Who said our smartphones don’t belong in the kitchen? These days, you can use your phone and tablet to pull up a recipe for any dish: Mexican, Italian, Lebanese, or any other cuisine you can dream of. Whether you run iOS or Android, there’s no shortage of freemium and reasonably priced recipe apps. To help you cut through the noise, we’ve rounded up a handful of our favorites, so you can get your grub on without wasting time on duds that are loaded with more ads than info.
Forks Over Knives ($5)
Are you vegan or aspiring to convert to a plant-based diet? This recipe app, from the makers of the film Forks Over Knives, can help you get started. With this app, you can discover 400 meals from more than 50 celebrated chefs, with new recipes added each week. Recipes featured can help stave off and sometimes reverse chronic illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Step-by-step instructions make food prep simple, while a gallery of gorgeous photos whets your appetite. Each step shows you the ingredients you need, while a shopping list lets you track the grocery items required. Check out the feature film as well if you’re into food and cooking shows.
BBC Good Food (free)
The BBC doesn’t just make great British TV, it also offers a huge database of more than 10,000 recipes accessed most easily through the BBC Good Food app. The app brings together both user-submitted recipes and tested recipes from the BBC Good Food team and celebrity chefs. You can create an account and save your favorite recipes into custom collections, as well as rate and save recipes for later. Step-by-step guides make sure you know exactly what you’re doing, and it’s easy to share your favorite recipes with family and friends.
You’ve likely seen a Tasty video or two in your time on social media, and the Tasty app for iOS and Android means you don’t have to travel back through your timeline to find that one recipe. Tasty provides great step-by-step instructions and keeps your phone’s screen awake while it does so. You’ll get the earliest access to the latest Tasty videos and it’s also a customizable app. Vegetarian? You can choose to hide all recipes involving meat. Filters allow you to search by gluten-free, vegan, low carb, and more. It will even send you personalized recommendations for your next meal based on the day of the week and major holidays. You can now also shop recipe ingredients via Walmart Grocery Pickup. For any recipe you’re prepping, tap Add to bag and schedule an ingredient pickup or delivery through Walmart. You can also swap out ingredient brands, purchase pantry items, and adjust the serving size for the right ingredient amount.
Oh She Glows ($2)
With more than 140 plant-based recipes, including 120 gluten-free recipes, Oh She Glows meal options aren’t just healthy, they’re also aesthetically pleasing. From gazpacho to butternut squash “mac ‘n cheese” to cheesy lentil bolognese casserole, the mouth-watering dishes are endless. While the photography alone might make it tough to choose what you want to whip up, the interface is simple. Each recipe has a brief description, directions, a list of tips, and nutritional information. There’s also the option to mark specific recipes as favorites to refer back to later, or to keep track of ones you want to make again. The detailed search allows you to filter your recipes based on dietary and allergy information, season, dish type, and more.
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 recipes, and the option to make a grocery list in the app based on recipes you want to create. Simply type in three ingredients you have in your fridge and BigOven shows you what you can make with them. The app also adds a social feature, allowing you to check out what your friends, family, and favorite bloggers are making. Though you could always just learn how to cook ribs in the oven and call it a day.
Food Network Kitchen (free)
Food Network Kitchen brings all your favorite TV chefs from the network directly to your mobile device. There are more than 70,000 recipes to choose from, covering breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The app also offers helpful videos and photos from notable Food Network chefs and shows. You can search for what you want or need by chef or ingredient. You can also add your own notes, tips, and substitutions for any recipe. The newest feature is a slideshow featuring new and crave-worthy recipes, videos, hacks, and food trend how-tos.
You can now create, edit, and order your shopping list directly from the recipe page, get all the nutritional information you need, and have any special notes and equipment required for the dish clearly called out. Recent versions make it easier to find recipes by enabling sorting by those featured on your favorite shows by Popular or Recently Aired, and allow you to quickly find most recently saved recipes by browsing the Recipes section of the app. Recipes on TV has also been enhanced to let you view the date, time, and recipes featured on your favorite Food Network episodes.
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 to coconut? 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 tastes. You can then easily save those recipes or add the needed ingredients to an in-app shopping list, with ingredients delivered from local grocery stores. Yummly also features a store where you can buy cooking essentials right from the app, from a wine opener to a cast-iron grill. New updates let you sort your collections alphabetically, by time created, or by last modified.
Allrecipes Dinner Spinner (free)
Every recipe available from Allrecipes comes from a community of more than 50 million people. This extends to the photos, reviews, and ratings, which gives this particular app more of a social feel than others. One awesome feature is that you’re able to see what ingredients are on sale near you 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 is suggested based on the dish at hand.
Recipes are also sorted into different categories and the app creates a profile for each user, so you can easily see what others have uploaded and liked. The app is constantly getting tweaked and the latest version has added the ability to access recipes in your Cookplan without an internet connection. You can see all the important recipes in a single place while a new Community tab lets you observe cooking activity from other users. Additional updates move the Recipe Activities tab to your profile settings screen, letting you find the recipes that you’re planning to cook in the new redesigned Plan tab. Adding a recipe has been simplified with new Create buttons in the tab bar and on the top of the feed. Followers and following lists are displayed in order of the most recent activity.
Epicurious has been heralded as a flagship cooking app since it was first released. The app, for iOS only, provides more than 35,000 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. With the smart kitchen timer, you know exactly how long it takes to cook salmon, chicken, and more than 40 other items. Though editors of Epicurious offer their own selection of recipes, the app also manages to present those from the likes of Gourmet magazine, Bon Appetit, Harper Collins, and other notable publications.
With SideChef, you can get access to more than 11,000 food recipes and follow top food bloggers and chefs. The app’s main goal 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. You can even buy the ingredients from the app and have them delivered to your door. Feeling proud of your creation? Take a photo and share it with the rest of the SideChef community. New recipe recommendations now take into account allergies and food intolerance. Recent updates allow you to quickly search for recipes with your favorite ingredients on the home scroll, find recipe categories on the home scroll, and an Exit button in Step by Step mode to hasten your exit from the app.
Weber iGrill (free)
Grilling may be the staple of summer, but it’s hard to find a large variety of quality grilling recipes online. Weber Grills makes it easy, supplying 300 different recipes for an entire grill-prepared meal (dessert included) with the whole process for preparing the dish. You can add and delete items on your grocery list once you select a recipe. 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. Updated versions reintroduce and feature a Recipe of the Week, offer an enhanced Home Screen with added content, and in-app browsing.
Kitchen Stories (free)
Kitchen Stories is aimed at bringing media-rich snippets to cooking apps — that’s to say, instead of simply providing recipes, it offers an array of photos and videos. Of course, said photos and videos also come with easy-to-follow instructions. Find a dish easier with various themed menus like “all-time classics” and “20-minute dishes”. The real point of Kitchen Stories is to present food as nicely as possible, so if you’re susceptible to mouthwatering photos of food, then this might be the app for you.
Green Kitchen ($4)
Maybe you’re vegetarian or maybe you just want to eat more greens. Whatever the reason, Green Kitchen for iOS boasts over 153 tempting vegetarian recipes, all handpicked by its two founders. They’re a mix of main courses, snacks, and healthy drinks, each accompanied by gorgeous photos. Each recipe is labeled, so you can see at-a-glance if they are vegan, raw, gluten-free, or whole grain. The step-by-step instructions can be checked off as you go when each is completed. You can also easily share your favorite recipes with your friends and family. Green Kitchen makes healthy eating easy and enjoyable and is constantly adding new recipes.
Hippie Lane ($5)
Are you the kind of shopper who can’t look the checkout clerk in the eye as he rings up package after package of sweets and desserts? Do you eat your dessert before your meal? Now you can engage your sweet obsession in your own kitchen with Hippie Lane’s vegan dessert recipes. The app focuses on plant-based desserts like Chocolate Fix, Snacks, Celebration Cakes, and Cookies & Biscuits that have no refined sugar, dairy, wheat, or gluten. Who says sweets can’t be healthy? While Hippie Lane might specialize in treats, it has also added some, you know, real food to the mix and now features more than 100 unique recipes for your whole meal, with more entries added all the time. The Android app is $3.50 and the iOS app is $4.50.
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