We carry our phone with us everywhere we go — whether it be our living room, work space, or even the bathroom — so why shouldn’t we venture into the kitchen with it? Cooking apps are the next step in the complete mobile takeover, offering step-by-step instructions detailing how to make a fine oven-fried chimichanga, curate a weekly meal plan, and much more. The app market is loaded with both premium and freemium offerings on iOS and Android. Some cater more to the executive chef at your local five-star restaurant, while others help those of you who are still learning to dice an onion or boil water. Here are top picks for the best apps for cooking, regardless of your kitchen expertise.
With more 350,000 recipes, BigOven makes cooking simple. With this cooking app, you’ll be inspired and organized in the kitchen and on the go. Some of the highlights include access to BigOven’s massive library of recipes, the ability to add snapshots of your own recipes, the option to make a grocery list in the app based on recipes you’d like to create, and help to make your meal planning a lot easier with the weekly organizer. The app also adds a social feature, allowing you to check out what your friends, family, and favorite bloggers are making. Plus, it offers seasonal collections right from the home screen to get you inspired.
Food Network in the Kitchen brings all your favorite TV chefs from the network directly to your mobile device! There are already thousands of recipes to choose from, with new ones added every month. The app also offers helpful videos and photos from notable Food Network chefs and shows. You can also search for what you want or need by chef or ingredient. Furthermore, you can add your own notes, tips, and substitutions for any recipe. And once you start cooking, you can even use the unit converter to figure out volume or weight, or simply revel in the app’s multiple timers for multi-dish meals.
Yummly’s greatest strength lies with its search engine. Of course, it’ll provide hundreds of recipes to replicate and experiment with, but you can also tailor searches to fit your specific needs and lifestyle. Going on a diet, but still want to enjoy a good burger? Yummly has you covered. Have a particularly nasty food allergy you’d rather not deal with anytime soon? Yummly can adjust for that as well.
The app will come to learn what you like and don’t like over time and begin recommending recipes more suited for your individual lifestyle. From there, you can easily save those recipes or add the needed ingredients to an in-app shopping list. Best of all, Yummly has Instacart built-in, allowing you to use that shopping list to shop on Instacart, then order those items, and, depending on where you live, have them delivered within the hour.
Every recipe available from Allrecipes comes from a community of more than 30 million. This extends to the photos, reviews, and ratings, which gives this particular app more of a social feel than others. One huge benefit to this is that you’re able to see what ingredients are on sale and what recipes are the cheapest to make on any given day. The app will also recommend recipes when you walk into certain stores, which could come in handy if you’re in the mood to make something special, but don’t really know what yet. Aside from all of that, Allrecipes comes with all the usual features, like the ability to create shopping lists, save your favorite recipes, and filter your search results by diet, cooking time, and foods you don’t like.
If social media doesn’t already saturate every aspect of your life, Cookpad — formerly known as All the Cooks — is the app for you. Cookpad creates a virtual place to exchange recipes with friends, family, and strangers. When you’re done cooking, you can upload a recipe with a picture of the finished dish and others can comment. The comments range from potential substitutions for food allergies, to side dishes that would pair well with the recipe, each of which depends on the dish at hand. Recipes are also sorted into different categories and the app creates a profile for you, so you can see what others have uploaded and liked.
Epicurious has been heralded as a flagship cooking app since it was first released. The app provides more than 30,000 tested and member-rated recipes within a beautiful, streamlined interface. The app also allows you to manage your shopping lists and recipes across platforms, and even perform voice-activated commands that are specifically designed for hands-free cooking. Though editors of Epicurious offer their own selection of recipes, the app also manages to present those from the likes of Gourmet magazine, Self, and other notable publications.
With SideChef, you can get access to more than 2,500 food recipes and follow top food bloggers and chefs. The app’s main goal, however, is to make cooking easier for new cooks, regardless of how much experience they may have. Each recipe comes with step-by-step instructions and an accompanying set of photos, videos, voice commands, and timers. You can also adjust the serving size of a recipe on the fly, which automatically converts the ingredients. See a recipe you want to try out, but don’t have the ingredients for it? Make a list within the app and email it to yourself for later. Feeling proud of your creation? Take a photo and share it with the rest of the SideChef community.
For vegetarians and vegans that have been frustrated or disappointed with other food apps comes My New Roots, from professional food blogger Sarah Britton. The $5 app currently offers more than 100 recipes that are well suited for every occasion, be it breakfast, dinner, or snack time. As many as 48 of the recipes are for grain-free meals, which are exclusive to My New Roots, and a number of other recipes are raw or gluten-free. Other helpful features include nutritional information about the ingredients you’re using, the option to switch between metric and imperial measurements, and an integrated shopping list that’s designed to keep track of anything you might need.
Grilling may be the staple of summer, but it’s hard to find a large variety of quality grilling recipes online. Weber’s On the Grill makes it easy, supplying not only 250 different recipes for an entire grill-prepared meal — dessert included — but the whole process for preparing the dish. You can add and delete items on your grocery list once you select a recipe, and then, when it’s time to add fire to the equation, you can enter the thickness of the meat and the app will automatically adjust the grilling time and temperature accordingly. The app even includes a built-in grill timer that works with the Apple Watch, so you won’t have to put your beer down to check if it’s time turn your steak.
Pepperplate claims it is the only recipe app for serious cooks, which is a pretty hefty statement to make. While it may not be the only recipe app a pro could use, it is a comprehensive one. Though you can pull recipes from any website as well as upload personal ones, they don’t always import into the app seamlessly. You can also copy and paste text and photos. Once you add a recipe to the app, you can add or alter notes to adjust the recipe and better accommodate more guests. Users can also move recipes into different categories, which provides quick access in most situations.