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About Our Contests

These are not your usual contests. We have a slightly nutty system—but it works.

You're competing for fame and glory: We’ll be shouting the winner’s name from the rooftops! (And by rooftops, we mean featuring the winning recipe on our site and in one of our email newsletters.) Remember, all contest finalists get prime placement in our recipe search and are always most likely to be featured.

Here's how our contests work:

  1. Every two months, on the 15th, we'll solicit recipes for different themes (e.g., Your Best Shrimp Recipe, Your Best Chilled Soup, Your Best Summer Cocktail). This means, in 2018, contests will launch on 12:00 PM EST (or EDT as the case may be) on January 15th, March 15th, May 15th, July 15th, September 15th, and November 15th.
  2. You'll have a little over two weeks, until 6:00 PM EST/EDT on the final day of the month (either the 30th or the 31st depending on the month), to submit your recipes. The exact day your recipe needs to be in will be included in the contest announcement. We’re really excited about new recipes, but existing recipes can be submitted too.
  3. For the next two weeks, we’ll be narrowing down the selections. To help us do so, we’ll be depending on your input—which recipes you favorite and your comments on each recipe. We’ll announce a list of 5 contenders on the 15th of the second month at 12:00 PM EST/EDT (so, for 2018: February, April, June, August, October, December).
  4. The 5 recipe contenders will all be made in our test kitchen and reviewed by our team members. (We hope you’ll test some of them at home in your own kitchen as well, so you’ll be ready to vote.)
  5. After testing, we’ll whittle it down to 2 finalists. We’ll announce them on the 1st of the third month at 12:00 PM EST/EDT (so, for 2018 contests: March 1, May 1, July 1, September 1, November 1, and January 1, 2019). Then we’ll open up voting. You’ll have about a week to check out the finalists, cook the recipes, and document the results. You can cast your vote on the site (good old democracy!). The deadline to cast your vote will be 12:00 PM EST/EDT on the 8th of that month.
  6. We’ll tally up the votes and announce the winner the following day, at 12:00 PM EST/EDT on the 9th. The winner gets to do a happy dance. Then on the 15th the whole cycle begins again with a new contest!

We'll end up with lots of new recipes—created by all of us—that we love!

*Confused? Check out this handy dandy visual guide to 2018’s contests schedule:

New Contest Starts January 15 March 15 May 15 July 15 September 15 November 15
Submissions Close January 31 March 31 May 31 July 31 September 30 November 30
5 Contenders Announced February 15 April 15 June 15 August 15 October 15 December 15
2 Finalists Announced & Voting Starts March 1 May 1 July 1 September 1 November 1 January 1
Voting Ends March 8 May 8 July 8 September 8 November 8 January 8
Winner Announced March 9 May 9 July 9 September 9 November 9 January 9

Recipe Contest Rules

  1. If a recipe is not chosen as a winner for one contest, you may resubmit the same recipe for a future contest. (For example, Mom's Mud Pie could be submitted for Your Best Dessert Recipe and later for Your Best Kid-Friendly Recipe). You may submit only one recipe for each contest.
  2. You may only vote once for each contest on the site, but you may vote for your own recipe.
  3. This is all in the spirit of good fun. No harassing your fellow competitors, or we'll send you a year's supply of durian.
  4. If a contest theme involves alcohol (like Your Best Cocktail), you must be at least 21 years of age or older to enter. No alcohol purchase or any purchase is required.
  5. You may only submit recipes that are your own. If your recipe was inspired by another source, that's okay—just tell us how you changed it. We'd love for the inspiration behind your recipes to be part of the conversation. Plagiarism, however, is a definite don’t. If you plagiarize, people will call you out and you'll look lame. In case you're wondering how we interpret an acceptably inspired recipe, here you go:

Example of original recipe:

Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes

From More from Magnolia: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen by Allysa Torey

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and the vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Icing:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6-8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Makes enough for 2 dozen cupcakes.

Example of acceptably inspired recipe:

Anise Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing

Inspired by Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes in More from Magnolia: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen by Allysa Torey

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed aniseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake papers.
  3. Combine the flours.
  4. In a the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk, cream the butter on medium speed. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the aniseed, anise extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Mix just until smooth. Divide the batter among the cupcake papers. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool on a baking rack. Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Icing:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Place the butter in a mixer fitted with a whisk. Beat in the melted chocolate. Gradually beat in 3 cups of sugar, then add just enough milk to loosen the icing; continue beating until very smooth, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating well after each addition. The icing should be smooth and spreadable. Makes enough for 2 dozen cupcakes.
  1. By submitting an entry, you agree to abide by these Official Rules and all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations that govern the Contest as well as the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for our website, which you can find here and here. This contest is void where prohibited by law. This Contest is subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. This contest is open to all US residents, aged 18 or older. You must be a registered user of the Food52 website to enter. Employees of the following entities and members of their families or households are not eligible for participation under any circumstances: Food52, and its respective affiliates, printers, advertising and promotion agencies, or retailers as well as any persons involved in the creation, development, or implementation of this contest; and any other persons or entities directly associated with this contest and any members of their immediate families or households are ineligible for entry.

Want to know more? Here’s the really fine print.

Entering a recipe in a Food52 contest grants Food52 the right to use, publish, adapt, edit, and/or modify the recipe in any way, in whole or in part, and to use such recipe, and any ideas or concepts contained therein, in commerce and in any and all media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide, without limitation or compensation to the entrant and without right of notice, review or approval of any such use of the recipe.

Unless prohibited by law, as a condition of entry, you grant consent to Food52 and its agents, affiliates, and licensees the right to use your name, likeness, voice, biographical information, and/or your recipe for publicity or advertising in any media or manner, without further payment, consideration, notice or approval and without geographic or time limitation.

By entering the Contest, you voluntarily and knowingly completely and forever release, waive and discharge Food52 and all related parties, from and against any and every kind of claim, demand, injury, costs, attorney fees, right, liability or cause of action or other liabilities of whatever kind or nature, known or unknown, absolute or contingent, and whether or not fixed, which you ever had, now has or might in the future have arising in any way or related to this Contest, including, but not limited to, participation in the Contest; your Contest Submission; use of your name, likeness, biographical information, signature, image or likeness; financial claims; physical and/or emotional injury; and/or any other legal claim that may arise, whether under contract, tort, warranty or any other theory or claim.

All disputes and questions regarding the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, the Terms of Use or Privacy Policy, or concerning the rights and obligations of any participant and/or Food52, shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than New York. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Official Rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. If any provision of these Official Rules is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable, these Official Rules shall be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or unenforceable provision was not contained there.

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