Fear of Cooking (Mageirocophobia): Causes, Symptoms, Types, Treatment

The fear of cooking or Mageirocophobia (pronunciation: ˌmædʒaɪrɪk-a-pho-bee-a). Although it is not considered severe enough for treatment, it is spectral and can take various forms unless the person is very scared or affected. Most often, it is a common social anxiety disorder caused by adverse reactions to common culinary mishaps, episodes of post-traumatic stress from cooking, or fear of others cooking for the phobic person that prevents them from eating, eating only prepared foods and snacks, or it makes them eat or carry foods that can result in unhealthy diets associated with hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.


Mageirocophobia is derived from the classical Greek noun mágeiros (μάγειρος), which means chef or butcher.


  • Mageirocophobia, or fear of cooking, can take many forms. Some people are only afraid to cook for large groups, while others are afraid to prepare scrambled eggs.
  • Mageirocophobia is extremely common, although it is only considered a phobia when severe enough to interfere with daily life.


  • Mageirocophobia can be caused by other personality traits, social anxieties, or disorders.
  • It can be triggered by high expectations from other family members, failures with cookbooks, or difficulties in successfully executing a cooking course.
  • It can also lead to other phobias and social disorders.



Most people with a fear of cooking are afraid of one or more elements or possible cooking process results. However, if your mageirocophobia is severe, you may find that most or all of these elements apply to you.

The phobia can take several forms but revolves around familiar themes:

Fear of spreading the disease

  • The most common reason for some degree of this phobia is fear of spreading foodborne illness, whether through undercooked food, poorly prepared or cleaned food or concern about understanding the basic rules for food preparation. And proper food storage.

Fear of serving inedible food

  • The fear of producing food that is not rendered as normally expected.
  • Foods that are drier or too moist, poorly seasoned, or have an ingredient imbalance that causes them to lose their desired flavors.

Fear of presentation

  • Food improves from a good presentation or ironing, and some mageirocophobes become so obsessed with products that they become unable to cook because they cannot iron their food correctly.

Fear of the cooking process

  • Many mageirophobes fear the process: cutting themselves, burning themselves, or even having trouble executing the steps necessary to render a dish successfully.
  • Some see it as an overwhelming task.

Fear of recipes

  • Another manifestation is anxiety caused by reading recipes that may seem overwhelmingly complex, or of which the cook fears that they will not perform faithfully because they may miss a critical step in the process or they may not be able to read between the lines of a process that it is not well-documented step by step.
  • Another fear is the volume of prescriptions, which can leave the patient unable to decide.

Fear of knowledge of food

  • When we prepare food for ourselves or others, we are more aware of the ingredients and the health benefits and risks associated with such foods and their consumption.
  • Mageirocophobia can become obsessed with these issues, affecting their ability to cook or appreciate the cuisine of others.

Fear of food intake

  • People with eating disorders may feel intimidated or fearful of cooking, as this can lead to feelings of loss of self-control, inadequacy, or worry or guilt about the triggers of their disorder.


Symptoms of phobia can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing,
  • Tingling or numbness in any part of the body
  • Fainting,
  • Soft spot,
  • The feeling of loss of control
  • Excessive sweating,
  • Chills, chest pain,
  • Nervousness, a constant feeling of fear or condemnation when cooking, or stubbornness or outright refusal to cook.


Depending on its severity, fear of cooking can be treated in several ways. If your phobia is severe or life-limiting, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to replace your fears with more positive self-communication.

  • Medications can help control a truly stubborn phobia.
  • Once your phobia is no longer overwhelming, you may find learning and practicing new cooking skills helpful.
  • However, trying to force yourself to overcome the phobia can make it worse, as cooking requires a reasonably steep learning curve.
  • It is important to be psychologically prepared to handle the inevitable mistakes before proceeding, or it may worsen the phobia.
  • With proper treatment, mageirocophobia can be successfully managed. Read about finding a therapist for tips on choosing a trusted mental health professional.
  • Education is the most common treatment, although psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, is indicated when fear becomes so severe that it causes dysfunction in the individual suffering from the phobia.

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Complications of fear of cooking

  • Many people can successfully cope with mild to moderate mageirocophobia simply by avoiding specific items in the kitchen that make them nervous.
  • However, the most severe cases of phobia can be life-limiting.
  • Living with any phobia can eventually lead to complications ranging from depression to other anxiety disorders.
  • Additionally, cooking plays an essential emotional role in many people’s lives, particularly devastating mageirocophobia.
  • Many families and groups of friends like to get together for a meal, especially during the holidays.
  • These events are often in nature, and it can feel awkward always to be the one with napkins or chips.
  • Alternatively, some groups take turns hosting elaborate dinners, and the inability to reciprocate can leave you feeling inadequate.
  • Also, many people worry about their mageirocophobia when they have children.
  • You may feel a responsibility to feed your children healthy, home-cooked meals and experience guilt or anxiety when that doesn’t happen.
  • Some people with this phobia marry someone who loves to cook.
  • In the beginning, your partner may like to cook for you.
  • Over time, however, they may begin to resent never having a day off from this duty.
  • You may also start to feel guilty or even dependent, as your partner supports you.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.