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Project Zomboid cooking: how to cook and every cooking recipe in Project Zomboid

Become a master chef with our Project Zomboid cooking guide

Want to know how to cook in Project Zomboid? In Project Zomboid, food is actually rather easy to come across at first. Houses are stocked with cans, tins, and boxes of imperishable goods, so there's seemingly no need to panic. You might even start to relax as you stare proudly at your huge pile of goods. Then, it all comes crashing down. The supplies dwindle down, fresh food starts to rot, your character becomes bored of monotonous tinned tuna, and suddenly you’re facing a stomach bug and feeling sad. Fortunately, that’s nothing a bit of cooking can’t fix.

Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know about cooking in Project Zomboid, including how to cook and a full list of every Project Zomboid cooking recipe.


On this page:

How to cook in Project Zomboid

To cook in Project Zomboid, you need to find some food and somewhere to cook it. You can cook food in an oven or on a campfire. Ovens are easier to use, but they require electricity so you'll probably need to shift over to a campfire if you survive a while.

To turn on an oven, right-click on it and select open settings. You’ll then see a menu pop up, in which you can control the heat and turn it off or on. You can display the heat in either Celsius or Fahrenheit, so use whichever makes the most sense to you. There’s also a timer that you can use, but we recommend watching your food cook until it is ready and then removing it instantly from the oven so that it doesn’t burn.

When you’re ready to start cooking, turn the oven on and set it to around 200 C or 400 Fahrenheit. Then, move food from your inventory into the oven by using the inventory tabs at the top. You simply need to put the food that you want to cook into the oven’s storage menu, so there’s no specific option to cook food. Put the food in the oven’s inventory and, if the oven is on and hot, the food will cook. If you hover your mouse over the item, you'll see a cooking progress meter to let you know when to remove it from the oven.

The campfire cooks food in the same way, but you'll need to find fuel and a way to ignite it. You can use a bunch of flammable objects as fuel, including wood, twigs, paper, books, magazines, sheets, and even your socks. To light a fire, you'll need to find a lighter and some matches, which commonly spawn in houses or vehicles. When the campfire is lit, chuck in some food and it'll cook as long as the fire remains lit.


How to level up cooking in Project Zomboid

Raising your cooking skill level is surprisingly easy in Project Zomboid. All you need to do is cook different foods in an oven or campfire and combine ingredients into various recipes, which we'll cover below. As you level up, the meals you cook will become more nutritious and filling, without requiring more ingredients.

At level 7, you'll gain the ability to add rotten ingredients into a soup or stew, so you can use every scrap of food that you've found, even if they look a little funny. Ignore the fuzz, it's nutritious!

Of course, you won't learn everything by earning XP. Some lessons are learned in the heat of the kitchen. When your food is cooked, we recommend taking it out of the oven immediately. If you leave it in, or forget it was ever in there at all, you'll start a fire and burn down everything. Seriously, we mean everything. Fire spreads rapidly in Project Zomboid, and one burnt kitchen will lead to an entire neighbourhood covered in flames in minutes. Keep your eyes peeled when cooking, or you'll face a threat more dangerous than the undead.

Project Zomboid chef stands in a diner kitchen cooking a pork chop

Every Project Zomboid cooking recipe

As Project Zomboid is an in-depth apocalypse sim, cooking recipes tend to require lots of preparation and ingredients. There are a wide range of ingredients that you can find, including meats, vegetables, spices, and other generic ingredients, such as flour. You can use these ingredients to make soups, stews, salads, sandwiches, stir frys, pies, cakes, and rice or pasta dishes. Of course, you could just cook a piece of meat or eat a single slice of bread, but using these ingredients to make proper meals will make your character happier, healthier, and much more full.

Below, we’ll cover the basic steps for making all of these dishes and explain which ingredients you should focus on for each one.


How to make soup and stew in Project Zomboid

You can make soup or stew by adding up to 6 ingredients to a cooking pot with water and cooking it.

Here are the basic steps you must follow to make soup or stew in Project Zomboid:

  1. Get a cooking pot and fill it with water
  2. Add your ingredients (up to 6 total) by right-clicking on the cooking pot in the inventory menu and selecting the ‘craft stew’ or ‘craft soup’ options
  3. Cook the soup or stew

You can use the following ingredients in soup:

  • Meat: Chicken, fish fillet, frog meat, mutton chop, pork chop, rabbit meat, salmon, small animal meat, small bird meat
  • Vegetables: Avocado, bell pepper, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, leek, mushroom, onion, peas, potato, radish, tofu, tomato, zucchini
  • Canned food: Carrots, corn, peas, potato, tomato
  • Spices: Salt, pepper
  • Other: Bread, cheese, dry ramen noodles

You can use the following ingredients in stew:

  • Meat: Bacon, bacon rashers, bacon bits, beef jerly, chicken, fish fillet, frog meat, meat patty, mutton chop, pork chop, rabbit meat, salmon, small animal meat, small bird meat, steak
  • Vegetables: Avocado, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, leek, mushroom, onion, peas, potato, radish, tofu, tomato, zucchini
  • Canned food: Carrots, chilli, corn beef, corn, peas, potato, sardines, spaghetti bolognese, tomato, tuna
  • Spices: Salt, pepper
  • Other: Bread

After making your pot of soup or stew, you can split it into bowls to make it easier to carry.

Project Zomboid player cooking a stir fry in a kitchen while wearing a chef outfit

How to make stir fry in Project Zomboid

To make stir fry, you must place up to 6 ingredients into a frying pan or griddle pan. These items are both functionally the same, so use whichever you can find.

You can use the following ingredients in a stir fry:

  • Meat: Bacon, bacon rashers, bacon bits. Beef jerky, chicken, fish fillet, frog meat, mutton chop, pork chop, rabbit meat, salmon, small animal meat, small bird meat, steak
  • Vegetables: Avocado, bell pepper, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, leek, mushroom, onion, peas, potato, radish, tofu, tomato, zucchini
  • Canned food: Carrots, chilli, corn, corned beef, peas, potato, spaghetti bolognese, tomato, sardines, tuna
  • Spices: Salt, pepper
  • Other: Butter, egg, honey, dry ramen noodles

To cook a stir fry in Project Zomboid, right-click on the pan in your inventory, select ‘create stir fry’ to add your ingredients, and then pop it into an oven or campfire.


How to cook rice and pasta in Project Zomboid

There are a few steps you must follow to make a rice or pasta dish in Project Zomboid. We’ll cover these steps below and then list the ingredients you can use when making either dish.

Here’s how to cook a rice or pasta dish in Project Zomboid:

  1. Fill a pot or saucepan with water
  2. Add your rice or pasta to make a rice or pasta dish
  3. Right-click on your dish to add up to 4 ingredients
  4. Cook your dish until ready

You can use the following ingredients in a pasta or rice dish in Project Zomboid:

  • Meat: Bacon, bacon rashers, bacon bits, beef jerky, chicken, fish fillet, mutton chop, pork chop, rabbit meat, salmon, small animal meat, small bird meat, steak
  • Vegetables: Avocado, bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, corn, eggplant, leek, mushroom, onion, tomato, zucchini
  • Canned food: Carrots, corn, corned beef, spaghetti bolognese, tomato
  • Spices: Salt, pepper, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, marinara
  • Other: Egg, processed cheese

How to make salads in Project Zomboid

Like soups and stews, salads can have a total of 6 ingredients. The main difference is that you make salad in a bowl, rather than a cooking pot, and you don’t need to cook a salad.

You can use the following ingredients in a salad:

  • Cooked meat: Bacon rashers, bacon bits, chicken, fish fillet, mutton chop, pork chop, rabbit meat, salmon, small animal meat, small bird meat
  • Meat: Beef jerky, frog meat, ham
  • Vegetables: Avocado, bell pepper, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, leek, lettuce, mushroom, onion, potato, radish, tofu, tomato, zucchini
  • Canned food: Carrots, corn, corned beef, potato, tomato
  • Spices: Salt, pepper, mayonnaise, mustard
  • Other: Bread, cheese, cooked egg, honey, pickles

Note that any meats in the cooked meat section must be cooked before you use them in a salad, since you won't cook the salad itself. You should not put raw ingredients into this recipe, as this will lead to an illness.

When you have your ingredients ready, right-click on the bowl in your inventory and select ‘create salad’.


How to make sandwiches and burgers in Project Zomboid

To make a sandwich or burger, you’ll need to get bread slices. You can get these by slicing bread with any type of sharp utensil, such as a butter knife, meat cleaver, or machete. We strongly recommend machete, because it is way cooler than any other option.

Sandwiches and burgers share many ingredients, with one big difference. You do not cook sandwiches, so you must cook meats before adding them to the sandwich. Since you cook burgers after preparing them, you can use raw meat to make a burger. Bear that in mind when looking at the list of ingredients below.

You can use the following ingredients in a sandwich:

  • Cooked meat: Bacon, bacon rashers, bacon bits, chicken, fish fillet, mutton chop, pork chop, rabbit meat, salmon, small animal meat, small bird meat
  • Meat: Beef jerky, ham
  • Vegetables: Avocado, bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, lettuce, mushroom, onion, tomato
  • Canned food: Carrots, corn beef, sardines, tomato, tuna
  • Spices: Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, marinara
  • Other: Butter, cheese, processed cheese, cooked egg, honey, peanut butter, pickles

You can use the following ingredients to cook a burger in Project Zomboid:

  • Meat: Bacon, bacon rashers, bacon bits, chicken, fish fillet, ham, meat patty, mutton chop, pork chop, rabbit meat, small animal meat, small bird meat, steak
  • Vegetables: Bell pepper, cabbage, corn, lettuce, onion, radish, tomato, tofu
  • Canned food: Corn, tomato
  • Spices: Salt, pepper, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, marinara
  • Other: Cheese, egg, pickles, processed cheese

After preparing a burger, cook it before eating.

Project Zomboid player in a chef outfit getting eaten by a zombie

How to make pies in Project Zomboid

Pies are a little more complex, as there are a few steps you need to complete before cooking. Fortunately, the steps to make a cake and a pie are similar, so if you know how to do one you'll be able to understand both.

Here’s how to cook a pie in Project Zomboid:

  1. Make pie dough using water, flour, butter, and salt
  2. Use a rolling pin on the pie dough and then place it in a baking pan to make a pie preparation
  3. Right-click on the pie preparation and add up to 4 ingredients
  4. Cook the pie until ready

You will not know how to make pie dough unless you select the chef occupation when making your character build, or you find Good Cooking Magazine volume 1, which teaches you how to make pie dough. We recommend looking for this magazine in a library or post office, where skill books and magazines are most likely to spawn.

When you’ve got a pie preparation, you’ll need to add some ingredients.

You can use the following ingredients to cook a pie in Project Zomboid:

  • Meat: Bacon, bacon rashers, bacon bits, beef jerky, chicken, fish fillet, meat patty, mutton chop, pork chop, rabbit meat, salmon, small animal meat, small bird meat
  • Vegetables: Avocado, bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, eggplant, leek, mushroom, onion, potato, tomato, zucchini
  • Canned food: Carrots, potato, tomato
  • Spices: Salt, pepper

To make the pie easier to eat, we recommend cutting it into slices using a sharp tool. You can use any kind of knife, as well as a machete or meat cleaver.


How to make cake in Project Zomboid

Cakes are similar to pies, as you must make a cake preparation using batter before you can bake a cake.

Below, you can find the steps you must follow to make a cake:

  1. Make cake batter by placing flour, butter, sugar, an egg, yeast, and milk into a bowl
  2. Make a cake preparation by adding the cake batter into a baking pan
  3. Right-click on the cake preparation and add up to 4 ingredients
  4. Bake the cake in an oven or campfire until ready

Like pie dough, you must find the Good Cooking Magazine volume 1 or select the chef occupation to learn how to make cake batter.

You can use the following ingredients in a cake:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Berry
  • Cherry
  • Grapes
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Peach
  • Pineapple
  • Orange
  • Strawberries
  • Honey
  • Chocolate

When you’ve baked your cake, you can slice it up using a sharp tool, just like a pie.


That’s everything you need to know about cooking in Project Zomboid. If you want to prime yourself for life in the apocalypse, take a look at our Project Zomboid beginner’s guide to find some tips and tricks that everyone needs to know to survive. If you’re looting supermarket and find too much food to carry, take a look at our Project Zomboid mechanics guide to learn how to repair a car. Just make sure you know how to find gas in Project Zomboid so that you don’t get stranded without petrol. If you want a safe cooking space, check out our Project Zomboid base building guide. To build it faster, team up with others in Project Zomboid multiplayer.

About the Author

Hayden Hefford avatar

Hayden Hefford

Guides Writer

Zombies. Walkers. Shamblers. Whatever you call them, Hayden is definitely a fan. He can usually be found in front of a screen, playing the latest survival games and trying to hide from the real world. His eyes haven't turned square yet, but the possibility is certainly scary.

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