Project Zomboid – How to Cook

In Project Zomboid, if foraging offers quick and improvised food, then cooking is the most sustainable method to ensure your calories for long-term survival.

By learning how to cook, you can turn raw ingredients into meals that provide essential nutrition and boost your overall health efficiently.

Recommended Read: How to Turn Off Zombie Respawn in Project Zomboid

In Project Zomboid, cooking requires ingredients, recipes, and cooking utensils. Some recipes also require heat sources. First, you must check the recipes by pressing “B”, then gather the necessary ingredients, cooking items, and heat sources. You can “Add Ingredients” to make food or craft it if you already have enough ingredients and the recipes are fixed. After that, place the food on the heat source (optional for some recipes), wait for the process bar, and enjoy your dishes.

Table of Contents

How To Cook in Project Zomboid

In general, cooking in Project Zomboid requires recipes, ingredients, containers, and heat sources. Now, let’s take a look at this step-by-step guide.

1. Cooking Recipes

In Project Zomboid, there are several dishes as well as cooking recipes.

A cooking recipe is a set of introductions that outline particular and necessary ingredients, their quantities, and the cooking utensils. The more elements and tools you need to gather, the more complicated the recipe.

It’s recommended to check the cooking recipe first to know what you need for cooking.

From the main screen, locate and click on the Ruler and Hammer icon on the left side of your screen to open the Crafting menu. Then select the Cooking tab to see the recipes and their requirements, including all ingredients and tools.

In addition, you can press “B” to quickly open the Cooking tab.

In Project Zomboid, recipes can be broken down into three categories:

  • Stews, Soup, Stir-fry: These categories can be made by clicking on a pot of water or a pan. All of them are effective in reducing hunger.
  • Salads: Generally made with ingredients from farming or foraging, salads can be made using only a bowl. Salads offer a non-cooked, lightweight meal option. It’s important to note that salads spoil faster than other recipes.
  • Specialty Foods: This category includes baked foods, desserts, sandwiches, pizza, and more. They do not require cooking except pie, cake, rice, or pasta. You can add up to 4 ingredients, along with spices.

Keep in mind that each recipe requires a different amount of time to cook. This number is written right after the “Required time” in the recipe.

Moreover, you can get more recipes by reading cooking magazines or leveling up your Cooking skill, which can be obtained in mailboxes or libraries.

2. Get Utensils

A utensil refers to a type of container in which you place ingredients.

Utensils vary, as they depend on what foods or beverages you cook. The most common containers in Project Zomboid are:

Cooking Pot

A cooking pot is a water container on kitchen counters in houses and restaurants. Soup and Stew recipes require a cooking pot as a base item.


A bowl is used to make the cake batter. It also separates soup, stew, pasta, or rice, reducing hunger, sadness, and boredom.

Additionally, a bowl functions as a container for water during cooking. Most kitchen counters contain bowls.


The pan category contains a frying pan, griddle pan, saucepan, baking pan, and roasting pan.

A frying pan, griddle pan, and saucepan are basic items in stir-fry and roasted vegetable recipes. A baking pan is used for cakes and pies, and a saucepan is typically used in cooking pasta or rice.

All pans can be found on kitchen counters in residential houses and restaurants.

Cup and Mug

Cups and mugs are base items used for holding beverages. Both of them can be found in kitchen counters.

In addition, a fork, knife, spoon, and spatula are other items you may need since they’re part of specific recipes. (pancakes, omelette, pizza, etc.)

3. Obtain Ingredients

There are lots of ingredients for cooking in Project Zomboid.

Depending on the recipes, you need to collect the proper ingredients. Instead of listing all ingredients for each recipe, which is very complicated, we’ll show them in fewer categories:

Fruit, Vegetables, and Grains

Food items on these lists often contain high carbs and low lipids. They are Apple, Lime, Orange, Broccoli, Carrot, Rice, and Bread.

Most fruits are available in refrigerators and grocery displays (Orange, Lime, Strawberries).

The best way to obtain vegetables (Potato or Tomato) is farming. Foraging sometimes offers a chance to get Carrots and Mushrooms.

Most grains foods are rarer than other ingredients, except for Bread, which can be found in bakeries and cafes throughout the game. In addition, you can find more grain food items in grocery stores or on kitchen counters.

Protein Foods

Food items in this list offer a high amount of protein and lipids.

Foraging and trapping provide good protein sources (Dead Rabbit, Dead Mouse, Cockroach). Fishing is a popular method for gathering various types of seafood (Catfish, Preach).

Eggs, Chicken, Bacon, and Ham are some of the best protein sources in the game. Most of them can be found in refrigerators.

Confections and Luxury Foods

Foods in this section are considered fast food, as they give high calories, carbohydrates, and lipids.

Most foods on these lists are ingredients in soup or pie (Chocolate, Peanut Butter). They are on grocery store shelves, kitchen counters, or inside displays.

Spices and Sauces

Spices and Sauces contain seasonings (Ketchup, Mustard) that eliminate all negative effects for cooking recipes. Most can be found in refrigerators, kitchen counters, and vehicles (Spiffo’s van).

4. Find Heat Source (Optional for some food)

While some cooking recipes are made immediately, others require a heat source. Typically, food recipes with cooking pots or pans as their base items require a heat source.

In Project Zomboid, a heat source refers to any object or device that provides the necessary heat to cook food. It can be a stove, campfire, oven, or any other source capable of generating heat to prepare meals.

There are 7 heat sources in the game. They are:


The oven uses electricity to cook and is commonly found in kitchens. The best thing about ovens is that they have different cooking settings and alarms, allowing for more recipes and avoiding food burning.

On the other hand, an oven requires electricity, which might be unavailable during the outage. Moving the oven is also impossible unless you have level 3 Electrical skill and a screwdriver.

Microwave Oven

Similar to ovens, you can also get microwave ovens in kitchens or restaurants. They almost share some functions in common, as microwave ovens have different settings and alarms.

Besides, you can put the microwave oven on the shelf, requiring no skill to pick up.

However, you can’t use this heat source without electricity. It’s also worth noting that cooking with a microwave oven is not optimal since some cooked food can increase Unhappiness and Boredom.

To operate the Oven and Microwave Oven, right-click on them and select “Setting”. A panel with the “Temperature” and “Timer” settings will appear. You can then set how hot you want or how much time you need.

The ideal time for cooking is between 50-70 minutes and 200 Celsius. It’s important to look at your heat source to prevent your food from being burned.

Propane Barbecue

A propane barbecue is a heat source that uses a propane tank as fuel. Although the propane barbeque can be used without electricity, the propane tank is heavy to pick up and not always available in all locations.

You can add or remove a propane tank by right-clicking on the barbecue and selecting “Remove Tank” or “Install Tank”.

Moreover, you can move the propane barbecue and place it inside or outside. However, you should keep track of your cooking progress because this heat source doesn’t have an alarm.

Charcoal Barbecue

Like the propane barbecue, the charcoal barbecue can be found outside in the backyards of houses. The primary fuel for this heat source is magazines, wood, papers, and charcoals, which are sustainable and common in-game.

Antique Oven

First, the antique oven is quite rare to find and cook, so only a few players prefer this type of heat source.

The antique oven is sustainable and has no open flame, making it safe to use indoors. Nonetheless, it requires constant fuel collection, has no alarm to prevent food burning, and is difficult to carry due to its weight of 40.


Fireplaces are distributed in log cabins or warehouses. They don’t have alarms, so you have to keep an eye on them while cooking.

To burn the fireplace and antique oven, ensure you have fire sources, gas tanks, or twigs in your inventory. Then right-click on the heat source and select “Light Fire”.


A campfire is a heat source you can craft manually with 3 planks, 2 logs, and 1 ripped sheet. All materials come from foraging, so you can make campfires everywhere except indoors.

To craft the campfire, right-click on the ground and select “Build A Fire”. Keep in mind that this option is unavailable unless you have campfire materials in your pocket. Next, you need a fuel item (gas can, wood, magazines, etc.) and either a lighter or matches, then right-click on the campfire and select “Light Fire”.

It’s also easy to maintain and identify whether the power is low. However, the campfire can cause burning while cooking, as well as it’s useless when it’s raining.

5. Cook the Food

After gathering all the resources above, press “B” to quickly open your cooking recipe menu.

If you already have ingredients in your inventory, they’re visible and available in the “Items to add” section. You can manually choose the ingredient and select “Add Ingredient” or let the game do it automatically by selecting “Add Random Ingredients”.

A process bar will appear after you click on “Add Ingredient”. The chosen ingredients are then listed in the “Already Contain Item” section, along with the base item.

Several cooking recipes are fixed, meaning you can immediately make them using the “Craft” button.

Some cooking recipes require a heat source. To turn it on, right-click and select “Turn On”, then put the food into the heat source’s storage menu.

If you use the campfire, light it up and put the food in the campfire’s inventory.

The food placed in the heat source will have three statuses: Fresh Uncooked, Already Cooked, and Burned.

The pre-cooked foods are labeled “Fresh Uncooked”. Coking them using the heat sources makes them turn into “Already Cooked”.

If you still keep cooking Already Cooked food, a red bar under its name will fill up over time, indicating a burning status. So, try to stay around and get your food out on time!

That’s how to cook in Project Zomboid!

Have any suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

Source link