Ask Brit: How Do I Organize Recipes Online?
Keeping your digital life—from bills to passwords to travel arrangements—organized is hard enough, and organizing your recipes online seems to present a special challenge. Ideally, it would be easy to keep them all online and searchable, but the question is, where do you do that? We’ve given some suggestions before (which you can read here) but it’s time for an update. In this latest edition of Ask Brit we tackle the question: What are the best apps or online tools to organize recipes? Here are our top eight picks.
1. One tsp.: If you’re looking for something that’s pretty basic, start with One tsp. You can manually type in (or copy and paste) your recipes into the system, or you can use their bookmarklet to clip recipes from the web. It’s very straightforward. The feature we like about One tsp. is the integrated shopping list. If you plan to make a recipe you’ve saved, log in to the site and add that recipe to your shopping list, along with anything else you might need. Then at the grocery store, you can pull up the mobile site and easily cross off each item as you pick it up. You won’t discover new recipes with this site, but you can keep everything organized and searchable.
2. ZipList: We’ve told you about ZipList before, but it was worth including again. More full-featured and user-friendly than One tsp., the concept behind the site is basically the same. You can save recipes via the web clipper or upload them into your profile. Ziplist also has native iPhone and Android apps instead of just a mobile site. And their shopping list is organized by aisle in the grocery store, meaning you’re less like to forget something and have to backtrack. The final selling point for ZipList is their partner program. You’ve probably seen many of your favorite blogs with ZipList formatted recipes. That means you won’t have to go back and format the recipes you save to fit ZipList. And anything that saves time is a win in our book.
3. Kitchen Monki: The big difference with Kitchen Monki, and what made us give it a second look, is the fact that it integrates a calendar into the site. Meaning not only can you save your favorite recipes, but you can also use the site to plan out your meals, which we always say we’re going to do, but never seem to! Like ZipList, Kitchen Monki also separates your shopping list by aisle, and you can text it to yourself or view the mobile-friendly version on your smartphone.
4. Paprika ($5-$20): If you really love to cook and are willing to invest in organizing your recipes, our pick is Paprika. It’s a desktop or mobile app that feels a bit like Evernote (which we’ll get to in a minute), but is solely focused on organizing your recipes. The benefit to that is they spent time figuring out the formatting for the recipes and the filing system. You can customize a lot of it, but because it’s so recipe focused, you might not need to. The other thing we like about Paprika is the built-in browser. You don’t have to add another bookmarklet to your normal browser this way. Instead, you can search for recipes and keep them organized all within the app. The mobile app also has a great shopping list that you can check off on the go. But our favorite part about it is that it combines ingredients. For example, if you have two recipes with eggs, it will total the number of eggs you need in both recipes. Saving you from having to do any math while at the store.
5. The Recipe Box ($4): The one major drawback to this app is that it is for iOS devices only. There’s no web version for browsing or adding recipes, but it still has a lot of features that we love. First, it formats your recipes for you. You can copy and paste into the app and when you save it, it formats each part—ingredients, instructions, etc.—automatically. But it’s most useful when you’re actually cooking. It walks you through the recipe step-by-step and helps you keep your place by highlighting the current step and graying out ingredients you’ve already used. The iPhone app is helpful for the shopping list, but it doesn’t offer anything that the other apps don’t.
6. Evernote: You know we love Evernote! This app makes it easy to organize recipes into notebooks with their web clipper. They also have an app called Evernote Food Not only will it help you organize your recipes using the same functionality as Evernote, but it also helps you keep lists of restaurants and add photos of your food—both the recipes you make at home and your favorite dishes you try while eating out. We love that it all syncs to one account so you can access it anywhere.
7. Foodily: We’ve also talked about Foodily before here, but they’ve made some major updates to the site and app, including the ability to add your own recipes, which was our number one feature request. They also now have better discovery of new recipes complete with some of our favorite food bloggers and magazines. While it won’t help you while you’re actually cooking the recipe—you’ll have to go to the website the recipe came from for that—it is a great way to organize your favorite recipes. They have a robust tagging system that makes it easy to find new foods to try based on ones you already like.
8. Pinterest This one should come as no surprise, but Pinterest can be a great way to bookmark recipes if you’re smart about how you organize them. We recommend creating two food boards—”Recipes to Try” and “Recipes I’ve Tried.” That way you can keep track of any notes you want to about the recipes that you’ve made. Also, now that you can search just your own pins, you won’t need to scroll through all your boards to find the one you’re looking for.
Which of these systems do you use? If you have another favorite, share the URL in the form below!