One of the greatest features of smartphones is their portability. Anything you can do on a smartphone, you can pretty much do anywhere. For aspiring cooks, or just parents with mouths to feed at home, the power of their iPhone means that they can look up new and exciting recipes at any time of day and be able to save them to prepare the delicious meals when they get home. Also, with the sharing abilities built into iOS devices, the recipes that you save on your iPhone during the day can be ready for you to look at on your iPad as soon as you get home and start to cook. There are several ways that you can use your iPhone and iPad to find and keep track of recipes, and I’m going to outline a few of the ways I do things here in this post.
For many people who may not be the most comfortable when it comes to computers and the internet, the first and most common place they may search for recipes is right in Google itself. Google search results are almost guaranteed to provide you with something relevant to what you are searching for, and if you are looking for recipes, it tends to present you with recipes first from some of the more popular cooking websites on the Internet. For example, if I do a simple search for “chicken recipes,” the first hit I get is from the site Allrecipes.com. This is a great site that has a ton of recipes and variations available for you to try. You can also sign up for a user account, which allows you to save your favorite recipes, or recipes that you want to try out, into a virtual recipe box. Once you have your user account set up, you can then log into it from any computer or device to get access to what you’ve saved. This is a great site, among many others like this, that will undoubtedly be able to provide you with great new ideas for your meal plans. However, this method doesn’t really draw upon the power of your smartphones and tablets. Of course, that’s where apps come in!
Allrecipes.com also has several apps available that you can download and install to your iPhone or iPad. They draw upon the same enormous user database of recipes from around the world, so you are getting the same content as if you simply googled for a recipe. There are built in search functions so that you can look up a recipe if you know it’s name, but there are also powerful options that let’s you narrow down the results by ingredients or dietary restrictions. Then you can sort results based on filters such as popularity or preparation time. Once you’ve identified the recipe that you want to cook, the Allrecipes app gives you a beautiful presentation of the necessary ingredients, the directions to prepare it, nutritional info and reviews. It’s really all that you need to be able to put together a wonderful meal. As an extra feature, you can also log into the app with your username from the website, so that you can gain access to your saved recipe box. This really is a standout feature. With it, you can search for recipes on any computer at any point during the day, save your recipe to your recipe box, and then when you get home, you can use your iPhone or iPad to access that recipe, even if that wasn’t the device you saved it on earlier.
Another very popular website with related apps is called Epicurious. It works very similarly to Allrecipes. On the website, you can search or browse for recipes, restricting them as you like through the use of various filters. You can save interesting recipes as you wish to a personal recipe box tied to a user account that you can set up with the site. Much like Allrecipes, you can download an iPhone or iPad version (or other mobile device) of the app for specific use with your smartphone or tablet. I personally make use of the Epicurious iPad app. It is a beautiful app that is organized like a cookbook, with tabs located along the sides to indicate pages or chapters of the book. You can search or browse the recipe database, and then once selected, you have the ingredients and directions for your dish listed out for you conveniently. This is a great app that I have used for as long as I’ve had my iPad.
So far, the two apps that I’ve mentioned draw upon their websites’ recipe collections. However, what if you want to keep a recipe that might not be in their databases? You have the option of uploading and sharing your own recipes, but I have a few other methods that I find useful. The first method is with the app called Evernote. Evernote markets itself as a service to help you remember everything. You can use it to save notes you jot down, or catalogs or information. Some people build their entire business around the functionality of this app. It really is powerful, and I recommend it for far more things than just keeping track of recipes. But for this post, that is exactly what I want to mention. In it, you can create notebooks, within which you can save specific information to that notebook. In this case, you’d create a notebook called Recipes, and then in that notebook you would add a note for each recipe. It’s kind of modernized version of what your mom would have used: a recipe box in the cupboard full of little handwritten notes with recipes and comments on each one. For each of the notes you save, you can simply type out the text as you’d like to remember it, or if you really want to preserve the magic of Mom’s cooking, you can simply take a photo with your iPhone of the recipe card, and your note will consist of the image with Mom’s handwriting and everything on it, nicely filed away in your recipes notebook. While Epicurious and Allrecipes draw on the power of social networks and massive databases, something has to be said for the elegance of Evernote. It only keeps track of what you want it to remember, but as beautiful as some of the other apps are, a pic of Mom’s written recipe can be a priceless memory. I use this method of tracking my recipes even more than the other dedicated apps, and as I mentioned, Evernote’s functionality goes way beyond simple recipe tracking. This one is highly recommended, and is available for nearly every platform, including Mac and PC, and it syncs between all your devices.
The final app that I’d like to mention here is a kind of similar to all of what I’ve mentioned so far. The app is called Springpad. It allows you to save things in dedicated workbooks, much like Evernote. You can create the notes that you save inside, or you can save entire webpages that you find online. Springpad has additional applets that you can install to your computer browsers which allows you to search on your computer for whatever you want, and then when you find something you’d like to save in your Springpad workbooks, you can “spring” the page. This saves a concise copy of the important information from the webpage to your Springpad account, which you can then view either online or on one of your devices. I like this app as well, and I find that its strength comes in when I randomly find something online and I want to save it beyond just a simple bookmark. Saving to Springpad is a good way of collecting and organizing things. I’ve reviewed Springpad before as a shopping list app, so being able to use it to track recipes is yet another great feature of this app. It’s also highly recommended.
There are several recipe apps available in the app store. Some of them are free, and some of them come with a premium price. All of the apps I’ve mentioned in this article are free to use, so there really isn’t an excuse not to give them a try. How to save recipes on your iPhone and iPad really isn’t difficult, and I’m pretty sure that if you give them a chance, you will find that they are incredibly useful. Recipe apps are just one more thing that make our iPhones and iPads so increasingly functional and important to our day to day lives.