Mists of Pandaria altered the process of leveling cooking. It:
- Allows new cooks to raise their cooking skill from 1 to 525 very quickly, primarily using vendor-purchased ingredients. Just add water!
- Introduces 6 cooking specialisations called "Ways", each of which is leveled separately from 525 to 600. Cooks may still wish to train all 6 Ways, to be able to cook every dish.
- Weakens the traditional method of leveling cooking using only fish: Most Pandaren cooked dishes use fish, meat and vegetables.
The recipes used here require access to the continent of Pandaria (so you must have seen through the Mists of Pandaria, and unless you have help, must be at least level 85). Solo lower-level cooks can either:
- continue to use older methods (see Fishing and Cooking 1-525) and rejoin this guide at cooking skill 525, or
- skip cooking entirely until they reach level 85 and visit Pandaria, then follow this guide through from 1 to 600.
The second option is much, much faster overall. But those leveling ((a character)) will not be able to cook their own food or complete daily cooking quests until reaching level 85. The decision probably depends on how fast one intends to level up to 85: A genuinely new cook, who might never even reach Pandaria, has few reasons to delay learning to cook. In contrast an employee (("alt")) might level to 85 (and 90) quickly, without needing to cook food in the meantime.
New low-level anglers can continue to catch fish regardless of whether they wish to use them to cook. For suggested strategies for improving fishing skill, see Developing Your Fishing Skill. Once you are able to visit Pandaria, catch fish there: Most Pandarian fish can be used to level cooking, either directly or indirectly, as described in detail below.
Pandaren automatically gain a racial bonus of +15 cooking skill. Veteran cooks can equip their employees ("alts") with (Battle.net account-bound) Frying Pan, Rolling Pin and Apron, for a total of +30 cooking skill bonus (see Mists of Pandaria Cooking). These bonuses should (currently only the Pandaren racial is working correctly) allow cooks to learn new recipes at slightly lower personal skill than normal. Those recipes then remain "orange" (guaranteeing a skill up) over a wider skill range. This mean that new cooks with skill bonuses will sometimes be able to save ingredients by cooking more basic recipes than the guide below suggests: Aim to cook orange dishes.
Old Azeroth's daily cooking quests grant at least on point of cooking skill. At level 90 cooks can complete daily quests at Halfhill Market (in Valley of the Four Winds) that reward a single point of cooking skill each day. Halfhill's cooking daily quests unlock after starting the Tillers farm quests. Cooks with at least 75 cooking skill can also complete the monthly Darkmoon Faire quest, Putting the Crunch in the Frog, which grants 5 points of cooking skill. These bonuses only increase your overall cooking skill, not your skill in the Ways (explained below). They are not an effective method of leveling cooking from 1 to 600 (unless you are prepared to spend years leveling) but may still be helpful.
New cooks who are:
- level 85 or above (but see note below),
- have access to Pandaria, and
- have at least 350 gold to spend,
can level cooking to 525 skill easily thanks to Sungshin Ironpaw. Level 85 is normally needed to reach Pandaria. Below level 85 you will need help to reach Halfhill - for example, a Warlock summon, or a Mage portal followed by a ride on a 2-person mount (thanks jcoleman). It is reported that those at lower level can learn Sungshin's recipes up to skill 525.
Sungshin can be found at Halfhill Market, Valley of the Four Winds. At level 85 Halfhill Market can be reached safely by riding west from the center of The Jade Forest - just keep heading west along the road until you reach Halfhill. Sungshin trains a sequence of cooking recipes that:
- Grant 5 skill points when orange, so effectively skill-up 5 points per dish cooked.
- Are mostly cooked with ingredients sold by Sungshin Ironpaw (for gold/silver).
Sungshin Ironpaw even trains new cooking ranks, and is stood next to a cooking pot, so there is no need to move! No wonder these Pandaren are obese...
All the ingredients used at this stage are sold by Sungshin Ironpaw, except:
- Golden Carp (42 required) - Caught from any open water in Pandaria.
- Wildfowl Breast (2 required) - Looted from birds (including Cranes) in Pandaria.
Golden Carp are over 50% of the catch from open water in Pandaria, including waters near Halfhill. If your fishing skill is below the "no-junk" skill (700 in Valley of the Four Winds), you will catch excess Golden Carp instead of junk. This means that at very low fishing skill, almost every catch is guaranteed to be a Golden Carp!
For some bonus Carp, Sungshin will direct you to Ben of the Booming Voice, who is fishing from the river just east of Halfhill. He asks you to catch and deliver 5 Golden Carp, rewarding you with 10 Golden Carp. Ben also trains fishing Ranks and sells basic fishing Equipment.
Wildfowl Breast is easily farmed from birds in Pandaria. There are many nearby, including Cranes in the Gilded Fan (north-east of Halfhill) and Eagles along the river in eastern Valley of the Four Winds. Alternatively Wildfowl Breast can be bought at auction.
You will still need money to buy ingredients from Sungshin Ironpaw: Before perks almost 350g, including the cost of all ingredients (162g, plus 42 Golden Carp and 2 Wildfowl Breast), recipes (23g) and ranks (159g).
|Cooking Skill||Dish to Cook||Total Ingredients|
|1||31||6||Sliced Peaches||6x Pandaren Peach|
|31||61||6||Perfectly Cooked Instant Noodles||6x Instant Noodles|
|61||91||6||Toasted Fish Jerky||6x Golden Carp|
|91||121||6||Dried Needle Mushrooms||6x Needle Mushrooms|
|121||151||6||Pounded Rice Cake||6x Rice|
|151||181||6||Yak Cheese Curds||6x Yak Milk|
|181||211||6||Dried Peaches||6x Pandaren Peach|
|211||241||6||Boiled Silkworm Pupa||6x Silkworm Pupa|
|241||271||6||Roasted Barley Tea||6x Barley|
|271||301||6||Golden Carp Consomme||12x Golden Carp|
|301||331||6||Fish Cake||12x Golden Carp|
|331||361||6||Blanched Needle Mushrooms||12x Needle Mushrooms|
|361||391||6||Red Bean Bun||6x Red Beans|
|391||421||6||Skewered Peanut Chicken||6x Farm Chicken|
|421||451||6||Green Curry Fish||12x Golden Carp and 6x Rice|
|451||481||6||Peach Pie||12x Pandaren Peach|
|481||496||3||Tangy Yogurt||3x Pandaren Peach and 3x Yak Milk|
|496||511||3||Pearl Milk Tea||6x Yak Milk|
|511||521||2||Wildfowl Ginseng Soup||2x Ginseng and 2x Wildfowl Breast|
|521||526||1||Rice Pudding||1x Rice and 1x Yak Milk|
Recipes require level 85 to learn, so this method cannot be used by those below that level.
For reference, the total ingredients required from 1-526 cooking skill are:
- 6x Barley
- 6x Farm Chicken
- 2x Ginseng
- 42x Golden Carp
- 6x Instant Noodles
- 18x Needle Mushrooms
- 27x Pandaren Peach
- 6x Red Beans
- 13x Rice
- 6x Silkworm Pupa
- 2x Wildfowl Breast
- 16x Yak Milk
The Zen Master Cooking rank is taught by all Cooking trainers at 500 skill and level 80. However, at level 85, Sungshin Ironpaw's quest Ready for Greatness teaches Zen Master Cooking at lower cost - simply cook 5 Rice Pudding for her. The rank allow your cooking skill to rise to 600, but to reach that you will need to specialise:
Ways are Azeroth's first cooking specialisations. You may learn all of the 6 Ways. Each Way's dishes are associated with a specific buff stat.
Ways require level 85 and 525 cooking skill to learn. All are taught by different trainers at Halfhill Market in the Valley of the Four Winds. All cooking recipes between skill 525 and 600 require a Way.
You gain cooking skill in each Way separately. Your ability to learn Way-specific recipes is determined by your cooking skill in that Way, not your cooking skill in general. Your cooking skill in general is equal to your highest skill in any way. So, you would only need to reach 600 in one Way to be able to learn recipes that require 600 cooking skill in general. However 600 skill in (for example) the Way of the Pot, will not allow you to learn a recipe that require 600 in the Way of the Steamer.
Each Way levels up via a similar method:
- Training: Complete a quest to learn the cooking Way. All quests start from Sungshin Ironpaw, and require ingredients to be delivered to the Way's trainer. These ingredients are returned to you once the quest is complete.
- 525-550: Learn the first-tier Way recipe, and cook it 25 times from skill 525 to 550. Ingredients are typically a single fish or meat per cooked dish. Optionally, complete the quest from the Way trainer, which requires you to cook the first-tier recipe.
- 550-576: Learn the second-tier Way recipe, and cook it 13 times from skill 550 to 576. Recipes grant 2 skill points while orange. Ingredients are typically 2 fish or meat per dish.
- 576-600: Learn a Banquet (feast) Way recipe, and finally cook it 5 times from skill 576-600. 10-person Banquet recipes grant 5 skill points while orange. Ingredients are tougher - 10 fish, 10 meat, 50 vegetables, and 100 Year Soy Sauce per set of dishes.
- Option: 25-person Banquets may be more useful if you intend to raid 25-person dungeons. 25-person Banquets grant 8 skill points while orange, so only 3 sets need be cooked between skill 576 and 600. However 25-person Banquets use twice as many ingredients (except 100 Year Soy Sauce). 10-person Banquets are slightly more ingredient-efficient if you just want to level.
"Fish", "meat" and "vegetables" refer to specific named items, not a choice.
Each 100 Year Soy Sauce costs an Ironpaw Token. 100 Year Soy Sauce are not bound, so may be available from the auction house. A small number of Ironpaw Tokens are rewarded for completing the introductory quests associated with each Way. To gain enough tokens to level all 6 Ways you will need to turn in stacks of ingredients as Groceries (via Replenishing the Pantry, see Nam Ironpaw below).
There are only 2 other methods of reaching 600 cooking skill. Both methods only increase your overall cooking skill, not your skill in the Ways. And neither levels as efficiently as the Ways:
- Complete cooking quests that grant skill points - Old Azeroth's and Halfhill's daily cooking quests (see Tillers Farming) and the monthly Darkmoon Faire cooking quest.
- Cook Spicy Salmon or Spicy Vegetable Chips - recipes which remain orange from 500 to 600. The recipes require Tillers Exalted to buy, and the amount of ingredients required to cook each dish is vast.
When leveling cooking to 600, there are 2 important questions to ask:
- Which Way is associated with my class/role's primary stat? Or for the altruistic, which class/role in my raid group need to be buffed the most urgently?
- How am I going to get all the ingredients to level that Way?
The best stat buff food comes from eating 600-skill Way-specific single-person dishes, not group Banquets. Cooks that provide for themselves first, and others second, should focus on the Way that buffs their class/role's primary stat. This approach still allows you to produce an adequate Banquet for most dungeon parties: Each Way-specific Banquet gives +250 in the primary stat of the person eating, based on their class and role (or 375 Stamina for tanks), but if your primary stat is that associated with the Banquet's specialisation, you gain a 275 buff (415 Stamina for tanks).
Ultimately the best cooks will want to level to 600 in every Way: The best shared Banquets (Pandaren Banquet and Great Pandaren Banquet) are not associated with Ways, but their recipes are only sold after completing the quest To Be A Master, which requires every Way's 600-skill recipe to be cooked once.
However, the best Banquets still only offer a 275 stat buff (415 if class/role's primary stat is Stamina), compared to 300 (or 450 Stamina) from the best single-person dishes. For the most Challenging dungeons you may want to eat individual dishes, just like the Classic/Burning Crusade-era.
Ways are described next, followed by sources of ingredients. I recommend scanning both sections before starting to level cooking up to 600.
Cooking Ways are summarised above, and detailed here:
Way of the Brew
- Stat Bias: None. Most brews help get dwarves drunk. Best dish: Mad Brewer's Breakfast.
- Training: Way of the Brew from Sungshin Ironpaw. Deliver Ginseng to Bobo Ironpaw.
- 525-550: 25x Ginseng Tea. Ingredients (per dish): Ginseng. Optional quest: Have a Drink.
- 550-576: 13x Jade Witch Brew. Ingredients: 5x Jade Squash and 5x Witchberries.
- 576-600: 5x Banquet of the Brew (25 total). Ingredients (per 5): 100 Year Soy Sauce, 50x Green Cabbage and 50x Witchberries. Option: Great Banquet of the Brew.
- Total Ingredients 525-600: 5x 100 Year Soy Sauce, 25x Ginseng, 250x Green Cabbage, 65x Jade Squash, 315x Witchberries.
Way of the Grill
- Stat Bias: Strength. Best dish: Black Pepper Ribs and Shrimp.
- Training: Way of the Grill from Sungshin Ironpaw. Deliver 5x Raw Tiger Steak to Kol Ironpaw.
- 525-550: 25x Charbroiled Tiger Steak. Ingredients (per dish): Raw Tiger Steak. Optional quest: Strong as a Tiger.
- 550-576: 13x Eternal Blossom Fish. Ingredients: Jade Lungfish and 5x Striped Melon.
- 576-600: 5x Banquet of the Grill (25 total). Ingredients (per 5): 100 Year Soy Sauce, 10x Raw Crab Meat, 10x Redbelly Mandarin and 50x White Turnip. Option: Great Banquet of the Grill.
- Total Ingredients 525-600: 5x 100 Year Soy Sauce, 13x Jade Lungfish, 50x Raw Crab Meat, 25x Raw Tiger Steak, 50x Redbelly Mandarin, 65x Striped Melon, 250x White Turnip.
Way of the Oven
- Stat Bias: Stamina. Best dish: Chun Tian Spring Rolls.
- Training: Way of the Oven from Sungshin Ironpaw. Deliver 5x Wildfowl Breast to Jian Ironpaw.
- 525-550: 25x Wildfowl Roast. Ingredients (per dish): Wildfowl Breast. Optional quest: Endurance.
- 550-576: 13x Twin Fish Platter. Ingredients: 2x Krasarang Paddlefish.
- 576-600: 5x Banquet of the Oven (25 total). Ingredients (per 5): 100 Year Soy Sauce, 10x Krasarang Paddlefish, 50x Mogu Pumpkin and 10x Raw Turtle Meat. Option: Great Banquet of the Oven.
- Total Ingredients 525-600: 5x 100 Year Soy Sauce, 76x Krasarang Paddlefish, 250x Mogu Pumpkin, 50x Raw Turtle Meat, 25x Wildfowl Breast.
Way of the Pot
- Stat Bias: Intellect. Best dish: Mogu Fish Stew.
- Training: Way of the Pot from Sungshin Ironpaw. Deliver 5x Jade Lungfish to Mei Mei Ironpaw.
- 525-550: 25x Swirling Mist Soup. Ingredients (per dish): Jade Lungfish. Optional quest: The Soup of Contemplation.
- 550-576: 13x Braised Turtle. Ingredients: Raw Turtle Meat and 5x Juicycrunch Carrot.
- 576-600: 5x Banquet of the Pot (25 total). Ingredients (per 5): 100 Year Soy Sauce, 50x Juicycrunch Carrot, 10x Mushan Ribs and 10x Reef Octopus. Option: Great Banquet of the Pot.
- Total Ingredients 525-600: 5x 100 Year Soy Sauce, 25x Jade Lungfish, 315x Juicycrunch Carrot, 50x Mushan Ribs, 13x Raw Turtle Meat, 50x Reef Octopus.
Way of the Steamer
- Stat Bias: Spirit. Best dish: Steamed Crab Surprise.
- Training: Way of the Steamer from Sungshin Ironpaw. Deliver 5x Giant Mantis Shrimp to Yan Ironpaw.
- 525-550: 25x Shrimp Dumplings. Ingredients (per dish): Giant Mantis Shrimp. Optional quest: The Spirit of Cooking.
- 550-576: 13x Fire Spirit Salmon. Ingredients: Emperor Salmon and 5x Scallions.
- 576-600: 5x Banquet of the Steamer (25 total). Ingredients (per 5): 100 Year Soy Sauce, 10x Emperor Salmon, 50x Jade Squash and 10x Wildfowl Breast. Option: Great Banquet of the Steamer.
- Total Ingredients 525-600: 5x 100 Year Soy Sauce, 63x Emperor Salmon, 25x Giant Mantis Shrimp, 250x Jade Squash, 65x Scallions, 50x Wildfowl Breast.
Way of the Wok
- Stat Bias: Agility. Best dish: Sea Mist Rice Noodles.
- Training: Way of the Wok from Sungshin Ironpaw. Deliver 5x Juicycrunch Carrot to Anthea Ironpaw.
- 525-550: 25x Sauteed Carrots. Ingredients (per dish): 2x Juicycrunch Carrot. Optional quest: Agile as a Tiger.
- 550-576: 13x Valley Stir Fry. Ingredients: Reef Octopus and Wildfowl Breast.
- 576-600: 5x Banquet of the Wok (25 total). Ingredients (per 5): 100 Year Soy Sauce, 10x Giant Mantis Shrimp, 10x Raw Crocolisk Belly and 50x Red Blossom Leek. Option: Great Banquet of the Wok.
- Total Ingredients 525-600: 5x 100 Year Soy Sauce, 50x Giant Mantis Shrimp, 50x Juicycrunch Carrot, 50x Raw Crocolisk Belly, 250x Red Blossom Leek, 13x Reef Octopus, 13x Wildfowl Breast.
There are 4 sources of ingredients, the first of which also allows different types of ingredients to be exchanged.
Nam Ironpaw sells two types of leveling ingredient:
- 100 Year Soy Sauce for 1 Ironpaw Token each. A total of 5 (per Way) are required to cook Banquets between cooking skill 576 and 600.
- Sacks of ingredients (such as Sack of Wildfowl Breasts) for 1 Ironpaw Token each. Sacks contain 5 of a named fish or meat, or 25 of a named vegetable.
- Completing the introductory quests for all 6 Ways (see above).
- Completing Nam Ironpaw's regular quest, Preserving Freshness, which requires an Empty Raw Tiger Steak Container (sold by Merchant Cheng at Halfhill Market).
The repeatable Replenishing the Pantry requires a Bundle of Groceries to be created by combining an Empty Container with a set of identical Pandarian ingredients. For example, combining 20 Redbelly Mandarin with an Empty Redbelly Mandarin Container. Containers are sold by Merchant Cheng at Halfhill Market for 1g 50s, and require level 85 to use. Empty Containers are sold for all known Pandarian cooking ingredients, except those sold by Sungshin Ironpaw and Viseclaw Meat. Bundles require 20 identical ingredients, except vegetables (100) and Golden Carp (60).
Replenishing the Pantry rewards 1 Ironpaw Token. In addition to allowing extra 100 Year Soy Sauce to be purchased, the quest can be used to convert 20 ingredients of one type into 5 ingredients of another type - 100 and 25 respectively for vegetables. Ultimately bundling Groceries for Sacks will be less effecient than gaining ingredients from their native source, or trading them via the auction house. But the quest does create options for those leveling cooking:
- For cooks without access to a Tillers farm, bundling Groceries of non-vegetables for Sacks of vegetables will normally be faster than killing creatures that drop vegetables.
- Dedicated anglers can swap their fish catches for meat and vegetables, and thus level cooking solely by catching fish. Non-anglers can do the opposite - although I'd encourage you to learn to fish!
The 2 other repeatable sources of Ironpaw Tokens:
- From daily cooking quests at Halfhill Market: The reward includes 1 Ironpaw Token per day. Quests require level 90 and Tillers Farming to have commenced.
- From Spirit of Harmony vendors stood outside the hub cities in Vale of Eternal Blossoms (Krystel and Danky): These vendors sell 1 Ironpaw Token for 1 Spirit of Harmony. Spirit of Harmony are made from 10 Mote of Harmony. Both bind when picked up. Mote of Harmony rarely drop from creatures in Pandaria, and can also be found in Sealed Crate (Pandaria).
Nomi's final daily quest, A Token of Appreciation, also rewards an Ironpaw Token - see Mists of Pandaria Cooking. However, you will need to level all 6 Ways to 600 skill to even unlock Nomi! So Nomi is not a valid source of tokens for leveling.
Specific fish can be caught from open water (follow each fish's link), but the majority of catches from open water are Golden Carp, especially with low fishing skill. These aren't used directly to level cooking 525-600, and require 60 Carp to bundle into Groceries, so aren't a terribly effective way to gain Ironpaw Tokens either. Culinary anglers are therefore advised to catch fish from pools in Pandaria.
Pools are ideal for new anglers, and anglers whose fishing skill is too low to fish Pandaria's open waters effectively, because junk (or excess Golden Carp) is never caught from these pools, regardless of skill.
Meat is dropped by creatures in Pandaria. Meats that may be needed to level cooking are list below (based on the work of Druidmoon):
- Mushan Ribs - Mushan. Mushan can found across Valley of the Four Winds and southern Kun-Lai Summit.
- Raw Crab Meat - Scuttlers, crabs and crawlers, including Viseclaw Scuttler on the coast of Krasarang Wilds.
- Raw Crocolisk Belly - Crocolisks and Mortbreaths, most found around Krasarang Wilds and The Jade Forest.
- Raw Tiger Steak - Huntress and tiger-like creatures, including raptors. Eastern central Krasarang Wilds contains plenty of Huntress.
- Raw Turtle Meat - Turtles and Shen-zin. Wyrmhorn Turtle can be farmed in eastern central Valley of the Four Winds.
- Wildfowl Breast - Most birds, including Cranes, Hawks and Thunderbirds in Krasarang Wilds, and Summit Bonestripper in Kun-Lai Summit.
Without access to Tillers Farms, the most effective source of vegetables is to catch fish or grind meat, bundle 20 of these as Groceries, and use Ironpaw Tokens to buy Sacks of 25 vegetables.
- Mists of Pandaria Cooking - Describes Mists of Pandaria's fish-based cooked food, cooking specializations (Ways), and Ironpaw Tokens. Also covers friendship with Nomi.
- Tillers Farming - Guide to cultivating your Tillers farm, Sunsong Ranch. Also contains information about gaining reputation with the Tillers, including friendship with individual members of the Tillers.
- Fishing and Cooking 1-525 - Detailed guides to leveling fishing and cooking skills together, from 1 to 525.
- Stop Cooking That Food - Perculia and Hamlet on why you might not need to prioritise cooking.
- Also in Training: Ranks, Developing Your Fishing Skill, Fishing 1-600 Fast, Fishing 1-600 with Gold, and Fishing and Cooking 1-525.
Comments about Cooking 1-600
Below are readers' comments about "Cooking 1-600":
jcoleman, March 2013:
It is possible for a level 80 to train cooking via the Pandaren method (to 525 at least). Getting there is the trick...the #1 easiest way is through a mage portal and a 2-seater flight to The Jade Turnip. I recommend setting your hearthstone to Summer's Rest and learning the flight path. You should bring a pile of Golden Carp and your pocketbook. There is also a fishing trainer nearby and, of course, Golden Carp replaces junk in Pandaria so you will be set for fish one way or another.