The right mobile app can help even the most clueless amateur create something delicious in the kitchen, and even skilled chefs can benefit from a little help now and then. Here are a few of the best cooking apps on the market, for iPhone and Android.
1. How to Cook Everything (iPhone)
This app is great for experienced cooks, but it’s an absolute necessity for amateurs. How to Cook Everything features thousands of recipes with step-by-step instructions, as well as multiple built-in kitchen timers to help you keep track of everything that is boiling, baking, or simmering in your kitchen. One of the standout portions of this app is the scheduling and shopping list feature, which helps you plan trips to the grocery store so you always have what you need, and you’re always cycling through your freshest ingredients. (Cost: $4.99)
2. Kitchen Calculator (iPhone, Android)
This app is a great tool to convert measurements, and also helps you scale recipes up or down. It works for any measurements of volume, weight, temperature, or distance, in either standard or metric units. It even includes weird increments like a “dash”, a “pinch”, or a “jigger”. You tell the app how big a serving is and how many servings you want to make, and it will stretch or shrink your recipe to match. If you’ve ever sat and tried counting on your fingers to figure out how many teaspoons are in five cups, this app will save you a lot of time. (Cost: free for Android, $3.99 for iPhone)
3. Epicurious (Android, iPhone)
This is the app for experienced, talented chefs who want to expand and refine their craft. It doesn’t hold your hand through the basics like How to Cook Everything does, but the quality of the content is unmatched, with over 30,000 recipes from renowned chefs and cookbooks. The Epicurious recipe library is professionally curated, unlike some other apps, so you won’t find any garbage here. You can add your own recipes, and collect meals that worked particularly well in a Recipe Box that you can sync between your devices so you can swap recipes, or have your favorites on hand while cooking over with a friend. There are hundreds of cooking and recipe apps, but Epicurious is the clear winner in terms of content. Like How to Cook Everything, the app also comes with a shopping applet, so you always have the right stuff on hand for an adventurous new meal. (Cost: free)
4. Healthy Recipes (Android, iPhone)
Healthy Recipes trades in the sumptuous visuals of the above kitchen apps for stark numbers—but it’s a reliable source for good, wholesome food. With five different filters, you can find a meal that has exactly what you need—for instance, a Mexican dessert for a birthday, under 100 calories per serving? If such a thing exists, you will find it on this app. It’s a fantastic way to help you stick to a diet, because you’ll never have a hard time finding something yummy to eat that exactly fits your dietary needs. (Cost: free)
5. 20 Minute Meals with Jamie Oliver (Android, iPhone)
This app fills a niche untouched by all the previous apps—the rush job. If you need to prepare something impressive for unexpected guests, or just don’t know if you have the willpower to wait 45 minutes for something healthy to eat, this app may save your butt (so to speak). With 60 recipes, all written by professional chef Jamie Oliver, you’ll never get bored of the same old thing. The app also features over 75 minutes of instructional video, so you can learn how to properly brown a steak, dice vegetables, etc. (Cost: $6.99)
Bio: Jane Johnson is a writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone related news, and commentary as well as reviews on popular providers and their handsets including the growing number of T-Mobile used cell phones available.