Epicurious installs a paywall

We have just learned that the Epicurious website (a Condé Nast venture), which hosts recipe archives from the late Gourmet Magazine as well as Bon Appétit Magazine, has put up a paywall for all of the site’s recipes. Epicurious is offering access to recipes for an introductory rate of $30 USD per year, with the rate going to $40/year thereafter. It is also offering a monthly rate of $4.99 USD.

The search bar of the main Epicurious landing page says it contains over 330,000 recipes, but we are not able to verify if that is accurate (and it seems unlikely since their own subscription page says 50,000 recipes). In the EYB Library, we have linked 10,365 recipes from Bon Appétit, 6,097 recipes from Gourmet, and 3,924 Member-added links directly from Epicurious. (Don’t forget that even when you take away recipes from these and other paywall sites, the EYB library still contains links to over 300,000 online recipes that are free to access.) While Epicurious is allegedly offering three free recipes per month, I was unable to access any recipes without subscribing – I even tried logging in with my existing Condé Nast account (I subscribe to a non-food CN magazine) to see if that offered any access, but alas it did not.

If you have recipes saved on Epicurious, it looks as though you will now have to subscribe to access them. According to Ad Age (subscription required, I took the following quote from the free teaser), this new subscription-only strategy is “being led by Dwayne Sheppard, Condé’s senior VP of consumer revenue.” So now you know where to lodge your complaint if you have one.

Rumors of a paywall going up at Bon Appétit have been circulating for at least a year, and the move – even if not announced in advance – is hardly a huge surprise given industry trends. Advertising revenue is not especially lucrative, and as print subscriptions continue to decline new revenue sources are required to keep these publications afloat. Will you be subscribing to Epicurious to get access to their recipe library?

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  • hillsboroks  on  February 2, 2022

    Before I discovered Eat Your Books Epicurious was my main recipe search site for many years. Luckily I have saved all my old Bon Appetit magazines since 1992 and have several of their big books and their annual indexes back to 1992 so whatever I can’t search via EYB I can use the old paper indexes. I have also printed most of my favorite recipes from Gourmet that I found on the Epicurious site and have a couple of the big Gourmet cookbooks as well. So all and all I don’t think I will be subscribing to search their site. My most recent searches there were frustrating and didn’t take me to recipes I was sure they used to have.

  • Jane  on  February 2, 2022

    hillsboroks – I found that too recently that searches for recipes gave articles, not recipes. Even when there was an exact match for the recipe title I was looking for, it would often appear several pages into the results. Almost like they are trying to extend my stay on the site! while also increasing my frustration level. I wonder if they will improve their recipe search if people are having to pay for it.

  • Aggie92  on  February 2, 2022

    I got an email from Bon Appétit on 1 Feb titled ‘New benefits included with your subscription’. It has instructions to activate your account so you can get access to Epicurious. They are also calling it an ‘upgrade’ which is debatable at best.

  • Maefleur  on  February 2, 2022


  • anya_sf  on  February 3, 2022

    I got the same email from Bon Appetit stating new benefits with my subscription. That email mentions 35,000 recipes on Epicurious and 15,000 on bonappetit.com. I suppose I will be activating this since it’s included, but it certainly is disappointing. I’m glad I didn’t burn my folder of clippings.

  • Indio32  on  February 3, 2022

    It’s understandable that people want and need to make a living but with the craziness of subscription EVERYTHING* and ease of finding recipes online I’m not sure it’s going to be the money making proposition they think it’s going to be.

    * until recently we had 33 subscriptions between the two of us. Now we’re down to 12. Am happy to now go without rather than get another sub.

  • janecooksamiracle  on  February 3, 2022

    I might ! After cooking through the 17,014 recipes EYB says I have here at home 📕📗📘📙📚📖📒📓📔

  • KarenGlad  on  February 3, 2022

    No…Not me either. I let my long time print subscriptions to Bon Appetit and Food and Wine slide a few years ago. They just aren’t what they used to be in my opinion. I too found the Epicurious site lacking so instead of all the above, I subscribe here and to the NYT cooking site. I have a couple Bon Appetit cookbooks, a couple NYT cookbooks …. the Gourmet cookbook… so truth be told I don’t really need the hundreds of other books I have on my shelves…not that I’m about to give any of them up.

    Maybe they should be looking to improve on the content they’re publishing and winning back and wooing new subscribers rather than putting up a paywall.

  • KristenS  on  February 3, 2022

    Not a chance.

  • lean1  on  February 3, 2022

    Not any more.

  • Rinshin  on  February 3, 2022

    I use to cook from BA and F&W decades ago but I hardly look at their recipes anymore. Those are paper thin now. Not sure why but I can access Epicurious still. Like Jane, their search pulls up mostly articles. I never received any email from BA but because I am still a print subscriber, maybe I have an access. But, BA tells me I am not a subscriber though. Won’t pay to access. I use mostly recipes from books, Milk Street, Cook’s Illustrated, Japanese sites, and my own collection.

  • Bloominanglophile  on  February 3, 2022

    I’ve long had a bone to pick with Conde-Nast, ever since they made the decision to shutter Gourmet magazine and keep Bon Appetit instead. Like heck am I going to pay to access Epicurious! Luckily, I have saved my issues of Gourmet (and Bon Appetit) that span from the early ’90’s to about the mid “aughts”.

  • Lnbrittain  on  February 4, 2022

    As someone whose family relied on magazine jobs for thirty years until the magazines folded, I support paywalls. Journalism isn’t free, it’s important, and there are workers supported by the subscriptions. The industry has really struggled. PTE isn’t free either, and I support it wholeheartedly.

  • ksg518  on  February 4, 2022

    I probably won’t subscribe but I did just log on and managed to print 3 of my saved recipes. I don’t have a lot of saved recipes so maybe I’ll just try from month to month to log on and print them. I don’t mind subscribing to sites I use (like EYB) but I rarely use Epicurious.

  • KitschenCounter  on  February 4, 2022

    NOT subscribing to Epicurious at least and until they get their subscription information (a) sorted out as in meeting their own statements about 3 per month no paywall and (b) til they bring the price down to something more reasonable than $40/30 USD a year. Crikey.

  • catwoman5  on  February 5, 2022

    they made some changes to their Web site a few months ago (like not allowing searches of recipes you’ve saved ( I had around 600!), pulling up articles instead of recipes, pulling up recipes that seem to have nothing to do with the search terms, that no way am I going to pay for this thing. I’ve contacted them in the past to complain about the changes, but they’re still there. So nope.

  • TeresaRenee  on  February 6, 2022

    I just checked my Epicurious app on my iPad and it’s still working and has new recipes. I was able to access recipes. I have no idea if this will disappear or convert to a subscription in the future.

    While I’m disappointed about the paywall, I can understand CN trying new ways to increase revenue. They are in a tough industry that has undergone a huge change in the past few years. They’re trying to re-invent themselves and probably will need to experiment before landing on a successful business model.

    And kudos to all of you who have their old BA and Gourmet magazines. I let mine go a few years ago because we ran out of space.

  • trudys_person  on  February 21, 2022

    Nope! I agree with Bloominanglophile – I lost respect for CN when they killed Gourmet, and kept BA around. And look where that went under the “leadership” of Adam Rapoport … I have my 1980s-90s Gourmet magazines and would never get rid of them!

  • Michele  on  November 17, 2022

    I might subscribe for a month every once in a while, but would not use it yearly. The most disappointing issue is that they apparently won’t even let us have access to our previously saved recipes.
    Fortunately I have almost all print copies of Gourmet from 1947 (scouring used bookstores in the 1970s) until their demise, and copies of BA for the last 20+ years, until I had to give it up due to space constraints.

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