So you've spent most of the past year or two scrolling through recipes on TikTok, who hasn't? But when you reach for your phone to make your own, well, you might realize the process isn't as easy as influencers make it seem. Capturing your home cooking can be tricky—steam fogs up your camera lens, frying food sounds more gross than deliciously crackly, and the lights above your range add the strangest glare to that pasta you thought looked amazing. But if you're determined to share your recipes on #FoodTok, fear not, we've asked some experts for tips on how to film, edit, and post cooking TikToks you'll be proud to share. We can't wait to see it on our For You page.
How to Make a Cooking TikTok
Keep it simple.
"Simplicity is key when creating food content for TikTok," says MacKenzie Smith, creator of Grilled Cheese Social. While some at-home chefs will be happy to take on a more involved cooking challenge, Smith says an approachable recipe is key to connecting with a larger audience. "My Baked Feta Pasta that went viral earlier this year is a prime example of how new yet simple food trends can take over the social landscape and can easily be recreated right in your own kitchen."
Show off a kitchen hack.
Before leaping into full-on recipes, consider showing off your cooking chops, filming something you do special or sharing a helpful tip some viewers may not know. Think about how you'd teach a friend, then demonstrate for the camera. (It definitely helps if you have a second set of hands, or a tripod, to film this content.) Smith, who's partnering with the National Mango Board, says she's been starting all her videos for the campaign with a demonstration of the best mango cutting technique, adding that the hedgehog mango cut is the easiest way to cut the superfruit. "How-to content is both entertaining and educational for the TikTok community—everyone loves a good kitchen hack," she says.
Film from different angles.
If you have two smartphones or cameras (old phones can work for this too), try setting them up on tripods or stands at different angles, so you can edit with a diversity of different shots, both overhead and from another vantage point. Only have one device? No worries. Consider filming various portions of your cooking—chopping, stirring, plating—from a few perspectives to add a cinematic quality.
Keep it short.
You're not shooting a feature film here. Keep your video between 30 to 60 seconds to keep your ever-scrolling audience engaged. "Long duration videos can develop suspense initially, but will eventually bore viewers," says chef Vicky Cano of Mealfan.com. "For example, initially I used to create a series of videos for one recipe but my audience engagement decreased with the increasing number of videos. Then, I kept my videos short and started listing recipes in the caption, and noticed higher engagement."
Get creative when editing.
Sure, food videos can be entertaining on their own, but if you want your viewers to keep coming back to your TikToks, it helps to add some editing flair. Add some filters, music, a voiceover, captions, and, when you're really comfortable on the app, some creative transitions. Even better if you can tell a joke, too. Just don't forget the primary purpose of your content. "The videos should actually motivate the audience to cook food rather than just watching it," Cano says.
Edit in a different app.
Filming and trimming TikTok videos can be tricky. To make it simpler, Cano recommends using the app CapCut to edit your videos. "This tool is easy to use, has a range of high-quality filters and effects, and a variety of music to choose from," she says. The app is free from Google Play and Apple Store. Other editing apps TikTokers recommend include Spark Camera and Video Leap.
Keep it quiet on set.
For the best cooking sounds, like ASMR-worthy slicing and sauteing, make sure your cooking ambiance is totally quiet. That means no dishwasher running in the background, no Zoom echo from your spouse's meeting in the other room, and no dog barking at your side (if you can help it). Try and ensure that all the sound your camera picks up is cooking related. If that's too difficult to set up, you can always lower the volume of the recording and add pleasant music on top.
Get the lighting right.
Just like with food photography, capturing your content in natural lighting results in the most appetizing food shots. If you only have time to cook at night or don't have a window near your kitchen, consider investing in a ring light, social media's favorite glamour lighting. Position it over your cooking area and use it to style your plated dish.
Break the rules.
Just like with cooking, the rules of TikTok are meant to be broken. Who knows what will go viral, what will become a trend, and what, well, was a waste of your time. The golden rule of social media is to be creative, make what you want to make, and see what sticks.