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The best recipe apps to channel your inner chef

Looking for a great home-cooked meal? Download these recipe apps, and you'll be cooking it up in no time

Man using smartphone while preparing food in the kitchen
Westend61 / GmbH / Alamy

We now spend a lot of time on our cell phones searching for recipes. Our new normal has led us to get in touch with our inner chefs. We also learned that searching for recipes via the web on your mobile device can be a laborious task in and of itself. And nine times out of 10, when you find a recipe that looks good, you’re directed to a food blog where you have to scroll through pages of the author’s story about the dish’s history, where they got the ingredients, what the food means to them, and other SEO filler. Not to mention the pop-up ads!

If you haven’t realized it by now, this is where a recipe app comes in very handy. In some instances, you’ll have to endure ads (mostly in free apps), but in most cases, recipe apps are direct and to the point. They take you to the recipe, with a clear list of ingredients and how to prepare them. They have a photo with the finished product (which you hope you can match), and that’s it. Some apps even have set-by-set video instructions to walk you through the cooking process. Unlike food blogs, you can choose to click on additional content. Plus, depending on the app, they have many other valuable features. Some apps are dedicated to your dietary restrictions (plant-based/vegan, keto, etc.).

In 2023 (almost 2024), these apps are an example of how technology can work for you, not vice versa. Note that some of the features described below may not be available in the apps that charge for a premium subscription.

Kitchen Stories
Kitchen Stories

Kitchen Stories

If you depend on visual aids for pretty much anything (which most of us do), Kitchen Stories is the perfect app. Every recipe comes with step-by-step image guides, and some have video tutorials. They have an extensive recipe archive created by Kitchen Stories’ in-house chefs. You can save your favorite recipes and comment on them to give tips to other users. Another nice feature of this app is its shopping list generator that you can export to your phone’s reminders. Kitchen Stories focuses on simple meals with simple ingredients. There’s also a ton of original content in the form of articles and videos that you can use for inspiration. In our opinion, Kitchen Stories is the best option for a free app that doesn’t ask you to subscribe to a premium version.

Price: Free

BBC Good Food
BBC Good Food

BBC Good Food

Like the BBC’s TV programming, the BBC Good Food app is an excellent source for unbiased, straightforward recipes. The app contains an extensive library of over 10,000 recipes submitted by users, Good Food professional chefs, and celebrity chefs. The recipes are straightforward featuring easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions. The app also features skills videos and expert tutorials to help you hone your kitchen skills. Plus, you can save and categorize your favorite recipes for easy access offline. The BBC Good Food app also makes it easy to share recipes with family and friends. And the best part, the app is completely ad-free.

Price: Free

Tasty
Tasty

Tasty

A great thing about recipe apps is the ability to share knowledge among users; Tasty has perfected that in its app. This app by Buzzfeed is designed for community interaction because it’s the self-proclaimed “world’s largest food network.” There are sections to rate, comment on, and suggest recipe alterations. Remember to take all the comments with a grain of salt since they come from primarily amateur cooks. Another fun feature is editing your tastes within the app and blocking recipes that don’t interest you. The app also features an AI assistant that can help you find new recipes based on your preferences and tastes.

Price: Free

Forks Plant-Based Recipes app
Forks Plant-Based Recipes

Forks Plant-Based Recipes

From one of the leading vegan lifestyle websites, the Forks Plant-Based Recipes app is perfect for anyone trying to support or switch to a plant-based diet. The clean design and production value alone makes this app worth the one-time cost to download it. Also, the 600+ whole-food recipe database, the weekly new recipes, and the exportable grocery list option also make this app worthwhile. Additionally, the app lets you view your recipes in landscape mode, so you can see your recipes and the step-by-step instructions in full screen, so you won’t have to swipe back and forth to read the recipe.

Price: $9.99 one-time fee

Food Network Kitchen
Food Network Kitchen

Food Network Kitchen

For whatever reason, we trust celebrities. While the verdict is still out on whether all celebrity chefs are actually chefs, you’ll need the Food Network Kitchen app if you need your recipes to come from Alton Brown or Giada De Laurentiis. It has a massive recipe database of over 70,000 recipes and most of the same features as the other apps. If you’re a Food Network junkie, a neat part of the app is that you can search recipes by show and air date. You can also watch shows and cooking classes through the app. Food Network also recently discontinued its premium subscription for the app, so now all features on the app are available for free.

Price: Free

BigOven
BigOven

BigOven

If you require virtually every recipe on the internet at your disposal, and let’s face it, who doesn’t? BigOven is the app for you. The BigOven app allows you to curate your recipe book from over half a million verified recipes from across the web. You’ll have to upgrade to BigOven Pro to plan your meals for the week, access collections from BigOven professional chefs, search by dietary preferences or get nutrition insights. Even without the pro upgrade, though, BigOven is a great app that quickly and easily gets you an array of recipes.

Price: Free, Premium version: $2.99/month; $24.99 annually

SideChef

SideChef

The SideChef app might be more aptly named SousChef. Besides having detailed step-by-step instructions with images and videos, and has voice commands and timers. You can access a vast network of culinary partners through the premium subscription, with unique recipes, tips, and tutorials. SideChef lets you search by ingredient, gives you an estimated cost breakdown of all its recipes, and partners with Walmart to deliver ingredients right to your door. And if you have a smart appliance that is compatible with the over 2,000 CookAssist-enabled recipes, you can even control your oven right from the app. Just link your appliances to your device and get cooking.

Price: Free, Premium version: $4.99/month; $49.99 annually

NY Times Cooking
NY Times Cooking

NY Times Cooking

If you’re a fan of exclusivity, the NY Times cooking app is for you. Like the publication, the content is verified by experts. All of the recipes come from their professional culinarians. They also offer video guides and tutorials for less experienced home cooks. You can easily save and rate recipes you’ve tried and share comments with the community. The app is immaculate, well-organized, and an excellent tool for up your food game. It also has one feature that is vital for home cooks, an always-on app screen, so your phone won’t go dark when you’re trying to read a recipe and your hands are covered in food, so you can’t touch the screen.

Price: Free, Premium version: $4.99/month; $39.99 annually

Spillt
Spillt / Facebook

Spillt

We love the social aspect of Spillt. Essentially, it’s a social media app just for sharing recipes; Spillt organizes all of your favorite online recipes in one handy spot and allows you to share them with your friends and family through the app. So once you’ve found a delicious recipe from one of the apps listed here, you can share it with your friends through the app.

Think of it as a virtual cookie exchange party, but instead of dressing up and going out, you can exchange recipes with your friends from the couch in your sweatpants. We call that a win.

Price: Free

Yummly app
Yummly

Yummly

According to Yummly’s website, the company’s mission is to be the “smartest and most helpful food platform in existence.” It’s a lofty goal, but one thing that’s for sure is that Yummly’s recipe and meal planning app has a lot of content for aspiring home chefs. It offers recipe recommendations powered by an AI engine, a search-by-ingredient function to allow you to find a recipe for what you have on hand, and you can also save recipes into a digital cookbook. The premium version ($0.99/month, $9.99/year) allows you to add notes to saved recipes and smart meal planning with integrated shopping lists.

Price: Free, Premium version $0.99/month; $9.99 annually

Now that you’ve got all the recipes you need make sure you have all the essential kitchen tools you need to get cooking.

Editors' Recommendations

Nate Swanner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nate is General Manager for all not-Digital-Trends properties at DTMG, including The Manual, Digital Trends en Espanol…
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