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Don’t Make Another Meal Until You Check Out These iPhone Apps

Stop! Don’t cook!

Let’s face it. You like cooking but, if you’re being honest, you could probably be better at it. You’re busy. You have a few go-to recipes and ingredients. Maybe you get around to mixing it up once or twice a month. Or maybe you’re an expert chef, but you know there’s always room for improvement. Even the best chefs are always looking for new recipes, techniques and flavors! That’s why Anthony Bourdain has so many TV shows.

Well, that’s where these awesome, highly rated, free apps come in. Whatever your kitchen needs, these apps will lend a helping hand:

Big Oven

Big Oven

Big Oven is a popular general app for finding and saving recipes, making a grocery list, and creating a menu plan for the week. Their weakness, if anything, is only in their generality. They have a ton of recipes, but the recipes can be tough to sift through to find the right one. That said, for sheer variety and ease of organization, this is a great app – if you’re willing to put in a little work to get started.

Over 350,000 recipes with beautiful photos

Search by ingredient, recipe contributor, or collection (ex. “Kid-Friendly Dinners” or “Tailgating Fun”)

Save recipes, create grocery lists, plan menus on the calendar, and connect with other users

App Cost: FREE

Yummly

Yummly

Yummly advertises itself as a smart and powerful app, and it delivers. Primarily an app for finding recipes, it asks you a series of questions when you sign up to determine what you need. It then tailors its recommendations to your specifications. It even checks the weather in your area. While not all of its recommendations are on point, search functions allow you to filter for anything and everything, so it’s still very possible to find the perfect recipe for any occasion.

Quickly draws recipes from a wide variety of online sources

Offers highly specialized searching and recommendations

Also has a shopping list function, if you’re so inclined

App Cost: FREE

Dinner Spinner

Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner

The Dinner Spinner app is a fun way to discover new recipes, brought to you by the favorite cooking website of moms everywhere (or, at least, my mom). The best part of the app is definitely the dinner spinner, but it also gives you access to tons of crowd-sourced recipes and has features to save favorite recipes and make a grocery list. Not the prettiest app, but it certainly fulfills its purpose.

Save recipes and create grocery lists from large, crowd-sourced recipe site

Use the “Dinner Spinner” to get inspired, either by spinning it for randomized results or by arranging it to find recipes based on the dish type, primary ingredients and preparation time

App Cost: FREE

Side Chef

SideChef

Definitely one of the more aesthetically beautiful cooking apps, SideChef is really designed for newer cooks. The recipes are not particularly complicated and it displays photos while reading you the recipe, step-by-step. The app also sets timers for you as you pass each step. This can be helpful at any level if you’re trying something new or looking for a quick fix. It’s a great way to try new techniques or just to stay on track while cooking.

Walks you through recipes out loud, step-by-step, with photo demonstrations

Beautiful photos and easy recipes

Especially good for novice cooks

Pepperplate

Pepperplate

Pepperplate, by contrast, is an app for serious cooks – or those of us who like to think that’s what we are. It’s an organizer first and foremost, where you can add original recipes or import them from the web. It’s handy in its cleanliness – it’s not going to give you suggestions. When you write in “Chicken”, it’s not going to say, “Do you mean, Nicole’s Spicy Pecan Chicken? You might like warrior1967’s BREADED CHICKEN BREAST FROM MOTHER!” or anything like that. It gives you a sense of complete control. Plus, Pepperplate’s planning functions are as good or better than those of any other app.

Add your own original recipes or import recipes from the web

Plan menus and shopping

Keep your recipe collection tidy and highly curated

App Cost: FREE

Grocery IQ

Grocery IQ

This is a neat, unusual app on the spectrum of cooking apps. Where many of the others offer variations on a Notes function for your grocery list, this is an app that actually specializes in grocery lists. You won’t get much inspiration here, but you’ll get lots of organizing tools.

Find coupons or use a bar scanner to add your own

Find grocery stores in your area

Store your loyalty card information

Keep your grocery buying history and lists for future purchases

App Cost: FREE

ShopWell

ShopWell

ShopWell is another shopping app, but in this case it’s focused on nutrition. It teaches you to shop healthier in your home grocery store by showing you the ingredients in what you’re buying and rating your items on a nutrition scale of 0-100. You tell it what you want to do (cut down on sugar or salt, avoid shellfish, train for the Olympics) and it makes recommendations.

Check items based on your local grocery store for nutritional value and hidden bad ingredients

Sync with your Apple Health app to monitor progress as you set health and fitness goals

Scan past grocery receipts for information on what you’re buying and how you can improve your shopping habits

App Cost: FREE

Thrive Market

Thrive Market

While not for everyone, those who have dietary restrictions or need specialty household items will love Thrive Market. It sells natural and organic products at wholesale prices, so while you have to pay a somewhat steep membership fee, you’ll be paying up to 50% less than retail prices to have your groceries delivered. For some, that can mean saving money and peace of mind.

Thousands of organic, non-GMO items delivered to your door

Easily search by needs (gluten-free, Paleo, vegan, etc.)

Track order deliveries

Save items for re-order

App Cost: Free to Download, Membership Fee To Stick Around

Pocket Wine

Pocket Wine Pairing

Ahh, the perfect wine pairing. You’d love to research for days what wine exactly goes with barramundi when your boyfriend’s cool aunt announces she’s making it. In the real world, though, Pocket Wine Pairing is better, faster, and can be done on the walk between your house and the discount wine store. Plus, for the more wine-oriented, you can save favorite bottles, look up wine types by characteristic, and discover new wines based on your taste profile. Named, presumably, for my college drinking habits (who wants pocket wine?), this app is exactly what it sounds like.

Easily identify the right wine for any situation

Add favorite wines and use that to discover new wines that fit your tastes

Educate yourself about everyone’s favorite grape drink

Look classier than you are

App Cost: FREE

Got it? Great! You may resume cooking. Good luck out there.

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