Cooking with your iPhone is a lot tastier when you have the right recipes and culinary techniques. Here's our list of the best apps for turning your iPhone into a pocket sous chef.
Cook's Illustrated has become a favourite lately, being a free and extremely rich iOS cookbook filled with useful features in an elegant interface. It's exactly the app you're looking for if you're an Apple geek and you like to cook. Finding a recipe is pretty straightforward in that you can search or browse, but once you find what you're looking for, you have lots of great features to make the cooking or baking process a lot easier. Like many cooking apps, you have the requisite shopping list feature. What's also really nice is that Cook's Illustrated has a timer built in to each recipe so your iPhone can keep you on task. What's really great about Cook's Illustrated, however, is that recipes come with videos to show you how it's all done. Many recipes are provided free of charge, but a subscription is necessary to unlock all the member's only recipes. What you get for free is great, however, so you get a pretty good test run before deciding whether or not you want a subscription. Cook's Illustrated [iTunes App Store]
Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List
The free Epicurious app draws from Epicurious' recipe database, given you tons of great options based on whatever you want. The app has a bunch of filters that allow you to find a recipe based on whatever strikes your mood. Randomly, I went for an American-style apple and bacon dish and ended up with 10 options, so you're able to be a little unusual and still end up with quite a few choices. If you're looking for something really specific, you can always search for it. Like most cooking apps these days, Epicurious makes it easy to get what you need at the store by providing a shopping list feature, plus if you need to consult any recipe that you like, you can always add it to your favourites to find it fast. Epicurious [iTunes App Store]
Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner
I've been using the Allrecipes.com website for many years and have found lots of great recipes — so long as they were highly rated. Dinner Spinner does a great job, because you basically pick out what meal you want (it does a lot more than just dinner), the dominant ingredient, and how long you want to spend making it. Once you've done that, you can view any matches it can find — it doesn't always find a recipe, like if you select a 20-minute beef dessert. Once it does, it'll start you off with an option, and then you can swipe through to see the rest. If this is too basic and you want more options, you can grab the pro version for $4. Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner/Pro [iTunes App Store]
Wait, what? Evernote's not a cooking app! It isn't, but if you ever needed a cross-platform, recipe-syncing solution, you need Evernote. It's great for keeping track of recipes you gather from all over, but it's also an excellent shopping list manager. You can add checklists to Evernote, so it's really easy to build a quick grocery list. If you really want to save some time, you can create ingredient checklists to add to your recipes and just copy and paste them into a new note each time you go shopping. Put a few recipes in that note and you've got a grocery list in just a few minutes. Evernote's not really a cooking app, specifically, but it's free and it's versatile enough to warrant a spot on this list. Evernote [iTunes App Store]
Whole Foods Market Recipes
Although Whole Foods is sometimes known for being pricey, they've got a free app with a lot of great recipes. It's especially helpful if you have — or are cooking for anyone with — special dietary needs. Recipes can be easily sorted for vegans, people with gluten allergies, or for anyone just looking for something that's low fat, high in fibre or any of the many other options the app provides. One of the neatest features of the app, however, is you can tell it a few ingredients you have on hand and you'll be provided with recipes that use them. Oh, and of course, the Whole Foods app has a shopping list too. Would it be a cooking app without one? Whole Foods Market Recipes [iTunes App Store]
How to Cook Everything
Based on the kitchen bible of the same name, kitchen guru Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything app (you remember Bittman — earlier this week he showed us how to save time and avoid headaches in the kitchen) delivers on its name. It's a big recipe book that has tons of options (if you pay the $6, otherwise you get a sampling) and all the necessary features you'd want from a kitchen companion, like a recipe timer and a shopping list. How to Cook Everything/Pro [iTunes App Store]
Cooking apps have a certain popularity on the iPhone, but many of them get really niche and specific. That doesn't make them any less awesome if they suit your needs, but maybe less appealing to the general population. Here are our honourable mentions for the food category, featuring some more specific apps that are nonetheless really great.
- Jamie Oliver's 20 Minute Meals ($10) - A bit pricey, but it may be worth what you get. 20 Minute Meals is basically an interactive cookbook by Jamie Oliver that takes you through the process of making good food fast. The interface is elegant and intuitive with step-by-step photography, items you can cross off your list and several video tips to help you out along the way.
- Locavore ($4) - Finding local food is becoming a popular trend, but finding what you want, when it's in season, can be a little challenging. Locavore was designed specifically to help you find in-season, local food.
- Harvest ($2.49) - Harvest helps you select the best produce. It's basically a database of information that'll guide you in the grocery store when you need to check an avocado for ripeness or the maturity of a melon.
- Ratio ($6) - Ratio lets you forgo traditional recipes and just cook with what you've got. So long as you have all the ingredients, Ratio will help you calculate how much of each you can use.
- BigOven (Free) - While BigOven may not give you the 170,000 of the best recipes around, it definitely wins on variety. As a free app, it's really a great way to find pretty much any recipe you're looking for.
Got any favourite iPhone cooking apps? Let's hear 'em in the comments!