The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has one of the most fun and flexible food and elixir crafting systems in gaming, ushering in a new age of digital culinary and alchemical delights. Gone are the days of buying red potions from a hag in a Hyrule Kingdom swamp. Now you get to be the hag! Making your own dishes and elixirs on the road to saving princess Zelda.
But you might not realize just how great Breath’s cooking system is if you haven’t quite grasped its ins and outs. Like in most cases, this new Zelda game doesn’t go out of its way to explain how to cook, inviting you to experiment and find out for yourself.
If that isn’t your bag, let us be your culinary guides through the land of Hyrule: We’ll teach you the ins and outs of the cooking system so you can get out of the frying pan and bring the fire to all those bokoblins, moblins, and lizalfos all over Hyrule.
Hunting and gathering
Before you can start cooking in Breath of the Wild, you need to have something to throw in the pot. Luckily, you can grab ingredients almost constantly, while fighting enemies, climbing trees, or simply running around in the woods. Almost everything you pick up that isn’t a weapon, bow, or shield, can be used to cook, although the results vary wildly depending on what you use.
So first thing’s first — it’s important to know what different kinds of ingredients do:
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies, from the common apple and Hylian shroom, to the rare hearty radish, are the most common overall ingredients in Hyrule. Many can be eaten raw to gain a small amount of health, but cooking them always adds to their healing properties.
Many also have a secondary effect that can only be unlocked via cooking. The common Stamella Shroom, for example, provides stamina regeneration, but only if you throw it in a pot first. Make sure to read the description for every ingredient you pick up to discover whether it has extra effects.
Suggested recipe: I love simply stacking mushrooms. Five stamella shrooms make a stamina-regen skewer. I always carry back-ups in case I run out of stamina while climbing or swimming.
Surf and turf
Meat and seafood fall into separate categories. Most raw meat, dropped when you kill animals like deer, foxes, and herons, has a healing effect that can be augmented through cooking. Seafood can be used to make a healing dish, and usually adds other effects as well. Mighty carps, for example, can increase your attack power, while armored carps can increase your defense. This category also includes things like sea snails and crabs, and the same rules apply. Like every other ingredient, these effects are unlocked only through cooking.
Recipe ideas: Cook any meat with rock salt to increase its effects, or combine meat and seafood to make stir fries.
Herbs, nuts, spices, and more
These general ingredients range from the common Hyrule herb to specialty items like Safflina herbs with various properties (“warm,” “cool” and “electric”), as well as things like eggs, acorns, rock salt, and milk. Most herbs and spices don’t create a healing item when cooked alone, but can add a huge variety of effects on fruit-, vegetable-, meat-, and fish-based dishes, so pay attention to their descriptions and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Recipe ideas: Try adding these ingredients to recipes as you would in real life — add herbs and spices to meat dishes, and honey to fruit. An egg cooked with rice makes eggs and rice (duh), and adding another ingredient — like a zapshroom — adds electric resistance. You can make cakes or pies by combining goat butter, Tabantha wheat, cane sugar, and other ingredients. Who wants dessert?
Bugs and other critters
Hyrule is brimming with dragonflies, beetles, butterflies, frogs, and lizards, which can be caught without needing to attack them first. For the most part, you will need to sneak up on these ingredients to catch them.
They can also be differentiated by their item descriptions: one and all, they must be combined with monster parts, rather than food ingredients. This produces elixirs, rather than typical dishes, which generally have more potent properties but lack the healing qualities of cooked food.
Recipe ideas: Combine bugs that have an elemental affinity — like warm, cool or electric darners — with monster parts to get elixirs that will grant you specific resistances. Common hot-footed frogs can make speed boost elixirs.
Monster parts include anything dropped by monsters when you defeat from, from Bokoblin guts to Octo balloons. You can combine them with bugs and other critters to make potent elixirs. The rule here is simple: the more rare the monster parts, the better the elixir will turn out.
However, many monster parts are also useful for a lot of other things besides cooking so, especially in the early game it’s smart to focus on normal food. That said, it never hurts to carry some elixirs around just in case.
Suggested recipe: See above.