RecipeMD Specification

This is version 2.3.2 of the RecipeMD specification.

RecipeMD is a Markdown-based format for writing down recipes. It defines a certain structure which a document must follow to be a RecipeMD recipe.

All RecipeMD files shall follow the commonmark specification.


This example presents the basic format of a RecipeMD recipe

# Guacamole

Some people call it guac.

*sauce, vegan*

**4 Servings, 200g**


- *1* avocado
- *.5 teaspoon* salt
- *1 1/2 pinches* red pepper flakes
- lemon juice


Remove flesh from avocado and roughly mash with fork. Season to taste
with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • the title is noted as a first level header: # Guacamole

  • the short description is noted as one or more paragraphs: Some people call it guac.

  • the tags are noted as paragraph containing only a comma seperated list in italics: *sauce, vegan*

  • the yield is noted as paragraph containing only a comma seperated list in bold face: **4 Servings, 200g**

  • the ingredients are noted as list items. The headings form the titles of ingredient groups. The amount of each ingredient (if given) is noted in italics. Amounts may be expressed as decimals (dividers “.” and “,”) and fractions:

    - *1* avocado
    - *.5 teaspoon* salt
    - *1 1/2 pinches* red pepper flakes
    - lemon juice
  • anything following the second horizontal line is considered instructions

RecipeMD Data types


A valid recipe consists of:

  • a title

  • optional: a short description

  • optional: 1..n tags

  • optional: 1..n yields

  • the ingredients as 1..n ingredient groups

  • optional: instructions

A recipe is represented in markdown as follows:

  1. Title as a first level heading

  2. Short description as zero or more paragraphs

  3. Yield and Tags (arbitrary order):

    • Tags as a single paragraph which is completely in italics. Tags are a comma separated list of strings.

    • Yields as a single paragraph which is completely in bold. Yields are a comma separated list of amounts. Note the rules about commas in amounts.

  4. a horizontal line

  5. the ingredients, consisting of

    1. optional: headings to group ingredients

    2. lists, where each list item is an ingredient

  6. a horizontal line – this may be omitted if there are no instructions

  7. optional: the instructions, everything following the second line


An amount consists of

  • a value as a number

  • optional a unit

An amount is represented as follows:

  1. A number, which may have one of the following formats

    • improper fraction (e.g. 1 1/5)

    • proper fraction (e.g 3/7)

    • unicode vulgar fractions (like ½) may also be used

    • decimal with dividers “.” and “,” (e.g. “41.9”)

  2. A unit which is just everything following the number

Note that when an amount is inside of a comma separated list, a comma is treated as a decimal divider if the characters directly before and after are numerical and as a list divider otherwise.


An ingredient consists of

  • optional an amount

  • a name

  • optional a link to a recipe for the ingredient

An ingredient is represented as follows:

  1. The amount in italics

  2. Everything following until the end of the list item is part of the name or the link as specified below:

    1. If a name contains only an inline-link, the link-text represents the name of the ingredient and the link-destination specifies a resource that contains a recipe for the ingredient

    2. Otherwise, the text is the name and the link is not set

Ingredient Group

An ingredient group is a group of related ingredients, e.g. the ingredients making up one component of a dish. It consists of:

  • optional a title

  • 1..n ingredients

An ingredient group us represented as follows:

  1. A heading, whose contents are the group’s title

  2. A list of ingredients

Test Cases

Implementations of this specification must conform with all test cases. There are two kinds of test cases: valid files (*.md with a corresponding *.json) and invalid files (*

Authors Licensing

This specification was written and is maintained by Jonas Grosse-Holz and Tilman Stehr. The project’s website is

The specification is licensed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or any later version.

Version History

Version 2.3.5 (2022-08-14)

  • Fix test case “” to use valid link targets

  • Expand test cases to cover

    • reference links and reference-style images

    • ingredients with sublists

    • ingredients using numbered lists

    • ingredients partially wrapped with links

    • link ingredients with spaces in link targets

    • link ingredients with link titles

    • partial tag paragraphs that should not be interpreted as tags

    • titles using setext headings

Version 2.3.4 (2021-12-26)

  • Fixes to test cases:

    • Add missing ingredient groups in JSON files

    • Clean up formatting

    • Fix missing indentation spaces for multiline ingredients

Version 2.3.3 (2021-01-02)

  • Clarify that yields and tags may appear at most once.

  • Add test cases:

    • Multiple yields or tags

    • Tag/yield order

Version 2.3.2 (2019-12-18)

  • Add author and license information

Version 2.3.1 (2019-11-18)

  • Fix missing link

  • Fix wrong indentation and word wrapping

Version 2.3.0 (2019-11-18)

  • Add a full version of the example

  • Add version history reconstructed from git

  • Add reference to test suite

Version 2.2.0 (2019-04-22)

  • Allow recipes to reference other recipes

2.1.0 (2019-03-25)

  • Allow unicode vulgar fractions in ingredient amounts

2.0.1 (2018-09-17)

  • Reword specification

  • Clarify edge cases

2.0.0 (2018-09-13)

  • Breaking: Seperate yields and tags into own paragraphs

1.0.0 (2018-08-26)

  • Initial version