10 Best Food Blogs of 2021 (+How They Make Money)

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Food blogs are super popular and whether you love making food or you love eating food, many people wonder if there is any money to be made by starting a food blog.

Can you turn this passion into something that is more than a hobby? How can you make money and why would people spend any money if there are so many recipes for free out there?

These are the biggest questions that we get when it comes to bloggers trying to decide if a food blog is the right path for them.

If you’ve ever looked a recipe up online, chances are you got that recipe from a food blog of some sort.

You’ve probably noticed the more corporate, mega-blogs like All Recipes or Food Network popping up near the top of search. 

BUT it’s also very possible for the average small blogger to turn a tidy profit from a food blog — IF you know what you’re doing. 

If you’re wondering what we mean by that, check out our podcast episode on what not to do when you’re trying to make money blogging:

In this article, we’ll share nine examples of successful, popular, and creative food bloggers that are all monetizing in various ways, so you can get your creative juices flowing and figure out if starting a food blog is right for you. 

In each of these blogs, make sure that you pay attention to the following:

  • Blog design
  • How the blogger “niched down” to a specific category
  • How the blog makes money
  • What makes each blog stand out from the crowd
  • Why the creator started the blog

We’ve highlighted many of these aspects in each blog for you, and we’ve also tried to round up a good variety of different types of food blogs to give you inspiration. 

And while some of these blogs have evolved into small team productions over time, they all started as small blogs run by one or two people (and most of them still are). 

So even if you don’t plan on becoming a food blogger, these successful blogs are a great source of inspiration and motivation for bloggers in any niche. 

But before we dive into our blog examples, let’s talk about what a food blog is, and why you might want to start one!

What is a Food Blog?

Food blogger collage

Ok, so that might seem like a dumb question—a food blog is, obviously, a blog about food…right?

Well, yes—but it’s a little bit more involved than that. 

A food blog is any blog that focuses primarily on food—and it’s up to the blogger if that means they mostly share:

  • recipes, 
  • food-based health or nutritional advice, 
  • how to grow, harvest, forage, hunt, or fish for food, 
  • how to preserve food, or process raw ingredients into usable foods,
  • or other food-based information or advice.

Many food blogs incorporate two or more or the categories above, like health-focused food blogs that have articles with healthy recipes, as well as articles on the impacts of healthy or unhealthy foods. 

Some lifestyle blogs also have a food blog category, as well—so if you’re thinking of starting a lifestyle blog with a food-focused category, keep reading! 

The difference between a food blogger and lifestyle blogger is simple: 

  • If you only blog about food and/or food-focused topics, you’re a food blogger; 
  • if you blog about other categories (like fashion, parenting, exercise, decorating, etc.), you’re a lifestyle blogger. 

Let’s move on to your biggest burning question…

How do food bloggers make money? 

You can monetize a food blog pretty much the same way that you make money blogging with any other kind of blog. 

Food blogs tend to get a lot of traffic because search volume for food, recipes, and the like are quite high compared to other niches. This type of content also does really well on social media—especially if you’re great with a camera.

Both of these points means that it’s possible that you can start getting more traffic and start earning more money sooner from a food blog than other niches.

We can personally vouch for this as our health and wellness blog is in a slightly different but similar niche, and our traffic has always been 10x or more the traffic that we receive on this blog, which is in the business niche.

Make sure to check out a keyword research tool for more information on how to find and use targeted keywords to get more traffic to your blog.

So let’s dive in to the most popular ways people make money with food blogs:

Ads

a cozy kitchen ads example screenshot

Remember a minute ago when we said food blogs get a lot of traffic? 

Well, it’s because of that reason that one of the top ways food bloggers make money is by placing ads on their site. This is especially true for food bloggers whose content is made up mostly of recipes. 

Because people are turning to Google to find quick recipes before making meals, they aren’t generally looking to pay for that content. Ads can be a great way to monetize this type of traffic.

You won’t get much money per visitor, but this is a numbers game. If you have tens of thousands of visitors to your site on a daily basis, you can easily make a few thousand dollars per month with those numbers. 

Higher levels of traffic also mean that you can qualify for ad management companies, which will generally pay you more.

We personally use and recommend AdThrive on our health and wellness blog, but another good recommendation if you’re a new blogger with less traffic is Mediavine.

The more ads you add to your site, the more money you will make, but that comes with some words of caution:

Ads can slow down your site, make it difficult to read your posts, and just generally make your content look cheap and unprofessional. 

Try to maintain a good balance between a high payout and what looks good on your site, and make sure to always check how your ads look on mobile too.

For a more in-depth look at ad networks, including our list of favorites, read our article here.

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are another great way to monetize a food blog, especially if the food you focus on requires specific ingredients, a certain quality of ingredients, or special types of food. 

What’s great about sponsored posts is that the company pays you simply for writing a post that advertises their product—anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per post! 

Generally, the more traffic and social media reach that you have, the more money you can make with sponsored posts, which is another reason why it’s such a great way to monetize a food blog.

If you’re interested in doing sponsored posts, and you have enough traffic, you can set up a page on your blog like this one with information for companies interested in working with you. 

And if you haven’t reached that level of notoriety yet, you can seek out companies offering sponsored post opportunities, and follow their directions to apply for a sponsored post. 

(Pro tip: search social media for the hashtag #sponsored or #sponsoredpost to find companies offering sponsored post opportunities.)

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is great for food bloggers that use or talk about specialized ingredients or tools in their blog posts and recipes. 

With affiliate marketing, you don’t have to directly advertise a product in detail like you need to with most sponsored posts, although you can if you want to.

But it can be as simple as a very casual recommendation and link to your favorite blender on Amazon

See what I did there? That link to a blender is an affiliate link and if you click on that link and either buy that blender or buy various other products within 24 hours, I will get a [very small] commission on that sale.

The Amazon Associates program is known to have very low commission rates, but you can still make GREAT money if you have a lot of traffic to your blog. 

You can also apply to other affiliate programs (outside of Amazon) from products, services, and brands that you love.

Here’s a great example of a food blog utilizing affiliate links within a blog post and recipe. 

Patreon 

So this is an option we don’t often talk about, but it is becoming an increasingly popular way for bloggers and creators to make money. 

Patreon offers a way for you to provide exclusive content or early access to new content for your fans using a monthly subscription option. This gives them freedom from ads and a way to communicate with each other and gush about how much they adore your blog. 

You can create membership levels, and set different monthly prices—anywhere from $1/month, to $20/month or more, depending on what you want to offer. 

If you have a big enough following, Patreon can provide stable, steady, predictable income—freeing you to focus on creating the content your readers love. 

Michelle from Hummingbird High has a Patreon account where members can access exclusive recipes and tutorials, join her private Instagram accounts, receive a signed cookbook and handwritten thank-you card, and even have a custom-mixed bottle of sprinkles delivered to their address!  

Selling Your Own Products

This is hands-down the most profitable way to monetize your blog—but it can also be the hardest to establish, since you need to really show people why they should choose your product over all the other options on the internet. 

A vast majority of food bloggers have success with creating and selling their own cookbooks, and many even sell their own personalized product lines, including custom seasonings, sauces, or even tools and cookware.

You’ll see some great examples of this throughout the rest of this article.

Some food bloggers also sell online cooking or food skill classes, and others offer coaching or diet programs. 

Whichever monetization method calls to you the most, the best approach is to use a combination of these methods. For example, some people may not want to buy your cookbook, but they may be clicking your ads or affiliate links. 

And as with any business, you never want to keep all your eggs in one basket!


Is starting a food blog right for you?

If this is all sounding pretty great so far, you might be ready to start a food blog!

Here are a few things you should consider before you begin:

What food topics do you love to talk about?

Are you a die-hard vegan that loves vegan food so much that not only are you an expert, but your friends and family are all experts simply from spending so much time around you?

Or maybe you love all things chocolate, and spend most of your free time making delicious and beautiful chocolatey creations. 

Or maybe you or a family member have experience with diabetes and pre-diabetes and have changed your lifestyle to fit those needs?

If you have a topic (or topics) you love, start there and run with it—you can always “niche down” later, as you figure out what your readers love the most. 

Do you want to focus on recipes or other ways of talking about food?

A recipe blog is a bit different from a hunting and foraging blog, so figuring out what kind of articles you’ll be writing will impact your blog strategy. 

Either way, you’ll want to be prepared to take pictures and possibly videos of your food. As the saying goes, “You eat with your eyes first.” 

How to Start a Food Blog

It’s super easy to start any kind of blog these days, and you can do so in just a few minutes with our free tutorial on how to start a blog

That tutorial will walk you through how to:

  • Choose a name for your blog
  • Set up a hosting account to take your blog online
  • Design your blog in a simple and professional way to get you started

After you’ve finished, you can hop back in to the rest of this article for inspiration on how to structure and what to include in your food blog.

10 Popular and Successful Food Blogs to Inspire Your Inner Foodie

The food blogs below are not listed in any particular order, so make sure you take a look at all of them. 

Most food bloggers don’t publish any income on what their blogs make, but each one on this list is all well-established, popular, and successful.

We selected these blogs for their variety of topics, attractive blog layouts, well-written articles, and different methods of monetizing. 

Oh, and their relatability

Our goal with this article is to give you some real-life examples of awesome food blogs out there to show you what is possible and get your gears turning on how you can turn your own food-blog-passion-project into a real-life business. 

So grab some snacks and a notepad, or whatever it is you kids are taking notes on these days, and prepare to get inspired!

1. Love and Lemons

love and lemons website screenshot

Love and Lemons was created by Jeanine Donofrio, an avid vegetarian, who wanted to share her love of delicious, seasonal fruits and vegetables with the world. 

While she started out as a small food blogger, she has been featured in the NY Times, Bon Appetit, The Oprah Magazine, Cooking Light, Self, Shape, and more.

Her main food blog topics:

  • Recipes
  • Mostly vegetarian

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

I like that she differentiates her blog and recipes with vegetarianism. Her husband eats meat, but she stays in her lane and only shares vegetarian recipes.

It’s super important to niche down to really draw in a targeted audience of fans. If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one. 

Jeanine monetizes her blog in a variety of ways, including two cookbooks, affiliate sales (see her resources shop), and has some ads on her blog. 

2. The Homesteading Family

the homesteading family website screenshot

Carolyn and Josh started The Homesteading Family to share their knowledge and advice learned from raising a very large family (nine kids and counting!) AND they grow a lot of their own food!

From growing or raising your own foods, to preserving, fermenting, baking and cooking, they do it all—and they teach their readers how to do it too.

Their main food blog topics:

  • Growing, preserving, and cooking food
  • Other uses for food and food products
  • Food sustainability
  • Healthy living (as it relates to food)

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

They aren’t your typical food blog that focuses mostly on recipes. They do have a few recipes, but where they really shine is outside the kitchen.

They have a step-by-step plan to help you go from consumer to producer, from unprepared to food-secure, and from dependent to food-independent.

They’re literally sharing and teaching about an entire lifestyle that revolves around how they grow and cook food, and I think it’s pretty inspiring and definitely makes them unique.

They have monetized their blog and podcast through ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, and selling their own classes, where they teach old-fashioned food skills, like making bread, canning and fermenting food, making herbal remedies, and more.  

3. Healthy Ambitions

healthy ambitions website screenshot

We’re so excited to talk about Healthy Ambitions, because this is our very own Cathy Dean’s awesome keto diet blog!

Cathy became a student of ours a few years ago, and has been hard at work ever since getting the word out about how the keto diet changed her life, and helped her reclaim her health. 

She has since started working for our team as our customer service manager and also as the blog manager of our other health and wellness blog.

Their main food blog topics:

  • Education about the keto diet
  • Keto recipes   
  • Fitness

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

Honestly, the fact that she was our student and started from zero. She’s a real life example that you can start a blog on something you’re passionate about, share your experiences, and earn an income from it.

Cathy isn’t a trained chef, although she did get a Keto Health Certification after going down this path, but she started out just sharing her story and experiences.

You can read more about this journey in her About Me page on her blog. 

Cathy learned how to monetize her blog from our blogging courses, and she uses ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts.

4. Gluten Free on a Shoestring

gluten free on a shoestring website screenshot

I love Nicole Hunn’s origin story because she started Gluten Free on a Shoestring after she was laid off from her job as a senior practicing lawyer at a large law firm in New York City. 

It’s sad, but sometimes we need major life changes to push us in such a different direction.

One of Nicole’s children has Celiac disease, so her whole household is gluten free. She also started her blog in 2009, before going gluten free became trendy. 

There weren’t 19 different gluten-free flours to choose from back then, so she had to get creative to make gluten free food taste good.

She’s another example of real-life learning and experience turned into shareable content on a blog.

She shares recipes for pretty much anything that might need to de-glutenify (is that a word?), including gluten free flour blends that are way better than the super expensive blends you find in the store. 

Her main food blog topics:

  • Mainly recipes
  • Gluten-free (on a budget)

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

Just the fact that she has FIVE cookbooks for sale. 

Creating just one cookbook and making it successful is a pretty big feat (why we love digital products so much), let alone making 5 of them. Mad props to her for that.

She also monetizes through affiliate marketing and ads. She does not do sponsored posts (although she did at one time). 

5. A Cozy Kitchen 

First of all, Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen, has an about page for her dog, Amelia the Corgi.

a cozy kitchen about amelia the corgi screenshot

Talk about adorable. I’d rather just talk to you about the dog. But feel free to read more or look at some cute photos. 

Adrianna herself also has a pretty cool story because she started her blog due to a lack of creativity in her regular job. 

Blogging often starts out as an outlet and a hobby for people until they realize how much they truly love it and start doing whatever it takes to monetize it in order to work on it full-time.

That was definitely me when I started working on my first health and wellness blog while I was working as a full-time tax accountant (talk about a lack of creativity).

The recipes on A Cozy Kitchen are mostly inspired by Adrianna’s Latin-American heritage, with meals like Conchas and Pupusas.

Her main food blog topics:

  • Mainly recipes
  • Latin-American-inspired
  • Lifestyle (kitchen and home makeovers)

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

Well, you might be thinking… Do I HAVE to create my own cookbook to find success with my food blog?

Everyone’s doing it, right?

Sometimes, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You just need to differentiate yourself or your products enough to stand out from the crowd.

Adrianna has done just that with her cookbooks that DOUBLE AS COLORING BOOKS! Whaaaat!?

I mean, what a way to stand out. Let your kiddo help you cook and keep themselves entertained by coloring on the very page that you’re working from.

Also, they’re technically adult coloring books, so if that’s your thing… go for it!

She also monetizes through affiliate sales, sponsored posts, and ads and has been featured in well-known publications, like Williams & Sonoma and the Oprah Magazine. 

6. Hummingbird High 

Like many a food blogger, Michelle from Hummingbird High started her blog to “share my recipes with faraway friends and escape from the drudgery of my corporate job.”

hummingbird high website screenshot

She started her blog as a way to chronicle her journey into baking at higher altitudes, which was new to her after living in coastal cities at sea level her entire life.

She now has over 100,000 followers of her baking blog, where she shares all kinds of baking recipes, including some really fun and creative ones like her Ube Mochi donuts

Her main food blog topics:

  • Mainly recipes
  • Travel updates
  • Life updates

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

I like her life updates, personally, because it gives her readers a little more insight into her personal life.

Between the life and travel updates, this probably puts her blog into the lifestyle category just a bit. But I think that it humanizes her a lot and brings her character into what she does.

For example, in this life update, she discusses her struggles with her routine, her need to stop answering Instagram DMs in the middle of the night, etc.

This makes her so incredibly relatable to her readers and is what inspires people to follow you beyond your recipes. On Instagram and other places where they can get more insight into who YOU are, because you inspire them.

That connection is some powerful stuff and it’s also a major reason why people decide to buy from you. 

Michelle monetizes her blog through ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, and her Patreon account. 

7. Hunter – Angler – Gardener – Cook

hunter angler gardener cook website screenshot

For all you guys out there… the food niche isn’t just for the ladies (although it seems to be predominantly women, but there’s your way to stand out!).

Hank Shaw is a former restaurant cook who started Hunter – Angler – Gardener – Cook, which won the award for Best Food Blog by the James Beard Foundation in 2013. 

He loves what he calls “honest” food—which is anything you can trace directly back to nature, with no packaging or processing. 

His main food blog topics:

  • Recipes (wild game, meat, fish)
  • Foraging
  • Preserving foods

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

It’s a man’s blog.

Or a woman’s blog too if you’re into cooking the wild game that you’ve hunted. Of course it’s not just for men. 

But I think a lot of men will find Hank super relatable and inspiring. 

He turned his love of hunting, foraging, fishing, gardening, and farmer’s markets into a blog that teaches you what to DO with those skills — beyond just throwing them on the grill.

As I said, the cooking and food blogs are predominantly owned by women, so just being a man in this space and appealing to other men, you’re going to stand out.

You might have a smaller audience, but it’s going to be a more targeted audience full of super fans (also the readers that want to read every word you say and buy your cookbooks).

Speaking of cookbooks, he sells five of them, and has his own podcast. He also monetizes his blog further with ads and affiliate marketing. 

8. Minimalist Baker  

minimalist baker website screenshot

One thing to note right away about Minimalist Baker is that this food blog has been around for over 10 years and has expanded into a small team (as noted on their About page).

It was originally started by Dana and Jack, and Dana takes credit for being the main content creator and photographer.

And let me tell you, some of their recipe photos are mind-blowing.

Fun fact… The first health and fitness website that Alex and I created had some healthy recipes on it. 

We tried our luck at food photography… and fell flat on our faces.

Man that shit is hard. We bought a $400 camera, some lights on Amazon, and put on a production of it. 

Our photos were terrible. #amateurhour

So I give mad props to Dana for her photography skills and I think it honestly makes a massive difference in your growth as a food/recipe blogger. It’s a way to seriously make your content stand out above the rest.

Because their blog has been around for so long, they’ve got some fancy features like a filtering system for their recipes and some cool, color-coded icons to label vegan, gluten-free, etc. 

Her main food blog topics:

  • Mainly recipes
  • Emphasis on Vegan and gluten-free
  • Blogging resources

What makes this blog stand out to us:

Their stance on sponsored posts and content… they don’t support it. Also from their About page:

“While we have worked with brands we love in the past, it’s something we’ve chosen not to practice moving forward. We want our audience to know we aren’t being paid to say or promote anything – period. Every new post is original, valuable, and unsponsored.”

I love the honesty and transparency of this statement and respect their decision to put their audience first and foremost over money.

They are monetizing with ads, their own cookbook, and affiliate links on their site. 

9. Macheesmo

macheesmo website screenshot beer battered shrimp

Nick Evans is a self-taught home cook who has published over 2,000 recipes on his blog, Macheesmo.

I love that right on his About page, he says “I’m 36 and love to cook, but I have no formal training.”

His honesty makes him super relatable and goes to show that anybody can do this. He also says that his recipes are full of his mistakes and recommendations for improvement.

His recipes are super family-focused and kid-approved, as his “taste-testers” are his little kids and wife.

His main food blog topics:

  • Fast, easy to make recipes
  • Emphasis on family-friendly meals
  • Economical recipes

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

One of the ways in which he monetizes is working directly with others through freelance writing and recipe development.

He works with Simply Recipes and Tablespoon to publish content on their site and also works with brands and companies as a brand ambassador and through sponsored posts.

He has a slightly different take on a cookbook, which is filled with recipes to use up your leftovers, and he also monetizes with ads (perhaps too many) and affiliate marketing.

10. Hey Grill Hey                                                                             

hey grill hey website screenshot popular recipes

Suzie Bulloch from Hey Grill Hey had a really interesting start to her BBQ blogging career.

Her neighbor asked her to help him write recipes for his company’s new blog, which happened to be one of the biggest wood-fired grill manufacturers in the world.

At the time, she said she had nearly no grilling experience and was working off of a free propane “piece of work” that she got off of Craigslist.

Since then, she has appeared on TV, taught hundreds of people in grilling classes, and earned the title of two separate Guinness World Records for grilling!

But she says that the accomplishment she’s the most proud of is the benefit that her family have received from the blog’s success. Her husband was able to quit his job as a CPA to work on the blog with her.

Suzie has tons of recipes on grilling and also sells her own brand of seasonings, sauces, tools, and apparel, in addition to monetization through ads and affiliate marketing. 

Her main food blog topics:

  • Recipes
  • Grilling

What makes this food blog stand out to us:

It’s this statement right here from her About page:

“My approach has always been to remove the guesswork and intimidation factor from grilling and smoking. Each of my recipes was written for myself, 7 years ago, when I first lit a fire and tossed a big piece of meat on the grill.”

I love this statement. I think it’s really humbling and a good reminder that you DO have what it takes to do something like this.

You don’t need to be a professional or have some kind of official training. You’ve seen from multiple examples in this article how these bloggers started, generally without any experience or training.

Their blogs were born out of their own passion, inspiration, and creativity. Sure, it takes more than that to be successful. But that’s where you start.

THAT is the whole point of this article — to provide you inspiration and ideas on how to get started with a food blog and just an inkling of the potential paths and possibilities that you have ahead of you.

We hope that this article served its purpose. Here are a few other articles to get you started:

And if you enjoyed this article or think we left any great food blogs out (there are SO many), please do leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you!