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Best Way to Categorize Recipes in WordPress (No Code Required)

Categorize Recipes in WordPress

People are picky eaters – they have different tastes, different diets… you get the idea. So if you have a recipe blog, creating a WordPress recipe directory lets people dig into your full catalog of food and find the recipes they’ll absolutely love.

In this post, you’ll learn how to create your own flexible WordPress recipe directory that lists all your recipes in an easy-to-browse table format, along with options for your hungry visitors to:

  • Filter out recipes by categories or tags – like only showing desserts, or only showing dinners that also follow the ketogenic diet.
  • Search for specific recipes by keyword.
  • Click through to the full recipe to see all the ingredients and instructions.

Here’s an example of what you’ll be able to build by the end of this post:

Recipe Directory

The technique that you’ll learn in this post works perfectly with the Foodica and Cookely themes, as well as any other WordPress recipe theme that you might be using.

Why Create a WordPress Recipe Directory, Anyway?

If you have a food blog, you’re probably constantly experimenting and cooking up new concoctions for your readers. That’s great, and your readers will love to follow along with your latest creations as you post them.

However, as your site grows, you’ll have all these older recipes that aren’t really accessible from your regular blog page. However, even if you posted them years ago, they still taste good, right? So you want a way to help your visitors browse your entire recipe catalog – not just your latest content.

That’s what a WordPress recipe directory does – it makes it easy for readers to browse your entire catalog and find the recipes they want. They’ll see stuff you posted yesterday as well as stuff you posted years ago. And they’ll also be able to drill-down to exactly the recipes that fit their tastes and dietary restrictions.

That’s great for creating a user-friendly site, and it also keeps your visitors engaged because they have a lot more content to interact with.

What You Need to Create a WordPress Recipe Directory

To create your WordPress recipe directory, you’ll use the Posts Table Pro plugin. This plugin lets you take any type of WordPress content and display it in a user-friendly, customizable table layout. As you can probably guess, “any type of WordPress content” includes recipes!

So what is it specifically that makes Posts Table Pro so good for this use case? Well, we highlighted a few key features above, but let’s run over them again. You can…

  • Add filters so that people can find specific recipes. Again, this makes sure people can quickly find the recipes that match their tastes and dietary restrictions.
  • Add a search box so that people can also search by keyword. For example, maybe they’re really hungry for “hummus” that day!
  • Customize exactly what information displays. For example, you can add pictures of your food, and even let visitors open the pictures in a lightbox to see the end product in greater detail.

And the best part is that you’ll be able to do all of this without writing a single line of code.

Posts Table Pro – The Best Way to Categorize Recipes in WordPress

Now it’s time for the fun part – actually building your WordPress recipe catalog!

To show you how things work, we’ll use a demo site with the Foodica theme and all its default demo content. Foodica already makes it really easy to add eye-catching recipe cards and create a recipe index that lists your recipes – we’re just going to add a recipe directory to it to give people even more options for finding delicious food.

We’ll assume you already have your theme installed and food blog set up. If you don’t, and need to know how to add new recipes, see the Foodica documentation.

To get started, make sure you’ve already installed and activated the Posts Table Pro plugin at your site. Then, here’s a quick high-level look at the steps that you’ll take:

  1. Choose what content to display
  2. Add your filters and search options
  3. Insert your recipe directory in the post or page where you want it to appear

1. Choose What Content to Display in Your Recipe Directory

To get started, go to Settings → Posts Table Pro to configure the plugin’s basic settings.

If you’re using the Foodica or Cookely themes, you add recipes using regular WordPress posts, so you can leave the Post type drop-down as the default post. If you’re using a WordPress recipe plugin, you might need to select that recipe plugin’s post type from this drop-down.

Then, find the Columns options. This is the setting that lets you control exactly what information displays for each recipe in your directory.

For example, you can add a column for:

  • The featured image
  • The name of the recipe
  • Recipe categories/tags (such as dietary categories like vegan or vegetarian, or recipe types such as cake recipes or pasta recipes)
  • Etc.

For a full list of all the available options, you can read this help article. However, we’re going to go straight to the following configuration:

image, title, categories, tags

This will create a straightforward recipe directory like below, with four separate columns for the most important information. You can see how visitors are able to easily see the category and tags (ingredients) for each recipe:

Below the Columns settings, you’ll find other options. For example, if you want to display the excerpt description for each recipe, you could control how long that excerpt is. Similarly, if you want to let people view larger images of your food, you could open the featured recipe image in a lightbox when users click on it.

2. Add Your Recipe Directory Filters

To help visitors find the recipes they’re interested in, you can add filters to your recipe directory.

To do this, scroll down to the Table Controls section and find the Search filters drop-down. To let visitors filter by both categories and tags, select the Show based on columns in table option.

Or, you can also choose the Custom option if you want to manually control which filters are available. Depending on the setup of your recipe site, you might even be able to let people filter based on custom field data, like how long a recipe takes to cook.

You can also control additional options here. For example, if you don’t want the Show X entries option, you could turn off the Page length and Totals options:

Here’s what your recipe directory will look like after you’ve added the filters:

If a user selects a category or tag using the filter, the directory will list only those recipes but will not reload the page. This makes for a very user-friendly approach because people can quickly browse different categories and tags without needing to wait for the page to reload.

As long as you tag your recipes with the right information when creating them, using Posts Table Pro your visitors will quickly be able to discover what they’re looking for in your WordPress recipe directory.

Beyond that, they can also combine the different filter options to really drill-down into your recipe catalog. Here’s an example:

WordPress recipe directory

In the above example I can sort by dish category — appetizer in this case — and then recipe contents — in my example recipes containing eggs. I then see all recipes which meet both criteria.

3. Add Your WordPress Recipe Directory to a Page and Filter Content

Once you’ve finished configuring the plugin’s settings, your last step is to actually show your recipe directory on the front-end of your site. To do this, you’ll use Post Table Pro’s shortcode.

To get started, create the regular WordPress page that you want to house your directory. For example, you could create a page called “Recipe Directory”.

Then, add the [posts_table] shortcode:

By default, the plugin will include every single blog post in your directory. If you only post recipes – that is, 100% of your blog posts are recipes – then that’s fine.

However, if you also publish non-recipe content on your blog, you’ll want to add some filters to make sure that only recipes show up in your directory.

To do that, you can use the plugin’s include and exclude rules. You can view a full list of all the options here, but a simple solution is to only include content from your recipe categories.

Here’s an example of what that might look like. This just tells the shortcode to only pull content from those specific categories:

[posts_table category="appetizers,desserts,meat,pasta,salads"]

To find the “slug” for each category, you can go to Posts → Categories and edit the category. WordPress will then tell you its slug:

Once you publish your page, your recipe directory will be live and accessible to your visitors.

Another benefit of this include/exclude approach is that you can actually create multiple separate recipe directories for different categories.

For example, you could create one directory for dinners, and another separate directory for desserts.

To do that, you could use the exact same include rules – you’d just use different rules and add multiple shortcodes.

For example, you could create an appetizer directory like this:

[posts_table category="appetizers"]

And then a separate dessert directory like this:

[posts_table category="desserts"]

Bonus: sell your recipes, or offer a quick download

We’ve shown you how to list free recipes, but what if you want to have a WordPress recipe directory of paid recipes, or members-only recipes? You have a couple of options:

What if you want to offer PDFs of your free recipes, and display convenient links for your readers straight from their document library? Here’s the solution:

  • You can still use Posts Table Pro, but you’ll need to follow this document library tutorial to add a column with your download links to your WordPress recipe directory.

Choose whichever bonuses work best for you!

Create Your Own WordPress Recipe Directory Today

With Posts Table Pro, you can add your own customizable WordPress recipe directory to Foodica, Cookely, or any other WordPress theme.

Such a directory will help your visitors browse your full recipe catalog and find the recipes they’ll love, which keeps them engaged with your site even when you’re not posting new content.

Get started today and help hungry visitors from around the world connect with your food!

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