The Best Cooking Apps for the iPhone and iPad

Cooking apps are a big deal and have been since the launch of the iPhone and iPad. The Epicurious app was one of the first apps to launch when the iPad was introduced in 2010. Today, the Epicurious app is still one of the top recipe apps around for iPad or iPhone, but it's not the only one. Here are some top picks for the best cooking apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Recipe Apps

The best cooking apps for recipes make shopping and deciding what to cook a breeze. They can also be used in the kitchen, just like a cookbook.

  • AllRecipes Dinner Spinner not only gives you access to a collection of member-shared recipes, but also ratings, reviews and photos. A nifty "spinner" helps you choose recipes based on the ingredients from your kitchen or ones you see in the store.
  • BigOven offers 250,000 recipes, but it also functions as a meal planner and grocery list. This app is on many top app lists thanks to its massive recipe database.
  • How to Cook Everything is based on the book of the same name by Mark Bittman, a popular New York Times columnist. It condenses 2,000 recipes from his cookbooks with a searchable index. Illustrations and timers make the app very user-friendly.
  • Paprika Recipe Manager allows you to collect recipes from wherever you find them online then sync them to a device and download them. If you use many sources to find recipes, this app could be a useful addition.
  • EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry from EatingWell magazine offers 200 preloaded recipes that were developed by experts. They are all fast and have full nutritional information. You can filter the recipes you see by ingredient and by the total amount of time it takes to prepare and cook. You can add more recipe collections for $0.99 each.

Tools

Some apps don't contain any recipes but are still very useful. They offer tips and techniques and will help you to find substitutions or nutritional information.

  • Seafood Watch by the Monterey Bay Aquarium allows you look up seafood products from restaurants and stores to learn if they are harvested responsibly. If they are not, the app gives you alternatives.
  • Escoffier Cook's Companion offers timers, converters, a database of equipment and tools. Designed for the home cook, it shares many of the tips and tools you'd learn in a culinary program.
  • Perfect Produce helps you choose the best fruits and vegetables. Learn how to judge when fruit is ripe or what to look for when purchasing vegetables and greens. The app also indicates seasonality, offers storage and usage tips and lists nutritional information.

Any one of these apps can turn your iPhone or iPad into a source of culinary inspiration. Keep it handy — and well-protected — and you'll never find yourself wondering what's for dinner.

Photo credit: Flickr