Best Cookbook & Recipe Software of 2018

Linda Thomson ·
Writer/Reviewer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

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.
   

Best Overall
MasterCook
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.
View on Amazon
Best Budget
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.
View on Amazon
Best Organization
Living Cookbook
Living Cookbook can help you organize your kitchen, pantry, meals and grocery shopping, along with providing nutrition data to make it easy to eat healthfully.
View on Living Cookbook

Editor's choice Cooking Deals

  • Save $24 on Anova Nano Sous Vide

    Here's a good deal on Anova's newest Sous Vide cooker. It's smaller, quieter and $24 off.

    $99.00 $74.99 @ Amazon
  • Farberware Air Fryer

    This 3-liter air fryer uses hot air to fry your favorite foods, which results in healthier, oil-free foods. It's now at its lowest price ever.

    $69.99 $39 @ Wal-Mart
  • Pre-Black Friday Deal - Hamilton Beach HomeBaker

    The Hamilton Beach HomeBaker offers 12 program cycles and is good for making whole grain and gluten-free breads.

    $58.73 $39.99 @ Walmart
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
Email
Trial Period (days)
FAQs
$29.99 Amazon
9.8 9.8 10 10 8.3
8,000+
-
None
$34.95
9.7 9.8 9.5 10 9.5
-
1,000+
-
30
$79.95 Amazon
9.7 9.5 10 10 8.8
550
-
None
$4.99 Performance Horizon
9.6 9.8 9.5 10 8.3
-
1,000+
-
None
Check Price
9.4 10 8 10 10
-
-
158,000+
60
$4.99 Amazon
9.1 8.8 8.8 9.5 9.8
-
-
-
-
None
30
Check Price
9 8.8 8.8 9.5 9.5
-
-
-
-
-
70,000+
-
45
$39.95 Amazon
8.9 9.8 8 10 6.3
-
Mobile Capability
-
15,000
-
-
15
Check Price
8.8 9.8 7.5 8.8 9.8
-
-
-
-
-
1,000
-
Limited Access
Check Price
8.6 8.3 8 9.5 9.5
-
-
200+
-
60
Best Overall
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.
Pros
  • You get 8,000 recipes.
  • It is easy to share recipes.
  • You get menu help for special diets.
Cons
  • You pay a subscription fee after one year.
  • You must enter prices initially to get grocery estimates.
  • There is no phone number for customer service.
$25.35Amazon
Read the full review
Best Budget
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.
Pros
  • This is inexpensive and helpful.
  • You get an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
  • You can add recipes to your shopping list.
Cons
  • This does not include a nutritional analyzer.
  • This is an app, not traditional software.
  • You don't get advanced search capabilities.
$4.99Amazon
Read the full review
Best Organization
If pulling menus, recipes and all necessary ingredients together – and tracking the nutritional data as well – is not your strong suit, the Living Cookbook can do much of the work for you. You get more than 1,000 recipes to start, and you can add more.
You can organize your recipes, including such details as where to buy ingredients, precisely how to make a certain dish, the estimated costs, and even notes on where you got a specific recipe. You can create categories for your recipes, adding fun elements like songs, images and videos to each. Living Cookbooks includes more than 8,000 ingredients in its database, with nutritional information from the USDA. What's more, you can add extra ingredients and their nutrition data as you work with this software. It will even let you input detailed shopping directions, right down to an item’s location on a specific grocery aisle. Living Cookbook's search capabilities are exceptional. For example, you can look for dishes that give you plenty of iron or calcium, or ones that are low-calorie or low-carb. The only disappointment is the lack of a smartphone app, which is surprising given how many other functions this software provides.
Pros
  • This app helps organize your recipes, grocery lists and more.
  • This has great search functions.
  • You can edit and customize recipes.
Cons
  • There is no smartphone app.
  • You'll need to print your shopping lists.
  • You must use email to share recipes.
$34.95Living Cookbook
Read the full review
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.
Pros
  • Works with Windows and Apple.
Cons
  • No free trial.
$79.95Cook'n
Read the full review
Most Recipes
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.
Pros
  • You can upload recipes in 14 different languages.
Cons
  • There isn’t an app.
$25.00Now You're Cooking!
Read the full review

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.

Features to Look for When Buying Cookbook and Recipe Software

Multiple Functions
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.

Clear Organization
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.


More Guides for Eating Smartly: