More details on the Eagle-required Cooking merit badge

Cooking-EagleUpdated 1:08 p.m. Oct. 24 | Added more info from Chris Hunt, BSA Advancement Team, to clarify that the merit badge still will become Eagle-required on Jan. 1, 2014 though the revisions won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2015. These are two separate changes and should be thought of as such, Chris says.

Updated 10:23 a.m. Dec. 18 | Here are the new requirements.

It’s a secret recipe no longer.

I’ve got new details to share on Cooking merit badge, set to  join the list of Eagle-required merit badges on New Year’s Day 2014.

While the requirements are still being finalized, the questions and answers provided here should tide you over until the full course arrives.

I’ll share whether Scouts must switch to the new requirements if they’re already working on Cooking merit badge, whether Scouts who already have the badge may swap theirs for the silver-bordered version, and what will and won’t change in the requirements.

Hungry for more? Follow the jump…

What’s changing?

There are two major revisions that should be considered separately. The first is that Cooking merit badge will become Eagle-required beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The second is a major overhaul to the requirements, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

When will Cooking merit badge become required to earn the Eagle Scout Award?

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Regardless of when a Scout earned the Life rank or began working on Eagle, unless he fulfills all the requirements — with the exception of his board of review — before Jan. 1, 2014, he must earn the Cooking merit badge to become an Eagle Scout.

What about the new requirements?

The process for implementing changes to merit badges is covered in the Guide to Advancement, topic, “What to Do When Requirements Change.” The changes to Cooking will first appear in a revised merit badge pamphlet that will be released during 2013. The new requirements then become effective Jan. 1, 2015, with the release of Boy Scout Requirements, No. 34765.

What if a Scout has already started earning Cooking with the old requirements?

The Guide then allows the following options for the period of time between the release of the revised pamphlet and the Jan. 1, 2015, effective date:

  • If Scouts have already started on the merit badge, they may switch to the new requirements or continue with the old ones until the badge is completed.
  • If Scouts have not already started on the merit badge, they may opt to use the new requirements and the new pamphlet.
  • If work on the merit badge begins before Jan. 1, 2015, they may use the old requirements and old pamphlet until the badge is completed.

Is there a time limit involved?

The Guide to Advancement, under the same topic, goes on to say, “There is no time limit between starting and completing a badge, although a counselor may determine so much time has passed since any effort took place that the new requirements must be used.” This will apply to Cooking merit badge as well.

My Scout earned Cooking merit badge before it became Eagle-required. Does he have to earn it again?

No. Scouts who already earned Cooking merit badge are not required to re-earn the badge under the new requirements in order to qualify for Eagle.

The Eagle-required Cooking merit badge will have a silver border. Can a Scout who already earned Cooking switch his badge from the green-bordered version to one with the silver border? 

Yes. Once the Supply Group has released a new Cooking merit badge patch with a silver border — signifying it is Eagle-required — then any Scout who earned and received a green-bordered Cooking patch (regardless which requirements were involved) may purchase or be presented with one that has a silver border.

A Cooking merit badge certificate or blue card must be presented to buy the new patch. The green-bordered patch may then be retained as a keepsake.

Can this Scout wear both versions on his sash? 

No. Scouts are not permitted to wear both merit badge patches at the same time.

Will there be a trade-in program for exchanging for the silver version?


What happened to the 2014 revisions we were told about?

They have been moved to 2015 because the new requirements and the new pamphlet are coming out so close to the end of the year. This is an extension to the transition time during which Scouts can use either set of requirements as indicated above. The process will be the same as described in the Guide to Advancement—just extended through 2014.

Once the new pamphlet and requirements are released in a few months, a Scout will have until Jan. 1, 2015, “to decide what to do. He may continue—or begin work—using the old [Cooking] merit badge requirements and the old pamphlet; or he may switch to—or begin work—using the new requirements and the new pamphlet. …if a Scout chooses to use the old merit badge requirements and pamphlet, he may continue using them until he has completed the badge.”*

On January 1, 2015, any Scout who begins working on Cooking must use the new requirements and the new pamphlet.

*Guide to Advancement 2013,

Can you tell me what’s changing in the requirements?

In compliance with national healthy eating standards, the requirements will move from My Pyramid to My Plate.

Also to be added are sections on:

  • Food allergies, cross-contamination awareness
  • Reading Food Labels
  • Daily level of activity and caloric need
  • Better nutrition–Improving eating habits
  • Variety of cooking methods
  • Outdoor Code
  • Home Cooking

To be deleted are the requirements of consecutive days for cooking, giving troops and Scouts more flexibility.

Can you tell me what isn’t changing?

The requirements for total number of meals will be similar. The breakdown of location will change, however, to include at home, at camp and on the trail.

The focus on menu planning over actual cooking will remain.

Still Plan more Menus than Cook

Requirements 1, 2 and 8 will be very similar.

Who was behind the change?

The BSA’s Innovation Team consulted representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Cleveland Clinic, Food Allergy Research & Education, and Scouters and Cooking merit badge counselors.

106 thoughts on “More details on the Eagle-required Cooking merit badge

  1. When can we expect an updated Eagle Application? The current EA available on does not list Cooking as one of the Eagle-required MBs. Recommend that we instruct boys to write-in Cooking MB when completing the EA? Thanks.

  2. Excellent. Thank you. The previous EA is still available and is what’s first in line via Google search. Recommend to avoid confusion, BSA pulls the old EA down ASAP.

  3. It must stay available for a short time for those Scouts that finished everything but the paperwork and their Board of Review before January 1, 2014. I assume they will pull it in a couple of weeks, probably by the end of this month.

  4. Will there now be 22 required merit badges for Eagle, or will it stay at 21, thereby reducing the number of elective merit badges a boy can choose to earn?

      • Okay, but all the information I’m seeing says that they have to complete the eagle required badges plus 10 more. That would make it 23 badges required. Also, it’s ambigious as to whether you can do one from all of h, i and j or one from each of them.

        • If you saw something that says “plus 10 more”, it is incorrect. That hasn’t been the case for 20 years (since 1994) when Family Life became required. What you probably saw, however, is the statement “Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than you already have) ,..”, meaning 10 more total badges than the 11 badges total that were required for Life Scout.

          As for your question about “one from h, i, and j”, First, the items where Scouts have a choice between 2 or 3 merit badges, are items “h, i, and k”. The rules for STAR and/or LIFE say “Choose any of the 17 required merit badges in the 13 categories to fulfill requirement 3.”, so in those cases, you can use any or all f them to meet the requirement for “required badges” For EAGLE, the rule says” You must choose only one merit badge listed in items (h), (i), and (k). If you have earned more than one of the badges listed in items (h), (i), and/or (k), choose one and list the remaining badges to make your total of 21.” It is definitely ONE FROM EACH. If the Scout did use, for example, Lifesaving AND Emergency Preparedness as “required” for Star and/or Life, he just uses one for item h, and the other as one of the 8 elective badges.

        • Cooking? Eagle required? It should stay as an elective, we have enough problem with declining enrollment so lets take more choices away from the scout. Why dont we just make all 21 be eagle required that way the scout doesnt have to decide anything for himself. This will save some time and confusion.

  5. in the above Blog you wrote:
    What about the new requirements?

    The process for implementing changes to merit badges is covered in the Guide to Advancement, topic, “What to Do When Requirements Change.” The changes to Cooking will first appear in a revised merit badge pamphlet that will be released during 2013. The new requirements then become effective Jan. 1, 2015, with the release of Boy Scout Requirements, No. 34765.

    When parents and Scouts search for the Cooking Merit Badge requirements they are finding the 2015 requirements.
    If i am teaching a class, which set of requirements do I use (2013 or 2015)?



  6. If I completed my eagle project in October of 2013 but completed my scout master conference in February of 2014 do I still have to complete the cooking merit badge? It does not make any sense if I would have to because in order to start your eagle project you must have all of the required merit badges first. I turn 18 in a month so there’s not much wiggle room.

    • Dakota Grizzle, my son is in a similar situation. What did you find out? Did you end up having to do the Cooking MB?

      • Dakota: First of all, there is nothing that says you must have all of your required merit badgescomplete before you start the Project. Anyone that told you that was dead wrong. The only time restriction is that you must be a Life Scout before you start any work on the project.

        As for Cooking, the basic rule is that ALL requirements except the Board of Review had to be completed by December 31, 2013, if the Scout does not have the Cooking MB. That includes the Unit Leader’s Conference.

        If, by December 31, 2013, you did have all the 12 required merit badges done, and had at least 9 others (so that you had at least 21 total), and had your project done last October, and had the 6 months as a Life Scout and 6 months of service in a position of responsibility in your unit done before last December 31, why was your conference delayed until February? If the LEADERS delayed you, then you may be able to get a waiver by appealing to the National office. If not, then unfortunately, you may not be able to get a waiver.

        SD: Similar question: When did your son finish all requirements except the conference? If ANY of the requirements were not complete by 12/31/2013, then he MUST meet the current requirements, which include Cooking MB.

  7. Of course you must choose the color paint which you plan on using.
    It is really essential as paint may spill over these things and removing it may not be very easy.

    – Using only good quality paints that eliminate the need for multiple coats.

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