Cooking in Zelda: Breath of the Wild is essential to your survival. Eating food raw will restore a very small amount of your hearts, but cooking food will maximize its health benefits--and sometimes grant you useful side effects, like the cold resistance you need to safely travel through snow.
If you’re not sure where to start or what you should be cooking, we’ve got you covered. We also have advanced tips and recipes if you’re ready to try food fit for the royal family.
Before you can cook, you need to gather some ingredients. There are three main types: food, critters and insects, and monster parts. You can find ingredients all over Hyrule--climb trees to get apples, catch Restless Crickets in grass, and kill Bokoblins to get their horns, just to name a few. Food items can be eaten raw for a small amount of hearts, but critters and monster parts can’t be eaten on their own.
If an ingredient has a special effect, it’ll be included in its description (and sometimes in its name directly, like in the case of Hearty Truffles). Some food items and all critters grant status effects when cooked. In addition to restoring hearts, there are 11 effect categories:
- Chilly (heat resistance)
- Spicy (cold resistance)
- Electro (shock resistance)
- Hearty (extra hearts)
- Energizing (restores stamina)
- Enduring (extra stamina)
- Fireproof (flame guard)
- Hasty (movement speed up)
- Sneaky (stealth up)
- Mighty (attack up)
- Tough (defense up)
Each effect will come in handy throughout the game, so it’s important to collect a wide variety of ingredients. Keep an eye out for vegetation, and be sure to sneak up on small critters as well as large animals, which you can hunt with arrows (or a melee weapon, if you’re fast) for meat.
Warning: Food only goes with other food, and critters go with monster parts. Combining them in other ways will get you Dubious Food. It will technically fill some of your hearts, but you could use those ingredients for something better.
How to Cook
In order to combine ingredients into a proper dish, you need to find a cooking pot. They can be found in towns, stables, and camps. Light a flame underneath one to start cooking; most cooking pots will be near an open flame, so just use a torch to light it if it isn’t ready when you get there. You can also start a fire of your own by dropping wood and flint and hitting it with a sword if there isn’t a fire nearby. (Side note: an open flame can only be used to roast food. See Roasted Food below.)
To use a cooking pot, go into your inventory, select the ingredient you want to use, and choose “hold”. You can hold up to five ingredients at a time. Once you have your ingredients ready, stand over the pot and choose “cook” to, well, cook.
There are generally three types of dishes you can make at a cooking pot: basic ones that only fill your hearts, elixirs that give you a status effect, and status dishes that both fill your hearts and give you a status. Combine basic food items for heart dishes, mix monster parts and critters for elixirs, and throw in status-effect food, like Spicy Peppers, with normal food to get status dishes.
Again, combining food with non-food or just cooking a monster part or critter by itself will result in Dubious Food. It’s edible for hearts but a waste of ingredients.
Health dishes restore hearts. You can combine things like meat, fish, fruits, veggies, mushrooms, and a variety of plants in a pot for something tasty (and nutritious). Cooking food generally doubles its heart recovery, and you can cook any one ingredient by itself for a simple dish. Those dishes are:
- Simmered Fruit - any fruit
- Sauteed Nuts - any nut
- Fried Wild Greens - any vegetable or plant
- Mushroom Skewer - any mushroom
- Meat Skewer - any meat
- Fish Skewer - any fish
- Seafood Skewer - any crab or snail
- Warm Milk - Fresh Milk
- Omelet - Bird Egg
- Honey Candy - Courser Bee Honey
Adding more of the same ingredient to these dishes will increase how many hearts it restores. You can also generally mix and match types of food and you’ll get something good--for example, cooking any meat with any vegetable or plant will get you Steamed Meat instead of a Meat Skewer.
Don’t go crazy adding ingredients if you only have a few hearts; stick to one or two ingredients if you’re at the very beginning of the game. For those with a few more hearts to fill, throw in a Hyrule Herb to any of those basic dishes for an easy boost.
If you have tons of hearts to fill, cook with a Hearty ingredient, like a Hearty Truffle--the dish you make will grant you full recovery and extra hearts for a time. And if you throw in a Fairy, you’ll get a lot more hearts from whatever you make together. Don’t worry, it won’t actually cook the Fairy.
If you can’t find a cooking pot but need emergency hearts, you can roast individual food items on an open flame to increase their healing potential a bit. Start a fire by dropping wood and igniting it (you can drop flint and hit it with a metal weapon or shoot the wood with a fire arrow). Drop something like an apple or a piece of raw meat near the flame; it will literally catch fire, but if you keep an eye on it and pick it up as soon as it’s fully cooked, it won’t burn to a crisp. Roasted items stack in your inventory, unlike cooked dishes, but roasting food doesn’t give you many hearts or activate the food’s special effect.
If you hunt an animal with fire arrows, the resulting meat will be roasted.
Exposing food to freezing temperatures will naturally freeze it. Frozen food will restore the same amount of hearts as it would raw, but it will also grant you one minute of heat resistance.
If you hunt an animal with ice arrows, the resulting meat will be frozen.
Adding food with special effects to a dish will add that effect to the dish.
For example, you can make a Mushroom Skewer by cooking a regular mushroom, like a Hylian Shroom, and you can make an Energizing Mushroom Skewer by using a stamina-filling Stamella Shroom either in addition or instead.
Each status dish can only have one effect. Don’t mix two or more kinds of effects, because they’ll cancel each other out, and that will waste your valuable ingredients.
Elixirs usually don’t fill any hearts and are used only to grant you a status effect. Combine critters and monster parts at a cooking pot to make elixirs.
There are two factors to look for: the quality of the effect and the time it lasts. Effects can be low-, mid-, and high-level and generally correspond to the kind of critter you use, and the buff timer can usually be extended by adding more monster parts. Note that critters include small animals like frogs as well as insects, but not snails, which are seafood.
Critters will have their effect (see Ingredients above) laid out in their descriptions, so all you have to do is read to determine how best to use them. The possible elixirs correspond to the 11 effects.
Elixirs are good for when you’re at full health but need a buff, like cold resistance in a snowy area. Drinking an elixir while you have an effect active will replace that effect, even if the effect timer has not run out.
Note: A few elixirs will sometimes fill hearts--usually Energizing or Enduring Elixirs, if any--but that is the exception, not the rule.
You can hold up to 60 dishes and/or elixirs at a time. Make sure you have a good balance of heart dishes, status dishes, and elixirs ready for your adventures. Since buffs don’t stack, eating an elaborate status dish when you only need to fill your hearts would wipe whatever status you already have, and if you don’t need the buff at all, then it’s a total waste.
Critical success: Sometimes you’ll get an extra-special sound effect when cooking, and that means you had a critical success! The resulting dish or elixir will have one of five random bonuses when this happens:
- Three extra hearts
- An extra yellow (temporary) heart, like when making Hearty dishes or elixirs
- An extra two-fifths stamina wheel restoration or extra two-fifths temporary stamina (when making Energizing or Enduring dishes or elixirs, respectively)
- Effect timer increased by five minutes
- Effect quality increases
You can guarantee a critical success if you cook during a Blood Moon. There's also another way, which you can find under the spoiler tag below:
You can also guarantee a critical success by using a star fragment or dragon body part in a recipe.
There are a few extra-special recipes for advanced chefs.
Fairy Tonics: In addition to cooking with a Fairy’s help, you can brew elixir-like Fairy Tonics to restore hearts. They can be made with a Fairy by itself or with a combination of critters, monster parts, and gemstones.
Monster food: Add Monster Extract to several normal recipes for a special version of that food. You can make cake, stew, soup, curry, and rice balls into a Monster dish.
Fruitcake: Also known as Zelda’s favorite food. Apple or Wildberry + any fruit + Tabantha Wheat + Cane Sugar will do the trick.