PROS / Drag and drop capability, detailed nutrition information, and colorful menu templates make Cook'n a great choice.
CONS / This software has fewer high-end database and shopping tools than our top-ranked product.
VERDICT / Cook'n Recipe Organizer offers powerful meal planning tools and it is easy to use.
Editor's note: A newer version of this product is available. We will evaluate, rank and review the new version of this product when we next update the Meal Planning Software reviews.
Cook‘n Recipe Organizer, developed by DVO Enterprises, is a family-friendly company that has created one of the best meal planning software titles in the world, with over three million copies sold, and we're pleased to award it our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award. Cook’n has been a household name in the meal planning software world since the 1990’s and they have created a smart design for their meal planning tool and their application provides the most detailed nutritional information available for over 10,000 food products.
We were delighted with the huge recipe database that this menu planner can support. Also, when you purchase Cook’n Recipe Organizer, you receive a free download of one of their high-quality cookbooks. Cook’n has published dozens of cookbooks and partnered with Pillsbury and Betty Crocker to provide users with an extensive choice of recipes. You can also download additional cookbooks for an additional price. If you’d like as many recipes as you can get your hands on, you will get up to 40,000 brand-name recipes by purchasing all of their cookbooks. And if you join their Cook’n Club, you will receive a free cookbook download each month.
Another top feature that makes Cook’n one of the best meal planning software packages is their shopping list unit converter. A common problem when adding recipe ingredients to your grocery list is converting what the recipe calls for into units that can actually be purchased. Cook’n does the converting automatically, telling you the exact amount to buy at the store. For example if a recipe calls for 12 cups of marinara sauce, Cook’n will convert the cups into milliliters, telling you what size of jar to buy, and how many.
Meal Planning Features
Creating menus using Cook’n is a cinch. The versatile Menu Labels function gives you complete control of your menu planning strategy. Label your menus by day, week, by course (main entrée, side dishes, dessert, beverage, etc.), or let the meal stand alone. You can easily drag and drop recipes or single ingredients into menu plans.
Cook’n has several enhanced meal planning features that are sure to impress, especially in its latest edition. Many fun cookbooks are available for purchase, including cookbooks for ethnic dishes like Mexican and Italian and cookbooks for managing specific health issues such as diabetes, gluten-free and low calorie diets.
Personalization and style can be added to your menus by using Cook’n’s newest function - menu themes. Their menu themes are bright, colorful menu templates that add flair to your recipes and make meal planning more exciting than ever. Add a fun ocean theme to a fancy seafood menu or add graphics to your daily menus to delight your family or customers.
Another detail we love about this excellent meal planning software is their Shopping List function. The Shopping List function labels all of the perishables on your list and allows you to list only perishables if you‘d prefer. This neat function we’ve yet to see anywhere else. Once you’ve finished planning your meal, click the List button at the top of your screen and Cook’n will automatically compile a shopping list for your upcoming meals and combining like items to save money. The function also organizes your list by produce, meats, dry goods, etc. to make your shopping trip quick and painless.
A wonderful and impressive feature about Cook’n is their Brand database. Their Foods area has a huge detailed list of over 10,000 food items; one of the largest found in any other meal planning software. Cook’n has entered the various brand names that are available for any specified food item so you can browse at home before you buy at the store. They also list the price for each product under the listed brand, as well as package size and nutritional facts. This is a function you won’t find anywhere else. By having such detailed nutritional information at your fingertips, especially for so many brands, Cook’n lets you analyze the nutrients of each meal in full detail; an especially great function for those with dietary restrictions.
The Cook’n Club, the official cooking club for the Cook‘n user-community, is a great way to talk to other avid cooks (via an exclusive forum), receive a weekly newsletter, get cooking tips, free recipes, meal plan ideas and much more. The club is an annual paid subscription. This software can also print recipes and recipe cards and they offer recipe cards, card binders, recipe pages and magnetic card holders in their online store.
As mentioned they include recipes with the software and numerous cookbooks for purchase. What is nice about these cookbooks is that they can easily be imported into the software without tedious copy and pasting. In future versions they will add cell phone specific apps for paperless portability of shopping lists and recipes, as well as a Mac version.
Ease of Use
Cook’n has developed a seamless method to create meals in their application by adding drag and drop capabilities to their latest version. After opening the main user-interface, click on the Menus button and you will be brought to an easy-to-use meal planner tool at the center of your screen. Cook’n makes it easy to add recipes to your menu by having them listed in the left column. Simply click the recipe that you’d like to add to your menu and drop it under the specified day and/or meal. It’s up to you as to how you’d like to plan your meal(s), ranging from daily to monthly, and everything in between. In addition, we appreciate the big buttons at the top of the screen, labeled with commonly-used functions (and graphics), including Menus, List, Nutrition, Units, Brands, etc.
Help & Support
Getting help with your Cook’n menu planning software is a no-worry process since they offer some of the best customer service options among our Meal Software Planning titles. Video demos, Top 10 Questions, How To Guides and a FAQs can be found on their site. Live phone support and email support can also be accessed via their site. To find help in the software, click on the Help button at the top of your screen and a directory of help topics will pop-up on the right side of your screen. A user-guide is also included with your purchase.
If you’re looking for integrated meal planning software that includes detailed recipe management extras, that will transform the way you run your home kitchen and family meals, look no further than Cook’n. Cook’n Recipe Organizer is the winner of our Silver Award and we‘re excited to highlight it in our meal planning software review.