How to Start a Membership Site for Recipes and Cooking (Video & Examples)

More and more people are choosing to cook most of their meals at home. In fact, cooking videos and downloadable recipes have become very popular in recent years. If you're a capable cook, you may be wondering how you can be a part of this growing market.

Starting a membership site can be an excellent way to teach culinary skills and capitalize on your recipes. Fortunately, this process can be super easy thanks to our MemberPress plugin.

In this post, we'll look at the benefits of having a culinary membership site. We'll then show you how to create one in just five steps. Let's get started!

Why You Should Set Up a Culinary Membership Site

A membership site gives users access to exclusive content, typically through paid subscriptions. If you have excellent cooking techniques and unique recipes, you can create one of these sites and offer your valuable content to subscribers.

For example, qualified nutritionist Lauren Gayfer offers a diet-based monthly membership with her Nourished 365 club:

The Nourished 365 membership club homepage

There is high potential for generating passive income with a food-based membership site. More than 70% of Americans prepare most of their meals at home. Additionally, online cooking classes have increased in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, many people are looking for new recipes to try.

Once you add your content to your site, you can start earning profits from sign-up fees and ongoing subscriptions. Alternatively, you could offer the content for free and generate income from ads or affiliate marketing. Thus, a membership site presents new ways of making money and promoting your business.

MemberPress Recipe Site Example: 40 Aprons

40 Aprons homepage

A recipe collection site run by Cheryl Malik, 40 Aprons has used MemberPress to offer an ad-free experience, including premium content, to members since 2015. The niche recipe site accommodates to a variety of dietary considerations like Whole30, vegan paleo, keto, and more. The site's recipes have been featured in Women’s Health magazine, Comopoliation, Pop Sugar, and more.

For more awesome examples, check out the video below!

How to Start a Membership Site to Share Recipes and Cooking Videos (In 5 Steps)

Before you set up a membership site, you'll need a live website. If you don't already have one, we recommend setting it up with WordPress, as this platform is very versatile and user-friendly.

You'll also want to choose a theme for your WordPress site. Fortunately, there are all kinds of great options designed just for recipe sites. Check out this WPBeginner article to get started: 24 Best WordPress Themes for Recipe Blogs.

Now let's look at how you can create a professional members-only area for your culinary content.

Step 1: Create Your Food-Based Content

First, you might want to plan and create the content that you will offer to your subscribers. For example, you could upload your favorite recipes or nutrition-based advice as downloadable files. Additionally, you could record yourself cooking your recipes and embed those videos on the site.

You could also create multi-step cooking lessons by using the MemberPress Courses add-on. Here, you can make programs for users with different cooking skills, such as complete beginners, capable cooks, and aspiring chefs.

Moreover, you could provide a members-only forum that enables users to share their favorite recipes. For example, CookingBites has a forum dedicated to discussions on culinary topics:

The CookingBites cooking forum landing page

Lastly, you may want to add a WooCommerce store to sell your physical recipe books. Whichever type of content you go for, remember that it should add value for your subscribers and motivate them to renew their subscriptions.

Step 2: Install and Activate the MemberPress Plugin

In this tutorial, we'll be showing you how to get started with our MemberPress plugin. This tool is straightforward to use and enables you to create a membership area in just a few minutes

First, you'll need to choose a pricing plan and sign up for an account. Then, you'll be directed to your user dashboard:

The MemberPress account dashboard

You can download the latest version of MemberPress from your account. Then, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New > Choose File:

Adding the MemberPress plugin to your WordPress site

Select the .zip file that you've just downloaded, then click on Activate Plugin. Finally, you'll need to add your product license key, which you can copy from your MemberPress account. This step will activate your subscription and give you access to all of the features you need for the following steps.

Step 3: Set Up Your Membership Plans

Next, we'll create the membership plans for your subscribers. You can find this function by heading to MemberPress > Memberships > Add New:

Adding a membership plan on MemberPress

On this page, you'll need to name your membership and customize its settings. For instance, you can set your prices, billing type, and period of access. You can also set up a trial period to enable users to try out your content before purchasing a membership.

You can also modify the registration process, set permissions, and configure advanced settings for your memberships:

A few membership options for an investment advice membership site.

We recommend taking your time with this process to make sure that each plan has the right settings. Once you're done, you can click on Publish.

You may want to set up multiple plans for different subscribers. For example, you could have affordable options for beginners and more expensive choices for experienced cooks.

Step 4: Manage Access to Your Content

Once you have your membership plans set up, you can control which users can access what content. You can find these permission rules by navigating to MemberPress > Rules > Add New:

Setting up content access rules on MemberPress

Here, you can select the content that you want to protect. Click on the drop-down menu and choose from the different options, which includes categories, tags, page types, and post types.

Then, you can select the membership category or the particular members that will have permission to access that selected content. When you're ready, click on Save Rule.

For example, you may restrict your higher-level content to members on more expensive subscription packages. Whenever you want to adjust or add new rules, you can return to this page and update it.

Step 5: Add Your Registration and Login Pages

Now, you'll need to add your membership sign-up page to your website menu. This will enable users to register to your members-only site.

You can find the menu options by heading to Appearance > Menus > Manage with Live Preview in your WordPress dashboard. This will take you to the visual editor.

Next, navigate to All Pages > Add Items > Memberships. Here, you can click on the + next to your food and recipe member pages:

Adding a registration page to menus on WordPress

This will make your memberships visible to your users. Remember to save your changes when you're done.

Finally, you can add a login page for your members. You can find this option by returning to the dashboard and selecting MemberPress> Settings > Pages:

Creating a MemberPress login page

Then, click on the drop-down menu next to MemberPress Login Page and choose Auto Create New Page. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Update Options. Now you have a membership website for your recipes and cooking videos!


A members-only culinary site can be an excellent business investment. You can charge aspiring chefs to access your cooking videos and exclusive recipes.

Setting up a membership site is a very straightforward process, and you can quickly start earning a passive income from your content.

As we've seen, you can start your own membership site in just five steps:

  1. Create your food-based content.
  2. Install and activate the MemberPress plugin.
  3. Set up your membership plans.
  4. Manage access to your content.
  5. Add your registration and login pages.

Do you have any questions about creating a food-based membership site? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, WordPress fanatic, and staff writer.