Though chock-full of delicious knowledge, traditional cookbooks are far too portly for the modern kitchen. Instead of dedicating valuable shelf space to dozens of cooking anthologies, let them live in the cloud or in your tablet. Here are 10 ways to digitise your recipe collection.
The best solution to keep track of your important culinary ideas often the most simple; whether that entails filing recipes as notes in Google Keep, recording them in Springpad or Evernote Food, or just dedicating a recipe folder in your bookmarks bar. The first two methods offer a high degree of flexibility in how you record and organise them, but essentially act as digital Rolodexes.
Springpad, however, does include a recommendation engine that generates shopping lists and wine pairings, which is very helpful for the neophyte gourmet, while Google Keep allows you to automatically sync these recipes across all of your connected devices and easily share them with friends and family.
If you are serious about cooking or have an entire bookcase’s worth of paper recipes in need of wrangling, you’re going to need to step up to a dedicated cookbook app. But e-cookbooks are a dime a dozen, so which one do you choose?
Paprika (thanks Simonp) is far and away the most recommended app by our readers — and for good reason. This beautifully designed program offers just about everything a modern home chef could desire. Beyond entering and organising your own recipes, Paprika includes an integrated web browser for tracking down online recipes, a one-touch clipping function for slurping recipes from more than 200 cooking sites and imports any existing digital recipe databases. What’s more, it can also create shopping lists, meal plans and scale ingredients while syncing your database across all your devices. The app is available for iOS, Kindle and Android for $5, the full Mac version will run you $20.
Best Shopping Companion
Ziplist, on the other hand, bills itself as the “best in-store grocery shopping app. Period.” While this program does facilitate finding and organising recipes, its focus and strength lies in meal planning and shopping organisation. You can setup weekly shopping lists for the ingredients you use most, add and track spontaneous purchases, and sync these lists with your family so you and your spouse don’t both arrive home with that carton of milk you need. Plus, it’s free on iOS, Android and Kindle.
Best For Quick Recipe Options
All Recipes’ Dinner Spinner (thanks SQLGuru) gives you access to more than 40,000 recipes on All Recipes, allowing you to search by nutritional information and ingredients, a grocery scanner that suggests recipes based on a specific ingredient, as well as a shopping list generator and ingredient scaling. The app is available on iOS and Android for $US3 (the Pro version) and for free on the Kindle and Windows Phone (though they lack the shopping list and grocery scanner features).
Best For Recipes You Already Love
Big Oven (thanks John) offers the same basic features as Dinner Spinner and then some. It also costs more though. With more than a quarter million communal recipes and the ability to add your own, you won’t soon be running out of meal ideas.
Big Oven takes the hassle out of digitising your recipes with its Scan Recipe service. For 60 cents a pop, you can take photos of your handwritten recipes and send them to Big Oven, which will then digitise them and add them to your account. A meal planner and shopping list generator are available as well. Big Oven basic is free, but the full-feature Pro version will cost you $20 a year, which removes ads and allows you to save an unlimited number of recipes. Grab it for iOS or Android.
Best Sous Chef
Basil not only searches, imports and organises both your own recipes and those found on the internet, it also acts as a chef’s assistant in the kitchen. Its metered steps double as kitchen timers, the unit auto-conversion instantly flips between imperial and metric, and the app even allows you to tweak the recipe to your specific taste and save the changes for future cookouts. This iPad exclusive retails for $2.99.
It’s difficult to say which of these apps is “best”, since their utility lies within how you run your kitchen and how you employ the programs. But if you think you’ve got a case as to why your preferred app is the top chef’s assistant, let us know in the comments below.
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