Rottier, said that in particular, the comment section on recipes are put to good use, making the paper hopeful that its audience would stick with the service post-paywall. “We have created this great community of like-minded home cooks who really add [to] recipes through their notes,” Rottier said. “I would say when people look at recipes, the first thing they go to the notes and check out what people have said about it: Are there substitutions? Are there things I need to keep in mind? That’s been great, and we’ve spent a lot of time making the community strong. We moderate those notes and don’t let [just] anything go up there.”

It’s true, additional notes in the comments and caveats from experienced home cooks really do make a huge difference. To me, that still brings us back to the original question—who will pay for recipe content when it’s the free advice that makes or breaks a dish?

63 Comments

Christine P. October 10, 2018
Print subscribers are allowed free access to the recipes, but digital subscribers must pay. Now even the recipes in the paper's Wednesday food section are not accessible with my print. But worst of all, almost everything I collected in my recipe box over the years is no longer available to me. Gifts should not be snatched back. I told Sam Sifton as much and cancelled all his food newsletters.
 
Sue April 21, 2018
My annual print subscription to the NYT ends today. Imagine my reaction today when I could not access my recipe box and hit a paywall. Luckily I have all my NYT cookbooks & 3x5 cards from the last century so I will rely on Craig & Pierre, plus Genius Recipes, but I will miss Mark, Melissa, Sam and Yotam. Thanks NYT, for 50 years of lessons, recipes and memorable meals, but no to $$ for archive search.
 
trixie April 21, 2018
In a time when fake news abounds, I couldn’t give up a NYT subscription. Even the lowest price supports great journalism and gives you access to cooking too.
 
Charles M. December 27, 2017
cheap trick by theNYT. and now all my files are now gone. unless I pay which I won,t
 
JohnLucas November 26, 2017
No thanks. $60 is quite excessive. NYT recipes was my go to place but I can live without and have plenty of other sources. Besides, I became quite alienated by NYT business practices since NYT refused to correct for double charging when duplicate subscriptions were accidentally set up for myself and my wife. Fortunately my credit card successfully intervened.
 
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Melanie P. October 4, 2017
No, I will not pay for NYT recipes, even tho I have loved their ideas, recipe box and comments. Besides the insult of paying for something that was once free (sorry, but it's better swallowed to take first than to give away for free then start charging) who's to say they won't continue to up the price. In the end, you are paying for nothing real or tangible, like, say, a cookbook. Heck no, I'll just go to my other favorite recipe collection site - Food 52!
 
dolly September 20, 2017
No I will never pay for NYT cooking access. When the new NYT fee began, I wrote emails of objection. The responses totally missed the issues within my objections to the NYT new, "progressive" fee policy. Now have recipe box cannot use. Who is the marketing genius on this one?
 
Jay R. September 5, 2017
$10 a month for Netflix or $5 a month for a single recipe site? Sorry.
 
John W. August 27, 2017
Dear NYT. Guess you've lost your gambit of baiting and switching your NYT Cooking subscribers. More and more people are leaving because of this sleazy move. It is simple enough to copy and save a recipe from anywhere including your site. All i did with NYT was to store recipes from yours and other sites for eventual transit to my own recipe file on my computer. Leaving recipes on your online recipe box wouldn't make any sense. You charge, you loose. Bye bye.
 
Anna July 19, 2017
I'm still mulling it over. I like the recipes, but they wouldn't be the same without all the great comments, and I'm just not sure everyone else is going to stick around. I get the same value from Food.com and allrecipes.com and they are both free.
 
Mark S. July 11, 2017
LOL. Yeah no. You play, you loose NYT. I'm not paying for recipes that are most often completely wrong. The latest "French" batch from Melissa Clifton is laughable and they want us to pay for that? Nope.
 
Sterling B. July 3, 2017
I have followed recipes on the New York times for decades now, long before cooking.nytimes.com. Now I am retired trying to live on SS. More time to cook, less money to buy food and not enough money to subscribe to ongoing charges like this paywall. I will miss it dearly, but can no longer afford this kind of expense. If they were to offer a discount for those of us on a small fixed income, I think I could manage, but not at $60 per year.
 
Can I. July 4, 2017
Do you subscribe to the New York Times? If you do, you still have access to Cooking.
 
maria S. July 1, 2017
As a subscriber, it's part of my monthly package, and I have to admit I use it quite a bit and it's a convenient place to stash other recipes found online.
 
Robyn July 1, 2017
I doubt it. $5 a month doesn't sound like a lot, but $60 a year does. I don't think I'd get the value for the money. Funny, I think I would have gone for $50 a year and certainly would have for $30.
 
WHB June 30, 2017
When I opened the app last night, ithere was a message saying it was changing to a subscription service. It said I would have complimentary access for a limited time.
 
trixie June 30, 2017
Again folks -- read the note that was sent regarding the change Or go the the Times and read what they've shared about the change. the Times FOOD section isn't going away. The Cooking APP isn't free. Not the same thing. The recipes you get in the newsletter are till free.
 
Maureen June 30, 2017
I used to get the paper edition but never found time to read it. I started subscribing to the digital edition last year because it's one of the few news sources I actually trust. It really doesn't cost that much and it's worth it to me to support genuine professional journalists dedicated to the truth. I'm sorry we live in a time when journalism is forced to such lengths. I love the Cooking section and hope it can survive.
 
Nomnomnom June 30, 2017
My situation is the same. I'm happy to spend a few dollars a month for news journalism I can trust. Access to information is everything.
 
Jane June 30, 2017
Why don't you guys just subscribe to the Times? The news is what they actually do, after all...well roundedness is admirable...
 
trixie June 29, 2017
Many people seem to be commenting without actually having read Sam's email to Cooking subscribers. You are NOT losing access to your recipe box. You are NOT losing access to all recipes on the site. If you get the Cooking newsletter, you can access all the recipes shared in the newsletter. You can save them in your recipe box and access at your leisure. You won't lose anything you've saved. You will still be able to read notes on all free recipes. And you still have access to everything in the Food section. Perhaps the headline of this story should have been Will You Pay for the NYT Cooking APP, not Recipes....
 
Lisa July 2, 2017
This is what came in my email from Sam:<br /><br />Today, we have erected a virtual wall around a lot of the recipes, collections and features we offer on our website, and we are asking that you pay for a subscription in order to access them.<br /><br />With that subscription, you’ll have access to all of our more than 18,000 recipes, our instructional guides and videos, our seasonal and thematic collections of recipes, your recipe box and the organizational features attached to it. (Without a subscription, you’ll still get access to the recipes featured in this newsletter, to the new recipes we publish each week and to a limited number of rotating collections. But that’s about it.)<br /><br />It seems pretty clear that your recipe box will be locked. Nothing to do with the app, which I've never had. I think I'm interpreting it correctly....
 
mizerychik June 29, 2017
Totally ridiculous. There are plenty of other fish recipes in the sea. If you can't figure out how to make money without putting up a paywall for content that people can get elsewhere for free, your business model is a failure.
 
Lisa July 2, 2017
That's how I feel. I must admit that I have a bit of sorrow at the decline of the NYT, LAT, and other fabulous newspapers that are struggling in this country. BUT, I stopped taking a daily newspaper in the early 90's myself because I was working and could get all the news on the internet, or the thousands of cable channels on tv. Plus my fingers didn't get black....<br /><br />I sent a reply to Sam saying, No thank you. The fact that newspapers are failing is old news. I wish they had figured out how to adapt to the digital age. By the way, I'm 65. I'm not a 30 or 40 year old, who has been raised with technology. When grade school kids are given iPads/tablets when they enter school (Irvine, CA plus many other school districts), that is a huge hint that the times have changed. <br /><br />I'm sorry they didn't hire the right people to help them keep up.