New Crafting System
I'm not saying the 3×3 grid needs to be done away with, what I mean is that there should be something more to add a bit of depth to its crafting system.
The best example of improved crafting I know of is in the Better Beginnings mod, in which <
crafting has additional "catalyst" items that are required to complete the recipes
. These catalysts can be anything from tool binds to brick mortar to magical infusion items.
This idea of catalyst items can bring forth loads of more reason for acquiring different resources, and new materials can be added for the sole purpose of being catalysts. Example: a new Copper metal can be a catalyst for Redstone related items.
Immersive Item Creation
We need more items like Concrete: things that are created by physical processes in the game. Some processes can replace crafting recipes and some can provide bonuses that the crafting grid does not give. Putting a bone in the crafting grid may give you 3x Bonemeal, but crushing a bone with a piston has a chance to give you 4x Bonemeal.
This immersive method can also introduce new items by means of more logical recipes. Fire beneath water can cause the water to boil – or maybe 1.14's bubble jets can fill in for boiling water -. Boiling water can be used for a new method of cooking food or even to function in booby traps.
Minecraft simply needs more in crafting, and that does not just mean more recipes. These two ideas proposed would add not only more depth to crafting, but more incentives for building, exploration, and experimentation.
Crafting recipes require additional items in separate slots. More things are made with interactive processes, similar to how concrete is made.