Over the past few years a number of very enterprising individuals have established very successful businesses selling recipes by mail. If you have an interest in the culinary arts, you could easily do the same.

The idea is very basic. You create a new recipe. Then, you advertise it in the classified section of a magazine or newspaper which is read primarily by housewives. Advertise your favorite recipe for a dollar or two. Some dealers also request a self-addressed, stamped envelope to save postage costs.

When you receive orders in the mail, send the customer a typewritten or photocopy of your recipe. Some recipe sellers who do  a large business have the recipes printed onto index cards that fit easily into a card file. Along with your recipe, include a list of additional recipes you have for sale. The list should tie in with your original offer.

Let’s imagine that you have advertised a secret recipe for Danish Butter Cookies. Your list should include other cookie recipes, as well as other ethnic Danish recipes. If your customer bakes your Danish Butter Cookies and likes them, he or she will be in a good frame of mind to purchase more recipes from you!

In researching this article, we combed through the classified sections of dozens of magazines and tabloids, studying recipe ads. Here is a partial list of recipes that were being sold by mail:

Four Fabulous Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Pie

Superb Crust

Delicious Frosted Brownies

Red Velvet Christmas Cake

Hungarian Green Bean Soup

Old Fashioned Nut Roll

Molasses Donuts

Greek Donuts with Warm Honey

Effortless, Bakeless Fruitcake

Cinnamon and Sesame Cookies

Vegetarian Recipes

Swedish Meat Balls

Aunt Sarah’s Original Turkey Goulash

Cottage Cheese Meat Loaf

Delicious Coconut Cake

Delicious Ambrosia Cake

Italian Gravy

Fantastic Frosting

Texas Longhorn Bar-B-Que Sauce

Man Pleasing Chili

Sparkling Burgundy

Sour Dough Starter Bread


Chocolate French Mint Pie

Austrian-Style Wine Quick Punch

Sugar Free Fudge

Famous Pastry Shop Cheesecake

Homemade Cheese Balls

Sugarless Diet  Deserts

Unique Plum Pudding

Light, Moist Coconut Cake

Twenty German Recipes

German Christmas Cake

Russian Tea

Coldwater Dill Pickles

High Protein Diet Candy

Old Testament Scripture Cake

Italian Candies

Easy, Delicious Cherry Cobbler

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Bread

Beer Cake

Polish Recipes

Holiday Honey Balls

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls

King Ranch Chicken

Chicken Kiev

Ten Alarm Chili

Tex-Mex Fajitas

Wok Recipes

Make Fortune Cookies At Home

South Fork Fried Chicken

World’s Best Lemon Pie

Easiest Microwave Meals

The Ten-Minute Supper

Khazhakstan Carrot Slaw

Bedouin Stew

Festive Football Night Treats

French Silk Pie

Granny’s Old South Buttermilk Biscuits

You will notice a lot of regional and national recipes. If you could collect recipes from a specific country — say Finland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia — they would probably sell very well. Also, recipes from New England, the Deep South, or some other special area also sell well. Notice the number of recipes that contain words like “Delicious”, “Tempting”, and “Easy”! A word or two in the title that attracts the reader’s attention, paints a mental picture, or offers to save them time and trouble will sell better than simply giving the name of the dish. Further, recipes which are sugarless or that feature vegetarian specialties, also do very well.

Many housewives pay a great deal of attention to holiday recipes. If you could time your ad so that it appears about thirty days before Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, the Fourth of July, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, or Christmas, you will do very well selling holiday recipes.

You may be wondering where you will get all of the recipes you will offer. Start by selling your own recipes. Ask your friends if they have recipes that you can use. Often, they will be delighted to help you! Or you can go to the library and search through old newspapers and magazines. When you find recipes that look promising, go home and experiment with them. Write the instructions out in your own words, otherwise you may be violating copyright laws.

In our research, we discovered the names of two housewives who made it their business to create new recipes and then sell them to dealers. If you can create and gather all new recipes to sell, you could do the same. You would concentrate on selling your recipes (along with the reprint rights) to other recipe dealers. You would want to offer a large collection of recipes along with a brief sheet of instructions on how to market recipes.

To get an idea of what kind of recipes are currently being sold, it would be advisable to study the recipe section on the classified pages of several national magazines or tabloids on your own.  The classified sections of the tabloids sold in the supermarkets are a good place to begin.

You can do it. With a small amount of determination and a keen interest in cooking, you can develop a thriving mail order business. Study your potential market. Compile a large collection of recipes. Place advertising in several strategic publications. And wait for the orders to begin pouring in! The future is yours. Good luck!

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