Food News

Will You Pay for NYT Cooking Recipes?

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.

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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.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“They should have grandfathered in all who already had recipe boxes, and should include free access for digital subscribers as well as print. We should be rewarded, not punished, for keeping up with the times (pun not intended)!”
— Janet A.

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?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Bzlester
  • j
  • greenbeanalmondine
  • Janet Abisch Scott
    Janet Abisch Scott
Karen Lo

Written by: Karen Lo

lunch lady


STARBIRD November 13, 2022
Bzlester May 10, 2020
This is how the arrogant food editor responds to a very longtime NYT subscriber who objects to paying $5 more a month for recipes, long a feature of newspaper food sections:

“...I'm sorry, too, that you're not interested in a subscription to NYT Cooking. It is thriving, however, and I'm proud of the work that we've done to make it so. Indeed I was recently promoted to the masthead, as an assistant managing editor responsible for culture and lifestyle news. Tomorrow's another day, though. Maybe I'll be fired -- and in the middle of a pandemic, too! -- simply because one lady doesn't want to pay for a subscription!”
Melanie P. May 11, 2020
Wow! Arrogant is right! Thanks for posting this - I hope her manager has enough integrity to tell her how inappropriate her comment was. Makes me even more glad I didn’t opt to pay for their recipes.
Maizy1 February 27, 2021
Wow! That is so wildly inappropriate. If the Times still had a Public Editor or ombudsmen I would urge you to forward that email response to them. Since they don't, you could try sharing it with the NYT Reader Center. I have been a NYT digital customer since the earliest days. Yesterday my recipes suddenly disappeared behind a paywall. This is the same scheme the cable providers use, constantly separating content and adding additional pay requirements. It is one of the reasons cable companies are the most hated businesses in the US. The NYT is foolish to follow down this path.
j January 28, 2019
I admit, I felt smacked hard when hitting the paywall, after decades as a faithful NYT subscriber. If they were keeping track, they'd know the Food Section comprised 70% of my NYT activity.
I changed from paper to digital when we started a major interior home renovation a few years ago. I considered going to paper again, but recently discovered, due to higher fees, City of Philadelphia is now incinerating almost 50% of paper waste (shameful, I know - they say they're working on it.)

Sure, NYT food is great content, but $5 EVERY month? To access an archive? Ain't gonna happen. Too many other good food writers/sites out there to support.

I recommend they consider archive access package fees. For example, digital subscribers may read 15 food articles/recipes per month. If they want to read more, they will be offered tiered package options for purchase.
greenbeanalmondine November 18, 2018
I bet they don't charge separately for the sports section!
Janet A. October 19, 2018
They should have grandfathered in all who already had recipe boxes, and should include free access for digital subscribers as well as print. We should be rewarded, not punished, for keeping up with the times (pun not intended)!
greenbeanalmondine November 18, 2018
agree! I completely missed this news until now and boy am I p.o.'d!
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.
Christine P. October 20, 2018
ON-line only newspaper subscriptions do not have access to the recipes. You must be a print subscriber.
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.
greenbeanalmondine November 18, 2018
agree. the next thing you know, we'll have to pay $5/month to read the front page.
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 and 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 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.
greenbeanalmondine November 18, 2018
no you don't.
Can I. February 13, 2019
Yes, you do. An all access digital subscription includes NYT Cooking. This is what I have. And it's worth it.
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.