In the last couple of years, home cooking is enjoying revival helped by the likes of Martha Stewart, and Rachel Ray. There will always be those that love dining out, but there’s been a definite defiance against the fast-food revolution in the form of apps helping us cook healthy, delicious homemade food. Traditional recipe books are ‘so-20-years-ago’ and cooking apps have been springing up all over the place as an alternative to your grandma’s yellow stained recipe books.
We’ve sorted through the best cooking apps on the market, ones that save you time and money- not to mention help your organizational skills in the kitchen. We’ll be explaining the best features of each and what type of app will work best for you and your specific needs.
If you’re fed up of solidary cooking and want some company in the kitchen, there are some great apps that act as a social channel. Big Ovens social features means you can see what other big oven users are cooking in your area. Big Oven (free on iPhone & Android) has over 350K recipes on its database, and with each recipe comes a personalized shopping list with everything you need, including the easiest way around the supermarket. The app has a powerful search engine so you can easily find the style of food you’re looking for. A really nice feature is the ‘leftovers’ trick where you can search for a recipe using the remainder of food in your refrigerator. With a gorgeous interface aimed to replicate a shiny recipe book, this app is perfect for the organizational pro, or those that suffer from general kitchen disorganization, and can utilize Big Oven’s calendar based planning feature.
Another app that gives you the social feel is AllRecipes Dinner Spinner, where you can view other members videos, photos and reviews. If you and your family are getting sick of your same old recipes AllRecipes Dinner Spinner (available for free on iOS or Android or $2.99 for premium) is a refreshing way to bring fun back into your kitchen. Once you download the app you’ll joining an active community of over 30 million users. The app also suggests recipes when you walk into certain stores—a helpful feature if you’re the type that always walks out of the supermarket forgetting one vital ingredient. The app provides organizational features like shopping lists, and the ability to filter certain foods, diet and how much time you’ve got on your hands. Once you’ve filtered your criteria, spin your device and the app will suggest hand-picked recipes. This app can work for everyone, but it’s also really helpful for those who are budget-conscious. It uses your location to check for grocery stores near you, and then matches what’s on sale with a recipe ingredients.
If you have very selective needs in the kitchen, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Nowadays most people are following some sort of diet, luckily there are apps to cope with that. Yummly is an awesome cooking search engine, where you can tailor search to meet your specific lifestyle or needs. If you’re vegan, no problem, Kosher? It can be arranged. Food allergies? No danger here. Yummly (free on iOS & Android) is a recipe and shopping list app which cleverly collects recipes from cooking blogs and websites bringing you over 1 million recipes that meet your specific preferences. The coolest thing about this app is the built in ‘instacart’ where you can build shopping lists and purchase the goods straight from the app. This app will work wonders for those of you with very specific food needs such as vegan or paleo. The more you use the app the better the recipe suggestions that match your food tastes!
Another app that helps your specific food preferences is Foodgawker. This app collects over 300,000 recipes from your favorite food bloggers around the world, so you get really wide range of recipes from bloggers that suit your tastes. Foodgawker (free on iOS & Android)) is built for visual browsing, and when you find something you can’t resist, tap on the image and you’ll find the recipe. There are tons of filters for browsing, and you can favorite recipes to your personal account. The app has a sleek and professional interface to compliment the beautiful foodie photos and you can use the app to share recipes on social media channels. Naturally it’s vegan and vegetarian friendly and if you’re not a native English speaker you can translate into your native language.
Delving into the kitchen without prior experience can feel daunting, but there are specific apps that can help assist the ultimate cooking novice. How to Cook Everything ($14.99 on iOS only) is based on the best-selling cookbook/recipe book by NY Times columnist Mark Bittman, and as the title indicates, can help you cook everything! It has over 2,000 recipes and 400 basic, step by step instruction videos that take you through the very basics. It also provides guidance on technique, equipment and specific meal planning. It’s much pricier than other apps at a pricy $14.99, but it does allow you to search filter with 5 different categories and the interface is simple and easy to use. Although pricey, this app is great for beginners and for those who want very detailed step-by-step instructions to recipes. There’s also a helpful bookmark which allows you to return to your chosen page. The ‘How to’ section which offers clear-instructions to very basic kitchen techniques like crushing garlic or dicing a carrot.
Kitchen Stories (free on iOS and Android) is another app for first-timers just starting out in the kitchen. The clear videos are simple, and super helpful for newcomers. If you’re someone who loves snapping and uploading their food onto Instagram, this cooking app is for you.The app offers inspiring, insta-licious food videos and step-by-step instructions for recipes anybody can try out. It kind of feels like you’re flicking through a designer gourmet food magazine, but the recipes and clear instructions makes you feel like you can take on any meal. The app also helps you sort through your shopping list essentials.
Does your kitchen resemble a war zone while cooking? Or are you one of those that always returns home to have forgotten one necessary ingredient? If so, check out Paprika Recipe Manager ($4.99 on Android & iOS). This quirkily named app is best used as a recipe organizer offering excellent management tools. It can be used as a menu planner, planning out meals and grocery lists months ahead of time. There’s a super clever pantry section where once you use items listed will immediately remove them from list so you know when you need to go restock. A downside to this app is the lack of search options, however you can search through thousands of online recipes and then add them to the app itself.
This is definitely for the more experienced cook, since it’s lacking search tools but for anyone who needs management skills in the kitchen, and need a place to plan out meals this is your app.
You could also try out Pepperplate (free on iOS & Android) which acts as a combined virtual cookbook, and shopping list all mixed into one. It allows you to manage your recipes, create menus and shop with ease. Plan ahead by organizing your meals a week or month ahead, and it even allows you to plan a party according to size. You’ll be able to sync your favorite recipes from other sites and easily manually upload recipes from cookbooks or magazines.
Although Pepperplate’s tagline is ‘the app for serious cooks’, this really is for anyone who wants some organizational help in the kitchen. There’s a nice timer feature which helps you keep track on when recipes should be ready by, and it also allows you to sync your shopping list to your ipad, and iphone.
Everyone loves gorgeous photos of delectable gourmet food, and there are certain apps where beautiful food photography is their forte. The publication The New York Times have rolled out their own cooking app, NYT Cooking (iOS only) with over 18,000 exclusive recipes stored on the database. There’s additional features where you can save and organize recipes and access how-to content. This app is great if you’re already a full subscriber to The New York Times, if not, new subscribers will be asked to pay $5 per month for access to the cooking app. The app does have beautiful photography and easy-to-follow instructions.
Naturally if you’re already a full-paying subscriber to the New York times this one is a no-brainer, and if you’ve always loved the recipes in the food section this app is probably perfect for you.
If you love watching the food TV network, Food Network in the Kitchen (Free on iOS & Android) brings with it all the charm of all your favorite celebrity chefs. You can browse through thousands of recipes and look for helpful videos and photos from the chef’s shows across the network. There are some nice filter options, allowing you to search for a recipe through chef or ingredient. There’s a nice ‘recipe box’ feature which once you favorite a recipe allows you to add the ingredients to your shopping list. There’s also a really useful unit converter. If you can’t get enough of a particular celebrity chef from the Food Network, this is the app for you.
If you were to imagine a cooking app from the future, Epicurious (free on iOS) would be it. This app’s interface is like eye-candy for the senses with big gorgeous photos. Not only can you create shopping lists across different platforms, it also performs voice-activated commands that are perfect for multitasking in the kitchen. It’s gorgeous smooth interface makes this app a pleasure to use. Epicurious has more than 30,000 tried and tested recipes on its database, including beautifully shot videos. You’ll also be updated with new recipes via cooking tips, recipe of the day and holiday specials. If you find yourself getting overheated in the kitchen, the hands free, voice-activated feature is really comfortable.
So no matter whether you’re a picky eater, or the type of person who always forgets that last ingredient behind in the store, there’s likely to be a cooking app that suits you. At the end of the day, these apps were invented to help improve your cooking life, and if one particular app isn’t doing it for you, go ahead and hunt around for another that suits all of your specific needs—there’s bound to be an app just right for you.