The best recipes in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will keep you alive and able to handle any situation.
If you’re like me, you may have initially ignored cooking in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild because, well, let’s face it, it’s not in the old games and new things suck. But undeniably they offer some perks that are just too good to ignore. With elixirs and meals you can combat stamina depletion, speed up Link’s movements, and add heart containers as a damage buffer. You can also use them to combat heat and cold, among the most dangerous enemies in Hyrule. It’s worth it to stop for a few seconds and throw a few ingredients together, especially if it means exploring an area long before you have the proper gear to do so.
First things first: gathering ingredients. For the most part you can find them out in the wild by spamming the A button while you roam the fields. Some items can be purchased, like milk and rice, and used for a complete meal. Others, like most fruits, can be cooked alone to achieve their maximum benefit. Meals are made of combinations of food, while elixirs are made with a combination of one monster part to up to four critters (which include frogs, bugs, and lizards, but not snails). Items are often found in areas that reflect their effect; for example, butterflies that can be used in warming elixirs can be found on Death Mountain, and dragonflies that can help cool Link off are in snowy areas, like on Lanayru Mountain. Some can only be found under certain conditions, the Hot Footed Frog, which only comes out in the rain. Fish can be a little tricky to catch, since they have an easy escape route, but if you throw bait into the water, it should help. Try matching the effect of the bait with the effect of the fish: a Mighty Bass, for instance, can be lured with Mighty Bananas. Select them from your menu, press Hold, exit the menu, then drop into the water. The fish will come nearer. Early on in the game you will get an upgrade to your Sheikah Slate that will also allow you to build the Hyrule Compendium, a library of photo captures that can be used to identify and track almost any item in the game, including ingredients. This will help immensely.
Each ingredient will list its basic effect. Stacking them with other items with the same effect will increase the modifier boost, but if you combine foods with different effects, they’ll cancel each other out. And if you mix food with monster parts, the result will be “dubious”, inert and practically inedible, so be sure to read the labels carefully. Some will have similar wording but still count as a separate effect, resulting in a nasty surprise if you should mix the two. You can, however, have extra Heart Containers and Stamina Wheels while another effect, like Fireproof or Electricity Resistance are in place, so use that to your advantage.
For meal recipes, talk to NPCs, complete sidequests, and also look on the walls of stables and inside homes, where posters will reveal the ingredients for certain dishes.
Cooking does not work as it might in other games; you don’t approach the pot and enter a menu to pull ingredients and cook from. Instead, you must go into your inventory, select an item, scroll down to “Hold”, and grab up to five items to carry. Exit the menu, then stand near a cooking pot. The option to Cook should appear. In a pinch, you can throw items on the ground near a fire to “bake” them but be aware that you cannot cook meals this way.
There are a few ways to get one last final bonus on your meals and elixirs. Cooking during a Blood Moon will help, as will using a Fairy in your recipe (don’t worry, the Fairy doesn’t actually cook and die). Dragon parts and star fragments also enhance elixirs and meals, though admittedly those are harder to obtain. The more rare and expensive the monster part in your elixir, the longer the effect, so keep that in mind as you mix.
Sometimes the best way to get a strong elixir or meal is to use as much of the same ingredient as you can, but mixing and matching is fine too. Here are ten recipes you can use while out in the fields of Hyrule, each with a different effect.
This will be one of the most valuable potions you can make early on in the game because it allows you to travel around Death Mountain without literally burning to death. It requires Fireproof Lizards, which can be found on rocks in warmer areas (move quietly and sneak up on them, as they spook and scatter easily). Death Mountain is home to the Red Chuchus needed for the rest of the elixir, but you can also use a Fire Arrow or Fire Rod to strike a regular Chuchu, and it will absorb the effect (or, to save use of a breakable weapon, drop them on lava or a campfire. Red Chuchus can also start a campfire when you’re in a jam!)
Electricity damage is one of the biggest pains in the ass in all of Breath of the Wild. Not only does it deplete your heart containers, it also causes Link to drop and sometimes lose his items forever. Electric Keese and lightening are huge hazards and there are few things as deadly as an electric weapon used during a rainstorm, so arm yourself with several of these elixirs to help in a sudden jam. Zapshrooms can usually be found under trees during electrical storms, while Voltfruit is out in the Gerudo Desert on top of the cacti.
There’s something to be said for having multiple Stamina wheels in Breath of the Wild, especially while scaling mountains and walls. Give yourself a mid-climb boost with this recipe, which uses Courser Bee Honey (found in trees, often near enemy camps), and the Staminoka Bass, which, when cooked alone, will fill an entire Stamina wheel by itself. Try cooking a dish with 5 Staminoka Bass to really get the maximum effect.
An even better Stamina related recipe may be this one made of Endura Carrot, which can be found in a ring around a tree at Great Fairy Fountain locations. Five cooked together will give you two full extra Stamina Wheels.
As spinach is to Popeye, bananas are to Donkey Kong. And in Breath of the Wild, five bananas will net you one of the biggest boosts to attack power in the whole game. To find them, head to the Faron region and look among the tropical trees. For an even bigger boost, grab some Mighty Porgy and Razorclaw Crab, both of which can be found in abundance in Horon Lagoon, along with other rare fish and crab.
These pumpkins can be found in Kakariko Village and purchased for 20 rupees a piece, but if you’re in a jam, Ironshroom, which shows up on rocks in the mountains, can also be used.
With literally miles of land to traverse and climb, a movement speed boost is a welcome gift in Hyrule. Fleet Lotus Seeds are out in the Gerudo Desert or in the rare pond or body of fresh water. Swift Carrots can be purchased in Kakariko Village.
Cold resistance is one of the first effects learned in Breath of the Wild, and luckily the peppers that serve as a base for many cold-resist recipes are found throughout the game. In this one, Sizzlefin Trout, a fish that prefers warm bodies of water, also helps out.
The great thing about stealth and sneaky items is that they give themselves away by name. You can find Blue Nightshade and Silent Princess at the Great Fairy Fountain above Kakariko Village.
This is another recipe built on items whose names hint to their greater purpose. Chillfin Trout, the opposite of the Sizzlefin, likes cold waters. Cool Safflina and Hydromelon, meanwhile, are out in the Gerudo Desert.
This recipe is probably the most valuable on the list, and with it, you can withstand almost any of the effects that the rest seek to eliminate. In general, Big Hearty Radishes and Durian are the best to cook with. Both dramatically increase the number of Link’s heart containers. If five Durian are cooked together, the player receives a whopping 20 extra hearts, which do not have a time limit and disappear only when Link is injured. Mixing Durian with other items typically diminishes the effect, but Big Hearty Radishes push it to its upper limits, going beyond even 20 extra hearts, depending on how you mix and match with Durian. Big Hearty Radishes are scarce, but if you can pull five together, you get 25 (!!!) extra heart containers. Head to Faron Tower in the south and look among the tropical trees on the red cliffs in Bronas Forest to find the Durian. Big Hearty Radishes, meanwhile, can be found in the Torin Wetland outside Lake Akkala.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.