World Kitchen® | 5 Apps for Every Cook
From recipe ideas to good substitutions to recommended tweaks or combinations, most of us need a little extra help in the kitchen from time to time. As we rely more and more on our gadgets, cooking apps have become very popular over the last few years. They do make kitchen tasks quicker and easier, but sorting through the endless sea of choices can be a little daunting. We’ve done the research for you and compiled a short list of favorites:
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, NOOK, Windows Phone, Windows and the Web.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This app is a (food-specific) crowd favorite by far. BigOven has tons of options and features, and is easy to access and install, which makes it a great choice for even those who aren’t so tech savvy. Anyone can search, review and share recipes, and if you want to add and share your own recipe collection, simply sign up for a free account. Once you add recipes, they’re synchronized for you so you can use them in the kitchen or bring them along to the grocery store. An account will also allow you to grocery shop with ease—plan meals, create a grocery list and even sort it by aisle. For even more helpful gadgets, you can upgrade to a BigOven Pro membership. Not only will the Pro membership remove ads for you, but it will also give you easy access to collections specifically designed for those with dietary restrictions, including vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-, shellfish-, nut- or dairy-free.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER: There are a few minor complaints, such as the nutrition function being a bit tricky to navigate, but for the most part, this one is a winner.
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook Color. Requires iOS 7.0 or later for Apple devices.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Simple but super helpful, Paprika Recipe Manager has everything you need, regardless of your skill level. Whether you want to create and modify your own recipes or download new ones from the Web, with this app you’ll always have them handy. You can also use Paprika Cloud Sync to wirelessly sync between multiple devices and take your recipes with you anywhere. Paprika even offers tools for whipping up those recipes more easily, like meal planning, grocery lists, multiple timers and ingredient scaling.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER: While you can sync between devices, you do have to buy the app separately for each of them. This system also requires that you use a cloud service maintained by the developer, and some say it can be a bit unreliable.
Cost: FREE, but automatically converts to a .99-cent 1-month subscription until canceled.
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android. Requires iOS 6.0 or later for Apple devices. Optimized for iPhone 5.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Real Simple’s app No Time To Cook? features recipes that can be made in as little as 20 minutes. As soon as you download the free app, you can sample 90 different recipes, and each month you get a new batch of featured recipe ideas to keep things fresh. Upgrade for full access to more recipes and features that include an interactive shopping list, timers and step-by-step recipe instructions.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER: You can subscribe to the upgrades either by month or by year, but be aware that your subscription will be automatically renewed until canceled and you can’t turn it off during an active period.
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Optimized for iPhone 5.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Detailed and helpful, Harvest helps you know what’s in season in your area, and offers tips on how to choose fruits and veggies based on looks, smell, texture and even sound. Get advice on the best way to store everything, and even look up pesticide levels so you can decide whether or not you’d prefer the organic option. A straightforward niche app that is very user-friendly and responsive.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER: Although quite comprehensive, some reviewers wish for an even bigger produce database with more local, unusual or exotic varieties. Most people find it to be informative, helpful and easy to use.
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and web browser. Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions coming soon. Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Optimized for iPhone 5.
WHY WE LOVE IT:
Wunderlist allows you to create a to-do list for just about anything, so it’ll easily handle your grocery shopping, meal planning and recipes-to-try. Simple and super fast, you can also manage these lists with tasks, including reminders and check-offs. New updates to Wunderlist 3 include Real-time Sync so your lists are instantly available (and updated) on all of your devices, and a “public lists” feature, which allows you to create lists within your account that you can then share or post. In a nutshell, this means that anyone in the family or household will be able to see what’s needed. No more “I can stop at the store…what should I get?” You can also pay for a Wunderlist Pro subscription, which allows you to go beyond sharing your lists; you can also assign tasks to others. So if it takes more than simply being able to see what’s needed at the store, Wunderlist will inform your significant other shopper as to exactly what they should purchase.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER: Some user requests include being able to designate a task as “in progress,” and some want the tasks synced to their calendars (although many others do not.) But overall, this app is top-notch because of its multi-platform use, simplicity and intuitive design.
And there you have it! Download any or all for streamlined grocery shopping, tasty recipes, helpful hints, and quick and easy ways to upgrade your next meal.
YOUR TURN: What go-to cooking or recipe apps would you recommend?