While this guide still has many useful and practical strategies for making money with Cooking and leveling Cooking, please note that it is incorrect in places that talk about money per hour and Imperial Cooking. There have been so many changes to Cooking and the Economy since this guide was written. The Marketplace is very different and Cooking ingredient pricing and availability is ever changing.
For more up to date guides:
- Cooking Basics: (Beginner Cooking Guide) Cooking Utensil and Cooking Gear comparisons, plus an in-depth tutorial on each step involved in basic cooking, like buying a Residence and finding ingredients,
- Imperial Cooking/Imperial Cuisine Imperial Cooking recipes and rewards
- Cooking Mastery (Cooking Mastery benefits and quests)
This guide was originally written by Eminent (u/CadeGuitar), who generously published a Cooking Guide in “Eminent’s Life Skill Guide“. This well-received, 260 page guide was added to and edited by me. It was published with with Eminent’s permission. Thanks Eminent!! With all the recent Cooking changes, I have given up updating this guide. Please see above links for current Cooking guides. (Eminent is currently taking a break from Black Desert Online.)
Eminent’s BDO Cooking Guide
Cooking is one of the most useful Life Skills in the game, and is a must if you want to build your account. Cooking brings together various ingredients to make useful dishes, like beer to feed your workers. Most importantly however, is that cooking is the fastest method in the game to raise your Contribution Points.
Need a Beginner Cooking Guide?
This is a more advanced guide for Cooking in BDO, focusing on leveling cooking, profitability, and Imperial Cooking. For an introduction to the Cooking Skill and how to get started, please visit the BDO Beer & Cooking Guide. This guide is more beginner friendly and goes into depth on each step involved in basic cooking, like buying a Residence, finding ingredients, and comparing Cooking Utensils and Cooking Gear.
Cooking for Money
Cooking is a great skill for making money for 3 reasons:
- Imperial Cooking
- CP hand ins
95% of players have all of the cereal nodes because it’s one of the foundations of a node network. Therefore, 95% of players have all of the ingredients required to make beer. Making beer is a good 5m/h profit, but more than that you’re making something extremely useful. Beer is what you’ll use to feed your workers and keep them working. You’ll use beer every day, and you can never have enough of it. Never sell your beer.
- Easy to make
- Readily available ingredients
- Extremely useful item
- Very slow XP
A great method of making money that can net you 20m+ every day. Imperial Cooking involves making dishes, packaging them into boxes, and then selling them to an imperial delivery NPC.
- Usually the best profit for your ingredients
- Imperial Seals for extra money
- Medium XP rates
- Profit is dependent on your CP (allowable turn-ins is based upon player CP)
- The best boxes have high competition, so you’ll either not sell out or have to hop a lot of servers
CP Hand Ins:
Every time you cook a dish, there is an 18% chance you’ll receive [Dish with Poorly Prepared Ingredients]. Each one is worth 10 Contribution XP, which really stacks up. Because of these, cooking is the fastest way to raise your CP, and thus build a more expansive worker empire.
The combination of cooking beer and imperial dishes is what the majority of players do when they cook. If your main goal is to make money and build CP, that is a totally fine way to play, but if your goal is to level quickly then it’s not going to cut it. Because of the benefits that cooking provides, it is widely practiced and has one of the fiercest competitions for Leader Board spots of any Life Skill. If you want to outlevel other players then you’re going to have to step up your game a bit.
To maximize your cooking XP, the first thing you need to do is minimize your cooking time. By default, every “cook” takes 10 seconds. This can be lowered to a minimum of 1 second. Items that can reduce cooking time are:
- Silver Embroidered Cooks Clothes, 2-6 second reduction depending on upgrade
- P2W Cooks Clothes (Canape Costume), 2 seconds
- Advanced Cooking Utensil, 1 second
- Teff Sandwich, 0.5 seconds
- Alchemy Stone, varies, probably between 0.9-1.4 seconds
So one common setup is +3 clothes (4 seconds), P2W clothes (2 seconds), Advanced Cooking Utensil (1 second), Alchemy Stone (0.9 seconds) = 10 – 4 – 2 – 1 – 0.9 = 2.1 seconds. That’s pretty darn fast cooking, but let’s think about that a little more.
Suppose we have a goal of hitting guru cooking, and we determine that it would take us 2 months of cooking to get there. If we upgraded our Silver Embroidered Cooks Clothes from +3 to +4 (2.1 to 1.1), that would cut nearly an entire month of cook time off of our goal! It’s incredible how much of a difference a single second can make, but this really shows the importance of getting as low of a cook time as possible. In general, if you can’t get down to around 2 second cook time, I wouldn’t bother trying to cook for XP. If you can’t get down to 3 second cooking, I wouldn’t bother cooking at all, because at that point there are much better things you could be doing with your time.
Once you have cook time out of the way, you run into the extremely important question of What should I cook?
The amount of XP you get from cooking is dependent on the level required to cook that item. The XP for recipes is as follows:
Beginner recipes: 400xp
Apprentice recipes: 800xp
Skilled recipes: 1200xp
Professional recipes: 1600xp
Artisan recipes: 2000xp
Note that there is no XP difference between a recipe that requires beginner 1 and a recipe that requires beginner 5.
Given this information, it’s obvious that if we want to level as fast as possible we need to cook higher level dishes. However, there are 2 problems with this idea:
- High level dishes require lots of rare ingredients to create
- Most of those ingredients are difficult to acquire or buy on the Market Place
Let’s take a look at an example dish to understand the problem some more. Here we’ll look at the [Margoria Seafood Meal] which is an artisan recipe (currently the highest level dish in the game).
The margoria seafood meal is a 5 ingredient dish which requires:
Your first instinct might be to buy all of the ingredients to save time. That’s a good thought, because cooking lower level dishes is a waste of time, so buying them will bring us in much faster XP.
There’s a problem though….
Our first two ingredients are completely sold out on the Marketplace. To make matters worse, only 16,000 Steamed Prawn have EVER been sold. That’s only a couple days worth of cooking, we need a much larger stockpile than that.
Well, if we can’t buy them, we can make them ourselves right? At least that way we can get some cooking XP. Well…..
Prawn Salad requires:
Eggs are difficult enough. They are a rare resource that bottleneck a plethora of recipes, and it requires 3 of them nonetheless. To make matters worse, this recipe also calls for shrimp, which you can get rarely from underwater gathering. It seems that it will be difficult to supply a lot of them…
All of this trouble we’re having, and this is only one of the five ingredients we need to make our Margoria Meal!
You probably understand the point by now, so I’m not going to go over the other 4 things you need to make the dish. Even if the other 4 ingredients were dead simple, the problem of the shrimp make it a completely unreasonable thing to grind out for cooking XP.
If we want to get the fastest XP possible, we need something that we can make an infinite amount of, while also ensuring that it is a high level dish. Additionally, we need to make sure that dish isn’t going to lose more money than we can pay for. Sure, you might be able to power level quickly with a certain meal, but if you lose 60m+ silver per day in the process… well, you’ll quickly run out of money.
With so many requirements, we become extremely limited in what recipes we can cook.
So What Should I Cook to Power Level Cooking?
In the end, although I led you this far, I can’t tell you what dish you should cook. Supply and demand change, and considering the longevity of this guide I can’t keep updating the best dish to cook every time the market changes. Additionally, the “best” dish largely depends on the individual, and their own play style, node network, etc. If nothing else, I don’t want my own dish to become over-saturated, because then I will have a much harder time leveling cooking myself 😉
This is an excellent point to take on the trait of a true Life Skiller. Only by thinking for yourself and coming up with your own “best” plan will you be able to pass the people who have been cooking far longer than you have. Even if it takes experimentation and failure, you need to experience that and create your own method for leveling.
I can’t tell you which dish is best for you to cook, but I can teach you how to discover that information for yourself.
Step 1: Research the Right Recipe
Here’s the recipes page at bddatabase.net where you can sort by ingredient, effect, or skill level (required to make the dish). I recommend sorting by skill level, and attempting to find a recipe that is skilled or higher. If you’re going to be doing beginner or apprentice recipes, you might as well just do Imperial Cooking and make way more money.
Go through every single recipe with a high skill level, read their required ingredients, and do what we did earlier. See how hard it is to buy the ingredients, see how hard it is to make the ingredients, and then consider your own situation to figure out if it’s reasonable.
Once you find a recipe that is reasonable to make, there is one other step….which is to consider the financial aspect of cooking.
Step 2: Calculate Real Cost
You’re going to need to do some math here, google sheets/excel is your friend. Consider that every “cook” you will get, on average, 2.5 dishes. Also consider that 30% of the time you will get a rare proc. Find the amount of silver you will have to spend on every ingredient, and then consider how much you will earn from cooking them.
DO NOT JUST USE THE Marketplace VALUE OF THE MEAL IN YOUR CALCULATIONS.
You need to see if the meal you cook will even sell on the Marketplace. Here’s another example (because I know you love examples):
Let’s pretend that after all of your searching you determined that you want to cook [Coconut Cocktail].
Sure, they sell for 1.7k each, but only 317k have EVER been sold. If you want to grind for guru you might be making a million of these bad boys. There’s also a fairly large stack of them sitting there waiting to be sold already, despite the low supply over time.
What this tells us is that it is extremely difficult to sell coconut cocktails in large amounts. If you cook 200k of them per week, it’s going to be a nightmare to sell them all — it’ll never happen.
In which case, you will have to sell them to a vendor. While the Marketplace values them at around 1.7k, vendors will only buy them for 532 silver. Ouch.
This is some really ugly looking math, but the point is that you’re looking at an upwards of a 22m silver loss PER DAY. For the majority of players this is completely unacceptable (although if you are doing an overnight activity that profits enough it is technically feasible).
When calculating potential loss you should also consider that, with the exception of the CP byproduct, all other cooking byproducts have a 20% rate. The silver/beer you get from byproducts may seem insignificant, but I assure you it’s not (assuming you’re going to be doing a lot of cooking).
Also consider the 30% rare proc rate, which will vendor for even more silver. Some rares sell well on the Marketplace so you’ll have to check that too.
My above math didn’t take into consideration those smaller details, but yours definitely should if you’re making a long term game plan.
Cooking for Money: Imperial Recipes
I briefly mentioned Imperial Cooking as the best way to make money with the Life Skill. There are a lot of things to consider when taking this approach to cooking, so I think it’s necessary to delve a little deeper into the finer details.
Let’s look at the boxes that we can make. The bottleneck ingredients are highlighted in red.
|Item||Trade Price (250%)||Recipe|
|Apprentice’s Fried Fish Cooking Box||172,500||20x Fried Fish (1x Fish or 2x Dried Fish, 3x Flour, 2x Deep Frying Oil)|
|Apprentice’s Boiled Egg Cooking Box||159,562||20x Boiled Egg (3x Eggs, 6x Mineral Water, 1x Salt, 1x Cooking Wine)|
|Apprentice’s Five-Grain Chicken Porridge Cooking Box||181,125||20 Five-Grain Chicken Porridges (Ground Bird Meat x2 + Mineral Water x2 + Grain x3) Item added July 18, 2018 — No bottleneck!|
|Skilled Cook’s Meat Stew Cooking Box||224,250||20x Meat Stew (5x Meat, 2x Flour, 2x Cooking Wine, 3x Mineral Water)|
|Skilled Cook’s Soft Bread Cooking Box||221,375||20x Soft Bread (6x Dough, 2x Leavening Agent, 2x Egg, 3x Milk)|
|Skilled Cook’s Fish Fillet Chip Cooking Box||184,000||20x Fish Fillet Chip (1x Fish or 2x Dried Fish, 3x White Sauce, 7x Flour, 2x Salt)|
|Skilled Cook’s Fruit Pudding Cooking Box||244,375||20x Fruit Pudding (5x Fruits, 1x Cream, 3x Milk, 2x Sugar)|
|Professional’s Meat Pie Cooking Box||241,500||30x Meat Pie (4x Meat, 6x Dough, 2x Sugar, 2x Olive Oil)|
|Professional’s Fine Scent Cooking Box||250,125||30x Tea with Fine Scent (4x Flowers, 4x Fruits, 7x Mineral Water, 3x Cooking Honey)|
|Professional’s Omelet Cooking Box||235,750||40x Omelet (5x Grains, 2x Olive Oil, 5x Egg, 2x Salt)|
|Professional’s Steak Cooking Box||278,875||20x Steak (8x Meat, 2x Salt, 2x Garlic, 2x Red Sauce)|
|Artisan’s Meat Croquette Cooking Box||471,500||40x Meat Croquette (8x Meat, 5x Flour, 2x Egg, 2x Cheese, 4x Deep Frying Oil)|
|Artisan’s Cheese Gratin Cooking Box||333,500||40x Cheese Gratin (1x Grilled Sausage, 5x Dough, 4x Vegetables, 3x Cheese, 3x Red Sauce)|
|Artisan’s Dessert Dumpling Cooking Box||319,125||40x Dessert Dumpling (6x Reptile Meat, 6x Dough, 1x Cinnamon, 2x Olive Oil)|
|Artisan’s Honey Wine Cooking Box||218,500||50x Honey Wine (3x Cooking Honey, 2x Essence of Liquor, 2x Sugar, 6x Mineral Water)|
|Artisan’s Seafood Pasta Cooking Box||373,750||40x Seafood Pasta (1x Seafood or 2x Dried Seafood, 5x Dough, 3x Cooking Wine, 3x Garlic)|
|Artisan’s Honeycomb Cookie Cooking Box||416,875||40x Beehive Cookie (4x Dough, 6x Cooking Honey, 2x Egg, 4x Milk)|
|Master’s Sute Tea Cooking Box||543,375||60x Sute Tea (2x Tea with Fine Scent, 2x Butter, 3x Milk, 1x Salt)|
|Master’s Dark Pudding Cooking Box||543,375||60x Dark Pudding (1x Oatmeal, 1x Pickled Vegetables, 5x Bird Meat, 7x Deer/Sheep/Goat/Cow/Pig Blood)|
|Master’s Meat Sandwich Cooking Box||552,000||40x Meat Sandwich (1x Soft Bread, 7x Meat, 6x Vegetable, 3x Cheese)|
|Master’s Milk Tea Cooking Box||503,125||50x Milk Tea (2x Tea with Fine Scent, 2x Flour, 3x Milk, 3x Cooking Honey)|
|Master’s Ham Sandwich Cooking Box||661,250||50x Ham Sandwich (2x Soft Bread, 2x Grilled Sausage, 5x Vegetables, 4x Egg)|
This should help give a better idea for which dishes will be easier to make. You shouldn’t completely base your game plan on which dish has no bottlenecks, and we’ll get into that later. First, let’s talk a little bit more about how Imperial Cooking works.
Imperial Cooking How-To
For Imperial Cooking, you cook a recipe X amount of times and then use Imperial Cuisine to turn it into a box. X is determined by the box. In the table above you’ll notice that the Apprentice’s Fried Fish Cooking Box requires 20x [Fried Fish].
Also notice that it is called “Apprentice’s” Fried Fish Cooking Box. This means that you can only create the box if you have at least Apprentice cooking. This applies to all of the boxes, Master boxes can only be made with Master+ cooking. Even if you don’t need that high of a level to cook the dish itself, you need it to make the box.
The good thing is, if you want to make any substantial amount of crates, cooking the dishes will almost assuredly get you the cooking level required to make the box.
Once you have enough dishes, you simply hit L to open the processing menu and choose Imperial Cuisine to process those meals into boxes.
The boxes you make will never expire.
You can turn in your boxes in Olvia, Heidel, Calpheon, Altinova, or Valencia. You should probably cook in the same city you’ll be turning these things in at, because it will be a pain in the ass to move all the boxes later.
The amount of imperial boxes you can sell per day is your CP/2 (so at 100 CP you can sell 50 boxes per day). Each Imperial Delivery Manager will only accept 23-37 of any kind of box every 3 hours. This limit is server wide, so if someone else sold out on that server before you you’re out of luck.
On the bright side you can hop servers and sell your boxes there. On the down side you have to wait 10 minutes after hopping servers to sell imperial boxes.
When you create boxes, there is a chance to proc 2 crates at once, which means free money. From my own data (2329 tests) I believe the rate at which you get double procs to be 10%. That’s not enough data to say definitively, but I’ll do more tests in the future to find out.
Now that we know a little more about how Imperial Cooking works, let’s go back to the essence of the issue — What should I cook?
To answer that question, we first need to consider those pesky bottleneck materials.
- Fish/Dried Fish
- White Sauce
- Red Sauce
- Grilled Sausage
- Reptile Meat
- Seafood/Dried Seafood
- Tea with Fine Scent
- Soft Bread
That’s a lot of bottlenecks. In reality, most of the things on that list are recipes themselves, and are only bottlenecks because they need other bottlenecked materials. That list can be shortened down to:
- Fish/Dried Fish
- Seafood/Dried Seafood
Fish & Seafood Bottleneck:
In reality, fish and seafood aren’t terrible bottlenecks because of fish nodes. Slap some CP into Epheria and buy the hell out of those cheap nodes for a huge income of fish.
With these nodes alone, (or you could even expand a little bit northeast), you will probably have more fish than you can ever deal with.
Eggs are acquired through the 2 chicken meat nodes outside Velia. Eggs are an extremely valuable resource for a multitude of recipes. These nodes should be invested in early on, and good workers should be put on them.
NOTE: As of the July 18, 2018 patch, Chicken Meat is now useful. It’s used to create Grilled Bird Meat, which is a good and inexpensive Stamina food for workers. They also added an Imperial Cooking recipe called Apprentice’s Five-Grain Chicken Porridge Cooking Box, which has no bottleneck! 🙂
Chicken Cooking Box Recipe: 20 Five-Grain Chicken Porridges (Ground Bird Meat x2 + Mineral Water x2 + Grain x3)
Grilled Bird Meat Recipe: Chicken Meat x2, Deep Frying Oil x6, Cooking Wine x2, Salt x1
Milk is a sort of tricky one. There are 3 ways to get milk:
- Milking minigame
- Farming cows
- Cooking byproducts
If you look at that list and get stressed out due to the overwhelming number of options you have, then fret no more! The milking minigame is awful and a waste of energy, and farming cows is one of the worst uses for your farms. There you go, there’s only 1 way to get milk.
[Strongly Seasoned Dish] aka “the milk byproduct” has a 20% chance to be acquired each cook. That means every 15 cooks you will get 1 milk.
Milk, like eggs, is an extremely valuable ingredient that is used throughout a huge number of imperial dishes. Because of its rarity though, it’s important to make a strong plan for it before using it all, otherwise it could end up wasted.
Meat is a rare ingredient that you get from butchering animals (probably sheep).
Meat has a huge number of uses, and pretty much all of those profit more than just selling your meat on the Marketplace. For that reason, it is completely impractical to buy meat. Instead, the only way to get it is to gather it yourself. For more info check out the gathering section.
With all that out of the way, it’s evident that you can’t mass produce anything that has a bottlenecked material (otherwise it wouldn’t be a bottleneck). You might be going back to the mentality of “Then why don’t I just cook something with no bottlenecked materials?” However that’s not quite the conclusion that I wanted you to come to.
Egg dishes are great, but you can’t make a lot of them.
Milk dishes are great, but you can’t make a lot of them.
Meat dishes are great, but you can’t make a lot of them.
Cooking Spread: Diversify for Profit & XP
The solution is to diversify what you cook. Not only will this allow you to make more valuable imperial dishes, it also makes it easier to sell out daily. Rather than trying to sell fried fish across 13 different servers, if you have 5 different kinds of crates it will be much easier to find things that aren’t sold out.
Here’s an example of a spread of imperial crates that you could make (and I did make for a long time):
- Apprentice’s Fried Fish Box (Dried Fish)
- Apprentice’s Boiled Egg Box (Eggs)
- Skilled Cook’s Meat Stew Box (Meat)
- Skilled Cook’s Fish Fillet Chip Box (Milk, Dried Fish)
- Artisan’s Honey Wine Box
This setup makes use of all of your rare materials (except for seafood), and whenever you are out of rare ingredients you can make honey wine (which has no bottleneck).
The reason this setup works is because I had a plan for it. I researched what boxes I could make, I brainstormed what was reasonable for me, and then I thought about which combination would be best for me.
As you know by now, I think it is incredibly important that you think for yourself. Will it work if you just copy my setup? Yeah. However, what’s best for me isn’t necessarily best for you. Everyone has a different playstyle, different needs and wants, etc. In addition, Marketplace prices change and those might not necessarily be the best things to make in the future. It’s up to you to determine what is best to make.
The most important thing is, if you just copy me, you will never surpass me.
That also goes for the thousands of other people who have been playing longer than you and have higher levels than you. It’s possible to pass them, but not if you do the exact same thing as everyone else.
If you want to become better and build a good account for yourself you need to think for yourself.
Final Thoughts on Cooking
Cooking is a wonderful skill with a huge number of benefits. If done correctly it can pull in well over 20m silver per day, all while boosting your CP faster than any other method in the game. In addition, cooking is one of the fastest Life Skills to level. All of these factors make cooking an extremely appealing activity, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s for everyone.
There are a lot of pitfalls and traps that lay with cooking, and for some reason people never talk about them. Any random forum post will be littered with people telling new players to cook to build their CP, but there’s never a warning of how dangerous of an idea that can be.
When I was a new player I was told to cook. I saw the benefits and I went after it. I painstakingly managed to get a set of +2 cooks clothes (which I preordered on the Marketplace for 25m and it took a week to sell….whoops), and bought the p2w clothes and went to town.
I bought the smallest, worst house in calpheon, and cooked vinegar.
I had 5 second cook time.
I cooked like that for a little over a month. If I had waited a little longer until my account was ready and had a faster cook time I would have saved more than 2 weeks of time. I also might not have ended up with a stupid amount of vinegar that still sits in my bank to this day.
Cooking is an excellent activity, but if your account isn’t ready for it then you’ll just end up wasting a huge amount of your time. If you don’t think for yourself and cook something retarded like vinegar you’ll end up wasting a lot of money on top of that.
If your account IS ready for it, cooking is amazing. However, if you want to hit top 5 on the Leader Boards for it, you better be prepared to cook your ass off.
Cooking FAQWhen should I start cooking?
- When you can get down to 3 second or less cook time, and you have a good plan for what dishes you’re going to create. If either of those things are lacking, then you should absolutely not do cooking, there are better uses for your time.
- Every time you cook there is a chance you will get [Dish with Poorly Prepared Ingredients]. Right click on that item and it will auto-path to an NPC who will exchange those for CP.
- Incendar also has well over 300CP. The amount that he needs to turn in for a single CP is far higher than you. If you have under 300 CP, you should be turning in your CP byproducts after every day of cooking you do. This will let you immediately invest that CP into nodes which will bring you more and more money.
- Pretty much whenever you want. I have some stacked up to 70k because I’m too lazy to turn them all in. Silver you can save until you’re broke. Beer you can turn in whenever. Milk you can turn in whenever you have enough to make a good number of dishes with them. The XP ones should be turned in on an Alt when you have enough to get that Alt to Professional (because of house fame fund)
- The majority of people probably use advanced cooking utensils due to the fact that they give -1 second cook and have 900 durability. The problem is the amount of stones you need to gather to make them. That gathering time can really dig into your cooking time, so if you’re cooking for XP alone, then that’s not ideal.
- Advanced Cooking Utensils are very good, but it’s important to know that as long as you can get 1 second cooking in a different way, it’s ok not to make them. I reached my cooking level using nothing but vendor stoves. Whatever works for you.
- Don’t use the utensils that increase your cooking time, those are stupid.
- The reason Essence of Liquor is recommended is because it is infinitely spammable (no bottleneck ingredients). The problem is that you’re losing money by doing this, which makes it a not very good option.
- Another thing that is infinitely spammable is Honey Wine. Just buy every ingredient for it, and you will still make money by turning it into Imperial. On top of that, it gives twice as much cooking XP as Essence of Liquor. It is, by far, the better option.