Bored of the cooking the same four meals every week? We know the feeling. Well, we did until we started researching and testing the best recipe apps around, which we’ve handily boiled down into the simple menu below.Why bother with a recipe app when you’ve got a shelf full of inherited cookery books? Well, the latest apps feature handy extras like step-by-step videos, digital shopping lists and mouth-watering photography.Many apps also have huge online communities, which not only contribute recipes from all over the world, but add useful features like user-generated tips to help you tweak each recipe to taste.So before your stomach rumbles any louder, let’s dive into the delicious cake mixture that is our round-up of the best recipe apps around for both iOS and Android…
Best for: Collating existing recipesAvailable for? iOS/iPadOS/macOS
If you have recipes from all over the internet, whether it’s from the random food blog you looked up that one time or even from some YouTube cooking video, Paprika will collect them all in one place. Paprika has a browser built into the app, where you can navigate to different recipes, and will allow you to click a single button to save them into an easy-to-read recipe. It’ll even separate ingredients and directions, so you don’t need to worry about everything getting jumbled. Best part? It has an automatic shopping list built in.
BBC Good Food
Best for: Sheer choice Platforms: iOS/Android
If you can name a dish, chances are there’s a recipe for it on BBC Good Food. Most of those listed have been culled from the pages of the venerable Good Food magazine, and have been tested and approved by the pros. User comments warn you about any potential pitfalls (though often they’re a result of amateur cooks making odd substitutions). You can save favorite recipes to your personal binder to access offline, and everything comes with instructions in plain English. There’s even an accompanying Alexa skill for when your hands are caked in flour. The only recipe book you’ll ever need – and it’s free.
Best for: Polished instructional videosPlatforms: iOS/Android
If you’ve been craving a polished recipe app with simple instructional videos, this is it. Kitchen Stories has been around since 2014, when it launched as a kind of cross between a recipe book and your favorite cookery-themed YouTube channel. Since then its recipe archive has grown considerably – and while not all of them have step-by-step videos, those without moving images do instead have clear, helpful photos. The recipes are mostly from Kitchen Stories’ in-house chefs, with the emphasis on simple dishes with few ingredients. Though if you’re en route to the supermarket, you can always add the ingredients to the handy in-app shopping list.
Best for: Community wisdomPlatforms: iOS/Android
Taking the more crowdsourced approach to cooking wisdom is this app from Buzzfeed, which accompanies its Tasty website and YouTube channel. Tasty calls itself the “world’s largest food network”, and with over four billion YouTube views and counting, it’s certainly got a claim to that title. The app condenses its hundreds of recipes into a slick, intuitive experience with a focus on community, with each recipe getting a user-generated rating and tips section for recommended tweaks. You can also filter the app according to your tastes, for example by hiding meat-based dishes if you’re vegetarian.
Best for: Discovering new recipesPlatforms: iOS / Android
Half of the cooking battle is deciding which recipe to go for – and if you’re struggling, then Yummly is a helpful ally. It’s more of a hub for existing recipes that can be found on sites like the BBC and Allrecipes, but Yummly’s special sauce is how personalized it is. Once you’ve navigated the setup process, which asks you about preferred cuisines and your least favorite foods, it then tailors its recipe suggestions to your answers. While it’s persistent pop-up messages can be a little annoying, the app certainly feels a bit more personal than the more common ‘giant cookery book’ approach.
Oh She Glows
Best for: VegansPlatforms: iOS/Android
One of the few paid-for apps in this list is also, naturally, one of the most polished. Oh She Glows is a great companion for anyone who is either vegan or fancies dabbling in some tasty, plant-based recipes. The app is an extension of the popular blog of the same name, which dates back to 2008 and has produced several cookbooks. You don’t get quite as many recipes as the website – at the time of writing the app has 161 recipes – but there’s plenty of variety, from pumpkin chocolate muffins to cauliflower Thai curry. The photography is high-quality and consistent, and the recipes have a personal touch too thanks to being written in first-person by the blog’s founder Angela Liddon.
Allrecipes Dinner Spinner
Best for: Avoiding wastePlatforms: iOS, Android, Kindle and Windows Phone
If you’re looking for a quick, tasty way to use up the remaining ingredients in your fridge, then Allrecipes most likely has the answer. The recipes come from Allrecipes’ community of millions of home cooks rather than an A-list chef, but this gives them a real approachable feel, while the archive of over 50,000 recipes serves up unrivaled (if sometimes paralyzing) choice. The app is free, which means it does contain somewhat intrusive adverts, but the ability to search recipes by ingredient makes this a fine choice if you have a leftover artichoke and no idea how to turn it into a tasty dip.