Pros / MasterCook comes with more than 8,000 preprogrammed recipes.
Cons / The company does not offer phone support.
Verdict / MasterCook’s many and varied features, along with some unique capabilities that set it apart from the competition, such as storing your favorite wine pairings, make it the most comprehensive cookbook software we reviewed.
Our choice for best overall value in cookbook and recipe software is the multi-faceted MasterCook, which provides you with helpful menu planning capabilities, nutritional analysis for healthier eating and prepared shopping lists with cost analysis. It has an interactive website and the rare ability to store favorite wine pairings. Besides the primary and most feature-rich product, the MasterCook software, you can also opt for the mobile app and the paid internet subscription service, which is free for the first year after you buy the software.
With this cookbook software, you can immediately adjust servings, recipe times and ingredients as well as make use of sorting options to find the perfect recipes to keep everyone healthy in case a family member has different dietary needs. These categories include diabetic, low-fat, low-sodium, lactose-free and gluten-free recipes.
- Recipes Included
The recipe software itself lets you to sort recipes by preparation time, key ingredient or specialty diet. To keep things nicely organized, you can assign your recipes to different electronic “cookbooks” that you can make for various categories of foods or meals. You can create these cookbooks and add recipes to them from various sources including websites and blogs. This application includes a section where you and others can share recipes by email. One way to get new recipes is to share a cookbook with other people by putting their email addresses to a “share” section and letting them add recipes of their own to it.
MasterCook makes recipe customization easy. You can add directions, photos, important notes, preparation time and ratings to any recipe. All of the recipes include health facts such as calories, fat, vitamins and minerals, and these are broken down by recipe, meal and serving. You can also find nutrition values within the ingredient list so you can prepare healthier meals.
MasterCook is available in three different formats: software for your computer, a subscription service and a phone app. If you buy the MasterCook Windows software, you can enjoy a free one-year subscription to an online account service (Mastercook.com) as well as a free app for your iOS or Android device. Apps have become a more popular way to look for recipes. Other services with apps include Paprika Recipe Manager 2.2.1 and Shop'NCook Menu 3.4.3.
After the initial year, the subscription service costs $9.99 per year to store up to 50,000 online recipes, or you can store 25 for free. The service lets you sync all your devices so your account, cookbooks and other data are always available no matter where you are. The subscription service and the app do not include all the features that come with the software itself, so if you want to enjoy the full spectrum of what MasterCook offers, it’s probably best to get the package that includes all three formats.
With MasterCook, you can easily adjust serving sizes with a single click. In addition, the recipe program offers helpful options, including a button that converts unhealthy recipes into healthy recipes with appropriate substitutes. If you're missing an ingredient and don't have time to buy it, this software helps you find a solution. For example, if you need to substitute chocolate, MasterCook gives you options to make the equivalent of the chocolate bar.
The program can read aloud cooking instructions, so you can use it completely hands-free. This is really convienient if you happen to be working with a particularly messy ingredient and find yourself with dirty hands. This recipe software also has an embedded wine list where you can keep track of your wine inventory and record information such as tasting notes, where and when you bought different bottles, and which foods a favorite wine pairs well with so you can get the same wine in the future.
If you feel like sharing something that is not electronic, you can print individual recipes for other people or for your own archives, or choose from different templates and print cookbooks if you want.
The menu planner on this software can help you plan breakfasts, lunches and dinners for an entire day, week or month. Once you have your plan, this program generates a shopping list and even tracks the food you currently have in your pantry. The shopping list groups your products by the area in which they are usually found in the grocery store, which makes shopping less of a chore.
MasterCook will generate estimated prices for foods, but you first have to manually enter the correct price the first time you add a product into the system. After that, the program uses that price to calculate the cost. If you don't feel like shopping, the software can produce a list of recipes you can make with the food you have on hand.
Help & Support
The MasterCook website is packed with a comprehensive set of information resources that describe how the program works, what features are included, what you can do with this application and more. There is a section of FAQs, a user manual, and numerous articles and video tutorials. MasterCook’s website also offers a blog with numerous food-related tips and ideas, including topics such as how to organize your kitchen and pantry, how to properly store various foods, favorite holiday recipes and more.
If you have questions, the program offers customer support via email form. However, there is no way to speak to a representative over the phone if you need help quickly. Another drawback is that there is no free trial for MasterCook to see if you like it.
MasterCook is user-friendly cookbook and recipe software that comes with more than 8,000 recipes and the capability to add as many more as you want. This recipe management software provides versatility, convenience and it’s easy to use. Overall, MasterCook is one of the best recipe applications we have seen, with numerous features and recipes that enhance your cooking experience.