Living Cookbook Review

Living Cookbook is an excellent recipe program that offers lots of recipes, useful menu-planning features, and great support options.

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

Living Cookbook's exceptional functionality helps you keep your recipes, kitchen and food shopping well organized.


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    Great for organization.

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    Makes shopping easy.


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    The program does not offer a smartphone app.

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We think the best thing about Living Cookbook is its ability to help you get your nutritional requirements and grocery lists extremely well organized. It includes a massive database with potent and innovative search tools that help you quickly pinpoint ingredients, recipes, nutritional information and more. Like much of the best recipe apps and software, it also creates grocery lists by store aisle, making that wearisome chore a lot easier. You can even grade a recipe according to its level of difficulty, and you can easily share recipes with others. If you need help, you can make use of all manner of useful features such as online tutorials.

Living Cookbook: How it works

Living Cookbook has one of the best databases we have seen. This recipe software can help you organize recipes, menus, ingredients, pantry inventory and shopping lists. If you find a recipe you like on a website, you can easily import it into this recipe program. You can organize recipes into cookbooks, folders and subfolders. One unusual feature is you can assign degrees of difficulty to recipes as well as personal ratings and reviews.

This recipe management software comes with more than 1,000 pre-programmed recipes, just as many as The Recipe Manager 4.1.0, but of course, you can add more. You can organize all your recipes, complete with details such as where to buy ingredients, how to prepare the dish, the estimated cost for its ingredients and information about where you got the recipe. You can also define your own recipe categories, and you can enjoy such things as multimedia files that include songs, images and videos with each dish. If you would rather use preprogrammed recipes you're going to want to opt for Now You're Cooking! which comes with more than 158,000 recipes.

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.

You can share your favorite recipes with others by email or by creating your own cookbook using this program. You can email recipes right from the interface, print them on index cards, or create your own electronic or print cookbook.

This recipe management software 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.

Unfortunately, this otherwise top-notch cookbook software lacks smartphone compatibility, which would be especially handy if you could export your shopping list to your phone. Programs that do have a smartphone app include Shop'NCook Menu 3.4.3 and MasterCook 15.

The opening page of Living Cookbook is clean and easy to use. Starting with a basic grid menu, you can choose the appropriate area where you want to work. 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 cookbook software.

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.

In case you have any problems with your recipe software, Living Cookbook comes with comprehensive online help files that we found useful. The program's website offers a healthy 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. If you need help, you can always email the company, but unfortunately it does not offer phone support.

Should you use Living Cookbook? 

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 arrange and categorize an extremely efficient kitchen and well-inventoried pantry. Additionally, you can create meal plans that satisfy specific nutritional goals or the needs of an individual or the entire family. 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.

Linda Thomson

Linda Thomson, whose loves are kids, books, music, good food and classic films, has been a professional writer her entire working life. This includes four newspapers, one magazine and plenty of online publishing. She no longer writes for Top Ten Reviews, although you'll still see her work across a number of articles on the Top Ten Reviews site.