Recipe complexity

Recipes can be searched through a number of filters:

  • Name;
  • Time (up to 30 mins, up to 45 mins, up to 60 mins, 90mins +);
  • Complexity (low, low-medium, medium, medium-high, high);
  • Age, i.e. 3-5, 5-7, 7-11, 11-14, 14-16;
  • Cooking methods: Non-heat, Hob, Grill or Oven;
  • Food commodity (such as vegetable, meat, cereals, potatoes);
  • Food skills, e.g. grate, peel, stir.

Complexity: A set of criteria have been devised by FFL to provide an objective rating for the complexity of our recipes. The criteria is based on the number of ingredients, the number of actions, the complexity of processing an ingredient (such as it being a high risk food or a term that describes multiple actions), the complexity of these actions (often linked to accuracy), and the duration of preparation. The analysis of each recipe, using this criteria, results in a score which is then translated into a useful descriptor: low, low-medium., medium, medium-high and high.

Age: This has been provided to give guidance on the appropriateness of a recipe for different age groups. This is based on the experience of the FFL programme with working with children and young people. Of course, the teacher will need to make the final decision – as they better understand the knowledge, skills and experience of the pupils they teach.

Cooking methods: This has been added to allow teachers a quick way of finding recipes suitable for their circumstances or teaching objectives. For example, a primary school teacher may not have easy access to an oven so requires a selection of ‘non-cook’ recipes. A secondary school teacher may wish to focus on the safe use of the hob.

Food skills: This has been provided to allow teachers to quickly filter the recipes to find those that match the learning intent for a lesson.


  • Lower salt, sugar and fat versions of ingredients/products should be used in recipes. Salt should not be available for seasoning and only placed out for pupils if it is required in the recipe, e.g. bread making.
  • When planning Schemes of Work, or setting a series of lessons, they should cover a wide range of recipes, supporting healthy eating messages (as depicted on The Eatwell Guide).
  • Servings of dishes should be appropriate for the age of the pupils.
  • Where smoothies or fruit juices are made, the single serving per pupil must not be more than 150ml (this is the maximum amount of fruit juice/smoothie for a day).
  • Dishes high in fat, salt and/or sugar should be kept to a minimum and only made occasionally. Treat foods are not needed in the diet and, if included, it is best to keep the portion size small and not have them too often.
  • Where recipes make reference to a fat, such as scones or sauces, unsaturated spread, baking fat /baking block or butter are listed to provide choice.


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