Do your fridge and pantry look like they could comprise a mystery basket from “Chopped”? Does it feel like you always have a handful of random ingredients with no particular direction for using them?
If you’re constantly searching for ways to use the ingredients you already have on hand, look no further. There’s an app for that. In fact, there are many. Here’s our roundup of the top apps for finding recipes for ingredients you already have.
SuperCook is probably the best known app for building recipes by selecting a group of ingredients. This platform helps you waste less food and eat fantastic meals. It’s both a website and an app, so use whichever is most convenient for you.
The interface is pretty simple to use, with a robust search function that updates its recipe suggestions as you continue to type in available ingredients.
The app allows you to select ingredients from several categories (such as meat, seasoning, and dairy), then add more as you go. You can also narrow down your results by selecting the type of meal you want to make (such as soups, salads, or casseroles), and even specify the type of cuisine and the star ingredient.
Once you get into the habit of using SuperCook, you’ll probably find yourself selecting a lot of the same recipes again and again. Fortunately, you can make things even easier on yourself by saving your ingredients and favorite recipes.
Allrecipes is a popular site that lists recipes by category and makes them easily searchable. Recipes are submitted by the website’s community of passionate, idea-sharing home cooks and then shared with others.
Allrecipes also has an app called Dinner Spinner, which lets you quickly spin through a combination of options by dish type, ingredients on-hand, and duration of time before the meal is ready.
The app lets you set super specific parameters, listing ingredients to include or omit in recipe results. So for example, if you don’t have chicken in the fridge, you can specify that and the app won’t show any recipes that contain chicken, (even if you have all of the other necessary ingredients for a certain dish.)
And if you create an account, you can save recipes and access them by logging in anywhere, including on your phone, tablet, or computer.
With more than 1 million recipes in its database, BigOven is certainly, well, big. The app allows you to get inspired in the kitchen with an ample ‘Ideas’ section. Brainstorm options by browsing through fun categories like “Use Up Leftovers,” which curates recipes based on reusing ingredients.
There’s also a ‘Collections’ area, which groups recipes into categories like healthy breakfasts, healthy snacks, meat-free, soups, low-carb, and more. Most recipes come with nutritional facts that include the number of calories per serving.
The Grocery List section allows you to sort by ingredient and keep tabs on what you’ll need to make a certain meal. Quickly add items to your list for easy reference the next time you’re out grocery shopping.
And the Planner lets you come up with dishes for the future so you’re not stuck trying to compose a meal with random ingredients again. All this, plus recipe how-to videos to boot!
Epicurious was developed by Condé Nast Digital, so it offers tremendous value in terms of both form and function.
Not only is the app beautiful to look at, it’s easy to use. Toggle through ingredients to find recipe ideas (many of which feature photos of the finished dish or instructional videos to help you along the way.)
You can efficiently browse recipes by adding filters like “leftovers” or “dinner,” plus any dietary restrictions, such as “gluten free,” “dairy free,” “keto friendly” and so on. When you add the main ingredient you wish to search for, the app allows you to sort the results list with useful criteria like the highest rating or the percentage of users who said they’d make it again.
Epicurious also includes a kitchen timer to help you cook ingredients to perfection even without a recipe, and a tool that finds local, seasonal ingredients.
French app Magic Fridge (or Frigo Magic) is free to use and boasts almost 5,000 recipes. Like some of the others, you have the option to specify certain diets, such as vegetarian or vegan, to narrow the options it suggests.
A unique feature of this app is the “memo” section, which actually gives you nutritional information for each recipe and allows you to check whether the ingredients you’ve selected are in-season.
You can make adjustments to listed ingredient servings based on the number of people dining, and even alter your ingredient amounts later if you happen to have leftovers.
Magic Fridge is an excellent option for cooks who want to stick to a nutritional plan, know all the details about what they’re eating, and track their meals closely.
Cookpad was founded more than 20 years ago in Japan. Now, the app has more than 100 million users in 23 countries. In addition to English, Cookpad is available in Spanish, French, Italian, and 20 other languages.
The app is part recipe finder, part social platform. You can search for recipes by ingredients and share what you’re making with other users.
If you fancy yourself a recipe inventor, you can post your creations publicly along with the ingredients, directions, and images so other users can test them out. If people like what you’re posting, they can follow you. Who knows? You might become the next big foodie influencer.
Of course, you can follow people who make recipes that match your preferences, and even ask them questions within the app’s chat function.
Tasty is an app that incorporates various multimedia to offer a rich user experience. With overhead food videos reminiscent of TikTok and step-by-step instructions you can swipe through, it’s a handy tool for any tech-loving home cook.
You can also use Tasty to search for recipes to make with ingredients you already have on hand. Search by the ingredients themselves, then add filters like the type of meal (healthy dinners, late night desserts, game day favorites, and Mexican-inspired, to name a few) and add any dietary restrictions.
For the easiest meals, search for “5 ingredients or less” and “under 30 minutes.” Once you make your selection, the recipe video plays, displaying ingredient measures and other instructions right on the screen, in sync with the video. For efficiency, the videos play at a faster speed, but you can pause and unpause the videos as you go.
America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) is America’s most-beloved home cook television program, featuring episodes such as, “The Perfect Cookie,” “Just Add Apples,” and “All Chocolate, All The Time.” So it’s no surprise that the ATK app is quickly becoming a digital tool of choice for serious home cooks.
It’s only available to members of ATK’s online cooking school, but for the passionate culinarian it’s a great option that’s well worth the cost.
The ATK app includes full courses featuring special instruction from ATK and Escoffier chefs. So this is an app you’ll want to use only when you have time to learn and refine your technique.
Search by main ingredient, such as pasta or vegetables, level of difficulty, and recipe type. Keep track of the courses you’ve completed, and take advantage of your exclusive access to world-class chefs and instructors.
Want to make the most of the ingredients in your kitchen? Consider taking an online cooking class or getting a membership of unlimited culinary content from our library!
Besides learning to make a variety of recipes, you’ll see valuable culinary techniques that you can practice to save yourself time while cooking.
Interested in more at-home culinary fun? Check out these articles for inspiration:
This article was originally published on February 20, 2019, and has since been updated.
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