The Big Oven app is a great demonstration of why recipe apps can be better than recipe books. It lists over 250,000 recipes, with a powerful search engine that offers many options for finding a recipe you’d like.
BigOven has a “leftovers” search trick, excellent for using up spare food in your refrigerator. And if you just want to be surprised by a new recipe, you can see recipes that Big Oven users nearby are cooking, or dive straight into a random one.
The app also comes with a suite of tools to make cooking a meal easier — like its virtual grocery list, based on your chosen recipes. If you’re a keen menu planner, then you may also love its calendar-based planning feature. The recipes are clearly arranged. The app looks just like a traditional glossy book — right down to its photos and clearly marked sections telling you how many people each recipe serves, its calorie content and its reviews.
But it is actually a huge searchable database of recipes that people have uploaded (you can use your device to upload one of your own).
Among its many thousands of recipes you may sometimes find one that you don’t like or one that confuses you with its preparation instructions. You can give that recipe a low score. And even though a quarter of a million recipes sounds like a good thing, sometimes it’s tricky to find a high-quality recipe for the dish you want.
The iPad version of the app is the most attractive. The Android version, despite its greater use of icons, doesn’t feel as accessible because its menu system isn’t as simple.
Making use of the app’s shared grocery list (so you see your shopping list on your smartphone even if you created it on your iPad), will cost you $2 a month or $20 a year.
This “pro” app upgrade also lets you exclude ingredients to search for recipes that meet dietary restrictions.