Top free iPhone cooking apps for serious cooks

BigOvenIn honor of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, here are a few cooking apps worth having on your iPhone. None of them is perfect, but the price can’t be beat.

BigOven: huge aggregation of recipes, with very little curation so you’re on your own as to whether they’re worth trying. To make the most of it, start at “get ideas” then “search 250,000+ recipes” on the next screen. You can include or exclude specific ingredients, and also filter for dietary restrictions. As a point of reference, there are 31 recipes for Pho, some with peer reviews and some not; some recipes have the sources identified and others are apparently submitted anonymously.

EpicuriousEpicurious: ignore the clever categories (“Decadent Desserts”, “I Can Barely Cook”) and go right to the search box at the bottom of the home screen where you can search by name of dish and add a number of filters. There are only 5 recipes for Pho, but each of them is from a recognizable publication. By the way, both Epicurious and Big Oven have a useful feature where you can transfer the ingredients for a recipe to a shopping list. Epicurious is a bit irritating because there’s no way to get back to the recipe so you have to start over and search for it again.

ChefsQuizChef’s Quiz: the folks at Futura Publishing have sliced and diced the Escoffier Cook Book (which should be in the public domain, since it was published in 1903, but I can’t find the ebook online) to create a number of products, including this one. Lots of fun interactive questions that really will test your food knowledge.

CooksCompanionCook’s Companion: also from Futura Publishing, this one has a great interactive measurement converter and a voluminous ingredient index (with pictures) and glossary developed from Escoffier’s body of work. It also has some extremely irritating ads for paid apps which pop up every few screens. But the features are good enough that the irritation is worth it.

Follow the links for more information, or just look them up on the App Store. Next: three paid cookbook apps worth your attention.

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