Cooking For Instagram

An integrated experience for culinary creators and their followers to connect and interact on a deeper level over recipe sharing.

Responsibilities: User research, testing, UX and UI Design 

Disclaimer: I do not work at Instagram, and this project is not
affiliated with Instagram. All views are strictly my own. 

Ready to skip to the final designs?


Rectangle 1834.png

The Opportunity

Instagram currently does not have an in-app experience that supports culinary creators as they build their brand through recipe sharing. As a baker who utilizes the Instagram app for recipe discovery, I knew there was an untapped opportunity to increase engagement within the culinary community.

The Solution

A feature built into Instagram that allows culinary creators to easily share their recipes as a whole and gives followers an opportunity to discover, shop ingredients, and cook recipes without exiting the app. 


Rectangle 1834.png

I interviewed 6 people for this study, 3 creators and 3 followers as well as auditing popular food and recipe apps. The qualitative data I gathered helped me understand how culinary creators and followers currently use the app to communicate and where they experience friction when it comes to recipe sharing and supporting each other.

Key User Takeaways 

Culinary Creator

Difficulty Engaging

with the Audience

Typical pain points on Instagram include:

  • Constantly redirecting followers to their website  

       for a recipe by adding links to their stories


  • Manually typing ingredients and cooking steps

       in the captions of their posts

  • Reminding people that the link to their website is

       available in their bio



Frustration Replicating
Real Life Cooking Behaviors

When people discover or are given a recipe, common behaviors include:

  • Reviewing the ingredients and listing items that

       need to be purchased

  • Reading through the instructions to understand the step and equipment needed to complete the recipe

  •  Cooking along with the recipe steps until completed


  • Saving the recipes for later in a drawer

How creators currently share


The Ideal Culinary Community Experience



Rectangle 1834.png

Defining the MVP

Culinary Creators:  

  • Make the full recipe and ingredient list accessible
    within the app


  • Shop ingredients directly from the app

  • Cook alongside the recipe without leaving the app

  • Save recipes into a specified collection for later

Screen Shot 2022-03-25 at 8.59.44 PM.png

Tagging Recipes in Posts

When introducing new recipes, creators relied on stories and lives which disappear if not saved in highlights.

By using posts, creators can prolong the presence of recipes, the original way people communicated on Instagram.

Currently posts support shopping and donation related tasks through tags

Group 8544.png

Tackling Posts


What if these tags also created an entry point to a recipe page?

Rectangle 1834.png

Instagram is limited in the amount of text in the captions (2,200 characters) and recipes contain a lot of information.

Current Experience:


  • Links in bio redirect followers out of the app

  • Captions lack scannability and accessibility

  • Excess information must be continued in comments

post details.png

Current Recipe 
Post Experience

The Culinary Creators Experience


Rectangle 1834.png

Tagging Recipes in Posts

A new feature in posts for culinary creators to parse a recipe from their website and to integrate the ingredients and cooking steps into a fluid in-app experience.

Phone 5.png

Experience Flow

Check Out
The Prototype


Correct add recipe link video.gif


The Followers Experience

Rectangle 1834.png

The Recipe Detail Page

All Recipe tags redirect followers to the recipe detail page

that offers all relevant information to the recipe and is the

entry point to the Cooking with Instagram experience. 


Design Decisions

Phone 4-1.png
Phone 4.png

Interacting with 

Linked Posts

This new experience for followers is split into two modes.

1. Shop Ingredient Mode

2. Start Cooking Mode


The User Flows


An Easy Way to

Shop Ingredients

The Ingredient List is an interactive shopping cart that is also partnered with grocery providers.

Phone 4-1.png

Experience Flow


Check Out
The Prototype


Finalfinal Shop ingredients good.gif
Phone 4.png

Cooking Mode

With all the ingredients on hand, the follower
can now cook along with the recipe in the app.



Experience Flow

Finalfinal_Cooking mode pleasework.gif

Check Out
The Prototype



Rectangle 1834.png

How Would I Measure Success?

IIf this integrated feature were to ship, I would look to measure these metrics:

Group 8365.png

Adoption Rate


The number of linked posts

made by creators

Increased Engagement


Users' time on the app


Saved Recipes


The number of posts being saved

Next Steps

Instagram is always striving to support the sub-creative communities within the app. Exploring next steps could include how to financially support these creatives.

Group 8466.png

Increased Expansion


Branching out to other creative communities that could benefit from the linked post flow such as DIY builders or tutorials.These specific steps could change based on business category.

Group 8466.png

Adding Badges


Adding badges to posts allows
followers to support creators

Fun Fact

All dessert photos in this case study are my own bakes!

Rectangle 1805.png