Just like the Food Network simplified gourmet cooking, food apps are now making it even easier for you to whip up some of the best dishes ever. You can use your device to find recipes, discover new techniques, locate the freshest ingredients and see what other people are dishing out. No, it’s not Le Cordon Bleu education, but it’s cheaper -- and faster.
Here’s our roundup of the best food apps to ignite your inner Julia Child:
Food App No. 1: Appetites
Best part: High-quality videos
Appetites is like having a Food Network show in your hands but better: It demonstrates a single step over and over in beautifully shot video until you’re ready for the next one. The app comes with a starter pack of 36 interactive video recipes from popular cooking bloggers. Let Blake and Nick from The Paupered Chef walk you through every step in their Korean BBQ recipe, or let Gabi Moskowitz from the BrokeAss Gourmet show you how to make a particularly delicious sweet potato coconut soup.
Cost: $4.99 for the starter pack; you can also complete in-app purchases to download extra recipe sets.
Works on: iPad
Food App No. 2: Your Kitchen Inspiration
Best part: Discovering other people’s succulent family recipes
Allrecipes.com (which owns this app) doesn’t exactly have a reputation as being a haven for foodies, but its beauty lies elsewhere: Sift through its thousands of recipes and reviews, and you’re practically guaranteed to discover a lot of gems. Case in point: When you come across a recipe like “AMY1028’s Big Soft Ginger Cookies” with nearly 4,000 glowing reviews, you know it’s worth your time. This is one app (and website) where crowdsourcing really does work.
Cost: The free version lets you access all recipes; for $4.99, you can also browse by ethnicity/specialty, save your favorites, and store and print your shopping list.
Works on: iPad (iPhone users can download Allrecipes Dinner Spinner)
Food App No. 3: Locavore
Best part: Focus on fresh
Using your phone’s GPS, Locavore points you to local farms and farmers markets where you can buy your produce fresh, directly from growers. It also tells you which items are in season in your region and even associates those items with farmers markets’ locations. So before you show up at the Green City Market in Chicago’s Lincoln Park in September, you’ll know to look for apples, kale and -- of course -- pumpkins.
Works with: iPhone, iPad and Android
Food App No. 4: Jamie’s Recipes
Best part: Elegant low-prep dishes
If you like Jamie Oliver’s recipes, then you’ll love his app: It comes with a good variety of easy-to-prepare recipes, presented in an elegant, simple interface. The sweet pineapple and mint recipe is a good example: just four ingredients, ingredients you’ve probably never put together before. (If there’s another famous icon you like too, look ’em up; lots of celebrity chefs have apps these days.)
Cost: $7.99 for the starter pack. Subsequent in-app purchases are $1.99 per pack
Works with: iPhone and iPad
Food App No. 5: Foodgawker
Best part: Gorgeous photography
There’s nothing like a photo to help you decide whether something is worth cooking. Enter Foodgawker, the mobile version of the eponymous website, which is all about ogling beautiful food photography from food bloggers all over the Web. Do a search for lamb, pick the most delicious-looking photo and click for the recipe. It’s a clearinghouse of gastronomic delights.
Works with: iPhone, iPad and any Web browser