Methods for generating recipe recommendations based on virtual cooking results from a virtual cooking system are described. In some embodiments, a virtual cooking result is generated based on a recipe for making a particular food or beverage. The virtual cooking result may include quantitative representations of various expected characteristics of the particular food or beverage. For example, the virtual cooking result may include resulting ingredients, resulting volatile aromatic compounds, and estimates regarding one or more flavors associated with the particular food or beverage. The generation of different virtual cooking results associated with different recipes allows computer programs to leverage machine learning techniques and solve optimization problems in order to determine an optimum recipe or set of recipes for a given set of recipe constraints. The recipe recommendations may include recipe pairing recommendations, multi-meal recipe recommendations, and new recipes optimized to satisfy a particular flavor profile.