We carry our phones with us everywhere we go — whether it be our living room or workspace — so why shouldn’t we venture into our kitchens with them? Recipe apps are the next step in the complete mobile takeover, offering step-by-step instructions on how to make a fine oven-fried chimichanga, curate a weekly meal plan, and or even get prepared for the future of food.
The app market is loaded with premium and freemium offerings for both iOS and Android. Some cater more to the executive chef at your local five-star restaurant, while others help those of you who are still learning to dice an onion or boil water. Here are our top picks for the best recipe apps, regardless of your kitchen expertise.
BBC Good Food (free)
The BBC doesn’t just make great British TV, it also offers a huge database of more than 10,000 recipes accessed most easily through the BBC Good Food app. The app brings together both user-submitted recipes and tested recipes from the BBC Good Food team and celebrity chefs. You can create an account and save your favorite recipes into custom collections, and rate and save recipes for later. Step-by-step guides make sure you know exactly what you’re doing, and it’s easy to share your favorite recipes with family and friends.
It’s likely you’ve seen a Tasty video or two in your time on social media, and the Tasty app for iOS and Android means you don’t have to trawl back through your timeline to find that one recipe. Tasty provides great step-by-step instructions and keeps your phone’s screen awake while it does so. You’ll get the earliest access to the latest Tasty videos and it’s also a customizable app. Vegetarian? You can choose to hide all recipes involving meat. Filters allow you to search by gluten-free, vegan, low carb, and more. It will even send you personalized recommendations for your next meal based on the day of the week and major holidays.
Oh She Glows ($2)
With more than 140 plant-based recipes, including 120 gluten-free recipes, Oh She Glows meal options aren’t just healthy, they’re also extremely aesthetically pleasing. From gazpacho to butternut squash “mac ‘n cheese” to cheesy lentil bolognese casserole, the mouth-watering dishes are endless. While the photography alone might make it tough to choose what you want to whip up, the interface is simple to use. Each recipe has a brief description, directions, a list of tips, and nutritional information. There’s also the option to favorite specific recipes to refer back to later, or to keep track of ones you want to make again. The detailed search allows you to filter your recipes based on dietary and allergy information, season, dish type, and more.
With more 350,000 recipes, BigOven makes cooking simple. With this cooking app, you’ll be inspired and organized in the kitchen and on the go. Some of the highlights include access to BigOven’s massive library of recipes, the ability to add snapshots of your own recipes, and the option to make a grocery list in the app based on recipes you’d like to create. Simply type in three ingredients you have in your fridge and BigOven shows you what you can make with them. The app also adds a social feature, allowing you to check out what your friends, family, and favorite bloggers are making. Plus, it offers seasonal collections right from the home screen to get you inspired.
Food Network in the Kitchen (free)
Food Network’s In The Kitchen brings all your favorite TV chefs from the network directly to your mobile device. There are more than 70,000 recipes to choose from, covering breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The app also offers helpful videos and photos from notable Food Network chefs and shows. You can search for what you want or need by chef or ingredient. Furthermore, you can add your own notes, tips, and substitutions for any recipe. The newest feature is a slideshow where they share new and crave-worthy recipes, videos, hacks, and food trend how-tos.
Yummly’s greatest strength lies with its search engine. Of course, it’ll provide hundreds of recipes to replicate and experiment with, but you can also tailor searches to fit your specific needs and lifestyle. Going on a diet, but still want to enjoy a good burger? Yummly has you covered. Have a particularly nasty food allergy to coconut? Yummly can adjust for that as well.
The app will come to learn what you like and don’t like over time and begin recommending recipes more suited for your individual lifestyle. From there, you can easily save those recipes or add the needed ingredients to an in-app shopping list. Yummly also features a store where you can buy cooking essentials right from the app, from a wine opener to a cast iron grill, it has it all.
Allrecipes Dinner Spinner (free)
Every recipe available from Allrecipes comes from a community of more than 50 million people. This extends to the photos, reviews, and ratings, which gives this particular app more of a social feel than others. One awesome feature is that you’re able to see what ingredients are on sale near you and what recipes are the cheapest to make on any given day. The app will also recommend recipes when you walk into certain stores, which could come in handy if you’re in the mood to make something special, but don’t really know what yet. Aside from all of that, Allrecipes comes with all the usual features, like the ability to create shopping lists, save your favorite recipes, and filter your search results by diet, cooking time, and foods you don’t like.
If social media doesn’t already saturate every aspect of your life, Cookpad — formerly known as All the Cooks — is the app for you. Cookpad creates a virtual place to exchange recipes with friends, family, and strangers. When you’re done cooking, you can upload a recipe with a picture of the finished dish and others can comment. The comments range from potential substitutions for food allergies to side dishes that would pair well with the recipe, each of which depends on the dish at hand. Recipes are also sorted into different categories and the app creates a profile for you, so you can see what others have uploaded and liked.
Epicurious has been heralded as a flagship cooking app since it was first released, but it’s sadly no longer available for Android. The app provides more than 35,000 tested and member-rated recipes within a beautiful, streamlined interface. The app also allows you to manage your shopping lists and recipes across platforms, and even perform voice-activated commands that are specifically designed for hands-free cooking. With the smart kitchen timer, you know exactly how long it takes to cook salmon, chicken, and more than 40 other items. Though editors of Epicurious offer their own selection of recipes, the app also manages to present those from the likes of Gourmet magazine, Bon Appetit, Harper Collins, and other notable publications.
With SideChef, you can get access to more than 11,000 food recipes and follow top food bloggers and chefs. The app’s main goal, however, is to make cooking easier for new cooks, regardless of how much experience they may have. Each recipe comes with step-by-step instructions and an accompanying set of photos, videos, voice commands, and timers. You can also adjust the serving size of a recipe on the fly, which automatically converts the ingredients. See a recipe you want to try out, but don’t have the ingredients for it? Make a list within the app and email it to yourself for later. You can even buy the ingredients from in the app and have them delivered to your door. Feeling proud of your creation? Take a photo and share it with the rest of the SideChef community.
Weber Grills (free)
Grilling may be the staple of summer, but it’s hard to find a large variety of quality grilling recipes online. Weber Grills makes it easy, supplying 300 different recipes for an entire grill-prepared meal — dessert included — with the whole process for preparing the dish. You can add and delete items on your grocery list once you select a recipe. When it’s time to add fire to the equation, you can enter the thickness of the meat and the app will automatically adjust the grilling time and temperature accordingly. The app even includes a built-in grill timer that works with the Apple Watch, so you won’t have to put your beer down to check if it’s time turn your steak.
Kitchen Stories (free)
Kitchen Stories is aimed at bringing media-rich snippets to cooking apps — that’s to say, instead of simply providing recipes, it offers an array of photos and videos. Of course, said photos and videos also come with easy-to-follow instructions. Find a dish easier with various themed menus like “all-time classics” and “20-minute dishes”. The real point of Kitchen Stories is to present food as nicely as possible, so if you’re susceptible to mouthwatering photos of food, then this might be the app for you.
Green Kitchen ($4)
Maybe you’re vegetarian or maybe you just want to eat more greens. Whatever the reason, Green Kitchen boasts over 153 tempting vegetarian recipes, all handpicked by its two founders. They’re a mix of main courses, snacks, and healthy drinks, each accompanied by gorgeous photos. Each recipe is labelled, so you can see at-a-glance if they are vegan, raw, gluten-free, or whole grain. The step-by-step instructions can be checked off as you go when each is completed. You can also easily share your favorite recipes with your friends and family. Green Kitchen makes healthy eating easy and enjoyable. Unfortunately, this one is for iOS only.