PROS / Living Cookbook has an extensive set of features, offering more functionality than many of the programs we reviewed.
CONS / The program does not offer a smartphone app.
VERDICT / Living Cookbook is an excellent recipe program that offers a wide collection of recipes, useful menu-planning features and outstanding support.
Living Cookbook is our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner for cookbook and recipe software because of the many conveniences it offers in and out of the kitchen. If you find a recipe you like on a website, you can easily import it into this recipe program. You can also share your favorite recipes by email or by creating your own cookbook using this program. It comes with several tools, such as online tutorials, to help you get the most out of it. Any foodie, professional chef or aspiring cook who strives to keep an organized and well-stocked kitchen will enjoy using this recipe program.
This recipe software has the best database we have seen for organizing recipes, menus, ingredients, pantry inventory and shopping lists. By using Living Cookbook, you can import recipes from other sources, and it provides multiple ways for you to share recipes. You can email recipes right from the interface, print them on index cards, or create your own electronic or print cookbook.
Living Cookbook has one of the best databases we have seen. You can organize all your recipes, complete with details such as where to buy ingredients, how to prepare recipes, estimated cost for ingredients and stored information about where you got each recipe. You can also choose to define your own recipe categories, and you can even add multimedia files such as songs, images and videos to each dish. You can organize recipes into cookbooks, folders and subfolders. One unusual feature is you can assign degrees of difficulty to recipes as well as ratings and reviews.
This recipe organizer comes with over 8,000 ingredients in its database with full nutritional information provided by the USDA. You can easily add ingredients to the database and include nutritional information. You can add your favorite grocery store and include the exact location on the shopping aisle as well as item costs.
The cookbook software organizes your recipes in a recipe tree on the left side of your screen. You can browse your recipes by category and subcategory, and it allows you to search recipes by specific ingredient or by nutritional content. For example, you can search for dishes high in fiber, iron or calcium, or low in carbohydrates or calories.
This recipe program is easy to use because it offers the drag-and-drop method for copying and pasting information. It also includes many tools for navigating, editing and securing information. It has abundant search and filter options, a database backup tool, back and forward buttons, undo and redo, copy and paste, customized print options and much more.
With this recipe software, you can adjust serving amounts on your recipe and it will do the ingredient calculations for you. You can also print your recipe onto any size of paper that your printer is capable of printing on. You can create and print your full cookbook, complete with a table of contents and an index. This makes it easy to exchange hard copies of recipes with other cooks. The one feature it lacks that we would like to see is smartphone compatibility, which would be especially handy if you could export your shopping list to your phone.
The opening page of Living Cookbook is very well organized. Using a basic grid menu, you can choose the appropriate area that you want to work in. The areas of this recipe program include recipes, ingredients, planning, connect and help menus. In each area, you can work with specified categories such as "create a recipe." This is where you can enter a new recipe to your database. Everything you need is on the front page of this recipe program.
This recipe software has a convenient calendar and a meal planner. You can save meal plans by day, week, month or even as events. You can also add images to your meal planner, and with each meal plan, you can include links that will take you directly to the recipes you have chosen. This is particularly handy if you are planning a special event dinner, such as for a birthday or anniversary.
Another tool that we found particularly helpful is the recipe recommender. This is where the application scans through your recipes, compares them to what you have in your pantry and gives you a list of recipes you can make from what you already have on hand. Of course, this means that you will need to keep your pantry list updated each time you go shopping. However, it will save you hours of time and repeat trips to the grocery store for those forgotten items.
Help & Support
In case you have any problems with your recipe software, Living Cookbook comes with comprehensive online help files that we found extremely useful. The program's website offers a nice list of FAQs as well as an extensive knowledgebase. The website also includes helpful video tutorials to walk you through each feature step by step. We were also impressed with its automated support system. This internal system identifies problems within your recipe database and then tries to fix the issue before you even know it exists.
Within this recipe software, you will find a glossary of cooking terms and techniques. This is nice to have when you haven't used a specific technique for a while and need a quick refresher course. You can search for different techniques and then compare them side by side. Another convenient feature is you can add your own images, videos or audio files to them.
With the assistance of Living Cookbook, you can create, share and import your favorite recipes. While it does not offer a smartphone app, you can still organize an extremely efficient kitchen and well-inventoried pantry. Additionally, you can create meal plans that satisfy specific nutritional goals or the needs of a large party. You can also create grocery lists to streamline your shopping trips. Overall, Living Cookbook is one of the best recipe software packages we reviewed because of its many features and user-friendly interface.