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Best Cooking and Recipe Apps

What’s for dinner? Your iDevice is quite a handy tool for answering that question. There are many apps to help you be at your best in the kitchen. Read on to learn about some of our favorites. You will hard-pressed to choose just one cooking and recipe app. For breadth of recipe selections, you’ll want a search-engine style app -- get access to thousands and thousands of recipes. These are essentially websites scaled down to fit your iPod or iPhone screen. Some do include extras such as one-touch shopping list creation, but you’re getting straight recipes, not detailed instruction. Search-engine style apps tend to be free or very cheap, so there’s no reason not to snap up a couple of these. The other type of app you’ll find is “curated” apps, created specifically for the iDevices. These generally have dozens rather than thousands of recipes, but they include in-depth instructions, pictures, videos and other features. Curated apps tend to be more costly, but if you want the features and the guidance, you’ll find it money well spent. Especially if you have a favorite celebrity chef -- many of them have their own cooking apps, which fans are sure to enjoy.

Essential Apps

20 Minute Meals - Jamie Oliver

by Zolmo

Each of the 60 included recipes was carefully crafted for the iDevice format, with bite-sized instructional videos, photos, and descriptions designed to be watched a bit at a time on a small screen. As you go through each step, you’ll hear Jamie chime in with pertinent tips. You can choose between US and Metric measurements. Toggle between two- and four-serving recipe sizes. Create shopping lists sorted by aisle. You do not need any internet connection for this app, but if you have it and you want more of Jamie’s recipes, you can access his website in-app. 20 Minute Meals was awarded 2010 Apple Design Award.

Woman's Day Cooking Assistant

by Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.

This is a nice, full-featured, free, search-engine style app. Touch “Featured” to read multi-recipe articles such as ‘10 Terrific Lunches for Work’ or ‘Father’s Day Menu: Beer and Recipe Pairings’. Touch “Search” to browse by key word, cuisine, quick and easy, holiday, budget, low cal, and more. Each recipe has one-touch shopping list creation, nutrition information, and the option to email/favorite the recipe. The “Tips n’ Tools” section is a cool bonus -- learn about kitchen equipment, herbs and spices; get a cooking time calculator, and more. No internet connection needed. There is also a paid, “curated” app with 45 recipes called Woman’s Day Cookvook: Healthy Food for Everyday Living, for either iPhone or iPad, with videos and more.

Dishy - Cooking Made Easy - Christmas Update

by Touch Fantastic Limited

This super-slick curated app takes full advantage of the iPhone/iPod format. Dishy is designed to help you plan a multi-course meal with 105 recipes from which to choose. Browse by ingredients, diet, or cooking time. Pick a recipe and a shopping list is automatically created for you. You will be guided through the cooking process into easy-to-follow steps. Any special tools you need will be listed. In-app timers and timing charts help you time each part of the meal. Select serving size, American or British English, and units of measure from around the world. A major update, including a celebrity chef, is coming soon.

Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List

by Condé Nast Digital

This universal, free app is a must for iPad owners. Access 30,000 recipes, searchable by keyword. Filter by ingredients you have on hand or by health requirement (low fat, gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.). Share and save favorite recipes. Create shopping lists with one tap. The iPad version offers additional features such as cookbook format and nutrition information.

Notable Apps

Tyler Florence Fast

by Delicious Propaganda

With over 500 searchable, sharable Tyler Florence recipes, from comfort food to gourmet treats, there is something for everyone here. Create a customized menu with up to three of his recipes and the app will compile a shopping list for you. In-app timers allow you to use your own library of music. E-mail Tyler and his team for on-the-spot cooking advice. Chat with other app users. Watch video clips with cooking tips and more. This is an attractive, appetizing app but surprisingly does not have features included in other apps, such as nutrition information, metric conversion, and adjustable serving size. You can browse by category (“entrees”, “side dishes”, “kidz”, etc.), but there is no accommodation for special diets, such as vegetarian or low-calorie. Dinner Spinner - Recipes, Drinks, and more!

by All Recipes, Inc.

The popular Allrecipes website has spawned this popular search-engine recipe app. The spinner makes it fun to discover new recipes along the guidelines you choose (Dish Type, Ingredients, or Desired “Ready In” Time) or just shake to spin and get random recipes. Or simply type what you’re looking for into the search box. You can email favorite recipes to friends, or save them to your Favorites. Nutrition information is given for each recipe. The free app has thousands of recipes from the website; the paid version has them all. The paid version also allows for one-touch shopping list generation.

James Martin's Food - Simplicity - HD Video Recipes for iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch

by James Martin's Food

Simplicity is a recipe app for James Martin's food. The app is much like other recipe apps in the sense that you can view recipes in a text view and video view. What I did find cool about Simplicity is the feature where, when watching a video of how to make a certain dish, a text view below is synchronized with the video of the instructions he is giving. This app also supports AirPlay and AirPrint, but unfortunately, can have stability problems from time to time. However, Simplicity is a very good app for people who love to cook and try out new recipes.

Whole Foods Market Recipes

by Whole Foods Market, Inc.

If you like the store, you’ll definitely want the app! In-app store locator directs you to the nearest Whole Foods. Select your dietary requirement (from an extensive list including high fiber, dairy free, sugar conscious, and more) for recipes to suit your needs. Get nutrition information for each recipe. A recent update allows for one-touch shopping list generation as well.

How to Cook Everything for iPhone

by Culinate, Inc.

From basic cooking technique to the right equipment to have in your kitchen, you’ll learn a lot from this textbook-like app. An iOS 4 update allows for multi-tasking -- if you’re using the in-app timer, you can take a phone call and your timer will continue. Although this is not “search-engine recipe app” you’ll find over 2000 recipes (but no pictures or video), many of which have lots of variations and alternate ingredients you can try. Browse recipes by key ingredient, cooking technique, flavor, or recipe type: Fast, Make Ahead, Vegetarian, or Essential. Save your favorites, create one-touch shopping lists, or add recipes to your calendar -- an easy and fun way to plan your meals out ahead of time.

250,000+ Recipes and Grocery List - BigOven


This massive search engine recipe app does require internet connection. It is free but there is also a paid iPad version. The “Leftover Wizard” allows you to simply type in three ingredients and Big Oven will come up with recipes containing usually at least two of those ingredients. Choose US or Metric measurements. Get inspiration by selecting “Random Recipe” or “What’s for dinner?” (where you can see what other people are making tonite). You also get one-touch shopping list creation, nutrition information, and the ability to email, tweet, favorite, and/or rate each recipe.

Decent Apps


by Grocery Shopping Network

This free app contains 60,000 recipes. Find a recipe you like, and you can email it to a friend, put it in your Favorites, and/or create a one-touch shopping list. Recipes include nutrition information. The On Sale section lists local grocery store specials (if participating). Great idea, but I live in a fairly major city and the closest store listed was 120 miles away. Use their website to watch over 50 instructional cooking videos and print out coupons.

The Betty Crocker® Mobile Cookbook

by General Mills Inc.

Browse over 9000 recipes, no internet needed. There is also a free iPad version. Select up to two ingredients you have on hand and get a list of recipes that include them. Email recipes. Get nutrition info for each recipe. You can download coupons for General Mills products, but you must open a free online account in order to use them. Some but not all of the recipes will include General Mills brand products.

Martha's Everyday Food: Fresh & Easy Recipes

by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc

This app provides access to a library of recipes from Everyday Food magazine. If you’re a fan of Martha Stewart and the magazine, you’ll definitely want to download this app. Get a dinner suggestion each day, or browse the recipe collection by category, main ingredients, etc. Nutrition information and quick tips are included, but so are small banner ads. The app links to a free online recipe/shopping service called, which allows easy multi-recipe shopping list creation as well as recipe sharing and saving. You can save recipes from other sources.

iFood Assistant LITE

by Kraft New Services, Inc.

This app has shares many features with the other apps. You’ll find lots of recipes, but unlike most search engine apps, you also get lots of instructional videos. Browse recipes by prep time, what’s on hand, or healthy lifestyle. Get a one-touch shopping list, email/save recipes, ratings, and more. But it does contain fairly obtrusive ads, and, since this is a Kraft app, you’ll find Kraft items in all the ingredient lists. In addition, in order to use some of the features (such as shopping lists) you need to open a Kraft account. Free, but a little bit of a hassle. Still, it’s worth a free download. There is a paid version, which offers more recipes, more videos, and off-line access, but you’ll still see Kraft ingredients and those ads!

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