We spent 80 hours researching an extensive range of cookbook and recipe software. After looking carefully at each program, contacting manufacturers and reading user reviews, we found MasterCook to be the best overall. This feature-rich application has the characteristics and functions needed by most cooks. It comes with 8,000 recipes, and you can add more. It also generates shopping lists, automatically adjusts for number of servings, offers menus for special-health-needs diets and provides nutritional analysis of dishes. You can easily customize recipes, and it's easy to share them.
MasterCook is a multifaceted software that makes planning, shopping for and preparing meals easy, as well as offering useful nutrition help. You can sync it across devices and enjoy audio instructions as you cook.
Paprika Recipe Manager
With Paprika Recipe Manager, you can easily add and share recipes, and let its tools do much of the work in planning menus and making grocery lists. It even eliminates ingredients on your list if you already have them.
Shop'NCook Menu is an easy-to-use, handy software that tracks as many as 40 nutrients in your food. It also provides access to unlimited recipes.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Recipe Manager||Cooking Tools||Menu Planner||Help & Support||Daily Menu Planner||Shopping List||Monthly Menu Planner||Recipe Recommender||Weekly Menu Planner||Print Cookbooks||Adjust Serving Size||Print Individual Recipes||Import Online Recipes||Smartphone App||Verbal Cooking Instructions||Windows 10||Windows 7||Windows 8||Add Photos to Recipes||Recipe Search||Categorize Recipes||Ingredient Search||Add & Edit Recipes||Add Notes or Comments||Tag Favorite Recipes||Recipes Included||Phone Support||Online Tutorials||Trial Period (days)||FAQs|
|MasterCook 15||View Deal||5/5||9.8||10||10||8.3||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||8,000+||-||✓||✓||None||✓|
|Cook'n Recipe Organizer 12||View Deal||5/5||9.5||10||10||8.8||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||550||-||✓||✓||None||✓|
|The Recipe Manager 4.1.0||View Deal||5/5||9.8||9.5||10||8.3||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||1,000+||-||✓||✓||None||✓|
|Now You're Cooking! 5.94||View Deal||4.5/5||10||8||10||10||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||158,000+||✓||✓||✓||60||✓|
|Paprika Recipe Manager 2.2.1||View Deal||4.5/5||8.8||8.8||9.5||9.8||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||None||✓||✓||✓||30||✓|
|Shop'NCook Menu 3.4.3||View Deal||4.5/5||8.8||8.8||9.5||9.5||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||70,000+||-||✓||✓||45||✓|
|Home Cookin 8.67||View Deal||4.5/5||9.8||8||10||6.3||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Mobile Capability||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||15,000||-||-||✓||15||✓|
|Computer Cuisine Deluxe 7||View Deal||4.5/5||9.8||7.5||8.8||9.8||✓||✓||-||-||✓||-||-||✓||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||1,000||-||✓||✓||Limited Access||✓|
|AccuChef 6.7||View Deal||4.5/5||8.3||8||9.5||9.5||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||-||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||200+||-||✓||✓||60||✓|
MasterCook software provides three formats: computer software, a subscription service and a phone app. When you purchase MasterCook Windows for your computer, you get a free yearlong subscription to the online account service and a free phone app for iOS or Android devices.
Later, you must pay a monthly fee. The entire MasterCook package lets you store up to 50,000 online recipes and sync all your devices.
Among its features, this software helps you substitute healthier ingredients in a recipe, suggests alternative ingredients if you don't have specific items on hand, and even provides wine-pairing information.
In addition, this software lets you plan menus for days, weeks or months in advance. It also generates shopping lists organized according to the grocery aisles and estimates costs (although you must manually enter costs initially).
You can also enter the ingredients you have on hand, and the software will recommend meals you can make without making a trip to the store.
With MasterCook, you can share recipes electronically, print individual recipes and even print full cookbooks. Audio instructions are available, so you can work in the kitchen with your hands on the food and cooking tools, without having to check a cookbook or electronic device. One drawback is that you must email MasterCook if you need help, since there is no phone support.
Paprika Recipe Manager does not include built-in recipes, but you can add recipes to your heart's content once you find ones you love. This app lets you pore through recipes online, adding the ones you like to your Paprika recipe library. You can share recipes, either electronically or via printing.
This software has an intuitive interface and some uncommon features, such as conversion tools for measurements – the number of teaspoons in a cup, for example. The software works on your desktop, tablet or cellphone.
You can use Paprika to plan menus and make shopping lists. If you've entered what you have in your pantry, you can add a full recipe to this app and the software will remove items from the list that are already in your kitchen cupboards or refrigerator.
One drawback is that Paprika Recipe Manager does not contain nutritional analysis, which means you cannot get information about the healthfulness of a recipe. You also do not get advanced search capabilities, such as the ability to look for recipes by cooking method, prep time, servings or category.
Best Nutrition Information
Shop'NCook is a big help if you need to monitor things like your sodium intake or whether you’re getting enough vitamin E in your diet. This software has a recipe wizard that examines the ingredients you use in the dishes you make, and it prepares a nutritional analysis of 40 nutrients based on information from the USDA. For example, if you make an Italian meal that includes pasta, you can get nutrition information for the whole meal as well as just the pasta.
The software also includes access to four cookbooks that each hold 1,000 recipes, and you can add more. In addition, Shop'NCook helps you create shopping lists that include different grocery stores and ingredient substitutions, which you can quickly see on a mobile device. This program can also calculate how much a dish will cost and lets you sync your information to the cloud so you can share recipes and menus with other users. One drawback is the developer only provides support through email.
Best for Meal Planning
The Cook'n Recipe Organizer 12 menu planner makes thinking ahead easy.
Drag-and-drop recipes to any given day to build your menu and the software automatically generates the corresponding grocery list. It even groups the ingredients together based on where they are in a store so your shopping is more efficient. There are 10,000 food labels using Cook'n, so you know if what you're making is healthy. When you change the number of people you’re feeding, the ingredient list automatically adjusts to the appropriate amount. This was previously a standalone software but now you can sign up for a membership that gives you access to more features, like free cookbooks and a meal plan.
The Now You're Cooking interface looks a little dated, but it has the most recipes of all the software we tested.
While most of the recipe software we tested comes with a few thousand recipes, Now You're Cooking gives you a mind-blowing 158,000 recipes on its website, so you don't have to search the depths of the internet for inspiration in the kitchen. You can also upload these recipes to the software to use later. Recipes are available in 14 different languages, making this useful for those who speak several languages or cook authentic international cuisine. Create meal plans with the software’s organizer and use the cost-analysis tool to estimate roughly how much you might spend on groceries.
Why Trust Us?
In coming up with our 10 favorite programs, we searched for the features most home cooks want, including software that manages and organizes recipes, and permits searches for recipes, ingredients and nutritional information.
We also sought out applications with helpful cooking tools, ranging from automatically adjusting a recipe’s number of servings to posting your grocery list on your smartphone. We looked for programs that would help with menu planning, creating grocery lists, recommending ingredient substitutions and more.
We wanted to present an assortment with enough range that you could choose a program with the features you need, whether you're planning a big Thanksgiving dinner, cooking for a child with food allergies or simply getting your week’s meals organized.
How We Researched
We spent 80 hours researching and examining cookbook and recipe software, with an eye toward finding the best for a variety of cooking styles. We examined software applications thoroughly, contacted manufacturers to ask questions, and checked online blogs and consumer reviews to find an extensive and wide-ranging selection.
We read numerous food-related articles by celebrity chefs as well as non-celebrity – but highly educated – home economists at county extension offices throughout the U.S.
We also relied on our own cooking abilities and knowledge to evaluate what would be practical for most households and cooks, who typically are pressed for time and welcome help in planning, shopping and preparing meals.
How Much Does Recipe Software Cost?
The cost of recipe software varies as some are subscription-based and others come at a one-time purchase price with subsequent software updates for an additional cost. Most, however, cost between $20 and $30 to install but others like Cook’n cost $80.
Meal Delivery Kits
Prepackaged meal kits – such as those from Blue Apron, Home Chef and HelloFresh – have become popular in recent years. If you subscribe to one of these services, you can still use recipe software. The meal kits arrive with preportioned ingredients and recipes, but what if you want to try something a little different? If you decide to leave any ingredients out of a recipe, don't throw them away. Instead, use them later. Enter the name of the ingredient you didn't use into a recipe software program or app, and it will show you recipes containing that ingredient. That means your unused veggies won't go to waste.
If you love the recipes included in your meal delivery kit, you can use recipe software to file them for later. Most of the recipes are printed on paper or cardboard, making them easy to lose. When you store the recipes electronically on your laptop or smartphone, you won’t have to search your entire kitchen for them later. Recipe software is also useful for people who are very comfortable in the kitchen. If you received a meal kit coupon as a gift but don’t typically like following instructions, simply use the ingredients however you see fit and create your own recipes. You can then save them for later in your recipe software or app.
Features to Look for When Buying Cookbook and Recipe Software
Look for software that makes life easier by creating menus and grocery lists as well as offering nutritional information, cost analysis for groceries and suggestions for dishes you can prepare with what’s in your refrigerator and pantry.
This software is intended to replace those easily misplaced 3-by-5-inch cards stuffed into a box and your hardcover cookbooks, so it’s important to get programs that manage your recipes. With the best software, you can edit recipes to suit your palate, and you can search by category, menu item or ingredient so you can find the recipe you’re looking for with only a click of the mouse or swipe of the finger.
Help With Special Dietary Needs
If you or someone in your household is allergic to a particular ingredient, you would do well to get software that quickly offers a safe substitute ingredient or a safe similar recipe.
Recipe and Ingredient Management
The best cookbook and recipe software offers recipe suggestions and allows you to import recipes found online into your personal database. It is helpful to have all the ingredients and meal preparation instructions available from all your electronic sources, from computer to phone to mobile tablet.