Baking Blog

So Much Food! 6 Essential Tips for Doubling or Tripling Recipes

Maybe you need to feed a crowd. Or perhaps you just want to prepare a bulk amount of food for a busy week ahead. There are many reasons why you might want to increase the size of a recipe. But before you do, be sure to check out these tips for doubling recipes, and tripling, too.

Tips for Doubling Recipes

Want to double or triple a recipe? Check out these helpful tips.

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Tip #1: Consider the complexity of the recipe before cooking.

Doubled recipes

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No doubt about it, some recipes are easier to increase than others. In general, the fewer the ingredients, the easier it is to increase the quantities.

For instance, say you're making roasted Brussels sprouts, simply prepared with olive oil, salt and pepper. That's pretty easy: you can double the amount of sprouts, and since the other ingredients are added to taste, you can adjust them to your preference. There's a reason why certain simple dishes are considered appropriate "for a crowd" — they can be increased or decreased easily depending on how many people are being served. 

However, more complex recipes may be a little trickier to scale, and may involve a bit more trial and error. In general, it's easiest to double or triple a recipe you're already familiar with, because you already know what cues for doneness to look out for, and how the process of cooking that particular item goes. Start with simpler recipes, and progress to more complex ones as you gain confidence in seasoning and working with larger quantities of food. 

Tip #2: Double or triple the recipe in writing before you start cooking.

You might think that it will be easy to mentally calculate the doubled or tripled quantities in a recipe as you go. Well, this might work out, but it's far more likely that once you get into the flow of cooking, you'll mess up and add the original quantity of something, which can throw the entire recipe off.

Write down the quantities of all of the ingredients in the increased quantities before you start preparing food, so you can refer to the most appropriate quantities as you cook. This can also offer an opportunity to consider which ingredients should be increased in doubled or tripled quantities, and which ingredients might not require such an increase. Which leads to the next point...

Spices shouldn't always be doubled

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Tip #3: Not all ingredients should be increased quite so much.

You may not want to double or triple all of the ingredients in a recipe. For instance, if a dish contains spicy chile peppers, the doubled quantity may be way too assertive, even for a recipe that is doubled in every other way. Even simple seasonings like salt and pepper can become a bit much if you dump double or triple the amount in your pan. 

In general, a good way to go with the seasoning when doubling or tripling a recipe is like so:

  • Salt, pepper, and mild herbs: add 1.5 times the original amount, then add more to taste.
  • Assertive spices or spicy ingredients: add 1.25 times the original amount, then add more to taste.

Remember, you can always add more salt or seasoning, but once it's added, you can't take it away. 

Plantains

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Tip #4: Cooking fat shouldn't always be increased by double or triple.

If the fat (butter, coconut oil, olive oil) is listed in the ingredients of a recipe, you should double or triple it when increasing the scale of your cooking.

However, if you're using the fat for sautéing in butter or oil, you may not need to increase the amount by double or triple. In general, you'll only want enough fat to coat the pan — if you add too much, your food can become soggy, oil-laden, and dense. 

Fat for pan- or deep-frying likely won't require doubling or tripling, either: you can start with a slightly increased amount, and you can always re-heat more oil for frying at a later point. 

Pan size

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Tip #5: You'll need a bigger pot or pan.

If you try to jam a doubled batch of vegetables on the same roasting pan you'd use for the regular recipe yield, your results may not be great. If you try to put a doubled quantity of pasta in a medium saucepan, your pots may runneth over, and not in a good way. 

Food needs space to cook properly. When increasing the quantity of a recipe, scale up your cooking vessels appropriately. Split the dish between two pans, or use a larger pot, for best results.

Watch the time

Photo via Craftsy member Leonova

Tip #6: The cook time will likely be longer. 

When doubling or tripling a recipe, rarely will the cook time be exactly the same. To make sure your food is fully cooked, check the dish at the time specified in the original recipe, and evaluate the doneness. If it's a meat dish, for instance, you can take the internal temperature using a meat thermometer. For other dishes, such as roasted vegetables, you can rely on visual cues of doneness.

While it will likely to take longer to cook a doubled or tripled recipe, the original cook time is a good starting point to monitor the progress. From there, closely monitor the dish every few minutes until it has reached the point of doneness. 

Do you have any tips for doubling or tripling recipes?

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2 Comments

Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie

#2 is something I definitely need to get better wish for both halving and doubling recipes. It seems so simple and yet I often find myself doubling the recipe as I go in my head and sure enough there will be one ingredient that I forget about and add the original amount instead.

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Judi Griffiths

I am doubling the ingredients for a Cherry Dump Cake. I am not sure how to calculate the cooking time and/or temperature. Can anyone help me?

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