Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a chronic medical condition with life-long consequences. Meal preparation is one of the most significant activities impacted by TBI even after more than 10 years post-trauma. However, substantial gaps exist in our understanding of how exactly it is affected. This study examines the perceived needs and difficulties regarding meal preparation in individuals with severe TBI living in the community. This is done in an effort to justify long-term community-based interventions offered to the TBI population with regard to a task involving many safety issues. The study used a descriptive qualitative design where five adults (28-50 years old) living with a severe TBI (9-37 years post-injury) were interviewed. Data analysis was completed using an inductive method. Participants living alone were all involved in meal preparation to diverse levels. Only two participants lived with a family member. Six categories of perceived needs were identified, of which two emerged as priorities: (i) Need for recipes to be compatible with cognitive abilities, knowledge and energy level to optimise motivation and (ii) Need to adapt complexity of grocery shopping to cognitive abilities and knowledge. The main difficulty expressed by participants was to manage their motivation to cook when tired, as it tends to diminish and fade when the person is exhausted. Many situations were considered difficult for our participants, which calls for adaptation of the tasks and of their environment. Considering these unmet needs in the interventions offered will help individualise follow-up and ultimately optimise the social integration of individuals living with severe TBI. © 2019 Occupational Therapy Australia.