How to Cook in Stardew Valley

There are way too many delicious materials in Stardew Valley, and it’d be a shame if you just had to munch on them all raw. Thankfully, that’s far from the only thing you can do with the food that this game has to offer. You can cook in Stardew Valley eventually, once you’ve upgraded your home! So, you can take some of that excellent-looking food that you’ve been farming for season after season and transform it into some good grub!

The ultimate goal of cooking, the chef's hat is only rewarded to true gourmet cooks!

That being said, you aren’t able to dive right into cooking. Your home doesn’t come with the appliances needed to do the deed right away. So, let’s talk about the steps needed to unlock this hugely powerful ability!

How to Unlock Kitchen

In order to unlock the kitchen in Stardew Valley, you’ll have to upgrade your farmhouse a single time. This momentous occasion costs 10,000g and 450 wood. However, this investment grants you a full-sized kitchen, a living area, and some privacy for your sleeping space. Your kitchen is to the left of your front door, with a checkerboard tile setup by default.

Upgrades to your home can be purchased at the Carpenter’s Shop. Robin will upgrade your home over the course of three days. You can still sleep during that time just fine, so it’s not like your house is off-limits. But, you won’t be able to cook until the third day after you’ve invested in the house!

The third upgrade makes no meaningful difference to the utility of your kitchen, instead just making it spacier. More room for furniture is nice, if you crave that interior design feel that Stardew Valley makes so easy! Adding furniture is not needed for any NPC marriage requirements, though, making it a nice addition and nothing more.

How to Cook Food

Once you have the kitchen, you can begin to cook food by walking up to your oven in the kitchen. When you click on that oven, all recipes that you know will be displayed in color or with a gray backdrop. Mousing over the recipe will reveal any ingredients that are missing from your inventory or the nearby fridge. If you do not know the recipe yet, it will instead be fully blacked out.

There is a massive pile of different types of food that you can cook in Stardew Valley, all of them being categorized for you.

Once you have the ingredients that you need for a recipe, you’ll be able to cook it just by clicking on the food at the oven. For example, if you have the Baked Fish recipe, you’ll need one of Bream, Sunfish, and Wheat Flour either in your inventory or in the fridge that comes with the kitchen. Ingredients in chests or in fridges that aren’t in the farmhouse will not be counted.

Otherwise, cooking behaves exactly like crafting. There is no additional minigame or time required in order to make any meal, regardless of quality or complexity – from the Sashimi to a pile of Crab Cakes.

Other Ways To Cook

As of patch 1.5, you must be either at an oven or with a Cookout Kit in order to cook. Cookout kits are unlocked at Foraging Level 9, which is very much endgame. This piece of furniture can be placed outside and used like the Stove. To craft it, you simply need 15 Wood, 10 Fiber, and 3 Coal.

The Cookout Kit is also rewarded to the player if they complete the Wild Medicine Bundle in the Remixed rules. This bundle is located in the Crafts Room. To complete it, you need three of the following: five Purple Mushrooms, five Fiddlehead Fern, five White Algae, or five Hops. This will give you two kits.

You place them much like you would any furniture item and it creates a small cooking pot. Despite the simplicity of the setup, you can cook any of your known recipes in this tiny environment. However, since you are not going to be near your refrigerator, you must have all ingredients in your inventory.

Unfortunately, there is a reason that these kits are so cheap to craft. They will disappear if left out overnight, making them basically consumables. You can destroy them early with axes, hoes, or pickaxes.

Best Recipes in Stardew Valley

Food is relatively expensive in Stardew Valley, so you are going to primarily want them for their buffs! While all food heals, some food gives you a massive amount of stats in specific categories. Perfect for the harvest season, foraging, or fishing! Below are some of our favorites for the endgame.

  • Farmer’s Lunch: Unlocked through Farming Level 3. To craft, you’ll need one Omelet and one Parsnip. This gives Farming Level +3, an insane buff for a large harvest.
    • To make an Omelet, you’ll need one milk and one egg, as well as learn it from your television on 28 Spring or unlock it from the Stardrop Saloon
  • Tropical Curry: Unlocked through the Ginger Island Resort for 2,000g. To craft, you’ll need one Coconut, one Pineapple, and one Hot Pepper. This gives Foraging +4, one of the largest level buffs in the game from one source. Very important for collecting sap or high-value foragables from the Desert and Ginger Island.
  • Seafoam Pudding: Unlocked through Fishing Level 9. To craft, you’ll need one Flounder, one Midnight Carp, and one vial of Squid Ink. This gives Fishing +4, a titanic buff if you want to fish for profit.
    • Lobster Bisque is another decent option, instead giving Fishing +3 and 50 Max Energy. That’s unlocked from your TV on 14 Winter, Year 2, or by Willy at 9 Hearts.
  • Lucky Lunch: Unlocked through the Queen of Sauce TV show on the 28th of Spring during Year 2. This is crafted with one Sea Cucumber, one Tortilla, and one Blue Jazz. This gives a +3 buff to your Luck, needed for some specific events and wanted for some catching odds for fish like the Woodskip.

Expert Tip

If you ever wonder if you’re missing specific recipes, you can find out through your Collections screen. That tab is located on your inventory screen, represented by a gold bag. You can check a bunch of achievement-worthy goals here, but recipes are locate on the dish plate with a utensil tab on the left side of the screen. It should be the fifth one from the top.

Do all recipes need to be unlocked?

The only recipe that begins the game unlocked is the Fried Egg recipe, a terrible food item that’s at least simple to make. Otherwise, you will need to unlock every other recipe. Recipes are unlocked through the Stardrop Saloon, watching the Queen of Sauce on Sundays, getting hearts with Villagers, or raising your level in various skills.

How do you get Qi Seasoning?

Qi Seasoning costs 10 Qi Gems in Qi’s Walnut Room. The seasoning causes food to become Gold Quality, which improves buffs by a +1 and improves its healing qualities by 80%. Qi Seasoning is used automatically while placed in your fridge or held in your inventory.

How many different ingredients are there?

If your goal is to cook all 80 dishes in the game, as of patch 1.5, you will need a total of 87 different ingredients, and several repeated ingredients. The most common ingredients used in Stardew Valley’s recipes are Wheat Flower, with 22 needed, Sugar, with 18 needed, Milk, with 12 needed, and Oil, with 11 needed, then Tomatoes and Eggs, with 8 needed for all 80 recipes. Otherwise, stock up on Cranberries, Taro Roots, Cave Carrots, Hazelnuts, and Green Algae, as they are all needed in quite high numbers.

Which recipe is most profitable?

While most ingredients are better off being put in a preserves jar or keg for profit, there are a few exceptions. Algae Soup, Pale Broth, Roots Platter, and Sashimi with very low profit fish are all fine to sell for a profit. Otherwise, you should only cook to sell if you have low profit goods and you can’t process them into artisan goods in any way.