Nothing is more frustrating than when you are about to make dinner, and you can’t find the recipe. You try searching for it but can’t remember the name. Getting food on the table is a priority, and now it’s delayed. It has happened to me more times than I can count. Then I started thinking about how do I organize my recipes electronically.
My first foray into creating a digital cookbook was making a folder on my computer and bookmark the recipe. This method is excellent in its simplicity. It falls down a bit when you are looking for a recipe, and you have no idea its name. You have to be online to access the website and rely on it still being in the same location it was when you found it. Over time, I found sites shut down, or recipes were placed behind a paywall making it challenging to access.
Then I moved to a digital cookbook and haven’t had an issue since. All of my recipes are stored offline in one place and easy to access. It is the ultimate time-saver.
There are so many options out there. A quick search in the app store produces countless results. If you want to learn how do I store my recipes electronically, I’m here to help!
I tried several different methods and apps, including Cook’N, Paprika Recipe Manager, Pepperplate, Pocket, Recipe Sage, and Pinterest. There are pros and cons to each one, but a few stand out from the crowd.
Want to make your digital cookbook?
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- You can read what to look for in a recipe manager here.
- Paprika is a great app that is worth the investment.
- RecipeSage is a budget-friendly version without frills.
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Why A Digital Cookbook?
A digital cookbook is a place to store all of your recipes, similar to the recipe boxes your parents or grandparents might have used.
Organizing your recipes will help streamline your meal planning and save time. With a digital cookbook, all of your recipes are in one place. Collecting your recipes allows you to quickly search, scan, and choose what you want to cook and do quick work of creating shopping lists.
Your digital cookbook will show you recipes you haven’t seen in years. It may even get you out of a cooking rut. I found dishes that I used to make all the time that quickly went back into rotation. Digital cookbook for the win!
What to Look for in a Recipe Manager?
When choosing a method to create a digital cookbook, I’m looking for a few things. First is the ease of use. I want something simple that I can easily import recipes from any website without fuss. It’s also essential to be able to add recipes that aren’t on the internet. We all have those recipes we printed years ago or family dishes that are significant parts of our collections. The app should allow those recipes to be added quickly.
Next, I am evaluating the search function. It’s essential to have an app that allows you to find a recipe quickly. These apps are designed to save you time, not waste it with a long search.
I am also looking for the option to create a useful shopping list. The list should be well organized and easy to share, print, or save.
All of the apps have additional features, but I have found that not all are worthwhile. Bonus points are given to innovations that provide real value.
Let’s see how these methods compare and answer the question, how do I organize my recipes electronically.
How Do I Organize My Recipes Electronically?
Cook’N has been around for many years and has excellent reviews on the app store. The developer does well to provide information on how to use the app, and after you sign up with a free account, you will receive several daily emails on features.
The app is free, but what is not clear is that you only get access for about a week when you sign up. After that, it’s $49.95 a year for the basic membership. This level only allows for five recipe imports a day and five scans. If you plan to import all of your recipes at once, you will upgrade to the standard membership, which is $99.95 a year. It is expensive!
Cook’N is simple to use, but I wouldn’t call it slick. The landing page is other people’s recipes, not your own. They also seem to use the comic sans font, which I know many people do not like. Minor in the grand scheme of things but worth noting.
Recipes are straightforward to add from any website. Put the URL in, and Cook’N captures the entire page. That means that you will see all of the text and photos, not just the recipe. If you have a complex dish where you want to read the entire description, this is wonderful. But on busy nights when you are just trying to make dinner, a clean page with just the recipe is preferred.
Scanning recipes is easy. Take a photo and then highlight the text to assign it to title, ingredient, or method. It doesn’t take very long.
The search function is pretty good. It will scan most, but not all, of the text. As an example, it would find onion if it were listed on its own but not if it were listed as red onion.
Grocery lists were straightforward to create and very well organized. I love how they list under each item which recipe includes it. There have been so many times I have been at the grocery store and wondered why the heck something was on my list. This feature eliminates that.
Where this app shines is in the Pinterest import feature. If you have most of your recipes stored on Pinterest, this app is fantastic. You log in through Cook’N and click on the boards you want to be imported. Cook’N will then create folders for each board and include all of the recipes. Cook’N’s Pinterest importer is a huge timesaver for the user.
If you aren’t familiar with Pocket, it’s a free app that helps you store any article or webpage. You can then refer back to it at any time, even if you are offline. It integrates with Safari and Chrome well — with just one or two clicks, you can save anything to your account.
How does this work for recipe management? Well, you find a recipe on any website and save it to Pocket. Whenever you need it, you go to getpocket.com or the Pocket app, and it’s there. It’s as simple as that. There is an unlimited amount of space to store your recipes.
The downside of the free app is that the search functionality is limited. However, if you upgrade to Premium ($44.99 a year), you get a full-text search along with a permanent copy of anything you save. So even if the website goes away, you still have a version saved.
Pocket would work well if you are already using it for articles, but the cost is pretty high for recipe management.
Pepperplate is a free recipe management app meant to rival Paprika. It hasn’t had an update since 2015, and it shows. The app crashes often, and the user experience was frustrating. It’s best to avoid it. There are better options out there.
RecipeSage is a donation-based app that has been around since 2017. It is very easy to use. While adding recipes via a URL is still in the Beta testing phase, it worked without issue. It can batch import recipes from Pepperplate, although I didn’t try that function since Pepperplate has never worked. Images don’t pull from recipes but if you make a donation, they will
The search function works well, and you can look up any recipe by ingredient. The shopping list is easy to use and lists each item’s recipe underneath it on the list. Grouping doesn’t carry over to when multiple recipes use the same ingredient. It lists two amounts next to each other; I wish it listed both recipes. You can share your list, but it doesn’t seem like you can share the recipes between devices.
The interface is simple and no-frills. That being said, I’ve found that some of the fancier apps have too much going on in them. The design then becomes distracting. One minor concern is that since it is not a massive operation, we need to watch to see where they are going. I would hate to spend the time to import the recipes only for the app to go away in a year, although the developer is often working on it and releasing frequent updates.
Many of you use it every day. You see a recipe, pin it, and there it is. The search engine is excellent. If you need to find a German carrot recipe or a sweet green treat for St. Patrick’s Day, one search and many options are there.
Managing recipes with Pinterest is a different story. Once you have saved the pins to a board, it can sometimes be challenging to find. I didn’t think you could do it for years, but I recently found a way to search through your pins only.
- Go into your profile, select “all pins” to view your pins.
- Type what you are looking for into the search bar.
- Next to the search bar will pop up the option for where to search. Selecting “Your Pins” will help you quickly find anything you have pinned.
Something to consider is that Pinterest only works online, and you are relying on the link to the pin still being active when you click it. Considering that the life of a Pinterest pin is many years, sometimes you may try to go to a recipe only to find the link to be broken; this can be frustrating.
A recipe manager will store the recipe for you, eliminating this problem.
Paprika is a recipe manager that has been around for many years. It has an importing feature that shines on the PC/Mac and makes getting started a breeze. You use the browser within Paprika to visit a recipe page and click a button to import. To add it to the app on your iPhone, it’s two clicks. You click on the share button and then select the Paprika app. It’s that easy.
Since Paprika stores all of your recipes in their app, you can access them anytime, even offline. You can also easily search by recipe name, ingredient, or URL. The ingredient search is critical here because you may not know the name of a recipe or where it came, but you will likely know at least one ingredient.
As for additional features, Paprika has them. And not just any innovation, but ones that are helpful and time-saving. You can add a recipe to your favorites and also to a calendar for a meal plan. There is a scale recipe button that will quickly double, triple, or half a recipe. This feature is one that I found myself using often.
The best tool I have found on Paprika, besides the simple Recipe Importer, is the Shopping List. With one click, you can add the ingredients from a recipe to a master list. You can quickly scan them before adding and unselect those you already have in your pantry; this is a real timesaver. They have also added a smart list feature, so items are now combined.
This app is not free, but in terms of paid digital cookbooks, it is reasonable. The iPhone and iPad apps are $4.99, and the Windows/Mac apps are $19.99/$29.99, respectively. So, even though the apps sync between your devices, you need to purchase each one separately. You can get away with just having it on your iPhone if you wish to start that way, but it will take you a little longer to import recipes. Keep in mind that these are one time fees, unlike a subscriber model other apps use that charges you per year.
Best Way To Organize Recipes Electronically
After using these various recipe management methods, I understand the value of a dedicated recipe manager to create a digital cookbook. Recipes are stored and ready to go when you are, and the extra features are handy.
If you are looking to organize your recipes for the long haul, Paprika is a robust and easy to use recipe manager. It is worth every penny.
Not willing to invest? Try RecipeSage. It has everything you need to organize your recipes and save time without the frills.
What do you use to make your digital cookbook? Is there an app or method that I am missing that you want me to review? Let me know in the comments below.
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