We've sifted through the masses and found the 10 best food and cooking apps. From recipe inspiration to cooking tips and techniques, how-to videos and interactive shopping lists, these apps
are bound to improve your foodie life.
If you're after an app that will help you to master the basics, improve your skill set and give you confidence in the kitchen, look no further than How to Cook Everything. An extension of the bestselling book by former New York Times columnist and food aficionado Mark Bittman, this is everyday cooking for everyone, all delivered in an instructive, unflowery and wholly reassuring fashion. As well as providing a wealth of recipes (2,000 and counting), the app features valuable advice on how to use and care for kitchen tools and equipment, as well as illustrated how-to guides on everything from sharpening knives, cleaning squid and carving chicken, to icing cakes and coring apples. The recipes are easy to follow, there's an in-built timer, a decent search function and the option to add notes as you go along. This may not be the flashiest cooking app of them all, but it might just be the most helpful.
With its clean design, aesthetically pleasing layout and gorgeous food shots, this is one of the best-looking food apps out there. Of course, this would mean very little if the recipes didn't deliver, but they certainly do. Not only that, they're healthy, too. All are vegetarian, plenty are vegan and there are also grain-free, gluten-free and raw options. However, the dishes certainly don't feel restrictive (you only need clock the chocolate buckwheat granola and peachy keen creamsicles for reassurance on that front). My New Roots is updated regularly, gives nutritional information and advice for eating better, has a shopping-list feature, the ability to create a go-to selection of favourites, and the choice to switch between imperial and metric measurements.
This should perhaps come with a warning: if you’ve got a penchant for cooking shows or quick-fire recipe videos, then you could lose hours of your life to this app. A bit like a fully food-dominated YouTube, Tastemade features a vast number of short and fun recipes and cooking classes, and TV-style food, lifestyle and travel stories and videos starring individual Tastemakers who supply information you never knew you needed until the title popped up (hot sauce challenges, food-art hacks, the fastest way to a cotton candy frappé). While you might not use Tastemade as a cooking aid all that often, that’s not really the point; this is great on-the-go entertainment and a tasty way to while away time.
LaLa Lunchbox: Meal Planning for Kids
If you’re a parent who dreads the daily grind that is packing a school lunchbox only for the contents to return rejected, we feel your pain – there are no harsher food critics than the under-10s set. Listen up, because it really wouldn’t be wandering into the realm of hyperbole to state that LaLa Lunchbox might change your life. This nifty little app gets children involved in choosing their lunches by allowing them to pick items from a parentally controlled, fully customisable, nutritionally balanced library of fruit, veggies, protein and snacks. And when we say involved, we mean they drag and drop these items into the mouth of a hungry monster who responds obligingly with chomping noises. These choices are then added to a shopping list and if the meal becomes a favourite it can be saved for quick access in the future. There are diet-specific options (nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and kosher) and also multiple lunch box profiles (and monsters), if you’re catering for more than one.
Shopping List Ease – Grocery
We all know that in order to save time and money when we go food shopping, we should do so armed with a carefully compiled list. Ideally, this list will be divided into columns that correspond with the sections of the store, thus preventing the need to dash from the bakery to the meat aisle and back again. In reality, such efficiency can prove elusive. Enter the Shopping List Ease – Grocery app. The premise here is wonderfully simply yet also wonderfully efficient: keep your shopping list up to date by adding items to it as and when they pop into your head. They will then be logged according to type (dairy, baking/spices, fruit/veggies), ready and waiting for when you hit the supermarket. You can create more than one list, share it with friends and family and receive notifications if and when they make a purchase. Further organisational happiness can be found in the Pantry element of the app, which allows you to log the exact number or amount of staple items you have at home. When you’re running low, simply send the item to your shopping list and prepare never to run out of oven cleaner or cat food again.
Foodie – Delicious Camera for Food
Struggling to up your Instagram food game? Wondering why your shot of that slow-braised brisket doesn't look as good as the one your friend shared on Facebook? Keen to join everyone else and share photos of your weekend breakfast (#eggs #brunch #weekendwin)? Well, then, you need the Foodie app. Designed for making food photos taken by amateurs look as though a dedicated team of stylists and professional photographers has been working on them, the app features 24 filters, each tailored to a different food item. So if you want to make your linguine glisten and ice cream pop, or freshen up a salad, you'll find a filter for just that. The app also helps you to select the best angle to take the initial photo and there's a soft focus option in a nod to SLR photography. What are you waiting for? Get social.
While we’re not huge fans of the name of this app (fit women cook too), we can certainly get on board with its premise. Founder Kevin Curry created it as an antidote to the complaint that cooking healthy food from scratch is costly, time-consuming and produces lacklustre end results. His solution works: the app showcases recipes that are simple, affordable, nutritionally balanced and, most crucially of all, tasty. It’s handy if you want to eat well a few days a week – each recipe comes with a macronutrient breakdown and calorie count – and there are some interesting ideas that will prevent you getting stuck in a cooking rut, such as turkey and cheese breakfast muffins, avocado taco bowls and fajita potato skins. Thanks to the Bulk Meal Prep element, Meal Planner and option to search recipes by type (low carb, body building, post-workout) Fit Men Cook really comes into its own if you’re following both a healthy eating regime and exercise routine and want to eat well all week.
Barbecue season has well and truly arrived and now really is the time to get your grill on. If you’re not altogether confident in doing so (or even if you are, for that matter), download this app before you even start to think about skewering marinated meat over hot coals. While Weber For Life! provides the many grilling recipes you might expect, there’s also far more besides. If you choose how you want your steak cooked, the app will generate customised instructions for doing so based on the thickness of the meat; there are insider tips for honing your skills and using different cooking methods (direct heat, indirect heat, circular heat); and an interactive BBQ Plan element that’s ideal for those who like to entertain. This offers suggestions for the theme of the gathering, generates recipe ideas based on your time frame and skill level, and creates not just a shopping list, but a playlist too, and sends reminders to your guests in the lead-up to the party. It’s all rather clever.
A perfectly boiled egg might seem like one of life’s simplest pleasures and yet it’s not the easiest thing to get right. Whether you want your eggs just the right side of hard-boiled or with unctuous, gorgeously jammy yolks and tender whites, this app guarantees you hit the mark every time. Yes, the premise is obvious and the app is far from the most sophisticated on this list (you select your preference, set a timer and let boiling water do the rest), but if you download it, you’ll never have to experience the crushing disappointment of a not-quite-right egg again.
Yummly Recipes & Recipe Box
Yummly has always been renowned for its excellent search function. Rather than being limited by the recipes on the app itself, it allows you to browse a number of websites – from cooking sites to food blogs – meaning options are pretty much endless. It also boasts a filter system: if, hypothetically, you're short on time and have a burger craving, an aversion to beef and want a gluten-free bun, thanks to this vast bank of recipes Yummly will yield results where others might fail. The app also logs your preferences and, over time, will make personalised recipe suggestions based on your previous selections and lifestyle choices. The latest version of the app allows you to search for recipes based on the ingredients in your fridge and, if you're keen to show others how good your food looks, you can share your images in the review section.